India v/s Australia: Steve Smith says, not easy chasing 160 with two new balls

Steve Smith admitted that Australia let the match slip after a great start that saw Team India at 87/5 at one time.

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India v/s Australia: Steve Smith says, not easy chasing 160 with two new balls
Steve Smith

India beat Australia by 26 runs (D/L method) to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match ODI series in Chennai on Sunday. Australia skipper Steve Smith admitted that his team let the match slip after a great start that saw Team India reeling at 87/5 at one time. He added that the presence of two new balls in a 21-over game put them at a disadvantage when chasing 164. The Australia said that one new ball would have made things easier for his team.

"It wasn't ideal that we weren't able to capitalise on what was a very good start. That partnership turned out to be match-winning. MS (Dhoni) and Hardik (Pandya) played very well and obviously the rain came. It was never going to be easy chasing 160 with the new balls. We could have perhaps played a little bit differently and tried to take a little bit more time upfront," Smith said after the loss.

Smith didn't think opening with debutante Hilton Cartwright was a gamble despite effectively playing a T20 instead of 50 overs.

"I did think about it (changing the order). But I thought it was a good opportunity for Hilton Cartwright to get into the game. It was probably the hardest time to bat with the new ball. It didn't come off tonight," he said.

Smith said chasing 164 with one ball, like in a proper Twenty20, as opposed to new balls from both ends could have made the chase easier.

"When you have two new balls from both ends, as you saw (during) the whole game, they found it hard. It was the same for us. You don't have a great deal of time to make things up. Perhaps we could have been a little bit more defensive at the start and go a bit harder," he said, adding that the 118-run partnership between Dhoni and Pandya changed the game. "They put a 120 odd and took them from 87 to 206. In the end, that proved to be a match-winning partnership."

"We started very well with the new ball. I had my plan to begin with Coulter-Nile and finish with (Pat) Cummins. But when they lost Hardik, I thought Nathan could have come back and I wanted to go for the throat. Obviously MS (Dhoni) hit Jimmy (James Faulkner) pretty well in the end, wasn't ideal but that's cricket. MS is a quality player and dangerous at the end. We have got to be a bit better with our plans," said the Australia captain.

Smith didn't feel they had overlooked the effect Indian pacers could have on the match.

Australia flew in Kerala chinaman KK Jiyas to help them prepare against Kuldeep Yadav. Yet it didn't have any bearing on the match as Yadav got the vital breakthrough in the form of the dangerous David Warner. Pandya too took the vital wickets of Smith and Travis Head.

"We certainly haven't been focusing only on wrist-spin. We have been facing fast bowlers and other net bowlers. India have some quality seamers as well," he concluded.

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