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We kept falling to Starc’s ‘strength’: Indian captain Rohit Sharma to his batters 


VISAKHAPATNAM: A disappointed Indian captain Rohit Sharma on Sunday rued that his side’s formidable batting line-up “kept falling to the strength” of Australia pacer Mitchell Starc instead of playing their natural game in the second ODI, which the hosts lost by 10 wickets here.

Australia won the match to level the series 1-1 and will now head to Chennai for the deciding third ODI on March 22.

Starc (5/53), who completed his ninth five-wicket haul in 109 ODI innings, wreaked havoc as Australia bundled out the home side for 117 in 26 overs after India was invited to bat first.

Australia completed the run chase in just 11 overs without losing any wickets.

Sharma said Indian batters didn’t apply themselves properly and added that it was certainly not a low-scoring pitch.

“Starc is a quality bowler. He’s been doing it for years for Australia with the new ball. He kept bowling to his strength and we kept falling to his strength. That’s something that we need to understand and play accordingly,” Sharma said at the post-match presentation.

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Sharma minced no words about the batting failure, saying that 117 was not at all a challenging total.

“It is disappointing. No doubt about that. We didn’t play to our potential. We didn’t apply ourselves with the bat. We always knew that was not enough runs. It was not a 117 pitch at all. By no means. We just didn’t apply ourselves,” said Sharma, who himself contributed 13 runs from 15 balls.

Sharma, who missed India’s five-wicket win in the first ODI due to family commitments, said all the Australians bowled really well and put the home side under pressure.

Australia captain Steven Smith was surprised with the quick result, achieved with 39 overs to spare.

Indian batter Rohit Sharma walks off the field after being dismissed during the second ODI cricket match between India and Australia. (Photo | PTI)

“It was a quick one. 37 overs for the game (overall), you don’t see that too often,” he said.

“I thought our bowlers were outstanding. Mitchell Starc, in particular, with that new ball swinging it back down the line and putting them (under) early pressure and he complimented really well with the rest of our bowling group. I didn’t know how the wicket was going to play and how much it was going to swing.”

On his run chase and the unbeaten 121-run partnership by the Australian openers, Smith said, “The way that Mitch and Heady went out and went after them was impressive. Putting them (Indian bowlers) under pressure.”

“When you’re chasing 118 really quickly, you can break the back of it really quickly.”

‘Man of the match’ Starc said, “I feel like my rhythm has been good for a few weeks now and I guess the last couple of nights I’ve got the ball to shape in the air and do a little bit off the wicket. So, it’s feeling in a good place and hopefully, it continues.”

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