In the aftermath of his side’s comprehensive defeat in the first ODI, a bewildered Steve Smith admitted that he and his side weren’t expecting the Wankhede wicket to offer as much to the bowlers as it did on Friday, and claimed that his side were at least 60-70 runs short of par on the day.
Usually a batter’s paradise, Friday’s Wankhede wicket offered persistent and extravagant movement for the fast bowlers throughout the course of the match, something that ended up making life incredibly hard for the batters. 12 of the 15 wickets to fall on the day were taken by the quicks, and all of Mohammed Shami (3/17), Mohammed Siraj (3/29) and Mitchell Starc (3/49) had phases in which they seemed unplayable.
Eventually India came out on top and that, Smith reckoned, was because his side simply did not score enough runs.
“We weren't expecting this at the Wankhede, usually pretty good scores,” Smith said in the post match presentation.
“India bowled really well. We probably left a few out there. 260-270 was par. It was offering a fair bit for the seamers. The ball swung pretty much throughout. We just needed to score more runs. Needed a partnership that could take it deep. It was not to be, and credit to India."
Smith was full of praise for the unbeaten 108-run stand between KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja that took India over the line, and claimed that the inability to put up a stand like the same cost his side dearly.
At 129/2 in the 20th over, Australia were flying at one point thanks to some outrageous hitting from Mitchell Marsh (81 off 65) but they endured a forgettable collapse post Marsh’s dismissal (59/8), a passage of play that ultimately turned out to be fatal. Smith rued the frequency at which his side lost wickets.
“KL and Jaddu's partnership was really good when they were under pressure,” Smith said.
“We started pretty well. Mitch played really nicely and took the game on early and got a few away and kept going.
“We lost too many wickets through the middle. We weren't able to get a partnership and get to a reasonable total. We were always one partnership away from them beating us. Jadeja and Rahul showed how to do it.”
The second ODI of the three-match series will be played at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Sunday (March 19th)