India needs to bowl better on such batting-friendly pitches - K. L. Rahul

The batsman admits India's bowlers missed a trick or two in the second ODI versus Australia in Sydney.

K. L. Rahul walks back after being dismissed for 76 in the second ODI at the SCG on Saturday. - REUTERS

India batsman K. L. Rahul admitted India’s bowlers weren’t able to bowl as well as Australia in the batting-friendly conditions of the SCG after the team fell to another defeat on Saturday.

REPORT - 51-run-defeat

It took the Indian team 23 overs to get its first wicket, and by the end of Australia’s innings, an imposing total of 389 had been posted. Smith plundered India’s bowlers en route to a 64-ball 104; he was the fulcrum of Australia’s innings even as the rest gave him good support. Glenn Maxwell’s quickfire 63 (29b, 4x4, 6x4) provided the final flourish.

“Sometimes you have to learn to accept that the opposition played better cricket,” Rahul, who scored 76, told mediapersons at the post-match press conference.

“It’s home conditions for them and they’ve played better cricket. We are playing 50-over cricket after a long time. We're doing a lot of things right; we need to learn how to bowl better in such beautiful batting wickets. That’s the challenge for us,” he said.

Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who finished as the second-highest wicket-taker in the recently-concluded IPL, gave away 79 runs in his 10 overs, and took one wicket. It was his second costly 10-over spell in a row.

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“It’s about time that a champion player like him will deliver, get wickets for us. You also have to understand that in New Zealand and Australia, the wickets are so good to bat on; you will see top bowlers not getting wickets, that's quite acceptable,” Rahul said.

Even though bowlers like Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Yuzvendra Chahal performed well in the IPL, it shouldn't be too surprising if they don't excel so soon when playing pitches different from the UAE, and in a different format, felt Rahul.

A silver lining for India was the fact that Hardik Pandya bowled for the first time since having returned to top-flight cricket. He bowled four relatively economical overs, giving away 24 runs and picking up a wicket, that of Smith.

'Refreshing'

“It’s refreshing [to see Hardik bowl again], isn’t it? It’s load off the back of the skipper,” Rahul said.

Rahul said India's batting unit needed to improve, too, and find a way to convert small partnerships of 30-40 runs to lengthy ones.

There were fielding errors from India’s fielders, including a few catches dropped. Rahul explained some difficulties encountered by the team when fielding. “When I have fielded in Australia, I have felt that it is is difficult to pick up the ball with the crowd in the background, and we're playing with crowds after a long time, so it was quite difficult to pick the balls and it was quite windy today,” he said.

Australia received a blow in the form of an injury to hard-hitting opener David Warner, who left the field early in India’s chase after a fielding effort. Warner scored 83.

“We don’t know how bad his injury is. It would be nice if he gets injured for a long time. I wouldn’t wish that for any cricketer, but he's one of their main batsmen and so if he’s injured for a long time, it would be good for our team,” Rahul said.

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