Steven Smith, expectedly, looked disappointed as he walked into the post-match media conference on Sunday. Despite taking the upper hand early in the afternoon, the visiting side succumbed under pressure, to start the series with a defeat .
But Smith made it clear that he was not too concerned about the result, and hoped to regroup before the second game in Kolkata, next week.
On losing the match which looked evenly poised
It’s not ideal. You always want to take catches. I obviously dropped an early one and one that sort of yorked me. It wasn’t ideal that we weren’t able to capitalise on what was a very good start (for us). That partnership turned out to be a match-winning (one). MS (Dhoni) and Hardik (Pandya) played very well and obviously the rain came. It was obviously never going to be easy chasing 160 with the new balls. We could have perhaps played a little bit differently and try to take a little bit more time upfront.
On whether he thought of changing the batting order
I did think about it. 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. Hopefully he (Cartwright) can rectify and score some runs a lot more.
On not being able to play in the right areas
Yeah, I think we probably went away from our plans a little bit. We were hitting such a good length and certainly persisted with that for a while, with the good bouncers we were bowling. We were trying too many things, too many slower balls. It’s just that (we are) not hitting that good hard length, we were hitting early on. Zampa was bowling very full and he (Pandya) was hitting every one of those for six. He just bowled a fraction full and paid the price.
On tackling the knuckle ball
I think they have seen it now. Guys knew what they were going to come with it. Maybe, watched a bit of the series in Sri Lanka, where they bowled quite a few. (It) wasn’t any surprise to us. Batting for 20 overs is difficult when you are losing wickets. It didn’t work out as we would have liked. Hopefully, we would turn things around in a couple of days in Kolkata.
On whether 164 seemed achievable
I think 160 with one new ball would have made things a lot easier. When you have two new balls from both ends, as you saw 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.
On the impact Hardik had on Australia
They (India) put a 120 odd and took them from 87 to 206 (205). In the end, that proved to be a match-winning partnership. We started very well with the new ball.
On whether reduced overs affected its chances?
It’s always nice to get the full 50 overs in. That’s what we are here to play. But I think it was raining pretty hard at that point when we were off.
On whether he is concerned about the result?
I am not really concerned. Would have been nice to have won the game. (It is) first in a five-match series but still four (games are) left in the series. Would need to win three to win the series. (We) got to come back hard in a couple of days’ time.
On whether they are overthinking about Indian wrist-spinners?
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. We haven’t been just focusing on that, I can assure you that.
On whether last 10 overs of Indian innings changed the course of the match?
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 hit Jimmy pretty well in the end. Wasn’t ideal but that’s cricket. MS is a quality player and dangerous at the end. Got to be a bit better with our plans.