Smith: ‘Stoinis needed someone to bat with him’

Australia skipper Steve Smith clears the no ball confusion, and takes blame for the defeat. “(Travis) Head and I got a good partnership but we couldn’t close the game,” he says.

Marcus Stoinis top-scored for Australia with an unbeaten 62.   -  AFP

Australia skipper Steve Smith believes a Marcus Stoinis-like innings up the order could have made a difference in the result of the second ODI between India and Australia at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.

The all-rounder unleashed his power (remained unbeaten on 62) towards the end of the Australian innings, but lost out on partners; the visiting team ultimately lost the match by 50 runs.

“What Stoinis played in the back end was positive, but that wasn’t enough. He needed somebody to bat with him. He didn’t panic and we needed someone in the top 4 to do that and make an impact,” Smith said at the post match conference. The 28-year-old — who was playing his 100th ODI — scored a fighting 59, but couldn’t finish the game off. He feels that the team, despite the rain threat, trained well. “But you need to back your skills, it is all about executing your skills and not panic. You can’t panic in such situations. We panicked in the last game and made silly errors,” he added.

Talking about Kuldeep Yadav, who took a hat-trick (3/54), he said that the Australians are not wary of him. “I think we played him reasonably well. It was only in the last few overs that we weren’t able to go on and close the game as we would have wanted. Both Kuldeep and (Yuzvendra) Chahal bowled slower and gained assistance from the surface. One of us needed to go on and make a big score. Head and I got a good partnership (76 runs for the third wicket) but we couldn’t continue. The blame falls on us,” Smith admitted.

He wants to change a few things before the next game in Indore. “If plans don’t work, you need to change them. You need to watch the ball closer and start playing the game properly.”

Smith also cleared the no ball confusion with Hardik Pandya in the 48th over. He caught the batsman off Kane Richardson, but on realising that the waist-length delivery could be a no ball, he immediately threw the ball at the bowler asking him to break the stumps. Pandya stood confused but the ball wasn’t dead, so he was technically run out. But umpire Anil Chaudhury used Law 27.7 to let Pandya bat on. According to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) lawbook, “an umpire shall intervene if satisfied that a batsman not having been given out, has left his wicket under a misapprehension that he is out. The umpire intervening shall call and signal dead ball to prevent any further action by the fielding side and shall recall the batsman.”

“I didn’t realise it was a no-ball or a dead ball, we thought the ball was still in play. Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) went for the run, but Hardik kept walking towards the dressing room. But we didn’t know how the rule works,” he said.