Melbourne: Despite a stupendous batting display from Virat Kohli (117 off 117 balls), half centuries from Shikhar Dhawan (68 off 91 balls) and Ajinkya Rahane (50 off 55 balls) that helped India score a daunting 295 runs, the Men-in-Blue once again failed to defend the total as they lost the third match in a trot to Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, here on Sunday. However, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni defended his bowlers, saying that his team didn’t field well tonight.
“It's tough to take. We didn't field well tonight. There were at least three boundaries we should have easily stopped,” he Dhoni, adding that the batsmen were working hard.
“We're always talking about 10-15 extra runs. This was a slightly different wicket, but there was not much the batsmen could have done. 295 was a good total. Sran didn't have a good day, so it became difficult for himself and I couldn't rotate the bowlers. Rishi (Dhawan) and Gurkeerat Singh bowled well. So we somewhat covered up for Ashwin's absence. There is some encouragement. It is tough when you lose games but you have to realise the bowling attack is largely inexperienced. It's good to see Ishant bowl well in the middle, but when there's a bit of pressure, the fast bowlers leak runs,” said Dhoni.
Steven Smith, meanwhile, said that Australia did well to keep India down to 295. “They bowled well in the middle. We lost a few wickets before the Maxwell show. It was great to see him bat the way he did today. He scores so fast playing normal cricket shots. He's got all the shots. He plays so beautifully when he hits the ball in the right areas. Hopefully, he'll keep doing that,” said the Australian skipper.
Glenn Maxwell, who was the Player of the Match for his exhilarating 96, said, “I wanted to shake off the tag of being called 'The Big Show'. So yes, this is special. They got a good score. To chase that down with James Faulkner in the end is unbelievable. I feel like I've been making big strides over the last few months. The way I'm hitting the ball and approaching the game is different to what I've been doing over the last few years.”