Steve Smith on Hardik Pandya-MS Dhoni stand and why Australia lost 1st ODI

Steve Smith rued the dropped catches and how Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni stole Australia’s thunder in the first ODI in Chennai on Sunday.

india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 18, 2017 13:44 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Chennai
India vs Australia,Hardik Pandya,MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya during the 1st One-Day International (ODI) against Australia at the MA Chidhambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday.(PTI)

Australia captain Steve Smith admitted they let the match slip after a great start that saw India reeling at 87/5 at one time. Eventually, India beat Australia by 26 runs (D/L method) to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match ODI series in Chennai on Sunday. (Highlights) (Scorecard)

“It wasn’t ideal that we weren’t able to capitalise on what was a very good start. That partnership turned out to be match-winning. MS (Dhoni) and Hardik (Pandya) played very well and obviously the rain came. It was never going to be easy chasing 160 with the new balls. We could have perhaps played a little bit differently and tried to take a little bit more time upfront,” Smith said after the loss.

READ | Hardik Pandya could well be the all-rounder India have been waiting for

The Australia skipper didn’t think opening with debutante Hilton Cartwright was a gamble despite effectively playing a Twenty20 instead of 50 overs.

“I did think about it (changing the order). 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,” he said.

Smith said chasing 164 with one ball --- like in a proper Twenty20 --- as opposed to new balls from both ends could have made the chase easier.

“When you have two new balls from both ends, as you saw (during) 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,” he said, adding that the 118-run partnership between Dhoni and Pandya changed the game. “They put a 120 odd and took them from 87 to 206. In the end, that proved to be a match-winning partnership.”

READ | India vs Australia: Hardik Pandya’s knock was the game-changer - Virat Kohli

“We started very well with the new ball. 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 (Dhoni) hit Jimmy (James Faulkner) pretty well in the end, wasn’t ideal but that’s cricket. MS is a quality player and dangerous at the end. We have got to be a bit better with our plans,” said the Australia captain.

Smith didn’t feel they had overlooked the effect Indian pacers could have on the match.

Australia flew in Kerala chinaman KK Jiyas to help them prepare against Kuldeep Yadav. Yet it didn’t have any bearing on the match as Yadav got the vital breakthrough in the form of the dangerous David Warner. Pandya too took the vital wickets of Smith and Travis Head.

“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,” he concluded.

First Published: Sep 18, 2017 09:58 IST