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Saturday, Nov 16, 2019

India couldn’t recover after losing Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma: Bhuvneshwar Kumar

India captain Virat Kohli and opener Rohit Sharma were sent back to the pavilion in the first over of their innings. Bhuvneshwar Kumar said the team lost their way then itself.

india-vs-australia-2017 Updated: Oct 11, 2017 17:04 IST
Abhishek Paul
Abhishek Paul
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
India lost Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the first over of their innings against Australia in the 2nd T20I at Guwahati on Tuesday.
India lost Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the first over of their innings against Australia in the 2nd T20I at Guwahati on Tuesday.(AFP)

The sight of an Indian batting order collapsing has been a rarity in home conditions in recent times. But when it happened on Tuesday, with Australian Jason Behrendorff being the wrecker-in-chief, the famed batting line-up could not recover and slumped to an eight-wicket loss. (IND v AUS 2nd T20I highlights | Scorecard)

In a spell of devastating fast bowling, tall left-arm pacer Behrendorff sent Indian captain Virat Kohli, openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, and No.4 Manish Pandey back to the pavilion to rattle the hosts. Australia built on that start and levelled the three-match series 1-1.

READ | India vs Australia: Jason Behrendorff lets his ‘skill do the talking’

Bhuvenshwar Kumar, whose 1/9 in three overs gave India hope but did not save the day, said that the initial of jolt of losing Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in the first over was too much for the hosts to handle.

“Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli’s wickets were crucial points for us, in the first over itself. He (Behrendorff) bowled really well. He made full use of the wicket. He swings the ball and has got pace. It was the perfect kind of wicket for the line and length he bowled. You need to be a bit fortunate to get 3-4 wickets in T20s,” Bhuvneshwar said.

The Indian pacer added that it was an off-day for the batsmen, who have so far performed to their potential.

“We tried to rebuild the innings again. But we couldn’t. We can’t really put a finger on someone and say it was their fault. So it was just an off day for us,” Bhuvneshwar said.

READ | Virat Kohli rues batting failure in India’s eight-wicket loss to Australia

‘Australia bowled better’

Just before the match, it rained for an hour in Guwahati. With the match being played in breezy conditions in the north-eastern city, Bhuvneshwar felt that Australians made full use of it.

“It was a tough wicket for batting. Rain was around and it was a damp wicket. Australian bowlers made the most of it,” he said.

India were dismissed for 118. While chasing the low target, Australia were reduced to 13/2 inside three overs, but Moises Henriques and Travis Head then shared a 100-plus stand to take the team home.

“We tried our best to take initial wickets. But if you have to win such matches, you have to keep taking wickets especially in the middle overs, which we couldn’t. I would say they bowled better than us,” Bhuvneshwar said.

READ | Australia cricket team bus attacked with rock while returning after win vs India

Despite taking a wicket each inside three overs of the Australian innings, Bhuvneshwar and Jasprit Bumrah did not complete their full quota of four overs. They were saved to bowl at the death but the match never reached that stage.

“That was part of a strategy... what the captain is thinking, what he wants to do. He made us bowl three overs each in the Powerplay and we took a wicket each. It is up to him if he wanted us to bowl, we could have completed our quota. But that was his (Virat Kohli) thinking. We can’t really say we could have bowled the way we began,” he said.