Brisbane: After chasing down 360 in the second one-day international against Australia at Jaipur in 2013, Rohit Sharma strode into the press conference room and stated, "We are confident of chasing down anything".
Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell. pic/ AFP
There was so much conviction in Rohit's statement that it even forced George Bailey, captain of Australia at the time, to try chasing in the next match at Mohali.
Chasing down huge totals consistently can inflict physiological scars on the opposition and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's post-match comments seem to indicate it has already impacted India's mindset.
Rohit Sharma celebrates after his century. Pic/ AFP
"I think we need to score more runs. If it means we get bundled out for 280 while going for 330 or 340, then let it be. At least that way we can try to register a win," he said yesterday.
Even after the Perth defeat Dhoni spoke about changing the batting approach. At the end of the 35th over here yesterday, India were 194 for two. They had bettered the Perth score at that time by 14 runs. Ten balls later, Rohit reached his ton and India looked set to score 330 odd.
But after Rohit (124) was dismissal in the 43rd over, things went pear-shaped. It took 27 balls after Rohit's dismissal for Dhoni or Rahane to find a boundary.
To be fair, both were in unfamiliar territory in a way. Rahane is still coming to grips with the No 4 position and learning to accelerate his innings at the end. Dhoni's finishing ability has dipped dramatically and he is trying to find new ways to accelerate. Both aspects hurt India as they could only manage 36 in the last five overs.
It's easy to point critically to India's finishing, but perhaps the blame can be equally shifted to the ill-disciplined bowlers and fielding lapses. In 49 overs, India bowled 11 wides and one no-ball. Eight wides were delivered by Ishant Sharma alone.
Technically, he had bowled yet another over and also dropped a sitter. Ravichandran Ashwin was lazy getting down twice to his own bowling to stop three runs. These things must be driving Dhoni mad, but he doesn't show it.
Rohit, who batted splendidly in two matches (171 not out and 124), standing at long off, saw Ashwin not even bother to bend down. He was furious as two runs were conceded. Rohit will wonder how many extra runs he needs to score for his bowlers to defend. Australia's ability to hunt down totals has scarred the Indian bowlers and batsmen. Once a team is down mentally, it is difficult to climb back.
Rohit Sharma run out (Faulkner) 124
Shikhar Dhawan c Wade b Paris 6
Virat Kohli run out (Richardson/Wade) 59
Ajinkya Rahane c Smith b Faulkner 89
MS Dhoni c Maxwell b Boland 11
Manish Pandey c Paris b Faulkner 6
Ravindra Jadeja run out (Hastings) 5
R Ashwin c Boland b Hastings 1
Umesh Yadav not out 0
Extras: (W-7) 7
Total: (for 8 wickets in 50 overs) 308
Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-134, 3-255, 4-276, 5-298, 6-302,
Bowling: Paris 8-0-40-1, Richardson 8-1-61-0, Hastings 8-0-46-1, Boland 10-0-64-1, Maxwell 6-0-33-0, Faulkner 10-0-64-2.
Aaron Finch c Rahane b Jadeja 71
Shaun Marsh c Kohli b I Sharma 71
Steve Smith b Yadav 46
George Bailey not out 76
G Maxwell not out 26
Extras (LB-7, WD-11, NB-1) 19
Total (For 3 wickets in 49 overs) 309
Fall of wickets: 1-145, 2-166, 3-244.
Bowling: Brainder Sran 9-1-51-0, Ishant Sharma 10-0-60-1, Umesh Yadav 10-0-74-1, Ravindra Jadeja 9-0-50-1, R Ashwin 10-0-60-0, Virat Kohli 1-0-7-0.
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