Melbourne: Three games, three losses. The games were close, but professionalism and execution cost India significantly in their ODI series defeat to Australia.
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India skipper MS Dhoni leads his side back to the pavilion after losing the third ODI to Australia in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Eleven wides in the second ODI at Brisbane were followed by 15 odd runs conceded in misfields in the third one-day international against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground here yesterday. "We were let down by our fielding. The best fielders let those runs through. It could have been those 15 or so runs that might have been difference," rued skipper MS Dhoni.
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Yesterday, Jadeja and Dhawan, two of the best fielders, were guilty of lapses. But the crucial one came in the 34th over. The asking rate had just gone above six an over. Umesh Yadav had conceded only one run from his first five balls. The last one was hit straight to mid-on. There should never have been a run, but the ball went straight through Ishant Sharma's legs for two runs. Almost every Indian player threw his head back in disgust.
It's these crunch situations where India fell behind. With only a day's break in between the second and third ODIs, India were deprived of outfield practice at the MCG but Dhoni felt that the misfields were just a lack of concentration. On many occasions, the Indians stood way too deep or simply got their angles wrong.
It is also worth noting that while Indian fielding standards have improved vastly over the past decade, throwing from longer distances is something the Indian fielders still don't do well. Inconsistency in the bowling is always the order of the day and none of the India bowlers managed to bowl a single yorker through the 48.5 overs. Every time pressure was built, Yadav strayed down the leg side or Barinder Sran banged it in short.
Sran looked fatigued. He had bowled for over an hour in the nets at Brisbane a day before the match. Yesterday, he was playing his third game in six days. None of the Australia quicks played all three matches because they had rotated their bowlers.
Australia monitor the workload of each bowler to ensure they get the maximum output while India with spare bowlers in the squad pushed Sran to the limit and he failed to deliver yesterday. India simply have to be more professional if they are too compete against the World Champions. Right now, they are a long way off.