After losing the ODI series decider to Australia by 21 runs, India captain Rohit Sharma admitted that they failed in creating crucial partnerships during the match at the M A Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday.
In chasing 270 on a pitch which wasn't easy for strokeplay, India had a 65-run opening partnership, but Virat Kohli and KL Rahul had put on 69 runs for the fourth wicket. But after the duo followed by Suryakumar Yadav fell in quick succession, India were put under pressure and were bundled out for 248 in 49.1 overs.
For Australia, leg-spinner Adam Zampa and left-arm spinner Ashton Agar picked four and two wickets respectively to help the visitors' fight back in the middle overs to break the back of India's batting.
"I don't think it was too many runs. The wicket was a little challenging towards the second half. I don't think we batted well. Partnerships are crucial, and we failed to do that today. The mode of dismissals... you are born and brought up on these wickets," said Rohit in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Asked about the shot selection of his batters, Rohit remarked, "Sometimes you need to apply yourself, and give yourself a chance. It was important for one batter to carry on and take the game deep. But all of us were trying our best; it just didn't happen. These losses hurt, but we understand what we need to do better."
The match also meant India lost the series 2-1, losing a bilateral ODI series for the first time since 2019. It also marks the end of India's 2022/23 home season, and India will next play ODIs at home against Australia in September, before the ODI World Cup happens in October-November.
"The nine ODIs we have played since January, we can take a lot of positives from that. It is a collective failure. In five months' time, we'll be playing in these conditions. You've got to give credit to the Australians as well," added Rohit.
Australia captain Steve Smith was appreciative of his last three wickets with the bat adding 66 runs to sign off from the tour of India with a series win. "It has been an enjoyable tour. The way we fought back after that (Delhi) Test match. It is just playing conditions for us."
"This wicket was different... I thought we left a few out there. It was just a really good performance. We continued taking wickets throughout... The way the tail stuck around and got us to 270; at one point, we weren't getting to 220."
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who picked 4/45 and got Player of the Match award, felt he wasn't deserving of the honour citing Agar taking out Kohli and Suryakumar on consecutive deliveries.
"I have had some success here. It is a tough place to come; always a huge challenge. I have had some reward... Ashton Agar changed the game. I don't think I deserve this tonight. Kudos to the guys who bowled before me as well. We had trust in each other, in our process and in our game plan."
Agar, on the other hand, felt the pitch aided him in turning the game in Australia's favour. "There was plenty in the pitch for me. Mitch said 250 would be a good total. He said it was starting to get slow, and turn. Shubman and Rohit started well, but it got harder and harder. Zampa and I are great mates. It paid off for us today."
Mitchell Marsh, who played as a makeshift opener, was named Player of the Series and was glad to have contributed in the series win after an ankle injury layoff. "It is just natural aggression when I'm batting. Growing up at the WACA... I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I was really glad that I could come in and perform. I'm coming off an extended break. Sometimes in international cricket, you need time to do that. I have come fresh, and provided energy."
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