Australian seamer Jhye Richardson picked up four wickets to help defend a commanding total of 288-5 despite Rohit’s 133 and MS Dhoni’s 51.
It was Australia’s 1000th win in international cricket and they became the first country to do so.
Richardson said getting the wicket of captain Virat Kohli with a ball down the leg side was a lucky break.
“Yeah, I was actually probably a little bit disappointed when the ball came out, probably bowled it a little bit too straight, but luckily enough I had a fielder there who hung on to it. So it will be a wicket that I will remember for a very long time,” he said.
Rohit was disappointed as his fourth ODI ton in Australia also ended up in defeat.
“Unfortunately in all the four hundreds that I have got in Australia, we have lost all the games. So, that is one thing I want to change, if I get a hundred I want to make sure that we win the game as well,” Rohit said.
Fifties from Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb saw the Aussies post 288-5 on a sluggish Sydney pitch before the hosts’ new-ball bowlers Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson reduced India to four runs for three wickets. Rohit scored a superb 133 from just 129 balls but got support only from Dhoni – who laboured to 51 from 96 balls – as the Aussies prevailed by 34 runs.
Ambati Rayudu (0) has been India’s No4 batsman for some time but he has yet to make the spot his own. After the match, Rohit said what many outside the team had been talking about for a long time – Dhoni is not the lower-order finisher he once was and needs to bat at number four as some other power hitter comes lower down.
“Personally I fell, Dhoni batting at number four will be ideal for the team. But we have got Rayudu who has done well. Depends on what the captain and coach are thinking. Personally speaking, I would be happy if he bats at number four,” Rohit said on Saturday.
Since Rohit has captained India in Virat Kohli’s absence – leading the team to the Asia Cup win in UAE – his views carry weight.
Dhoni scored at barely three runs an over and that meant that even though Rohit scored at more than run a ball, India were all but out of game at the halfway stage. However, Rohit defended Dhoni’s slow rate of scoring.
“MS’s overall strike rate is about 85-90. When he came out to bat, we had lost three wickets. We had to respect that spell. We wanted to get partnerships. Sometimes you have to grind it out. When the bowlers are disciplined, it’s not easy for batsmen to go and start hitting.
“We wanted to get partnership. If we had lost a wicket then, the game would have been dead. Wanted to take the game forward. Hence we had to play dot balls,” the batsman added.
Rohit said performances like the ones in Sydney show India have a long way to go as the World Cup draws closer. “International cricket is all about absorbing pressure. Today was the perfect example when we were put under pressure and we weren’t able to absorb it.”
The nature of wickets and level of opposition in India‘s premier first-class tournament – Ranji Trophy – came into focus this week as five teams in two divisions failed miserably with the bat.
The 2019 leg of the Ranji Trophy tournament saw some very ordinary batting efforts. As many as five teams were dismissed for less than 80 with two teams managing to get out for 35.
The most shocking scorecard was that of Madhya Pradesh against Andhra in the Elite Division as they were placed at 35-3 chasing 343. Then the innings derailed in the blink of an eye as MP were incredibly bowled out for 35 with five batsmen out for nought.
Rajasthan crushed new entrants Tripura by an innings after dismissing the team from the north-eastern part of India – recently included in the domestic structure – for 35 and 106. In the first innings, six Tripura batsmen got out without scoring.
The story continued in north India as Services were bowled out for 79 against Haryana while Maharashtra were out for 70 against Railways.
All these matches were held in the Elite Division. In the Plate Group, Mizoram were dismissed for 77 against Bihar in a match that ended on New Year’s day.
Teams like Tripura and Mizoram don’t have first-class history so their results are understandable. But more established teams like MP and Maharashtra getting out for such low scores doesn’t bode well.
Cheap wickets in matches finishing in two and a half days provide an inaccurate account of the level of bowlers while hitting the confidence of batsmen. While some venues could have been affected by the morning starts during the winter season, seeing so many teams get out for shockingly low scores will be a matter of concern for the No1 Test team in the world.