Kohli disappointed to see heads go down in Sydney

Virat Kohli

India skipper Virat Kohli said that his side will not use a lack of ODI cricket to excuse their performance against Australia in Sydney on Friday 27 November.

Australia won the series opener by 66 runs as international cricket welcomed back fans for the first time since March.

Skipper not happy

India missed early chances to get amongst the Australians and expose their brittle middle-order dropping catches and looking out of sorts with the ball and in the field.

Kohli insists the team had more than enough time to prepare and said there could be no excuse for the performance.

The India skipper was less than thrilled with the body language of his team as first David Warner and Aaron Finch, then Steve Smith and Finch put them to the sword.

India claimed just two wickets in the first 40 overs which allowed Australia to go hell for leather at the death and add over 100 runs in the final ten overs, posting an imposing 374/6.

In response, Kohli’s team managed to reach 308/8 with Hardik Pandya top-scoring with 90. 

Speaking after the match, Kohli said: “We got enough time to prepare, I don’t think there’s any excuses on the field when you don’t pull up as a side. Probably the first long game we’ve played in a while, we’ve been playing T20 cricket. But having said that, we’ve all played a lot of ODI cricket. The body language after 25-26 overs was disappointing. A quality side will hurt you (if you have fielding lapses).”

With Hardik unable to bowl, Kohli recognises the need to get overs out of his part-timers without allowing Australia to release the pressure.

“We’ll have to find out ways of getting a few overs from a few part-timers in the side,” Kohli added. 

“Unfortunately Hardik is not ready to bowl yet so we have to accept that and work around it. That is an area we have looked at, which is a very big part of any team balance. Stoinis and Glenn (Maxwell) do it for Australia. The key to keeping the batsmen in check is picking up wickets and we couldn’t do that.”

Kohli gives batting a qualified pass

Kohli was reasonably happy with the batting effort despite India losing a clutch of early wickets in an attempt to regain the impetus.

“From the batting point of view, we had a chat briefly after the game – all of us committed to playing positively and that’s why you saw everyone go out there and play with intent. 

“We just need to have a big innings from the top three, 130 or 140, which didn’t happen unfortunately. Hardik’s innings was an example of that (intent). At no stage did we think we might not get there. We committed to playing positive cricket and we are going to do that going forward as well.”