Lehmann laments ‘shoddy’ fielding


Australian coach Darren Lehmann was disappointed with the manner in which his side fielded in Melbourne this week, even though the draw against India at the MCG handed the hosts the series victory.

Leading the series 2-0, Lehmann's side drew the third match against the touring Indian side when play was called off with the visitors' score on at 6-174 after being asked to chase 384 runs in two sessions.

Whilst the timing of captain Steve Smith's declaration has come under scrutiny, Lehmann believes his side could have won the match if they had taken all their opportunities.

The Aussies dropped two catches on the final day and missed two opportunities to run out Virat Kohli.

Before that, on day three of the match, two more catches were dropped during the 262-run partnership between Ajinkya Rahane and Kohli, who were eventually dismissed for 147 and 169, their highest scores to date.

With Rahane's score on 70, he presented a routine return catch to Nathan Lyon who couldn't hold on, while Kohli was put down at slip by Shane Watson with his score on 88.

"(The fielding was) shoddy at best," Lehmann responded when asked what he thought of their efforts at the MCG.
"Catches win matches.

"We've done a lot of work and I can't complain about the work ethic from the lads, but the big ones that cost us were the first innings. They cost us dearly.

"It's not volume or practice, they're very good at that. It's probably more confidence to be honest.

"We made a conscious effort in the UAE and then after that series, that we had to work harder on it and they've been excellent with it."

Lehmann added that Smith's decision to only declare at lunch on the final day and not an hour earlier was the correct the decision.

The Aussie coach said that India's defensive field-placings and two rain delays in the morning session had contributed to their decision.

"We couldn't afford to have a ball that wasn't dry and allowed to reverse-swing, so it kept coming at the wrong time with the rain," Lehmann continued.

"We probably needed another 20-30 overs."