Veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh has criticised India’s poor fielding after their defeat to Australia in the first ODI on Friday. Playing their first game since March, India lost the first match of the three-game series by 66 runs. The Men in Blue rarely looked in contention as Australia thoroughly dominated the proceedings.
Batting first, the hosts piled up a mammoth total of 374 for 6 in the allotted 50 overs. Skipper Aaron Finch led from the front and scored 114 while Steve Smith scored a 62-ball hundred. The likes of David Warner (69) and Glenn Maxwell (45 off 19) also played fine knocks.
In reply, India ended their innings on 308 for 8. At one stage, they were reeling at 101 for 4 and it looked like they would end up with an embarrassing total. But thanks to a 128-run stand between Shikhar Dhawan (74) and Hardik Pandya (90), India showed some fight and ended with a respectable total.
Harbhajan Singh criticises fielding effort:
One of the reasons behind India’s defeat was their sloppy fielding. The visitors dropped at least four clear cut chances and Australia’s batsmen made them pay a big price. And Harbhajan Singh was critical of the team’s poor fielding efforts. At the same time, he also stated that the Men in Blue played good cricket but in patches.
“Things didn’t go India’s way. I would say India played some good cricket (in Sydney) but in patches. But, yeah, the fielding was a bit sloppy, lot of misfield, lot of missed catches,” Harbhajan Singh told India Today.
“In the international arena, you would want to take each (and every catch) that comes your way but unfortunately that didn’t happen today. If the fielders are not supporting the bowler, the bowler is going to get hurt. That’s what happened today,” Harbhajan Singh added.
India’s bowlers did not have a good day either. Barring Mohammed, no other bowler managed to maintain an economy-rate of less than 7. Shami picked up 3 for 59 off 10 overs while Bumrah went for 73 off his ten while picking up a solitary wicket. Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal conceded 83 and 89 runs respectively while Ravindra Jadeja ended up giving 63.
“I think apart from (Mohammad) Shami everyone had an off day. This was the first game and playing in Australia you got to adjust to the bounce and the conditions. What all lengths you need to bowl. So the Indian bowling line, to start with, they bowled the initial overs a bit short with the new ball,” said Harbhajan Singh.
“Could’ve looked to bowl a little fuller for an early breakthrough, which didn’t happen, and that’s one of the reasons Australia got a lot of runs on the board which weakened India’s chances while chasing,” he added.