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05 Jun 2023, Edition - 2883, Monday

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Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar probably two of the best death bowlers going around, says Steve Smith



The Australia skipper lamented his side’s failure to seize advantage at the back end of the innings.

Australia captain Steve Smith hailed the death-bowling exploits of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar after his team suffered a five-wicket loss in the third One-day International at Indore. Opener Aaron Finch (124) had propelled Australia to 242/2 in 38 overs with a fiery century but the visitors were sluggish in the slog overs and had to settle for 293/6.

India then overhauled the target with minimum fuss to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series, “I think a mixture of guys making probably the wrong decisions on the wrong balls. Also, some pretty well executed bowling.

I think Bumrah and Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar] are probably two of the best death bowlers going around, particularly when the wicket sort of slows up a little bit as it did,” Smith said after the match. “We still need to find a way. We set a template really well. The first 38 overs were magnificent. We set it up and we just weren’t to execute it in the back end.”

Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar once again stifled the Australian bowlers at the death. In the last 12 overs, the visitors managed to add just 51 runs for the loss of four wickets. Smith observed that throwing matches from promising situations has turned into a “trend” for his side, who have now lost 11 consecutive ODIs away from home.

“We are quite often getting ourselves in good positions but not taking advantage of those. Today was no different – first 30 overs. We continually address it. Its just hard to put your finger on it what we are actually doing or not doing to get the results we are after. Today, it was about execution,”he said.

‘That’s pretty ordinary’
The Australian captain admitted his struggle in improving his team’s morale after a string of losses, “It’s always hard when you lose, particularly when you lose three-nil. We’ve got to continue to try and motivate them and get them up for the next two games. We’ve got to start winning games of cricket.

We’ve lost 13 of the last 15 games we’ve played away with two being no results. That’s pretty ordinary. Not good enough for an Australian cricket. We need to start turning the results around and winning some games of cricket,” he said.

When asked if such defeats put Australia in a spot of bother heading into the Ashes, the 28-year-old called for a need to turn things around quickly, “It’s a different format but I’ll certainly like to start winning some games of cricket in every format to be honest. Our results haven’t been good enough and we need to turn them around,” he said.

He added, “I probably thought our first probably 38 overs with the bat was very good. That was kind of the template we were trying to set. If we got to 330-340, which we probably should have done, things certainly could have been different.”

Smith defended his decision to pick left-arm spinner Ashton Agar over leg-spinner Adam Zampa. He said: “You can have an argument for that. I thought Ashton [Agar] bowled well at times. Probably a little full to [Hardik] Pandya at times. He was obviously sent out to attack him.

I thought that was our best chance of getting him out while he was trying to go after him. He didn’t execute his skills as well we would have liked. And when he did get it right, bowled a bit wider, bowled a bit shorter. That wasn’t our day.”

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