LONDON: Indian skipper Rohit Sharma blamed poor bowling in the first innings for their crushing defeat in the World Test Championship against Australia but said no one can take away from his side the good work done in the last two years.
Having lost to New Zealand two years ago in the WTC final of the 2019-21 cycle, India was not good enough on the second appearance in the final as Australia added one more trophy to their expansive cabinet.
India let Australia score a huge 469 in their first innings and then struggled to match that.
They were bowled out for 234. The contest was decided the moment Steve Smith took a sharp catch in the slip to get rid of Virat Kohli (49) off Scott Boland after India resumed their chase on the final day.
India needed 280 runs more to win but could add a mere 70 runs in a slightly extended morning session as the Australian bowlers ran riot.
"It was a tough one. We started well, winning the toss and putting them into bat in those conditions. We bowled pretty well in the first session and then we let ourselves down a little bit with how we bowled," Rohit said during the post-match presentation ceremony.
"But again, credit to the Australian batters, in particular, Travis Head came in and played really well. That took us off guard a little bit and then we knew it was always hard to come back. We (did) put up a show. We fought hard but congratulations to Australia. We spoke of a lot of things. We spoke of bowling tighter lines. But it didn't work out. Things like that can happen," the India captain said.
Rohit was disappointed for finishing second for as many times in a WTC final but hoped for better returns in the future.
"We've worked really hard for four years to make two finals. It's a disappointment for us. We would like to go one better. But you cannot take anything away from what we've done in the two years. It's a great effort. A lot of players took part in those series. We'll keep our heads high and fight for the next championship as well," he said.
Rohit praised the pair of Ajinkya Rahane (89 and 46) and Shardul Thakur, who added 109 runs for the seventh wicket in the second innings to lead India's recovery from 151 for six in reply to Australia's first-innings total of 469.
"I thought it was a great fightback from Rahane and Shardul after being 5 down for 150. They stood up and put up a good partnership there and kept us in the game," he said.
Rohit said the pitch, despite several batters getting hit on the body and being troubled by variable bounce, played out well here at The Oval.
"We bowled pretty well in the second innings. Again we didn't apply ourselves with the bat. It was a good pitch to bat on. All five days the pitch behaved pretty well and we didn't capitalise," the India captain said.