CANBERRA: Taking full responsibility for the inexplicable collapse against Australia in the fourth cricket ODI, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today said he should have steered the team home after fluent centuries from Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli.
Chasing 349 for a win at the Manuka Oval, the visitors were sailing along at 277 for one before they lost nine wickets for 46 runs to nosedive to 323 all out in 49.2 overs.
Losing the match by 25 runs, India trail the five-match series 0-4 and Dhoni was expectedly disappointed.
"I am not angry, I'm disappointed. This was one game we should have batted much better. I'll take responsibility, I should have carried on but I got out...There was a bit of pressure on the youngsters. International cricket is all about pressure, you think about the right shot. You realise you have to take a bit more time and take the game slightly to the end," Dhoni said in the post-match presentation.
Dhawan (126) and Kohli (106) stitched together a 212-run second-wicket stand to put the hosts on the backfoot before Kane Richardson's five-wicket haul flattened the Indian chase. Dhoni not only praised the batting duo, but also defended the inexperienced Indian bowling attack.
"Rohit batted very well with Shikhar. And Dhawan and Kohli batted majestically. In the last five years, we have not had a fixed bowling line-up other than the spinners. That pushes us to the extreme to get some extra runs," said Dhoni.
On a roll, Australia skipper Steven Smith not only praised the effort of Dhawan and Kohli, but also gave full credit to Richardson and his team's never-say-die attitude.
"It looked like they were cruising, a couple of wickets swung things. Richardson did very well as well. You have to try everything when Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan were batting, it felt like we needed 15 or 16 fielders. We had a never say die attitude tonight. When we had a sniff, we made a run for it," Smith said.
Richardson registered his maiden five-wicket haul in ODIs to earn a well-deserved Man of the Match award and he was over the moon.
"It's a funny old game, cricket. We always knew it would speed up once we got a wicket but we did not get it. Hastings could be up here as well. You try and bowl good balls but sometimes they go for sixes. It's our job to try and stop them," said the 24-year-old medium-pacer.