Mohali: Going into the Mohali contest, India was expected to stretch their lead in the series to 3-1 but a spirited performance by the Australians and a sorry batting display from the hosts split the series wide open, with the score line reading 2-2.
India skipper MS Dhoni didn’t have anyone or anything to blame for the loss but his batsmen and he did just that after his men fell 24 runs short of the Aussie target of 251.
“Of course (it is disappointing). The wicket was fantastic. We got off to a good start, we needed to win. We should have batted 50 overs. It was a close match. It was a fantastic One-day wicket, after the initial few overs the ball was coming (on to the bat nicely),” Dhoni accepted after the match.
Despite the result, there were a lot of positives India could draw from the fourth ODI, of which the biggest was their outstanding fielding effort, as they affected four run-outs with direct hits. Their bowling too was very impressive.
“This is one of the best fielding we have done in the one-and-a-half years. Spinners did a great job and pacers too restricted them in the last power-play,” said the Indian skipper.
Australia should give a large amount of credit for the victory to their fast bowler Doug Bollinger, whose bowling exploits didn’t allow India to capitalize on the superb start they got off to. No wonder, Australian captain Ricky Ponting was all praise for his pacer.
“It looked like we would get close to 300. But they bowled well in the power play. India got off to a good start but Bollinger was exceptional. His wickets made the difference,” said Ponting.
Bollinger dismissed Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, and rival skipper Dhoni.
Ponting was also happy with the fielding effort of his side and predicted an interesting fight in the rest of the series.
“Yes, it’s going to be tight. We are looking forward to the series. It’s been up and down so far,” he said.
Shane Watson, adjudged Man-of-the-match for his all-round show as he scored 49 and took three wickets, was happy to contribute to his team’s win.
“I contributed well. India had got off to a flying start. We bowled beautifully and we continued to field well,” he said.
About his bowling strategy, he said, “Initially it was containment, to restrict the runs as much as I could. The bowlers were going for runs. I was lucky today. Job made easier by (Nathan) Hauritz. He bowled beautifully in the middle,” Watson conceded.