Kohli questions India's attitude after Australia complete series comeback

By Sports Desk March 13, 2019

Virat Kohli felt India were second best in terms of "passion, hunger and heart" after allowing Australia to rally from 2-0 down in the ODI series to win 3-2. 

The hosts looked in control of the five-match series after wins in Hyderabad and Nagpur, however Australia completed an historic fightback to win a series in India for the first time since 2009. 

Having levelled things up with victories in Ranchi and Chandigarh, Australia triumphed in the decider, a century from Usman Khawaja followed up by a fine bowling display clinching a 35-run win in Delhi. 

Khawaja scored 295 runs in the final three games and his efforts were backed up by Adam Zampa (3-46) with the ball on Wednesday. 

India's failure to see off the tourists particularly frustrated Kohli, who felt Australia were worthy winners having outperformed his side on too many occasions. 

"We certainly thought it was a gettable target," Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony. "They got away from us in the end, 15-20 more than what we could have kept them to.  

"Overall, Australia deserved to win, they played with more passion, hunger and heart. 

"They were brave in pressure situations, the way they raised their intensity meant they were deserving winners of the series.

"We can't make any excuses; we have to live up to the potential. It's good we have had these losses, to correct these in time for the World Cup. We should be good enough.  

"The guys will reflect on this series quite a bit, we've been playing a lot of games on the road. We can be proud of the cricket we've played last few months, this series didn't go well, yes, but we've played well." 

Despite the series defeat, Kohli remains optimistic about India's chances at the Cricket World Cup, where they will be aiming to win a third title. 

"We're more or less sorted, now it's about giving guys their roles and expect them to stand up at the World Cup," he added. "Maybe there's just one spot we've got to discuss.  

"In the last three games, the idea was to give fringe guys some time and see how they react. [But] the changes will never be an excuse, they played better cricket than us. 

"[But] we will take a lot of confidence going into the World Cup."

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    The defending champions eventually secured a 48-run victory to move a step closer to the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup.

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    "When they get in they know how to get home in a run chase. I thought our boys held our nerve pretty well though."

    Mushfiqur went on to reach 102 not out, and Tamim Iqbal at the top of the order also made a useful 62.

    Finch accepted Australia's error-ridden fielding had been uncomfortable to experience.

    "Very sloppy, wasn't it," he said. "It was disappointing actually because we always pride ourselves on our fielding. Early on it was quite wet and slippery but no excuses… pretty poor."

    Australia opener David Warner made a superb 166 – his second century of this World Cup and 16th in ODIs.

    It puts him joint third with Adam Gilchrist in the ranks of Australia's most prolific century makers in the 50-over format, and Warner said on receiving his man-of-the-match award: "Obviously it's a great achievement. But I think for us it's about getting these two points and then moving on to the next game at Lord's."

    England are Australia's next opponents, on Tuesday.

    Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said: "When we batted I thought Mushy, Shakib [Al Hasan] and obviously Tamim batted so well. I think 381 is just too much."

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    The opening batsman's explosive 16th ODI hundred was Australia's second-highest individual World Cup score - Warner having also posted the biggest of 178 versus Afghanistan four years ago.

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    Mushfiqur Rahim (102 not out) made a brilliant first World Cup century and there were half-centuries for Tamim Iqbal (62) and Mahmudullah (69), yet Bangladesh were unable to pull off a repeat of their huge successful run-chase against West Indies on Monday.

    The Tigers did post their highest ODI score of 333-8, but they nevertheless suffered a defeat that strikes a major blow to their hopes of reaching the last four as Australia went top of the table.

     

    IMPERIOUS WARNER PUNISHES SABBIR

    Sabbir was brought in to make his first appearance of the tournament as one of two changes to the Tigers side and he did not get off to the best of starts, putting Warner down at backward point before he had got going.

    The left-hander made him pay in brutal fashion after biding his time, slog-sweeping Shakib Al Hasan for a massive six and bringing up his half-century in 55 balls.

    Warner then accelerated with a magnificent combination of power and improvisation following Finch's exit, clearing the ropes five times and putting on 192 for the second wicket with Khawaja, who passed 50 for the first time in the tournament.

     

    MUSHFIQUR AND MAHMUDULLAH PROVIDE RESISTANCE

    Glenn Maxwell (32 from 10) also did some late damage after Warner and Khawaja had been dismissed by Soumya, who missed out with the bat when he was run out by Finch following a big mix-up.

    The fit-again Marcus Stoinis (2-54) claimed the big wicket of the in-form Shakib (41) and the Tigers were 144-3 almost halfway through their innings when Tamim chopped on.

    Mitchell Starc rattled Liton Das on the helmet straight after ending Tamim's knock and the number five was on his way after being trapped in front by Adam Zampa, but Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah made a game of it.

     

    STARC AND AUSTRALIA RISE TO THE SUMMIT

    Nathan Coulter-Nile (2-58) ended an 83-ball stand when Mahmudullah holed out after hitting three sixes and five fours in a swashbuckling 50-ball knock, while the Australia seamer compounded Sabbir's misery by bowling him first ball.

    Starc (2-55) became the top wicket-taker in the tournament and, although the excellent Mushfiqur reached three figures in the penultimate over, Australia comfortably made it five wins out of six.

  • England v Sri Lanka: Hosts looking to power on from Morgan masterclass England v Sri Lanka: Hosts looking to power on from Morgan masterclass

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    After an eventually commanding 104-run win over South Africa in the tournament opener and a thrilling loss to Pakistan, England's three consecutive victories have featured huge totals against Bangladesh and Afghanistan either side of swatting West Indies aside. Morgan's men are hitting the dominant form that made them favourites for glory.

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    WHAT THEY SAID

    England all-rounder Moeen: "Obviously, it means a lot. To play 100 games for England, ODI games, it's a dream. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would get close to it so it's an amazing feeling."

    Sri Lanka captain Karunaratne: "England is the best batting line-up against the spinners in the world. If you take the Asian countries, I think England are playing [spin] even better than them. We know that we need to restrict them to less than 300, we have a couple of plans against the batsmen and we will try to use them in the middle."

    OPTA FACTS

    - After enjoying a six-match winning streak versus Sri Lanka in ODIs, England lost by 219 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method the last time the sides met in October 2018.
    - England and Sri Lanka have two wins apiece in ODIs they have contested at Headingley, although the Lions have won the previous two in 2006 and 2011.
    - Joe Root will play before an adoring Yorkshire public having scored fifty or more in five of his past six ODI knocks, including two centuries.

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