‘Wanted to Test Ourselves After Heavy Hamilton Loss’: Rohit Sharma
Stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma revealed his side wanted to test itself in tough conditions after a humiliating defeat at Hamilton, and lauded his team’s character after they completed a 4-1 series victory in New Zealand by winning the fifth ODI at Wellington on Sunday, 3 February.
India suffered a heavy defeat in the fourth ODI after they were dismissed for just 92 runs, but the visiting side bounced back in the final game by posting 252 and winning by 35 runs despite having initially been reduced to 18/4.
‘Rayudu-Shankar Turned the Game’
Ambati Rayudu (90) and Vijay Shankar (45) shared a 98-run partnership to resurrect the Indian innings, before Hardik Pandya (45 off 22) and Kedar Jadhav (35) powered them to a competitive total.
Rohit heaped praise on Rayudu and Shankar, saying their partnership was the turning point of the match.
‘Can’t Ask for More from Bowlers’
Rohit also lauded the efforts of the bowlers for producing crucial breakthroughs.
Working Out Combinations
Rohit said the ODI series in New Zealand helped India have a look at how the bowling combination could work out without Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested after the Test series win in Australia.
Rayudu, who was adjudged the Player of the Match, said it was tough to face a good attack and his idea was to preserve wickets and take the innings the distance.
“It was tough against a quality attack. I was thinking we should take the game to the 30th over without losing a wicket. Me, Vijay and Kedar batted... People who bat at 4,5,6 get a chance only when it's tough,” he said.
“It's important to stay prepared. The game in Hamilton was one-off. Great effort by our bowlers to defend it.”
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson admitted his team crumbled under constant pressure while chasing a tricky total.
“First of all a different surface. They got to a par total, maybe a few more. We knew it would be tricky, but we did not take it further. We just lost wickets at the wrong time. They did it very well,” Williamson said.
“I suppose as batsmen we need to soak that pressure up and take those decisions. Throughout the series, they got us under more pressure. We were able to revert the pressure but not long enough and often enough. Credit to India, they showed us a lesson and they deserve the series win.”