Nagpur, Mar 6 : Australia have lost the first two one-day internationals on their tour of India, but found plenty to take away from the second ODI in Nagpur.
Several Australian batsmen got starts and Marcus Stoinis played a patient knock to leave them with 10 runs to get in the final over, chasing India's 250. However, it wasn't to be. Vijay Shankar snared the last two wickets, including that of Stoinis, to seal an eight-run win.
At the presentation after the game on Tuesday, Australia captain Aaron Finch identified Virat Kohli as the difference between the sides and rued his batsmen's inability to build on starts. "Not enough runs," he said. "Starts don't win you games. We saw 30s and 40s from our side, and a hundred from their side."
Stoinis' knock was the biggest for Australia. Coming in at No.6, he had reached a patient 52 from 64 balls. Choosing to play out India's main bowlers without taking any risks, he had set it up for a strong finish against the weakest bowling link, when he was trapped lbw. Neither Finch not Pat Cummins begrudged him for his approach,an ICC report said.
"If Stoinis tried to take a risk early and got out, we had no chance at all. I thought he played it quite well. It's one of the times he's batted deep and he'll learn a lot from that," said Finch.
"When Marcus is there, you always feel like we're in with a chance," Cummins told mediapersons. "He's been the closer for us the last couple of years, played some unbelievable knocks, and he assesses the game really well. With him out there, I thought we were in with a massive chance."
"He played it beautifully, the way he just counted down the balls, chose the bowlers. To have 11 (10) off the last over against probably their fifth bowler is a pretty good position from where we were. He set it up beautifully – just wasn't his day, that last over," Cummins said.
While the loss was disappointing, Cummins found plenty of positives. "The innings Petey (Peter Handscomb) and Alex Carey played, if they didn't play them the game would have been over 10 overs earlier," he said.
"Finchy, I thought, he played a beautiful innings today. You see how effective he is. Once he gets going, the field goes back, the bowers start plan B and he's one of those batsmen ... He's such a class player. His record is great in ODI cricket so runs were always going to come around the corner. Good innings today, I'm sure he'll keep cashing in," said Cummins.
Despite the 2-0 scoreline, Australia were "in a really good place", Cummins said.
"We're taking every single game deep. It comes down to a couple of overs, a couple of key moments which are the difference between winning and losing. That's all you can do: try to put yourself in those positions."
"The more you're in that the more you get used to it and kind of work out how you can do some things better," Cummins added.