Taking wickets in mid-innings key to winning: Rohit

Brisbane, Jan 14 (IANS) India opener Rohit Sharma said on Thursday the team is upbeat despite losing the first One-Day after his inspiring knock of 171 but urged the bowlers to make breakthroughs during mid-innings, identifying it as “important” for winning matches.

India posted a strong total of 309 runs in the first One-Day in Perth but toothless bowling, particularly in the Australian run chase, saw the home team winning the match by five wickets with four balls to spare.

However, Rohit said the loss hasn’t created a dent in the morale of the team and they are eagerly looking forward to the second match at the Gabba ground here on Friday.

“Our morale is very good because we played very good cricket and we know that,” Rohit said.

“But we need to learn how to take wickets in the middle. How to build pressure in the middle overs is something we need to be aware of. Whoever is bowling in the middle overs, spinners or fast bowlers, they just need to make a habit of making breakthroughs in the middle which is very important.”

“If wickets fall in the middle, then it affects the momentum of the opposition team. That is what we need to do in the second ODI,” he added.

The 28-year-old said India’s failure to break the 242-run Steve Smith-George Bailey partnership for the third wicket was the reason behind their defeat.

“In Perth, we batted and bowled well with the new, ball but were halted in the middle phase of the game. Australia created a very good partnership and after that we were not able to get back into the game. We still need to work well in our bowling and get those breakthroughs whenever there is a big partnership going on,” he said.

“If you don’t take wickets in the middle, it is always going to get difficult especially here in Australia. We know where we went wrong and I’m sure we will come back knowing what we can do as a group and put our best foot forward.”

Rohit and Virat Kohli put together a 207-run stand for the second wicket at Perth for India that helped them reach a score of 309/3 after choosing to bat first.

The Mumbai batsman said the duo were determined to bat as long and as deep as they could.

“When me and Virat were batting in the middle, the idea was to capitalise and bat as long as possible because we had a couple of newcomers coming in the side in the middle order,” explained Rohit. “As the top three batsmen (Shikhar Dhawan and Virat being other two), it is a big responsibility on the three of us to bat as long as possible,” the right hander said.

“When we bat, we are not too worried about the strike rate because we know we can cover it up in the end. That is what happened at the WACA. We scored about 90-95 runs in the last ten overs.”

The opener also reckoned the conditions at the Gabba ground here won’t be very different to how they were at the WACA ground in Perth.

“Conditions will be very similar to what we had in Perth. We might get a bit of extra bounce here (at Gabba) I guess. Perth was a little bit on the slower side once the shine was taken off the ball. Here the fast bowlers might get a little more assistance through the longer period.”

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