| James Faulkner |
Mohali: India’s bowling at the death has always been a worry for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. After Faulkner’s assault on Ishant Sharma in the third ODI, the problem will surely multiply.
Australia needed 44 off 18 when Ishant Sharma was given the ball. Six balls later, Australia required 14 off two overs, thanks to James Faulkner’s lusty hitting. Faulkner carted the pacer for four sixes and a boundary to take the wind out of India sails.
Later, Faulkner disclosed his plan of going after the Indian seamers.
“In a close game, there is always pressure on the batsmen and the bowlers towards the end. My plan was simple. I didn’t feel that I could hit Ravichandran Ashwin over the long boundary, especially with his carom balls. So I thought if I could just get seven or eight off him and target the other end…
“I thought the only way we could win the game was if we take on the medium-pacers… The plan was to take 20 off each over... That was our only chance. I went for my shots and they came off well,” Faulkner said at the post-match media conference.
Asked if the Indian pacers crumbled under pressure, Faulkner said: “There was immense pressure on Ishant at that stage. I was aware of the amount of pressure, as I have bowled at the death a few times… There are going to be days when you would look silly out there, and that has happened to me a lot of times…
“Whatever line you bowl at, you are going to get hit all over the park. Saturday was such a night for Ishant. But I would tell him not to worry much about the performance. There will be other times when Ishant will bowl a good over and win a game for his team.”
Faulkner said the win hasn’t sunk in.
“The feeling hasn’t sunk in as yet… To be pretty honest, it has been an unbelievable series so far. In the first three games, every single team that has batted first has posted over 300.
“So, it’s been a really good series so far and I am pretty sure that there is going to be some strong cricket played for the last four games.”
Faulkner said that the disappointing loss in the second ODI spurred on the players.
“It was a kick in the guts as we lost the second game in Jaipur. To score 360 and have them chase down the total was really disappointing. We knew we had to bounce back with a good game and now we are 2-1 up in the series. It’s going to be a really tough contest for the next four games.”
Faulkner heaped praise on Adam Voges, who scored 76 not out. “He batted exceptionally well… His was a mature innings and I am happy for him.”
Asked about the bowling performance of the side, Faulkner said: “I thought through the middle we bowled really well as a group. We restricted the batsmen from hitting boundaries at one stage.”
Asked if the idea behind bowling first was the dew factor or was it just the way the Aussies wanted to go about it, Faulkner said: “I am not sure about that… You have to ask George (Bailey). I said ‘let’s chase, let's try and get some early wickets and put them under pressure’, which we did.
“I thought we bowled reasonably well at the start, there were some chances we created as a team. Dhoni batted exceptionally well, but in the end we won, which is a good thing.”