Brisbane, Jan 14 (IANS) India will on Friday look to an improved bowling performance to clinch the second One-Day International against Australia at the Gabba ground here after having squandered a strong total of 309 runs in their first outing. India posted a strong total of 309 runs in the first One-Day in Perth on Tuesday but toothless bowling, particularly in the Australian run chase, saw the home team winning the match by five wickets — with four balls to spare — to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
The run chase was fairly comfortable as the Indian bowlers, save debutant pacer Barinder Sran’s 3-56 in 9.2 overs, were completely ineffective, specifically in the mid-phase of the Australian innings. India opener Rohit Sharma, who scored an inspiring knock of 171 at Perth, said the team was upbeat despite losing the first match.
He too attributed India’s loss to their failure to take wickets during Australia’s mid-innings. Australia’s skipper Steve Smith and George Bailey put together a 242-run partnership for the third wicket that secured the Australian victory. “Our morale is very good because we played very good cricket and we know that,” Rohit said at a press conference here on Thursday. “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. India went in with five bowlers — three pacers and two spinners — at Perth but it proved futile as the spinners, seen as India’s trump card, were entirely ineffectual. India skipper M.S. Dhoni admitted after the loss that he was surprised at the abject failure of the spinners but said he retains faith in them. However, he will have the option of chopping and changing the line-up as experienced pacer Ishant Sharma is fit and available for selection and could make an entry in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
India expects the conditions at the Gabba to be similar to the WACA ground in Perth and fancies a bouncy pitch to greet them. “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,” Rohit said. India will have to be consistent in their bowling performance in order to contain a strong Australian batting line-up, led by Smith and Bailey though the hosts will be without opener David Warner and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh. Warner becomes dad for the second time on Thursday and is away on paternity leave while Marsh was rested to avoid burnout. Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh will be vying to take the spot rendered vacant by Warner in the playing eleven.