Australia coasted to a 146-run win in Perth on Tuesday, 18 December, and did it with enough oomph for Virat Kohli to admit the better team had won the Test.
India were bundled out for 140 in the second innings, losing five wickets for 28 runs on the final morning, as the home side restored parity at 1-1 in the four-match series.
As good as the Australian bowlers were, the real damage was done on the first day, when Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris, the Australia openers, added 112 runs for the opening wicket.
It helped them post 326 in their first innings on a typically green pitch in Perth. “Australia played much better than us, especially with the bat in the first innings,” said Kohli.
“Getting 326 on that sort of a pitch was, we felt, a bit too much, considering how the game went on for the next four days. They played better cricket than us and they deserved to win.”
India conceded a first-innings lead of 43 runs, and Kohli admitted thereafter that a target of 287 was high. “When you’re out and see how difficult the situation was, that’s when you think maybe we’d have liked 30-40 less on the board,” he said. “We can start in a bit more comfortable position then.”
“As I said, Australia got stuck into it and they put a total on the board which, on a pitch that was lively throughout the Test, was always going to be challenging. We obviously had the belief that we could (pull off the chase), but they were more relentless, and pitched the ball in the right areas long enough to put us into trouble.”
Kohli reserved special praise for Lyon, but said the Indian management never considered going for a spinner in these conditions. “When we looked at the pitch, we didn’t think about that option (to use Ravindra Jadeja). We thought four quicks was going to be enough,” said Kohli.
“But l thought Nathan (Lyon) bowled really well on this sort of a pitch. He didn’t have much assistance compared to Adelaide. Still, with the skill levels and consistency he has, he was able to get the maximum out of this pitch as well.
“He was able to bowl really, really well, according to the conditions. We never thought as a team that we wanted a spinning option. We thought four fast bowlers would be enough.”
The defeat shadowed another fine century from the Indian captain – his 25th in Tests – and asked where he ranked the performance, he said he didn’t. “You don’t really rank your performances. At the moment, it’s irrelevant,” he said.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted. I want to be able to contribute to a winning cause, that’s something all cricketers play for, all of us in the team play for. We’re just focusing on the next Test at the MCG, and hopefully contribute to a winning cause for the team.”
The third Test in Melbourne starts on Boxing Day on 26 December.
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