Chennai: Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood on Sunday absolved Mitchell Marsh of blame for committing one of cricket’s biggest sins — dropping a catch which would have seen the back of India superstar Virat Kohli.
Chasing just 200 to win their high-profile World Cup clash, India looked liked slipping to 20-4 when Kohli top-edged a pull to square leg where Marsh was waiting to gobble up the catch.
However, possibly distracted by wicketkeeper Alex Carey also rushing to the danger area, Marsh let the ball slip to the ground.
At the time, Kohli had made just 12 runs.
He went on to hit his 67th ODI half-century before being finally dismissed for 85, successfully caught by Marnus Labuschagne off Hazlewood.
With K.L. Rahul (97), he put on a match-winning 165 for the fourth wicket.
“I didn’t think Carey could get there. I think it was Mitch’s catch and probably just Carey got quite close in the end so it might have just put Mitch off,” said Hazlewood who took three of the four Indian wickets to fall on Sunday.
“Yeah, he dropped a catch, it’s one of those things that happens and everyone’s training hard and working hard off the field to hang on to them. So, yeah, we’ll continue on.”
Five-time winners Australia went down to the hosts by six wickets after being bundled out for 199 on a spin-friendly pitch.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja led the Indian spin charge with figures of 3-28 including the prized scalp of Steve Smith for 46 with a delivery that pitched and turned away from the right-hander.
Hazlewood’s wickets included India captain Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer, both without scoring, which plunged India into trouble at three down for two runs.
However, the fast bowler said the team will not read too much into the defeat.
“We might come up against these conditions again at other grounds throughout the next eight games,” he said.
“You know we might have to reassess and say yeah 260 is a good score rather than 300-plus to what we’ve seen on a few other grounds.”
Australia elected to bat first but lost Marsh for a duck before David Warner (41) and Smith rebuilt the innings.
Kuldeep Yadav broke the stand with Warner’s wicket and Australia collapsed from 110-2 to 140-7 and were finally bowled out in 49.3 overs.
Hazlewood said the team will take lessons from the loss.
“Batting in that first innings, that was probably as extreme as the conditions are going to get,” he said.
“I think, in terms of spin and playing spin throughout the middle and trying to find ways to score, we have to keep that run rate ticking over without losing wickets.
“Hopefully it gets a little bit easier from here on in and they’ll come up with some new plans and go from there.”