Sydney: Australian coach Darren Lehmann said he is disappointed with the fielding efforts put by his team in the last two matches after skipper Steve Smith on Thursday dropped two crucial catches to let India off the hook on the third day of the final cricket Test here.
Smith today put down two tough catches and gave lives to centurions KL Rahul (110) and India skipper Virat Kohli (140 not out) as the visitors finished the third day at 342/5, still trailing by 230 runs.
“It was good overall but it was only the captain today wasn’t it?” Lehmann said jokingly.
“But yes it was disappointing to not take those chances. They are tough chances, but you still have to take those on a wicket like this where we needed to speed the game up today. We need to take those chances and that’s now two Tests in a row. There is still a lot of time in this game.
“We fielded pretty well last summer. It’s been two odd Test matches to be honest, because we fielded quite well in the first two. Now we have to create more chances to get 20 wickets and that’s not what you need on such kind of wickets. We’ve got to make sure we take those chances and we haven’t.”
Rahul was given a life on 46 when Smith put him down off Shane Watson as he got distracted by the Spider-Cam running backwards. The opener went on to score 110 runs, his maiden Test ton.
Smith later again dropped Kohli on 59 off Mitchell Starc and the Indian skipper went on to hit his fourth hundred of the series.
“I think the Spider-Cam is good for the game. It’s not ideal where it was positioned for that particular ball. But I actually like watching it and we’ve just got to get the positioning right when the bowler’s bowling.
“It is great for the people at home and for entertainment throughout the day but we’ve just got to make sure it’s positioned right more than anything else. On that particular occasion it was probably in the wrong spot,” Lehmann opined.
Talking about four hundreds each from Smith and Kohli in this series, Lehmann said: “They’re pretty good, aren’t they? Virat’s played really well today and so did young Rahul. Steve Smith’s been excellent, it’s been a hundred fest this Test series. The way they’ve played, the way they have led their sides – it’s exciting times ahead for both countries.”
There was a little turn and uneven bounce when Nathan Lyon came on to bowl, but not enough to trouble the Indian batsmen. The Australian coach though expects it to change as the match progresses.
“It’s a good wicket. I think it’ll break up and spin and go up and down until the end of the game. But that depends on how the game moves ahead. We will probably have to be pretty aggressive to set something up, but only time will tell,” he said.
“I reckon it’ll turn more and Lyon and Steve Smith will be bowling a lot more. It’s going to be really interesting day after tomorrow. We would have loved a couple more wickets today but give them credit that they played really well. We’ve got to work hard tomorrow,” Lehmann signed off.