Opener Shikhar Dhawan defended wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant after India’s four-wicket loss against Australia in the fourth ODI on Sunday.
Pant missed a relatively easy chance to stump Ashton Turner for 38 in the 44th over of Australia’s innings on Sunday, allowing the right-hander to go on and play a match-winning knock of 84 not out.
Australia leveled the five-match series with a record chase of 359 in the fourth ODI, with Turner getting the Player of the Match award.
The crowd at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali wasn’t kind to Pant after the missed stumping, chanting “Dhoni, Dhoni” to rub salt into the 21-year-old’s wounds.
However, Dhawan, who scored a career-best 143 in the match, said that it was unfair to compare Pant with Dhoni.
“Rishabh is a young bloke and needs to be given time,” he said. “Dhoni has played so many games for India over many years so he can’t be compared with Rishabh.
“Of course, had we got the stumping at that time, things could’ve turned in our favour. It was a good chance. But the game slipped away from our hands quite quickly after that.”
Dhawan also admitted that the Indian team has read the conditions wrong in in the last two games of the ongoing ODI series against Australia.
“We had expected dew would be a factor in the last game and it didn’t come and here, we didn’t expect dew but it came very heavily,” Dhawan said after the match on Sunday.
At the toss for the fourth ODI, Indian captain Virat Kohli had said that it was a “no-brainer” to bat first. “We are going to bat first. Looks like a belter of a pitch. Can’t really predict when the dew is going to come, or if it’s going to come at all,” he had said.
After scoring 358, India had thought that there will be pressure on Australia but it turned out to be the other way round.
“So of course, when you put such a total on the board, there’s always pressure for the other side and not our bowlers and we were quite in control till the 38th over. But then the ball started coming so nicely and you could play any shot on that surface,” Dhawan said.
The dew didn’t allow the deliveries from the spinners to grip the surface.
“Because of the dew, the ball was not gripping and of course he (Ashton Turner) played a really good knock and took the game away from us. But he couldn’t have played those shots had there been no dew,” Dhawan said.
The Indian opener gave rookie Ashton Turner a lot of credit for finishing an improbable chase.
“I would give credit to him (Turner) for playing with such composure and taking the game away from us. All his shots were great, he played really well,” Dhawan added.
(Inputs from PTI)