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We faltered in execution, laments Hazlewood
Australia speedster Josh Hazlewood on Sunday credited Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur for taking India to a safe position with their century stand but rued the execution of home team bowlers in finishing off the visitor’s tail on the third day of the series-deciding fourth Test here.
In a spot of bother at 186 for six in reply to Australia’s 369, debutant Washington (62) and Shardul (67) punched above their weights to stitch a crucial 123-run stand for the seventh wicket to help an inexperienced India finish its first innings at 336, 33 runs short of the host.
“Yes, it is obviously a crucial partnership (between Shardul and Washington), but then we had them. I think, 6/200 around that mark, so we thought we (were) on top there but to be fair the guys batted really well,” Hazlewood, who returned with figures of 5 for 57, said.
“We didn’t probably execute well as we could have in that period but (we) created a few little half chances. On any other day, hopefully we take those, but credit to those two guys (Shardul and Washington). They batted beautifully and I think it just shows the wicket is pretty good.”
Hazlewood conceded that Australia let a few moments slip in the day, which could have eventually made the difference.
“I thought the guys did bowl really well again and everyone else backed us up. Just let a few moments slipped, I think, and also a few a half chances there. If we could have grabbed them, it could have made a little difference,” the 30-year-old said.
Hazlewood also said that the Australian bowlers failed to build enough pressure as they would have liked to against Shardul.
“It is a bit of frustration obviously, sometimes when you reduce a team to six down and you are on your way to knock them over, but as I said teams bat all the way down, specially some of the teams like England. Credit to him (Shardul), we missed our marking a little-bit in that little period.
“Probably bowled a touch short and bit of width here and there and just let him off the hook a little bit there and probably did not build the pressure, the way we wanted to. But again credit to him,” he added.
Hazlewood, however, was happy with the fact that they managed to remove India’s batting mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara cheaply.
“It is huge. He (Pujara) is obviously, probably the key wicket, one of the couple of key wickets there at the top order. If we can knock Pujara early, we get five, six, seven numbers in with a relatively hard and newish ball, so he plays a massive role for them and Patty (Pat Cummins) obviously has been on top of him this whole series,” he said.
“He has still batted a bit of time here and there but we have really squeezed on the runs and I think that is playing on his mind and leading to his downfall.”
Hazlewood said the match is at present evenly-poised and a call on declaration in its second innings will be made taking into consideration all factors, including the weather.