Aussie skipper says rot must stop
CRICKET: Captain Steve Smith declared Australia's batting collapses must stop if the tourists are to get anything from the one-day international series in India.
The tourists lost their last eight wickets for 112 runs when in good shape to chase down a moderate score of 253 from the home side in Kolkata.
A second collapse in two games has left the Aussies needing to win the third ODI in Indore on Sunday (6pm AEST) to keep the series alive and Smith said something has to change.
"We've had a lot of collapses and we need to stop,” Smith said.
"It's a hard one to put my finger on but whatever it is, it needs to change.
"We need to make better decisions when we're under pressure and start playing the game properly. It's not good enough.”
Smith was second top scorer at Eden Gardens with 59 before skying a catch off Hardik Pandya.
All-rounder Marcus Stoinis gave the Aussies some hope with a top score of 62 but there were failures for makeshift opener Hilton Cartwright (1), David Warner (1), Glenn Maxwell (14) and under-pressure wicketkeeper Matthew Wade (2).
Cartwright's position is under pressure after being bowled for one in his first two ODIs.
Aaron Finch is on the road to recovery from a calf injury and could come into contention for the match.
Part-time wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb could also be an option after Wade made 11 runs across the first two matches.
Australia was 3-106 in reply, the wicket of Smith proving to be the beginning of the end, with the lower order succumbing to the left-arm wrist spin of Kuldeep (3-54), who became just the third Indian to take an ODI hat-trick and the first in 26 years.
Smith said Australia lost too many wickets due to poor shot selection as the Indian bowlers kept the pressure on.
"It's easy just to sit here and say it needs to stop but when you get out in the middle you need to change what you're doing because it's not working,” he said.
"Watching the ball closer or maybe the guys are trying to watch it too closely and forgetting about just playing the game.”
The Aussie skipper also said his team needed to capitalise on partnerships, conceding his and Travis Head's failure to build on a 76-run stand decided the match.
"250 - we should be getting that on this wicket,” Smith said.
"It was upon one of us to go on and make a big score and be there at the end. We put on 70-odd maybe - if you turn that 70 into 140 then the game's closed.
"One of our top four has got to go on and make a big score and 'Heady' and I were the two that got in and we weren't able to do so, so a lot of the blame falls on us.”