Kochi:Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was left to rue his team's mid-innings blues as India once again let Australia off the hook after rocking them with quick wickets in the beginning.
"We need to work on it. We bowled well initially until the 30th over when we didn't allow the Aussies to score freely. This is an area of concern for us," Dhoni said after the 84-run defeat at the hands of the one-day world champions.
It was a day and a performance which most of the Indian bowlers would like to forget. Dhoni used as many as seven bowlers and most of them went for over seven runs an over.
The Aussies were on a rampage in Kochi and the Indian bowlers completely clueless.
India reduced Australia to 8 for two before the visitors managed to get to 306 for six in their 50 overs on the back of splendid half-centuries by Matthew Hayden, Andrew Symonds and Brad Haddin.
It was a repeat of what happened in the first match of the series when Australia recovered from 90 for four to score 307 for seven.
"Their batsmen Hayden, Symonds and Brad Haddin did well to get half centuries. It's the big partnerships which mattered in the end," Dhoni said.
"It was a good toss to win and we did well initially. But when we batted, we didn't do well from midway through. Whereas they batted well, fielded well and bowled well," the wicketkeeper-batsman said.
The Australians not only batted well but also knew how to tackle the aggression from local boy Sreesanth who finished with figures of 3 for 67. But, it seems his captain isn't worried with his increasing verbal duels in the middle.
"When you are playing the Australians, this will happen - a little chit-chat, crowd likes it too. I don't mind as long as it does not gets personal. It's been good so far and I think that's the way it will be in the coming matches as well," he said.
The Indian captain had no qualms in accepting that his team went down to a better unit.
"Performance-wise, they're ahead of us right now. Strategy-wise, they bowled really well and their field placing was also good," he said.
However, Dhoni lauded the efforts of his fast bowlers. "In every match, we are able to get quick wickets. The fast bowlers are doing really well but giving away too many boundaries," he said.
The captain said a target of around 260-270 would have been gettable.
"Until the 20th over, we were controlling the proceedings when Australia batted. But in the death overs, we failed to do well. I feel a score of 260-270 would have been an ideal total to chase," Dhoni said.
The Australians piled up the pressure in the field and did not allow the Indian batsmen to score quick runs.
"We were not able to rotate the strike and Australia kept up the pressure. We could not go for the big shots even which was the need of the hour," Dhoni said.
Dhoni did not agree that the seniors in his team - Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid - let the side down. (With PTI Inputs)