(Reuters) - Opening batsman Aaron Finch marked his return to the Australia side with a defiant century in the third one-day international against India but the thrill was tempered by another loss for Steve Smith’s struggling side.
Finch, a member of Australia’s 2015 World Cup-winning team, can scarcely remember a tougher run playing for his country in the short format.
Australia’s five-wicket defeat in Indore on Sunday saw them fall 3-0 behind in the five-match series. The defeat was their 11th in their last 13 ODIs away from home, while the other two matches were rain-affected no results.
Finch, who scored 124 in Indore after missing the defeats in Chennai and Kolkata with a calf problem, said Australia had failed to take their chances against India but conceded there was a clear difference between the sides.
“You have to play well but I think you also have to go in with the right attitude and make sure that when you do get an opportunity to win a game, you don’t let that slip,” Finch said in comments published on Cricket Australia’s website (cricket.com.au)
“We’ve been in a couple of good positions in the first few games and as soon as you give India a sniff, they’ll beat you nine times out of 10.
“You have to play 100 percent to beat (India) in these conditions,” Finch said. “If you play 90 percent, it’s not good enough here.
“There’s obviously a gap between the sides at the moment and they’re proving that.
“They’re 3-0 up, they’re the number one side in the world and there’s just a few things we need to tinker with as players to bridge that gap and get the results going our way.”
Australia were whitewashed 5-0 away to South Africa last year and Finch said the mounting losses were not helping with confidence.
“Whenever you’re losing, it’s never easy,” said the 30-year-old, who struck his eighth ODI ton in Indore.
“Winning away from home is what every side strives to achieve and I think whenever you start losing, you can lose a little bit of confidence in yourself and in the way you’re playing.”
Finch was understandably glad to score some runs, especially after going to lengths to convince the team’s physiotherapist of his fitness to play.
“If (the calf) had have gone again last night, I might have been in a bit of strife,” he said.
“So it was nice for that to hold up.”
The fourth ODI is in Bengalaru on Thursday.
Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford