The left-arm spinner grabbed two wickets — Glenn Maxwell and Tim David — and conceded only 13 runs in his two overs in the must-win game for the hosts.
“Axar can bowl in any stage, gives me an advantage of using the other bowlers in different situations too – maybe use the pacers in the middle overs if he bowls in the powerplay. I would like to see his batting as well,” said Rohit.
The skipper himself produced a match-winning, unbeaten 46-run knock. His first six was a humongous 90-metre shot off pacer Josh Hazlewood.
“I was quite surprised as well actually. Didn’t expect to hit it like that, glad it came off. For the last 8-9 months I have been playing like that. You can’t really plan too much in such a shortened game,” he said about his batting.
“The bowlers had something to bowl to and we bowled well. The dew started coming in later, which is why we saw a few full tosses from Harshal.”
A lot is being said about pacer Jasprit Bumrah‘s fitness. There has been speculation around that after he was not played in the series-opener.
Tonight he looked like getting back his rhythm but Rohit said, he and his team won’t analyse the pacer much at this stage.
“Coming back after a couple of months, the back injury can be tricky. I am not going to talk too much about how he bowled. Got us the crucial wicket. As a team we are not going to analyse too much. Just want him to come and enjoy,” he said.
He explained that he let Dinesh Karthik come ahead of Rishabh Pant for a reason. Karthik faced just two balls and pulled off a six and four to finish the match in style for India.
“Glad DK could finish well. Been a while since he had some time in the middle. There was this thought if we should get Rishabh in but I thought Sams is going to bowl off-cutters, so I thought let DK come in and he is playing that role anyway for us.”
Explaining his thought process while in the middle, Karthik said, “As a middle order batter it is about execution. It feels good to hit the winning runs. Rohit with the bat and Axar with the ball stood out, good to see Bumrah back.”
“We need to take the momentum forward. 1-1 is a good score. You want to play those crunch games. But more importantly, we are happy to have put up a show for the crowd with no injuries.”
Australia skipper Aaron Finch acknowledged India’s main performers — Rohit and Axar.
“Rohit played brilliantly and two overs of Axar made the difference. Wade is a calm customer at the back end and he has grown into that finisher’s role. Zampa was good too.”