Sydney: Australia opener Marcus Harris on Saturday rued missing out on a hundred and said batsmen unable to convert starts have left his team with a mountain to climb in the fourth Test against India.
Harris (79) scored his second Test half-century in the morning session, but was out within three overs on resumption, playing on to his stumps off Ravindra Jadeja.
"I got out playing a pretty half-arsed (sic) shot. I am more disappointed in myself than anything. I think it is always a goal against the spinners is to be aggressive early and once you're able to get those sweepers out, it is to be able to hit them hard and just not milk them as much as you can," said Harris after the hosts were reduced to 236-6 when bad light and rain interrupted proceedings on day three.
"It's not as easy when you get to that point in an innings so you want to really build on it. When you chop on for 70 odd that's what's really disappointing. I felt like my game I had a really good plan today and I played to it pretty well. Disappointing not to get 100 but it was good to spend some time in the middle and at least get a decent score," he said.
With the pitch starting to take turn, Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav shared five wickets as Australia lost 5-70 in the last two sessions. Harris though expressed confidence that the lower order can prolong the first innings, but added that the Australian batsmen have to start converting their starts.
"We haven't had a meeting yet but I got a start, a few of us got a start but none of us went on for a big score. So it's pretty simple to work out what went wrong. We're still fighting and there is still a bit to play in the first innings yet. We're a young group and we're trying to work it out, think on our feet.
"We're playing against the number one side in the world so it's not like it's an easy thing to do. But it's just a few little things we have to adjust to help us make those big scores like you see India make. It's probably just an execution thing."
With the bans of David Warner and Steve Smith coming closer to an end, there is speculation that the duo will walk straight back into the playing eleven given Australia's problems.
Harris praised his current opening partner Usman Khawaja, but said that he looked forward to batting with Warner should that chance come.
"Ive never batted with David Warner so I'm not sure. But that's my natural game. I'm pretty aggressive. I just look to play my shots and try to put it back on the bowlers a little bit. I am not sure as my opening partner at the moment is Usman Khawaja so I thought we had a pretty good partnership today of 70-odd. That was pretty good but I haven't really thought about that too much.
"I've definitely watched him and envied the way he plays. Anyone that can come out and make a hundred on the first morning of a Test match is a pretty special player. Definitely times I wish I could bat like him. Not sure I can yet, but I definitely like the way he plays. I don't try to bat like him but I'm envious of the way he plays," he added.
He said that the morale in the Australian dressing room is still high, despite the criticism they have faced off late for playing poorly in this series.
"It's been good. I'm very thankful and I'm sure everyone is in the team that we're part of the Australian cricket team. Yes, it's been a tough series but we've also had some great phases. Obviously this Test match is not over yet. It's been hard but it's also been great, a great experience to play against India which is the number one side in the world," added Harris.