Bengaluru: Hailing the match-winning partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, Australia skipper Steve Smith on Tuesday conceded that his team found the going tough on the deteriorating fourth day pitch at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, where they lost the second Test by 75 runs.
Chasing 188 to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match rubber, the Australians fell prey to No.1-ranked Test bowler Ravichandran Ashwin, who returned with figures of 6/41, to bundle the visitors out for a meagre 112.
"It was a great Test match. Certainly ebbed and flowed throughout. I am proud of the way the boys played it," Smith said after the match.
"But it was the partnership between Rahane and Pujara, which hurt us. They played really well. And we weren't up for it today. It was quite hard to play.
"It was a bit up and down with the quicks throughout the match, and that rough outside the off-stump made it quite difficult but Test match cricket is not supposed to be easy," he added.
The 27-year-old, however defended the umpires who came under fire for a lot of decisions, which could have gone either way.
"On a wicket like that, always umpires have to make a lot of calls. Everyone makes mistakes. Not that I am saying they made any," he said.
With the series now locked at 1-1, Smith acknowledged that they have plenty to work on before the third Test in Ranchi, from March 16.
"The series is well and truly alive. We had a great two Tests. But we definitely have plenty to play for when we go to Ranchi," he said.