R Ashwin accounted for three Australian wickets in the first innings of the first Test including that of debutant Marcus Harris. (Source: AAP/Reuters)
On Day 3 of the opening Test between India and Australia, with playing getting delayed due to rain, Justin Langer spoke to media on the ongoing Test while addressing some of the questions that had come up from the first two days. One of them was India skipper Virat Kohli’s celebrations on Aaron Finch’s dismissal, off Ishant Sharma, on just the third delivery of the inning. He further defended the Aussie team on their scoring rate which hovered around the two runs per over mark. He stated allowances should be made for youth and inexperience.
#TeamIndia should make the most of this situation and not lose their grip. The defensive mindset by the Australian batsmen at home is something I’ve not seen before in my experience. @ashwinravi99 has been very effective and has played a role to help the team be on top, for now.
At close of play on the second day, Australia were 191/7 on what was proving to be a difficult batting. Sachin Tendulkar tweeted, “#TeamIndia should make the most of this situation and not lose their grip. The defensive mindset by the Australian batsmen at home is something I’ve not seen before in my experience. @ashwinravi99 has been very effective and has played a role to help the team be on top, for now.”
In reply, Langer said, “I saw the tweet from Sachin saying he’s never seen an Australian side bat so defensively,” Langer told SEN. “That said every time he’s played Australia he had Allan Border or David Boon, guys who have played 300 or 400 Tests between them. We’ve literally got kids when it comes to Test cricket playing. They’re just finding their own skin, they’re fighting their backsides off, not only to help us win the Test match, but to find out what Test cricket’s about.”
“You’re always looking to score, every one of them is looking to score, but they bowled really well, Ashwin bowled well, we’ve got to find different ways of playing him, that’ll come. But it’s a very different team this batting order than what we’ve seen in past Australian teams.”
“After the day’s play I knew there’d be a lot of comments about, like Sachin’s comments, I knew that’s what they’d say,” Langer told Fox Sports. “And if that starts affecting our players then that’s going to really hurt us so the key is to get as close to the mark as we can and regardless of whether it’s no more runs or go ahead of them it’s going to be key how we bowl in the second innings.”
Ashwin took three wickets on the second day and put Australia on the backfoot alongside the seamers who barely gave runs away. Langer did concede that Australia could have been more attacking when R Ashwin was bowling.
“Maybe Ashwin we could have been a little bit more pro-active against,” he said. “I think particularly our lefties we need to have methods of scoring on both sides of the wicket. I think Travis (Head) did it really well I think Marcus (Harris) did it well in his first Test match so there’s areas we can get better at. It’s the first innings of a four Test match series so and they’re the number one ranked Test team in the world but I’m definitely not going to get caught up in this we were too slow, we weren’t attacking enough because we saw with some fantastic Indians the same thing happened.”
“One thing I learned from Allan Border 25 years ago is there’s a lot of time in Test cricket, you have to be patient. In Test cricket we’ve probably gone a bit away from it actually over a bit of time, but the great players are patient, they bat for a long time and that’s what we can do. I think we get a bit preoccupied with how T20 goes and to an extent one-day cricket, but in Test cricket there’s so much time, there’s five days to bat. Particularly in a long series like this we’ve got to wear down the opponent, so we probably missed an opportunity to do that.”
Australia were bowled out for 235 on day 3 with showers interrupting play on more than one occasion. This gave India a small 15 run lead. The visitors built on this by standing at 151/3 at stumps to extend lead to 166 runs.