Indian spinners ruled the roost in the opening Test in Nagpur but the pitch was certainly not ‘unplayable’, Australia captain Pat Cummins said after their comprehensive defeat in the series opener on Saturday.
Indian spinners claimed 16 of the 20 Australian wickets on a pitch at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium where the ball kept low and spun unpredictably.
Cummins won an important toss but Australia could not quite vindicate his decision to bat, managing a below-par 177 in their first innings.
“I think, that first innings, the wicket spun but it wasn’t unplayable,” Cummins said after India steamrolled Australia by an innings and 132 runs inside three days.
“We’d love to get another 100 or so runs and put a bit more pressure on their first innings.”
Marnus Labuschagne made 49, while Steve Smith (37), Peter Handscomb (31) and Alex Carey (36) also got their eyes in during their first innings, yet Australia settled for a below-200 total, while India amassed 400 in their reply and did not have to bat again.
“Obviously starting is tough, but three or four of our guys got in and looked pretty comfortable out there in the first inning,” Cummins said.
“Those guys who do get in got to turn them into big scores, and other guy’s got to find a way and method to get themselves in,” he said.
While Ravindra Jadeja claimed 5-47 in Australia’s first innings, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was the wrecker-in-chief in the second claiming 5-37 to help skittle out the tourists for 91 in their second innings.
On a pitch where most other batters struggled, Rohit Sharma produced a captain’s knock of 120 to put India on course for victory.
The opener said he had overhauled his batting approach to succeed on turning tracks like in Nagpur.
“I feel you need to be slightly unorthodox. You need to use your feet, try and get to the pitch of the ball, and at the same time, try and put pressure on the bowler as well.”
“You can’t let the bowler bowl six balls on the spot. You got to try and do something different… whether it’s stepping down the ground, sweeping it, reverse sweep, going over the top – there are so many things you can do.”
The second match of the four-Test series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy begins in New Delhi on Friday.
- AUSTRALIA IN INDIA, 2023
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