Former Indian cricketer Ajay Jadeja believes that Australians came back strongly in the Pink Test after losing the Boxing Day Test as the hosts ended Day 1 of the ongoing third Test on 166/2 against India at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Thursday (January 7).
Riding on the fifties from Test debutant Will Pucovski and Marnus Labuschagne (67*), Australia managed to finish the opening day of the Sydney Test on 166/2 with Steve Smith unbeaten on 31 against India.
Labuschagne and Smith also added 60* runs for the third wicket to take the hosts to comfortable scores at the end of Day 1 play at the SCG and Jadeja feels the Australian batsmen have forced Indians to think defensive for the first time in the ongoing four-Test series.
Jadeja said on Sony TV: “Australia I think came back strongly after losing that Test match (Boxing Day Test). There was a change of approach as well. They were looking to attack and they were getting Indians to think beyond just taking wickets and where they are going to start defending.”
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He added, “So a strike-bowler like Ravichandran Ashwin (gets hit for) one boundary and the short leg goes off. They have forced Indians to think defensive for the first time.”
The former batsman also pointed out that the SCG pitch did not provide much assistance to the bowlers as compared to MCG and Adelaide as the Indian bowlers seemed to be under pressure and bowling defensive lines against the hosts on Day in the ongoing Pink Test.
Jadeja signed off by saying, “You have got to give credit to the groundsman. It is a different wicket from the first couple of games that we saw. There was a lot more help (for the bowlers) in the first two games, particularly Day 1 and Day 2 where there was moisture for a spin and the seam movement. There was hardly anything for the bowlers (today).”
Meanwhile, Australia great Glenn McGrath said that David Warner looked rusty while praising the Test debutant Will Pucovski who scored 62 before being dismissed by Navdeep Saini.
McGrath said on Sony TV: “I thought it was a good toss to win. The fact that Warner was back in and they were playing Pucovski for his first Test match. David Warner to me looked a little rusty, he hasn’t played and he looked a little jittery. So, there is a concern about how his fitness is.”
He concluded, “Pucovski on the other hand did have a little bit of luck, but I thought he looked good out there. He wasn’t overawed by the situation and he looked like he belonged (to the team) just like Labuschagne and Smith.”
(With India Today/Sony TV Inputs)