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India vs Australia: Mark Waugh says Steve Smith’s team can be proud despite loss

Former Australia cricket team opener and current selector Mark Waugh says Steve Smith and Co. performed gallantly against India cricket team, breaking new ground in the subcontinent

cricket Updated: Mar 28, 2017 21:55 IST
HT Correspondent
Former Australia cricket team opener and current selector Mark Waugh says that though the Aussies were written off at the start of the series, things were hardly one-sided and Steve Smith and Co. gave a very tough fight to Virat Kohli-led India cricket team.
Former Australia cricket team opener and current selector Mark Waugh says that though the Aussies were written off at the start of the series, things were hardly one-sided and Steve Smith and Co. gave a very tough fight to Virat Kohli-led India cricket team.(Reuters)

Australia cricket team selector Mark Waugh gave his vote of confidence to Steve Smith’s side despite their recent defeat in the four-match Test series in India.(Dharamsala Test, Day 4 Highlights)

The former cricketer who had a hand in selecting the squad — his last assignment before giving way to a new National Selection Panel — said the players had performed gallantly and broken new ground in the Indian subcontinent, a place where the Australians are known to struggle historically. (Scorecard)

India won back the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after winning the series 2-1 following their eight-wicket victory in the fourth Test in Dharamsala on Tuesday.

But despite the result, Waugh feels the players who were written off before the series even began can be proud of themselves.

Read more | India vs Australia: Steve Smith says why Indian cricket team hurt Aussies

“There’s been nothing between the two teams. I believe we’ve played equally as well as the Indians on the tour,” Waugh was quoted by Cricket Australia’s website (cricket.com.au) having said so on the Big Sports Breakfast.

“Obviously in this [Dharamsala] Test match we haven’t played quite as well, but there’s been a lot of positive signs from the Australian camp. Individuals have done well so we can take a lot of confidence from playing well in conditions where we don’t normally do well.

Read more | Australia cricketers are no longer friends: Virat Kohli after Dharamsala win

“To be one-all going into this [Dharamsala] Test match, if you said that before the start of the series you would have been pretty happy.

“We like to win, of course. But the positives are it’s been great viewing and Test match cricket has probably been put back on the map a bit.”

Although Australian skipper Steve Smith was the standout player for the visitors — having managed 4999 runs and three centuries to be their top run-getter of the series — there were plenty of other individual performances that Waugh decided to highlight.

Read more | Why Virender Sehwag called Steve Smith ‘Tubelight’ after India-Australia series

Pat Cummins had been drafted into the squad for the third Test after Mitchell Starc had to return home because of an injury to his foot.

The third Test in Ranchi marked the return of 23-year-old Cummins to the Test side after repeated injury problems that kept him out for six years. Cummins had debuted in 2011 against South Africa but hadn’t played a single Test match since.

Waugh praised the pacer for seamlessly fitting back into the national side, while also singling out other members of the squad that played well during the series.

Read more | Kuldeep Yadav’s four-for turning point of Dharamsala Test: Ajinkya Rahane

“(Cummins) got three wickets in India’s first innings but I’ve seen guys bowl worse and get seven wickets. He bowled superbly ... he was unlucky. So it’s great signs for Pat and he’s done a great job.”

“Josh Hazlewood has been enormous again and I think all our bowlers have bowled really well. Nathan Lyon and O’Keefe have carried a huge workload and done well.

“Matt Renshaw, this Test match he was disappointing but overall I think you’ve got to give him a tick for his series.

“Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb have been inconsistent, but they saved the match in the third Test.

“Glenn Maxwell made a hundred. I think Matthew Wade has kept really well in tough conditions and shown good signs with the bat.

Read more | Anil Kumble says India can replicate home form abroad

The only player Waugh could fault was vice-captain David Warner.

Having enjoyed a good spell of form in the lead up to the series, Warner was expected to perform well with the bat but fell below expectations.

Waugh said his performance might just have been the undoing of the Australian side over the series.

Read more | India vs Australia: Five great moments for Virat Kohli’s team in the series

“It’s probably really only David Warner who’s left a lot of runs in the bank. He’s been the one player that’s struggled and he’s one of our bigger players. So there’s no doubt his form has probably hurt the result in the series.

“But I think every other player could almost say they’ve done well and at times have really shone. So overall, pretty good,” he added.