India batting coach Sanjay Bangar praised the team for better execution after the hosts moved towards taking control in the second Test against Australia at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Monday. (HIGHLIGHTS)
India, who had not managed to touch 200 in the first three innings in the series --- dismissed for 105, 107 and 189 --- were 213 for four after restricting Australia’s first innings lead to 87 runs by dismissing them for 276 to enjoy their first good day in the series. (SCORECARD)
Australia lead 1-0 after winning the first Test in Pune by 333 runs within three days.
“The game is very much in the balance,” said Bangar. “It will be a test for both teams, and will need to adapt well. There has been variable bounce on the pitch.”
Bangar said an introspection session among the batsmen was paying dividends in the second innings, with Cheteshwar Pujara (79 no) and Ajinkya Rahane (40 no) raising an unbroken 93-run partnership, and denying Australia a wicket in the entire evening session.
“We got together as a group and looked into the past and saw what we did right when we negotiated spin. It was a good chat and we came up with solutions which reinforced things they have been doing.
“Today, the batsmen applied themselves, used their feet, got to the pitch of the ball as much as they could and played well off the back foot.”
SKIPPER KOHLI’S POOR RUN
He said there was no concern over skipper Virat Kohli, who failed for the fourth time in the series after being dismissed for 15. Bangar said Kohli has the maturity to accept such setbacks, coming after a prolonged period of batting success.
The India skipper has scored only 40 runs in four innings in this series, but that comes after he piled up 1,215 runs in 12 Tests at an average of 75.93 in 2016. He has scored a double century in each of the last four Test series.
“Virat was really pumped up. He is a big match, impact player and he very badly wanted to succeed in this innings. So, whatever it was it was a normal sort of reaction from a batsman who gets into the dressing room after he gets out cheaply,” said Bangar.
THE LONGEST INNINGS
However, Pujara and Rahane had helped India regain a level of control at the end. It was India’s longest innings, and they have batted for 72 overs. Their previous best was the 71.2 overs they lasted in the first innings.
Indian batsmen adopted a far more positive approach when they came out to bat in the second innings, with opener KL Rahul leading the way with his second fifty of the match, an 85-ball 51. India lost three wickets for 36 runs but batsmen always looked to score, although the Aussie bowlers did create a few opportunities.
India’s only disappointment was over skipper Virat Kohli being given out leg before after a DRS review proved inconclusive whether he had bottom-edged on to the pad.
Bangar said the batsman, eager to score after he was out for 0, 13 and 12 in the first three innings, was surprised by the call of the umpire when there was no conclusive evidence.
For the third time in the series, KL Rahul, looking the most comfortable batting in spin-friendly conditions, threw his wicket away when set for a big total. “He was really disappointed. He really looked comfortable, and was smothering the spin easily,” said Bangar, after Rahul nicked a wide delivery from left-arm spinner, Steve O’Keefe, to slip.