It is often said the key to playing spin well lies in a good defence. Kevin Pietersen, a key member in England’s 2-1 victory in India in 2012, too has warned the Aussies to not think of going to India if they can’t play spin.
The main reason why non-subcontinent sides have struggled in India in the last few years was their inability to defend spinners well. And to cover weak defence, batsmen opt to attack and end up surrendering to the spinners.
After batting for 529 minutes in the tour game, Australia captain Steven Smith would be pleased with the way his batsmen have performed. Centuries from Smith and Shaun Marsh on Friday and half-centuries from Mitchell Marsh (75) and Matthew Wade (64) were the positive things to come out of the three-day tour game for the visitors ahead of the first Test in Pune from February 23.
No Australian batsmen looked to take on the hapless India A attack. All they wanted to do was spend time in the middle. It seems like this Australian team has well understood the success mantra of winning in India.
“I have been working on some game plans for last couple of months for this tour. I spent a bit of time in the middle working on those. If you have a solid defence, you can attack the balls that are there to attack and go on the offence. That’s something that I have learnt, playing in the sub-continent over a couple of times now. So, it’s something that I’ve worked on,” Mitchell Marsh told reporters after the penultimate day’s play.
Rotating the strike is another important aspect to succeed in India, according to Marsh. “I’ve faced a lot more spin over time and learnt that rotation of strike is really important, especially in the subcontinent. I’ve adapted my game, and hopefully I can get better at it,” said Marsh.
Marsh, who has scored 163 runs in three Tests in Sri Lanka and 164 runs in two Tests in UAE, said having soft hands is an asset. “Probably, the biggest thing for me has been softening my hands in defence and also my attack as well. The later you hit the ball, the easier is it to find gaps especially when it’s turning. That’s something I’ve learnt from my debut in UAE and Sri Lanka and now here playing IPL and spinners all the time. So hopefully if I get a chance, I can implement it,” said Marsh.