Steve Smith admitted Australia will go into the Test series against India as clear underdogs as it was a very subdued visiting captain who faced the media on Wednesday.
Their poor away record seemed to weigh heavily on Smith going into the opening Test. Australia’s record in the subcontinent has been abysmal, and they haven’t won a Test in India since 2004. They have suffered three whitewashes in Asia in the last four years --- 4-0 here in 2013, 2-0 to Pakistan in UAE and 3-0 in Sri Lanka. Smith led against Sri Lanka.
Steve Smith says Australia will name their XI for the first #INDvAUS Test tomorrow at the toss— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) February 22, 2017
“Ya, I guess, we are the underdogs in this series. We hear comments like Harbhajan expects us to lose 4-0… (but) that’s not what we are here for. We want to compete here against India. As I said, it’s going to be a tough series, they have some quality players in their line-up. (But) what I want to see from our boys is the ability to adapt to the plans we have in place, show some fight,” said Smith on the eve of the opening Test of the series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Playing down Bhajji’s forecast
Responding to Harbhajan’s prediction, he said: “Everyone is entitled to their opinions, we are confident with the squad we have got here to compete against India… India has played some very good cricket, particularly at home.
Smith said the ability to identify key moments in the games will be vital to take the fight to Virat Kohli’s team.
“There are going to be difficult moments in the games, (these) key moments that we need to identify, hopefully we can have the skills in place and our plans in place and the mindsets in place to turnaround those difficult moments.”
Slow pitch expected
Pune is experiencing dry heat and Smith expected India to unleash three spinners. Jayant Yadav is expected to partner R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the first Test.
“At the moment the wicket looks incredibly dry, and it will be slow,” Smith said.
Talking about the challenge of playing spin, Smith said it was difficult for the Australia batsmen to pick the spinners out of their hand. “In Australia the bounce and spin is generally consistent, but here there is uncertainty, so you have to have a plan in place to play the spin of Ashwin, Jadeja and whoever they are expected to choose tomorrow.”
The Australian selectors have shown a lot of faith in Smith’s captaincy and backed him despite some heavy losses and Smith sounded desperate for a turnaround in his team’s away record.
“We want to change the way we play away from home, we want to be more adaptable and show some fight, to play the way you need to in those conditions. If you can do that, then we will see success.”