India vs Australia: ‘That decision was made,’ Tim Paine reveals why he opted to open with Pat Cummins against Prithvi Shaw
Unlike the first innings, it was not Josh Hazlewood but Pat Cummins who opened the bowling with Mitchell Starc for Australia in India’s second dig. In the first innings, Cummins came in as first change, while in the second, Tim Paine made him open the bowling for Australia keeping in mind the movement he is able to generate off the pitch, something which has proven extremely beneficial against Prithvi Shaw, who fell to an incoming delivery in the first innings.
The move paid off for Australia with Cummins removing Shaw to deal India their first blow just before stumps. Similar to the first innings, Cummins made the ball penetrate the gap between the bat and pad to disturb Shaw’s stumps and send the batsman back for his second low score of the Test. India finished the day on 9/1, with a lead of 62 runs against Australia, and the captain seemed content with the tactic.
“That decision was made (to open with Cummins), I feel like most of this game, which has been unusual for pink ball, it hasn’t really swung, it has been nip of that swing and Patty has been our best in that,” Paine said during a virtual conference.
“Basically, he isn’t a huge swinger of the ball, but he nips it more of the seam both ways. Starcy (Mitchell Starc) under lights with his pace from his height, it is very difficult to pick up anyway. So, Josh was happy with that (decision) and he will play a big role for us tomorrow.”
Earlier, Australia were bowled out for 191 in 72.1 overs. R Ashwin picked up 4/55 and along with Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav, ensured that India gained a 53-run first-innings lead. Australia played defensively and although it was an approach not appreciated by former Australian cricketers, especially Glenn McGrath, Paine explained the reason behind it.
“Yes, definitely the quality of the fast bowling is exceptional. Pink ball that is probably another factor. It takes time to adjust and it is not as easy to pick up and I will tell you, it is harder for the player,” said Paine.
“Yes, (it is) certainly not our best performance but credit to them. They (India) bowled really well, put us under pressure, we just could not get any momentum or any partnerships together, we couldn’t quite do that today, but our top order has done a good job for a fair while now.”
Paine admits he is up against a stiff task of batting last in this Test, which is why it becomes all the more important for him to dismiss India for as low a score as possible in their second innings.
“At the end of the day, we have got to chase, we know it is going to be a challenge, the quality of bowling is exceptional, anything can happen tomorrow. We know our fast-bowling attack, and Nathan Lyon, we thought his first 10 overs yesterday created a number of chances,” Paine added.