IN­DIA WILL RE­BOUND

Ten­dulkar be­lieves hosts will fight back hard

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SACHIN Ten­dulkar ex­pects In­dia to hit back hard in the sec­ond Test against Aus­tralia be­gin­ning to­mor­row in Ban­ga­lore af­ter their shock de­feat in the open­ing en­counter.

Aus­tralia’s crush­ing 333-run win in the first Test in Pune last week­end was the tourists’ first vic­tory in In­dia since 2004 and ended a 19-match un­beaten run for Vi­rat Kohli’s world num­ber one team.

In­dia’s much-vaunted bat­ting line-up was skit­tled out for just 105 and 107, and their spin­ners — sup­pos­edly the best in the world — were up­staged by their un­fan­cied Aus­tralian coun­ter­parts.

But while the re­sult si­lenced pre­dic­tions of an­other In­dian white­wash against the Aus­tralians, bat­ting leg­end Ten­dulkar is con­vinced the hosts will put it be­hind them by the time the sec­ond Test starts.

“It was a tough Test match for us but it is part and par­cel of the game ... Know­ing the spirit of the In­dian team I know that they will fight back hard,” said Ten­dulkar, who is Test cricket’s record run­scorer.

“There are good mo­ments and there are tough mo­ments but it is all about how you stand back on your feet again and start com­pet­ing. That is what makes the sport in­ter­est­ing.”

Con­fi­dence had been sky high in the home camp go­ing into the four-match se­ries af­ter set­ting an In­dian record of 19 Tests un­beaten.

But the out­come of the first Test means they must now avoid de­feat in Ban­ga­lore if they are re­claim the Bor­der-Gavaskar tro­phy which has been in Aus­tralia’s pos­ses­sion since they beat In­dia 2-0 at home in 2014-15.

Much will de­pend on whether skip­per Kohli, who had a match to for­get with scores of 0 and 13, can re­dis­cover the form which has brought him four dou­ble cen­turies since last July.

But the team will also need their main spin­ners Ravichan­dran Ash­win and Ravin­dra Jadeja to fire af­ter their rel­a­tively dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mances in Pune.

Ash­win, the world’s top-ranked bowler, did take seven wick­ets in the match but con­ceded 182 runs while Aus­tralia’s Steve O’Keefe took 12 for 70 in only his fifth Test.

The sharply-turn­ing Pune pitch should have played to In­dia’s strengths, and a con­cern for Kohli must be that the strip in Ban­ga­lore should be more to the lik­ing of Aus­tralia’s pace at­tack led by left-armer Mitchell Starc.

“If it’s not go­ing to spin as much in Ban­ga­lore, we’re go­ing to have to make sure we’re us­ing that re­verse swing,” said Starc, who is on a high af­ter bowl­ing Kohli for a duck in Pune.

“We’ve got a great chance in Ban­ga­lore to go 2-0 up and make sure we re­tain that tro­phy.

“We need to keep im­prov­ing. Try and cre­ate a few more col­lapses in the In­dian line-up but we know it’s go­ing to be a bet­ter wicket in Ban­ga­lore,” added Starc.

While In­dia are ex­pected to make a couple of changes for Ban­ga­lore, the vis­i­tors are likely to stick with their win­ning side.

The third and fourth Tests of the se­ries will be in Ranchi and Dharam­sala.

AFP

PIC Vi­rat Kohli in ac­tion dur­ing a prac­tice ses­sion in Ban­ga­lore on Wed­nes­day.

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