Friday, 24 March, 2017

Australia ready for 'big challenge' against India: Lyon

Australia national cricket team In India, Australia must bat for days
Jan Ortega | 22 February, 2017, 15:26

As England found out late a year ago, playing against India on the sub-continent is the ultimate challenge in five-day cricket at present, as Alastair Cook's side were sent home on the wrong end of a 4-0 score line.

If India fail to win the series and Australia somehow manage to win it, they can rise to the top if the ICC rankings. We have won the key moments in the past few Tests. "Really satisfied with the way things have gone", Kumble said. It was pressure. Sustained pressure. But against this all-conquering Indian team it could still be a losing card. It's still going to carry with the harder ball.

Coach Darren Lehmann indicated batting, rather than bowling, would be his side's biggest challenge in the four-Test series against India that starts in Pune on Thursday. The batsmen made a comeback into the team after a lay-off performed exceedingly well.

Kohli captained Starc at Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Indian Premier League (IPL).

When India bowl, Ravichandran Ashwin has done with the ball what Kohli has done with the bat.

"This time of year when the summer comes, the wicket tends to get slower and lower, so that's what we expect", he explained.

In the practice game against India A, Lyon and O'Keefe shared seven wickets between them on what was an uncharacteristic Brabourne pitch. If these two take wickets by the bucketful the visitors could still stand a chance.

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By crunching the numbers of the Australian batsmen against spin in Tests in Asia we found some surprising stats - including Marsh's position as the team's best player.

"We are on a good space as a team, not really bothered about the opposition too much", said Kohli. Is Matthew Wade up for it?

Kohli crashed 25 fours and one six in his 340-ball stay at the crease. Already severely bruised by Kohli's 167-run knock in the second Test in Visakhapatnam and his 101.25 series average, the Indian skipper went even better in Mumbai, notching a Test-best 235 to equal Bradman's and Dravid's record.

There is no ascetic way of playing the spinners - who defend and you attack when you can. Things didn't go according to plan there, but as a captain I've learnt a bit about how to go about things in the subcontinent.

Despite the probable conditions, Smith believes reverse swing remains a major part of Australia's armoury.

Smith will face his own captaincy challenge as he wrestles with getting the balance right between when to use pace and when to opt for spin. At home, their unbeaten streak goes all the way back to 2012-13 since when they have played 20 Tests, won 17 and drawn three. Playing spin in Australia, the bounce and the spin is generally pretty consistent. It's here where there is uncertainties that we can become unstuck as a batter. Stephen O'Keefe and Nathan Lyon are set to play as the lead spinners, but will Australia be tempted to play a spin-bowling all-rounder like Ashton Agar or Glenn Maxwell? "I don't think this team has the belief to win in these conditions". Two days before the series opener against Australia, the feeling can not be escaped. Here's hoping that they don't throw in the towel once the contest commences.

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