Former India cricketer Ajay Jadeja has credited the Australian top-order for putting the Indian bowling line-up under pressure for the first time in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
On a rain-affected morning on Day 1 of the third Test, the Aussies came with all guns blazing against the Indian bowlers. Notably, the fabled leg-side dominated field which helped India push away their opponents in Melbourne, seemed to have lost its touch on Thursday.
Debutant Will Pucovski first, and then Steve Smith and Marnus Marnus Labuschagne were nimble in their footwork and found the gaps with ease. This often forced Indian stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane to tweak the fielding positions during the course of the day.
“Australia I think came back strongly after losing that Test match (Boxing Day Test). There was a change of approach as well. They were looking to attack and they were getting Indians to think beyond just taking wickets and where they are going to start defending. So a strike-bowler like Ravichandran Ashwin (gets hit for) one boundary and the short leg goes off. They have forced Indians to think defensive for the first time,” said Ajay Jadeja.
Hardly any help for the bowlers in the Sydney pitch: Ajay Jadeja
India got the wicket of the experienced David Warner early but some skillful counterattack from Pucovski and Labuschagne didn't let the bowlers settle. After Pucovski's dismissal, Steve Smith and Labuschagne took on India's most potent weapon, Ravichandran Ashwin and hit him for a flurry of boundaries.
The Indians weren't helped at all by a track that was as flat as a pancake. Comparing it with the spicy pitches at Adelaide and Melbourne, Ajay Jadeja said the groundsmen need to be credited for preparing a different wicket.
"You have got to give credit to the groundsman. It is a different wicket from the first couple of games that we saw. There was a lot more help (for the bowlers) in the first two games, particularly Day 1 and Day 2 where there was moisture for spin and the seam movement. There was hardly anything for the bowlers (today),” said Ajay Jadeja.
Australia ended the first day with 166 runs on the board. Smith and Labuschagne remained unbeaten with a 60-run partnership.Published 08 Jan 2021, 06:44 IST