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Steve Smith sets unchanged Australia big first innings total target

Australia's captain Steve Smith celebrates his century in the first test cricket match between India and Australia at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune, India - 25/02/17. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files
Australia's captain Steve Smith celebrates his century in the first test cricket match between India and Australia at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune, India - 25/02/17. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

By Sudipto Ganguly

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Australia named an unchanged squad for the second test against India on Friday with skipper Steve Smith stressing on the need to post a big first innings total to strengthen their position in the four-match series.

Australia built on their 155-run first innings lead in Pune to thrash the hosts by 333 runs inside three days in the series opener and Smith stuck to the same combination and tactics for the second match beginning on Saturday.

"Same team. Based on the way we performed last week," Smith told reporters at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. "It was a good mix of two fast bowlers, an all-rounder that bowls quick and two quality spinners as well."

The wicket at Pune, where the hosts were bundled out for 105 and 107 in their two innings, was termed as 'poor' by the match referee.

Smith said his side would need to bat well in their first innings on the Bengaluru track which may not turn as much as the Pune pitch did.

"I guess coming over here we were looking at India's last series against England," Smith said.

"First innings there were big runs scored and the pitch obviously deteriorated and spinner could come into play probably later on.

"So looking at this wicket we think it's going to be similar to those games against England. First innings runs are going to be crucial to bat long periods of time and in terms of posting a big first innings score."

Smith had no doubts Australia would face a backlash from the hosts, whose 19-match unbeaten streak snapped in Pune, as they seek a second successive win to be in an unbeatable position in the series at the halfway stage.

"We know India are going to come back hard at us, there is no doubt about it. They play very well here at home but from our point of view we can take a lot (of positives) from the way we played last week," Smith said.

"There were some very tough conditions and the way the boys adopted to the conditions was spot on. So we are going to have to start again, start well from ball one here. We know it's a completely different wicket.

"We know that we have to win one more game to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and things can happen pretty quickly here in India at certain times, particularly at the back end of the game. So we can only be a couple of sessions away from that."

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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