Former Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar has faced some of the finest Australian teams during his playing days and feels that the the current Aussie batting line-up is less settled, with some players just playing for their spots.
Following India's remarkable turnaround in the second Test at Melbourne after the Adelaide disaster, Sachin Tendulkar expressed his views on the Australian batsmen, Ajinkya Rahane's captaincy, as well as the performance of debutants Mohammed Siraj and Shubman Gill.
"When I look at this Australian batting line-up and look at some of the earlier line-ups, I feel earlier line-ups were settled ones. Those players batted with a different kind of intent but this team doesn't look very settled," Tendulkar said.
In three Australian innings in the first two Tests so far, the Indian bowlers bundled them out for 191, 195 and 200 respectively - something that was completely unheard of in the times of Allan Border, Mark Taylor, and the Waugh brothers, or even during Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Damien Martyn, Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke's prime.
"In this current Australian team, there are players who are not in good form and are unsure about their spots. In earlier teams, those batsmen batted in their slots as there was a lot of surety in their batting line-up," Tendulkar added.
Ashwin's duel against Smith - A key highlight of the series so far
Tendulkar went on to explain why senior Indian off-spinner Ravi Ashwin enjoyed an upper hand against the No. 1 Test batsman in the world.
"In the first Test, Smith got out to an arm ball, or you can call it a straighter which Ashwin releases differently. An off-spinner bowls a straighter which skids off the surface when fingers are not on top of the ball."
"In the second Test, it was not a slider but fingers were on top of the ball which produced bounce and turn." he said.
Steve Smith ended up played a regular flick to a standard off-break delivery - something any batsman would do out of natural batting instinct. India trapped Smith in his own web, and placed a fielder in the perfect place for a catch.
Sachin heaped praises on Ashwin and India's wicket-taking plans and said:
"It was a well-planned ball and wicket by Ashwin. Both are class players, so someone is going to have a better day and so far, Ashwin has come out winner in first two Tests."
Sachin Tendulkar was all praise for Rahane's captaincy
Sachin Tendulkar showered praises on Ajinkya Rahane's captaincy and his match-turning century. On a day when batting was difficult under overcast conditions, Rahane stood steady and ensured he kept the scoreboard ticking for his country.
"I felt this was a brilliant performance by our team, the manner in which our team was able to play and the way Ajinkya led the team. Also if you look at senior cricketers and their contribution, it has been good," the legendary Sachin Tendulkar said.
Sachin Tendulkar didn't want to compare the leadership styles of Rahane and Virat Kohli, and said he wanted to remind one and all that both Rahane and Kohli are Indians who put their country and the Indian team above everything else. Rahane's knock, however, was a perfect blend of caution and aggression according to Sachin Tendulkar.
"I thought Ajinkya batted brilliantly. He was calm, relaxed and composed. He had aggressive intent but aggression was rightly balanced by calmness and surety. So he did not miss opportunities when a boundary ball was there. And when one had to be patient, he was patient. The intent was very good."
Sachin Tendulkar also lauded Jasprit Bumrah's important contributions to the win
Sachin Tendulkar also praised India's pace spearhead, Jasprit Bumrah's contribution to the victory in the second Test at the MCG.
"In the fast bowling department, Bumrah as the leader of the attack has taken more responsibility and whenever the chips are down, he has pushed himself harder. That's the sign of a champion bowler," he said.
The little master also praised debutant Shubman Gill, who played two impressive innings of 45 and 35 to steady the ship of India's batting. He also praised the other debutant, Mohammed Siraj, who picked five wickets in his first outing for India in the whites.
"Shubman looked confident and comfortable. He played some good shots off short pitched stuff that Australians bowled. Someone upfront who goes out and scores 45 and 35 so, it is surely a good start," Tendulkar said for the 21-year-old.
"Let's also not forget how Siraj has also bowled. It did not appear to me that he was playing his first Test match," he added
Jadeja, Pant, Ashwin - multi-dimensional cricketers according to Sachin Tendulkar
One of the biggest reasons for India's victory, according to Sachin Tendulkar, was the presence of multi-dimensional cricketers in the middle and lower-middle order.
Sachin Tendulkar said that Jadeja has batted well and it worked well for team India. The maestro added by saying - we keep talking about five bowlers, but having Rishabh Pant at No. 6, Jadeja at No. 7 and Ashwin as No. 8 with four hundreds also helps.
"That partnership between Jadeja and Ajinkya was crucial. They added invaluable runs and that put them under pressure. Also crucial were runs that Pant was able to score," the little master concluded.