Showdowns to shape the India-Aust series

22 February, 2017, 01:00 | Author: Essie Rivera
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Whether the pitch assists spinners from Day 1 will be the deciding factor.

Queensland opener Matthew Renshaw looks set to play in the first Test of the Qantas Tour of India after Usman Khawaja trained in isolation for much of Australia's first practice session in Pune. We would like to start off on a good note here.

With the opening Test between the world's top two Test teams beginning in Pune, the odds are stacked heavily in favour of hosts India. Obviously you are not going to get that here and have to look (to) get five wickets elsewhere in other ways, whether it's through reverse swing, or cutters on wickets that can spin and grip as well. But it appears that the captain-coach combine of Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble have made an attempt to create a new culture where the team is ready to play surfaces that don't always offer turn. We have won the key moments in the past few Tests. There are a few things as spinners in the Australian team we have certainly spoken about. So, it's a good challenge for the whole team. "I have been watching a lot of footage of Ashwin, the way he goes about it, his different release points". Even in Mumbai it was a similar case, where we lost the toss and they put 400 runs and we won by an innings. That's the beauty about this team. But it's different to Australia where the nicks generally carry (to fielders). We had answers to all those questions. I think we have done everything we can, leading to the first Test.

Kumble felt a big reason behind the recent success of the team is because of the players' ability to adapt and think independently in the middle.

"I don't think they have the quality to do so". The stumper's runs could be the difference between the visitors building scoreboard pressure or not, while his keeping will influence India's quest for a monster total. I am really confident at the moment playing against Australia.

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The 26-year-old from New South Wales, who has taken over 100 wickets since making debut against India in 2014, said they have practiced certain things to tame Indians. Kumble, though, isn't looking too far ahead.

Smith, who consumed 161 deliveries for his knock, hit 12 boundaries and a six while Marsh's innings was the more subdued which came from 173 balls and contained 11 hits to the fence and one over it, as the duo took the score to 211/2 before Smith walked off.

Both Smith (107, 161b, 12x4, 1x6) and Marsh (104, 173b, 11x4, 1x6), who looks to have sealed his place in the playing XI for the first Test with this century, retired after getting past the three-figure mark.

There have been some unfortunate and controversial incidents in the past which are hard to overlook ahead of the series. We trained really well; scuffed up the wicket (at Dubai) to try and replicate what we will get here.

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