Australia’s lone fighter in Nagpur Test Steve Smith upset with team’s timid approach following heavy defeat

It’s fair to say Australia struggled big time on the Nagpur wicket which they had already deemed ‘poor’ and ‘doctored’ even before the match got started. However, following what happened in two and a half days, its sure that there were no demons on the pitch, as one team scored 400 while the other couldn’t even compile a total of 300 across two innings. Steve Smith, who was clearly Australia’s best batter in this Test, was upset with his side’s approach who were on the back foot from the ball one. Speaking to the media following an innings and 132-run defeat on Saturday, Smith said Australia’s batting in the first innings wasn’t up to the mark.

Electing to bat first after winning the toss, the visitors had lost both David Warner and Usman Khawaja early before Marnus Labuschagne and Smith began the rescue act. After a good first session, the pair fell prey to Ravindra Jadeja who returned with a five-for in the first innings. As a result, Australia’s first innings got folded on 177.

Ruing the missed chance of scoring somewhere near 300 on the pitch where India hit 400 in their first innings, Smith while speaking with Star Sports said, “Our batting in the first innings wasn’t up to the mark. I don’t think 170 was enough. There weren’t as many demons as there, probably, were today. The few of us who got in and got started didn’t go on with it. We needed to get somewhere around 300 and put pressure on Indian batters.”

For India, captain Rohit Sharma (120), Jadeja (70) and even Axar Patel (84) scored huge runs and showed everyone on how to play on such tricky tracks in the subcontinent.

Meanwhile, in Australia’s second innings, no batter barring Smith could score 20 or more runs. Expressing his concern over the approach with which the Aussies batted, Smith said, “If the wicket is good, particularly in the first innings, that’s where we have to get the bulk of the runs. In the second innings, you have got to be a little braver, and proactive, trying to put pressure back on the bowlers as much as possible.

“When they are able to bowl six balls at a batter, they really enjoy that, they feel like they are in the game. So, it’s necessary to put some pressure back on them. Try and find areas where you can get off strike,” Smith added.

Come the second Test, Australia will field a stronger XI and are expected to come all guns blazing in their quest to end their Test series win drought over India. The second match begins in Delhi on February 17th.

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