Adelaide: “Shattered” Australia captain Tim Paine praised his lower order for giving India a scare in the first Test but demanded more from his leading batsmen ahead of the second contest in Perth.
Some swashbuckling tail-end batting by Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc gave Virat Kohli’s team a fright before India closed out a 31-run victory at Adelaide Oval at the end of Monday’s extended middle fifth day session.
“Our whole bowling attack, you can see how much it means to them playing for Australia, whether they’ve got the bat, ball or in the field, you can’t question their commitment,” Paine told reporters.
“They have a red-hot crack for every single ball. That’s what we’re building to, that’s the style of cricket we want to play.
“They’re obviously some of our more experienced players and I think the more they do that the more it will rub off on the rest of the group. I couldn’t question any of those guys.”
Paine’s team head to the second of four Tests starting on Friday having become the first Australian side to lose a series-opening Test to India on home soil.
With both pace attacks putting in good performances, India’s superior batting proved the difference, as man of the match Cheteshwar Pujara scored a decisive 123 in the first innings and 71 in the second to lay the platform for victory.
Travis Head top-scored for Australia with 72 and only Shaun Marsh, who compiled 60 in the second innings, joined him with a score higher than 50.
Most Australian batsmen were out playing loose shots, while question marks linger over Aaron Finch’s place at the top of the order after he was bowled for a duck in the first innings and dismissed for 11 in the second.
With six wickets in the shed at the start of day five, Head fell quickly for 14 and Marsh was unable to build a big score to put more pressure on India.
Nursing a finger injury, Paine was also out slogging for 41 to hasten Australia’s defeat.
“We saw how the pitch is playing and told ourselves we are going to dig deep, but unfortunately, myself, Travis and Shaun couldn’t bat long as long as we should have,” he said.
“But certainly if we can get through some tougher periods at the start, we want our top six batting when that was happening this afternoon.
“And that’s the plan, and these tests we haven’t been able to quite get a set batter right the way through, or a number of batters right through. That’s a goal of ours.”...