India’s bowling has been their greatest strength over the last couple of years, a period that has seen them win three out of six Test matches in Australia, says Australia head coach Justin Langer.
“India, their greatest strength over the last couple of series, has been their (bowling’s) discipline, they have been so disciplined,” said Langer while speaking to reporters on Tuesday ahead of the third Test which begins Thursday.
Langer said that the Australian team has revisited strategies, especially against off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who has picked 10 wickets in the first two Tests and has got rid of Australian batting mainstay Steve Smith twice.
Australia have failed to get past 200 in two of the three full innings they have batted, something which has invited criticism from former captains, including Ricky Ponting.
“Any time you are not looking at over 200, you are looking at ways to improve. I think we’ve got to look at our strategies against Indian spinners. Ashwin is bowling very well. We have worked very hard on that in the last week or so. Obviously (Jasprit) Bumrah is a world class bowler. (Mohammed) Siraj is a very, very skillful bowler. I thought he bowled very well in his first Test and debut,” said Langer.
The head coach further said that the first two games have been low-scoring, because of both the wickets as well as India’s good bowling.
“I think if you look at the last two Test matches, they have been reasonably low scoring games. I loved the last two Tests because the wickets have provided even contest between bat and ball. And you have to work a bit harder. I think there is the factor of wickets we have played on. There has certainly been some seam movement, there has been swing on those two wickets,” Langer said.
“India have taken a straighter line to a couple of batters and set the fields accordingly. Let us not discount R Ashwin. He has played a lot of cricket. They, Bumrah and Ashwin are great bowlers and tough to score against. Credit to India, the way they have planned and been disciplined,” he added.
There have been talks that the wicket at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) will help the Indian bowlers. The Australian head coach, however, feels that his team have a number of players from New South Wales (the state where Sydney is) and they enjoy playing at the SCG. He also said that it would be a good cricket wicket that could help both batsmen and bowlers.
“In the current Australian cricket team, most of the players are from New South Wales. They love playing at the SCG. I guess, back in the day you could argue that it was beneficial for India back when it used to spin big. But we are expecting a good cricket wicket here and you know we have the advantage of having Nathan Lyon who is the great spin bowler. I think they are pretty evenly matched. We have got great success here. Let us hope we continue here,” Langer said.
The four-match series is currently tied at 1-1 with Australia winning the first Test in Adelaide while India registering a win in the second in Melbourne.