India uncertain about Aussie sledging ahead of first Test


Mostly green and often downtrodden, the humble grass on which the highly-anticipated Australia-India Tests will be played doesn't normally attract as many headlines as superstars Virat Kohli and Mitchell Starc.

Defeat does little to lift the spirits, and Australia have lost a string of series across formats since the Newlands scandal. Ajinkya Rahane will have to step up and be the glue in the middle order, like he did wonderfully in the last tour down under. Australia's bowling attack is really strong.

The need to start well in the first Test was reiterated when Kohli said: "We are not looking to start tentatively". The style of play in Australia compared to the UAE is completely different... "This is a team sport and Virat also understands that".

"Just so he's got to think about it and show that we're ready and prepared for what he can do".

"So I had to come up with a strategy to score runs, to build a partnership".

"I was very selfish because no. 6 was not a position suited to my batting". His average of 62 in Australia is his best in any country outside India barring New Zealand.

"You have to be able to impose yourself on the game in a way other than using your mouth.You've got to use your actions and your skills and if they do that, then they can definitely unsettle him".

His focus is on playing long.

The plans for each setting are so meticulous that "you can lose a lot of sleep by worrying about it", said Justin Groves, who was brought in by the SCG from Adelaide Oval as grounds manager to fine-tune the process.

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That charm offensive has been ridiculed and criticised, with South Africa captain Faf du Plessis memorably describing Aaron Finch's team as "tame" during the recent ODI series. I thought I did well.

"I think a bit of banter there is not harmful at all". "For me as a number five batsman, it is important to convert those starts into big hundreds rather than thinking about targets".

The suspensions have also weakened Australia's batting line-up and Pujara was adamant India's fast bowlers can capitalise.

Bounce is a key factor in Australia as well, although former Australia players Ian Chappell and Jason Gillespie have warned the current set not to overdo the short-ball tactic. Meanwhile, Australia have struggled to fill in for Smith and Warner. But, the Men In Blue bowlers looked in good rhythm as they bowled their heart out. "I have seen him rattled", Ponting told "Our bowlers know what they have to do", he said.

After enjoying a day off on Monday, India got down to business in a bid to prepare for the first Test.

And Head, who is among seven batsmen vying for six spots in the Test team, is predicting some torrid internal battles in the nets.

"You can not take any side for granted".

"Kookaburra ball, after 30-35 overs, is relatively easy to bat against". You have some goals as a batting unit and you want to accomplish that. "If they can put Virat Kohli under enough pressure. everybody in the world is a person, a human". You have to have that intent, he signed off.

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