Bengaluru: Australia captain Steve Smith said the big win in the series opener against India in Pune is a thing of the past now and the tourists would look to start afresh when they take on India in the second cricket Test starting.
Approaching the series as underdogs, Australia drubbed fancied India by 333 runs in the first Test inside three days in Pune to take a 1-0 lead. But Smith said they can’t afford to dwell on the past for long.
“We can take a lot of heart from the way we played last week. The conditions were very tough and the way the boys adopted to the conditions was appreciable. But it is a new game and we will have to make a fresh start. We will have to start from ball one,” Smith told reporters at the pre-match press conference at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
By virtue of the win in Pune, Australia snapped India’s unbeaten 19-run winning streak. But Smith warned his teammates against complacency.
“We know India are going to comeback hard at us, there is no doubt about it. They play very well at home,” he said.
Expecting the Bangalore pitch to be different from Pune, Smith believes batting effort in the first innings will show the way forward for his side in the upcoming Test.
“It was a difficult wicket (in Pune) and we showed them we can compete in those conditions and, more importantly, we probably showed ourselves.”
Smith said their approach would be simple — bat for long hours and build partnerships to post a big total in the first innings.
“I think the wicket here is going to be similar to the one that was prepared for the England match. First innings runs are going to be crucial. We need to bat for long periods of time to be able to post a big first innings score,” he said.
“It’s just about the mindset of batting for long periods of time. The last wicket (in Pune) we played on, we thought 250 was a good total. But here I think it’s going to be a lot more than that in the first innings.
“Looking at the wicket it’s crucial to score big in the first innings,” he added.
Smith feels the Chinnaswamy pitch will deteriorate with time and spin would come into play in later part of the match.
“I guess coming over here we were looking at India’s last series against England. In that series there were big runs scored in the first innings and the pitch deteriorated and spinner came into play later on,” he said.
The pitch on offer in Pune was criticised by many, including the ICC, but Smith doesn’t have any complaints about that turf.
“I think curators are there to do a job all around the world and from my point of view, I don’t have any complaints where we are both playing on the same wicket. It’s 22 yards and both teams have to perform on it. So from my point of view I don’t have any issue,” he said.
Announcing an unchanged team for the match, Smith said they will prefer to bat first in the second Test.
“We are playing the same team. It was a good mix of two fast bowlers, an all-rounder that bowls quick and two quality spinners,” he said.
“I am not sure what the wickets were like for first-class cricket here but having looked at the last 10 Test matches being played here, first innings runs have been big. So hopefully we can do the same,” Smith added.
Smith also said that he is aware about the fact that they are just a win away from retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“We know that we have to win one more game to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and things can happen pretty quickly here in India at certain times, particularly at the back end of the game. So we can only be a couple of sessions away from that,” he said.
The Australian captain rated off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as a quality bowler, who has plenty of tricks up his sleeves.
“It’s nice to play against him. He’s a quality bowler. When I faced him in the nets (in the past) he bowled leg-spin to me. So didn’t give me many of his tricks there. But he’s pretty cagey,” Smith said.