We need to show some fight - Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid has said he expected India to do better in Australia than they did in England, but both their batting and bowling have been disappointing. India lost the first Test of this tour inside four days, and are struggling to save the second. With two days to go in Sydney, they need 354 more to make Australia bat again, with only eight wickets in hand. That leaves the last eight wickets at least five sessions to bat. There is rain around, but on the third day it arrived only well after stumps, and only for about 10 minutes.
Dravid said there was not much to aim at right now, except to bat for a long time. Looking back, though, he admitted they expected a better performance. "It is disappointing," he spoke of the five-match losing streak overseas, which is likely to reach six at the SCG. "Obviously we didn't play well in England. We thought definitely we would play much better here. Things haven't worked here, but still time to go. It is disappointing and we are not happy about it."
A big share of the blame, he said, lay with the batting. "The key for us is to keep them on the field for a long period of time," Dravid said of the Australian bowlers and fielders. "If we can keep their bowlers and fielders on the field for more than 100 overs, then we can put them under pressure and see some of their bowlers wilt. Sadly, in the three innings we have played so far, we haven't been able to do that. They kept us on the field for a long time today. We need to try and do that.
"They are coming in hard, running in hard. After drinks, the last 15 overs they came in really hard. Hopefully, if we are batting after tea tomorrow, that's where their real challenge is. If we can hang in there, play out time, and have them on the field for a long time…"
Dravid has been bowled in three out of four innings but said he wasn't unhappy with his touch. "To be fair, there have been a couple of pretty good balls," he said. "It's not like I have got out, you know, inner-edging. A couple of good balls, a couple of things I could have done differently. I feel I have been batting well, but I am just getting out. Hopefully in the next couple of Tests I will be able to convert one of these starts. I got 60 in the first game, I thought I was batting well in the second innings, till I got a pretty good one."
Dravid admitted his side was against a good attack, but that was no reason for India to sit back. "They have bowled well," he said. "No point saying they have bowled well. We have got look at ourselves and do something about it. They haven't given us loose balls. Even today, even though we were playing solidly, they didn't give us too many loose balls. They have bowled well, they are a good attack, but I believe we should play better as well."
Another disappointment, Dravid said, was how listless India looked on the field. "In the sense, okay in England, we were not always with our best attack. Due to injuries and various other reasons, our bowling attack in England wasn't the best possible attack," he said. "Here we had the best bowling attack we can possibly hope for. Obviously disappointed. Once partnerships develop, and runs go, we need to pull it back and try to control the runs. Having said that it's not easy. Even if we don't take wickets, we have to stop the run flow."
Saving the Test, according to Dravid, was not on the Indian players' minds at the moment. "I don't think we can think about saving this game right now," he said. "We need to go out there and show some fight. And bat as long as we can. Who knows what can happen? We have got quality batsmen who can bat long periods. It's hard to think about two days from now right away. I am sure the guys will go out and fight and do the best they can. And we will take from there."
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo