Australia v India, 3rd Tests, Perth, 2nd day January 17, 2008

'It will come down to mental pressure' - Gilchrist

Adam Gilchrist: "It's one of those days when we feel we nicked everything and they played and missed everything yesterday" © Getty Images

Australia's worsening position has come as such a shock that the team is not even sure what will be an acceptable target. India hold a 170-run lead after two days and the vice-captain Adam Gilchrist was trying to avoid thinking of the potentially huge numbers that the home batsmen could face in the second innings.

Gilchrist admitted his team, which fell for 212, had been "dominated" and they were now fighting to "claw their way into the game". Australian players are usually happy to reveal estimates of their aims, but Gilchrist was unable to do that even though he retained confidence in the pitch.

"I've got no idea what will be achievable there," he said. "It's not a wicket that falls apart or turns into a heap that is impossible to score on. It will hold together well and it will then come down to mental pressure and mental demons."

The top order fell to a combination of excellent swing bowling and poor shot selection, dropping to 5 for 61 before a 102-run stand from Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds. However, when Symonds went for 66 and Gilchrist followed for 55 the difficulties became severe.

"We didn't play well," he said. "We started the day well then handed it back to them. They bowled well, swung the ball, it's one of those days when we feel we nicked everything and they played and missed everything yesterday. They've done well and dominated."

Australia's bowlers wrapped up India for 330 in the first session, taking the final four wickets for two runs, and Gilchrist wants more high quality on day three. "There's a long way to go and we're not thinking ahead to what may or may not happen," he said. "We've got some wickets to take. If we can replicate that first hour [on day three] that we had today, we're giving ourselves a chance. We've just got to try to stay in the match." It's not something the Australians have had to deal with very often since the 2005 Ashes.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo