Nielsen calls for Australia to get tough
Tim Nielsen wants Australia to emerge from their first-final loss with an aggressive mind-set during the key moments of their must-win encounter at the Gabba on Tuesday. Nielsen was disappointed his team stumbled a couple of times when it had control at the SCG, where India won by six wickets, and asked the players to sharpen their outlook after two sloppy defeats in three days.
"It's probably the mental side of the game that's let us down in the last couple of games," Nielsen said. "We had a couple of situations [at the SCG] when we felt we were on top and then gave our wickets away, which then put us back under pressure. For us to have some success in this series we have to make sure we take the game by the throat when we have the opportunity and don't give up that momentum."
The 100-run partnership between Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds threatened to revive Australia after they were 3 for 24 in Sydney, but both batsmen departed to outfield catches in quick succession and they were in more severe discomfort at 5 for 135. The home side also sensed a chance shortly before the halfway stage of the India innings and was unable to maintain the bowling or fielding intensity required to prevent India from cruising to victory.
Team meetings were held in the dressing room after Sunday's game and in Brisbane on Monday as they contemplated how to fight back. "The biggest challenge for all of us is not to get too carried away with one loss," Nielsen said. "We certainly had a chat last night and Ricky put it pretty clearly what he expected from the group, not just about playing cricket but the way we present ourselves and the way we go about our things. We want to make sure we're competing for 100 overs of the game."
Australia's players feel comfortable at the Gabba and are excited to be playing on a pitch with bounce and carry, especially when compared with the lower and slower surfaces around the country. The team will accept any advantage knowing that it has to win the second match to extend the series to a third final in Adelaide on Friday.
"It is a tough challenge, it's not the ideal situation to be in, to be 1-0 down," Nielsen said. "India played better than us and we didn't play to our potential, so our challenge now is to have a quick turnaround and get ready to go and put our best foot forward."
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo