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March 3, 2013
Xavier Doherty has said Shane Warne's words of advice helped both him and Glenn Maxwell keep their confidence up as they struggled for impact on the difficult second day in Hyderabad. Doherty and Maxwell eventually earned some rewards after toiling through a 370-run stand between Cheteshwar Pujara and M Vijay, the third-highest Test partnership ever compiled against Australia for any wicket by any country.
Maxwell broke the stand when he had Vijay caught tucking a ball to leg slip and it started a more pleasant period for the team in which they collected 9 for 116. Maxwell finished with 4 for 127 and Doherty picked up 3 for 131. After the day's play, Doherty said the 20-minute meeting Warne had with the players after the loss in Chennai had reminded them that even the best foreign spinners have found India a tough assignment.
"We knew it was going to be hard. They're very good players of spin," Doherty said. "Warnie came down and spoke to the spinning group post first Test and he said he averaged 45 over here, Murali averaged 47 or something like that - I'm not sure if they're accurate but that's what he said. So some of the best bowlers in the world do battle over here.
"We knew it was going to be tough but it's just about grinding away. They weren't just going to walk off. You've got to keep going and really try to apply some pressure and move your field and just try little things, which is what we did. Maxi got that breakthrough and after that it got a little bit easier. I was prepared. The two Tests I've played previously were that tough. I know how tough it can be."
Doherty turned a few balls past the bat and had a very close lbw shout turned down when Pujara was on 174 but eventually claimed his first wicket when R Ashwin edged to second slip. Before that delivery, Doherty's Test bowling average had crept up to 143.33, but by the end of the innings his three wickets had brought it down to 72.83. He conceded that until the edge from Ashwin, it felt like a breakthrough just wasn't going to come.
"It was starting to look that way, particularly with that close lbw which I thought was pretty good," Doherty said. "Things just didn't seem to be going my way. I was trying to work out my Test bowling average there at one stage because I came into the game at a hundred. In the last five or six overs, it was just more pleasing how the ball started to come out. It did take a while for it to take a bit of rhythm. To get a couple of wickets was nice as well."
Doherty knows that his place in the team is far from secure and that offspinner Nathan Lyon will be in contention for a recall for the third Test in Mohali. A phlegmatic type of player who takes criticism in his stride and knows his game well, Doherty said he was not fussed by the debate around his place in the team, including comments from Stuart MacGill last week that he "is not a Test bowler".
"I am well aware there are people that want me in the team and people that don't want me in the team," he said, "but that is the nature of being at this level."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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