Australia in India 2017 February 28, 2017

We shut some people up, but it's one Test win - Starc

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Australia's premier fast bowlers are used to carrying a heavy load. In the period before their bounce back during the home summer, when Australia's batting line up collapsed in a Pune-India fashion with alarming regularity, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, in particular, have toiled long and hard in the middle.

Even during the series against Pakistan, their workloads were significant: they each bowled 56 overs in the first Test in Brisbane. The only Test of the Australian summer in which they bowled less than 42 overs each was in Australia's massive defeat by South Africa in Hobart.

So for Starc and Hazlewood to only bowl two overs each in the second innings in Pune, and 11 and nine for the match, was the cricket equivalent of putting your feet up on the table and leaning back while all your mates fetch you cold beers. Time to collect.

"It's amazing," said Starc. "I think it's making up for the summer Josh and I had. The spinners bowled really well and the pitch didn't have much in it for Josh and me. There was very minimal natural swing because it was so abrasive and it didn't really go too much reverse. But when Steve's [O'Keefe] taking that many wickets and Nathan's [Lyon] bowling really well there's not really much need for us on that wicket."

But Starc expects he'll be required for heavier duties in Bangalore, particularly after Australia's spinners were able to exploit the ragging Pune pitch which backfired on India so spectacularly.

"I can't see it being too bouncy or quick because it's a weakness of the Indian batters," said Starc. "We'll probably see it not turning as much as this wicket has or breaking up as quickly. I think we'll probably see a wicket similar to maybe the England series they had over here where it's probably flatter and there's some really big first innings totals and the game happens a bit quicker towards the end. It's a smaller ground but a bit better of a wicket than what we've seen here in Pune."

But even on a Pune pitch offering him little, Starc produced a ripper of a delivery to dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara, the ball rearing up off the back of a length area and catching the glove as Pujara tried to defend. If there's any bounce to be found in M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Starc will seek it out.

"It's probably something not many batsmen like, especially the guys over in the subcontinent, where they're not used to those faster or bouncier wickets. So we can get up around their nose every now and again," Starc said. "A lot of teams have showed that it's not an area that the India batsmen like most. Hopefully there's a little bit of bounce in the Bangalore wicket or the wickets to come in this series and we can try and exploit that as well."

While Pujara's first-innings dismissal was a key moment in the match, the wicket of Virat Kohli is the most highly coveted by his former Royal Challengers Bangalore team-mate - he had him caught at first slip, chasing after a wide delivery. However, Starc admits there was an element of luck in his dismissal.

"If you look closely at the ball it was supposed to come back in, so it was a bit of luck there. It was his first couple of balls at the crease so he was probably going a little too hard. Not one I'll be giving back anytime soon, that's for sure.

Australia's pacers enjoyed a rare deficit in workload, but Mitchell Starc expects that to change in the second Test © Cricket Australia/Getty Images

"I had a bit of a chuckle the ball before and while I was fielding at long-on and and he was in the dugout. Nice to get that one early in the series. He's a class player, we all know that. He's scored a mountain of runs already this year. I'm sure he'll come back bigger and stronger in the next Test and be wary of the Virat comeback."

With Australia's spinners dominating the first Test on such an abrasive wicket, there was little opportunity for reverse swing to come into the equation for Australia's quicks but Starc believes it could be a key factor in the second Test and an area in which Australia can improve.

"Obviously we'll wait until we get there to see what the conditions are like but I'm sure it will be a pretty dry wicket again, so that'll probably help reverse swing there and it's something we'll be working hard at all the time in the nets," said Starc.

"We know we've got huge reverse swing every time we've got it here in India, so we'll have a look at what the wicket has got for us. It's about looking after that shine on an abrasive square. And if it's not going to spin as much in Bangalore, we're going to have to make sure we're using that reverse swing to make up for not as much spin as we've seen here in Pune."

For Starc, the lead in to Bangalore couldn't be much better. It's been a long time since he's been able to go into a second Test this physically fresh and off the back of such a confidence-boosting victory that has silenced the doubters.

"Obviously we've come here as a group believing we can win, and I think everyone has written us off and expected India to win," said Starc. "So to shut a few people up and really show that this young team is here to play - and we've adapted really well in our lead-up - has been great for the group. But it's one Test win, it's not a series win yet so we'll be doing all we can. Especially in the next Test in Bangalore. It's going to be pretty special for this young group [if we pull it off]."

Melinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ravi.narla on March 4, 2017, 0:53 GMT

    @MERVO At least India have wickets like Mohali, Calcutta and Dharmasala where the pitch aides pace bowling. I don't think there are spinning pitches in Aus. You can talk about Adelaide and Melbourne but not to the extent that Calcutta and Mohali aide pace. So If Home teams were to build pitches against their Strength India is atleast far better placed than any other nation. Pakistan would come closer to evenly balanced wickets(Not Dubai). So be happy that Australia competed well in India. A mark of a good team is winning in unfavourable conditions which Aus did well at Pune which India has not done. What is fun in playing favorable conditions my friend. I still yearn for that Indian Series win overseas. Imagine if every country world had only fast pitches and nothing in for spinners dotn you think it would be one dimensional. If batting pace is an art so is batting against Spin. Let us leave the pitch talk alone and enjoy the contest for the moment. After all it is just a game.

  • Pupalan on March 3, 2017, 8:59 GMT

    AUSSIENSW - I thought we agreed to give this topic a rest. Everyone needs a role model. As far as I am concerned CA robbed me and other of ours. All this is subjective and we can spin it any way we want. However now is the time to celebrate those who are there and I think Smith's 100 in the second innings spoke volumes. He has come a long way. Who would have though Warner could play in dust bowls and he has not only proven people wrong he has exceeded expectations. Stark - not much to say really he is up there with the top 10 for many a generation. He may dip a bit in time but that is the nature of what these guys do. He will need to develop a bit more than a predominately pace guy, he has, but its got to show more in unfavorable conditions.

  • Wayne on March 2, 2017, 21:51 GMT

    @Baiy. Put it away champ! Take the blinkers off. Uzzy has a future in this building side. It's horses for courses which is fine if you want to win matches as we always do! The batting line up has every right to expect to be tweaked depending on the conditions just as the bowling line up does! You wouldn't expect to see either SOK or Gaz sulking if we asked them to sit one out having turned up to a joint like Headingley for example on a typically dark, damp pommy summers day and were faced with a green monster! Same with the batting. Uzzys limitations are rank turners. We know it and expect him to be missing from the team sheet on a wicket like Pune was. His best chance of getting a gig is only a Shaun Marsh dodgy hamstring away or an Indian wicket with a bit of grass and bounce .A long shot with that one I know. If he could bowl a bit, but rarely be required to do so, he'd be a shoe in at #6 apparently.....

  • Pupalan on March 2, 2017, 9:05 GMT

    Chris_P - Like I said, last word on that is said. India have a good team (batting + one bowler) but now under pressure. Aussie side the are 4 really special lights Warner, Smith, Stark and of course the Aussie team as a group. If they and India all bring their A game we should be up for something special. Lets hope!

  • richard on March 2, 2017, 8:43 GMT

    @BAIY,,,, mate you don't get it sitting in front of your computer, Uman Khawaja is an Australian he bats number three for Australia, he captains Queensland, he is currently touring with the Aussies in India, what Aussie do you know who would not swap places, the perfect advert for multiculturalism,

  • Peter on March 2, 2017, 8:34 GMT

    @BAIY. Khawaja's career is very much alive. Anywhere except on turning wickets, he is at the top of his game & would be one of the first selected on home tracks. He was selected for Perth test the game after being dropped in SL. I am very much in favour of "horses for courses" selections, your point on S.Marsh is also valid. Phil Hughes was another who never got a fair go, so to state minority players are singled is a little over the top IMHO. Khawaja will be back, no doubt in my mind.

  • Nitish on March 2, 2017, 7:58 GMT

    I felt very humiliated when Ian Chappell predicted 4-0 for Australia when India went down under.Yes India lost 4-0 but Starc is somewhat wrong in saying India is weak against fast bowlers. India consistently scored 400+ runs, it was their bowlers who couldn't take 20 wickets. Pundits were not wrong to predict India will win 4-0 given the visitors sub-continental woes and India's dominance at home in recent years.

  • Pupalan on March 2, 2017, 7:50 GMT

    Chris_P - I agree not much point talking about Usman. His international career is over. If he gets another chance, plain psychology tells you he will be lucky to get a double digit score. His confidence must be hammered. So be honest, get a change of environment join the BBL and IPL. He has T20 centuries - he gets more he gets a lucrative contract. Problem solved. Sean Abbott did the same in South Africa. CA - can then keep picking their players on merit and there is a pool of talent out there. And for the rest of us as, from experience in all other cricketing countries, I am sure another Usman is just waiting in the pipelines. Personally I wouldn't get my hopes up.

  • Senthilvasan on March 2, 2017, 7:45 GMT

    India deserve the loss in Pune as they were complacent, after beating England convincingly. Worse, many ex-greats predicted 4-0 whitewash in favor of India. Only Sachin warned the Indian team not to take the Aussies lightly. Anyway, now India has to bounce back strongly. If they lose in Bangalore then they will lose the series for sure. Worse, they don't have good records in Bangalore in tests. One of Vijay, Pujara and Kohli should score big. And more importantly India should win the toss. Also they should go for rank turner and add Kuldeep Yadav in place of Ishant. A flat batting track can't produce a result. No doubt, it's going to be an exciting test match.

  • Pupalan on March 2, 2017, 7:41 GMT

    Chris_P - I agree not much point talking about Usman. His international career is over. If he gets another chance, plain psychology tells you he will be lucky to get a double digit score. His confidence must be hammered. So be honest, get a change of environment join the BBL and IPL. He has T20 centuries - he gets more he gets a lucrative contract. Problem solved. Sean Abbott did the same in South Africa. CA - can then keep picking their players on merit and there is a pool of talent out there. And for the rest of us as, from experience in all other cricketing countries, I am sure another Usman is just waiting in the pipelines. Personally I wouldn't get my hopes up.

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