Carey: 'Was nice to reduce sundries; they can turn out to be extra batter at times'
Australia keeper, who conceded just three byes in Indore, is looking forward to "maybe getting the broom out again" in Ahmedabad
Alex Carey admitted he feared the worst after Rohit Sharma was given two lives in the first over of the Indore Test when Australia opted not to review for a nick and an lbw, but was delighted to play his part in ensuring the India captain did not inflict major damage.
Carey's stumping of Rohit in the sixth over, Matt Kuhnemann's first wicket of the match, was picked out as a key moment by head coach Andrew McDonald who lauded Carey's glovework on a tough pitch for wicketkeeping.
Having beaten Rohit with one which spun sharply to beat the edge, Kuhnemann then drew him down the pitch and another ragging delivery presented Carey with a stumping opportunity but he had to navigate some significant bounce to ensure the dismissal was completed.
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"Instinct takes over when you see a ball bounce like that," Carey said. "I don't think many of us were expecting an eight-degree turning ball that early in the game. But it was nice to hold onto that and for us to get a bit of momentum.
"Once the big screen showed the nick [in the first over], I thought he [Rohit] might have settled in for a nice 150 or something like that. It was challenging conditions throughout the match, but it was nice to get that one away and for us to get on a bit of a roll after that."
Carey was exceptional with the gloves throughout the match, conceding just three byes on a surface with uneven bounce, and has been impressive all series. Conditions in Indore were comparable to those he faced in the first Test in Galle last year when he was struck on the helmet by a Nathan Lyon delivery that exploded off the surface.
It continued the development of his keeping after some initial struggles on the low surfaces in Pakistan last year and a handful of missed chances early in his Test career. This time, he had some bruises on his shoulders to show for his efforts.
"It's fun being out there, it's challenging for everyone, and it's great to be on the right end of this one," he said. "Balls are going to explode off lengths and even Starcy bowled a half volley that exploded up, so you're out there reacting to what you see.
"In terms of our sundries, it was nice to reduce those and it can turn out to be an extra batter at times. You don't really think about it at the time, you probably think back and go 'that was pretty good', but a few nice little bruises as well just to get the body behind it."
Australia's lower-order struggles
Though Australia got over the line outstandingly in Indore, they did suffer another collapse, losing 6 for 11 on the second day when there was a more substantial lead in the offing. It continued a trend where the lower order has struggled to contribute, an area in which India have excelled, with Pat Cummins' 33 in Delhi the only significant score among the bowlers. From No. 8 onwards, India's have scored 307 runs at 25.58 in the series compared to Australia's 84 and 4.94.
In Australia's defence, conditions have been extremely tough, especially in Delhi and Indore, even for top-order batters. Axar Patel could easily command a place higher up the order, and his position at No. 8 or 9 highlights India's batting depth. Even in the third Test when it ultimately did not make a difference, while Cheteshwar Pujara and Axar were together, there was a chance Australia could have had a much tougher chase.
"I think it's one of those things where it's so hard to start for any player, so we're asking guys to play in different environments," Carey said. "I think if we go out and try to slog and get a few runs that way [and] if it goes pear-shaped, we're happy to live with that. If they go out and try to survive for the [top-order] batter, we know that there's a ball with their name on it.
"We know that we haven't given enough with the tail. We also understand that India's batting line-up is very, very strong. So they bat all the way down to No. 10 really. We'll have those conversations about how we can navigate and try to get 10-15 runs each more."
Carey himself also knows he needs to contribute more after four low scores following his 36 in Nagpur.
"I had some confidence out of the first game and then getting out defending [in Indore]. Am I happy with that? Not really," he said. "So back my strength and try to score with the sweeps and manipulate a little bit more that way. Looking forward to another opportunity in Ahmedabad and get down and maybe get the broom out again."
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo