Glenn McGrath reckons the problems for Australian cricket team lies more in the batting department than the bowling in the sub-continent as they ready to face India in a four-match Test series. With the series set to start on February 23, the Australian team led by Steve Smith are hoping to pull off a remarkable win against an India side that is in electric form. Captained by Virat Kohli, India haven’t lost since 2015, a run that has stretched to 19 Test matches and six series.
“Our batsmen have been more the issue in the sub-continent, they don’t know whether to attack or to defend. At times they look like they over-attack, and at times they look like they over-defend – there’s no in-between,” he told cricket.com.au. “In Sri Lanka, it just seemed that they went really hard or they just closed up shop. And they tried different things but it didn’t work, so they have to come up with a plan of ‘okay, what shots are we going to play to keep the score rotating’,” McGrath added.
On their last sojourn to the sub-continent, the Aussies were spanked by Sri Lanka as they went down in a heap on one instance too many to lose the series 3-0 in a whitewash. Moreover, the best they could put together was 379 in the first innings of the third Test. The problems for the visiting Australian side existed in facing the spin bowling attack as Rangana Herath finished with 28 wickets. Things are likely to get even more trickier when they face the duopoly of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja with Jayant Yadav also in the squad.
McGrath who recently turned 47 has an incredible record of 31 wickets from seven matches in India had advice for the current crop of visiting bowlers with Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc the pick of the lot.
“People say I was not an over-attacking bowler, or a defensive bowler – to an extent that was probably right but it meant I could have really aggressive field placements (in Australia) and that’s how I looked to take wickets,” McGrath said.
“In the sub-continent, you don’t have that bounce, you don’t have that seam, you don’t have that carry. Okay, how are we going to take wickets? The new ball will still carry through quite well, so you’re looking to take wickets caught in the slips, caught behind with the new ball,” he stated.
“Then you go through a patch when the ball really does nothing – it’s not carrying through, it’s not reverse swinging, so then you really have to dot it up (stop the scoring). Give them no easy runs, bring in maybe a short mid-wicket, a short cover and just ring the field up. Work on the ball, the wicket’s going to be abrasive and after a while it will go reverse swing,” McGrath stated in tips for Smith to employ.
“As soon as that ball starts reverse swinging, it’s a little bit more in favour of the bowler and you can attack a bit more. And be prepared to bowl long spells, build pressure and look to take wickets that way. So that’s my mindset in the sub-continent,” the Australian great concluded.