Australia’s top-scorer in the first innings of the opening Test against India, Travis Head feels India’s Cheteshwar Pujara has given the most ideal way to bat at the Adelaide Oval. With his first innings knock of 123 runs, saving India from dismal start, played through patient and careful batting, Pujara took India to a respectable 250 runs.
Learning quickly from Pujara’s inning, Head scored a 167-ball 72 to steer Australia to 235 on the third day of first Test. This took Australia to within 15 runs of India at the end of the first innings. Head scored 44 runs in the rain-affected first session on Saturday as Australia came within touching distance of India’s first innings total.
“The way Pujara played in the first innings was the blueprint for this wicket,” Head, who was born in Adelaide, told reporters in the post match press conference. “He had a really good leaving game, good forward defence, and as the ball got softer, he got more runs. Knowing how hard the wicket can be with the ball moving and the new ball, he played really well.”
Head was disappointed after being caught behind for 72 off Mohammed Shami just when he was starting to build a partnership with spinner Nathan Lyon. “It is disappointing to feel the momentum swing back. I wanted to continue on and felt if we could keep doing it for a period of time we could put them under pressure and keep them out there,” he said.
R Ashwin had much of a say on the second day, taking three wickets, and the surface continued to help the spinners with Nathan Lyon getting the ball to grip. Head believes, Ashwin would have a lot of say in the fourth innings.
“I just tried to stay busy against Ashwin. I learned a lot from Dubai first innings to second innings, I was really positive against the off spinner, watching the ball and not premeditating,” he said. “It’s going to be the same in the next innings. There’s not much rough for the left-handers but this wicket always spins with the grass coverage.”
India extended their lead to 166 runs at the close of play on day three with Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the middle with the visitors reaching 151/3. Head remained confident that Australia will be able to chase down a 300-plus total, stating it becomes easier to bat on the last two days and such targets have been achieved in Sheffield Shield.
“This year bigger scores have been made and teams have batted out draws,” he said. “On days four and five, it gets easier to bat and 300-plus totals have been scaled easily (in domestic cricket). It’s more of a new ball wicket at the moment. It’s vital to win those moments when the new ball comes around again,” he signed off.