December 20, 2014 3:37:20 pm
Australia’s young skipper Steve Smith has warned India that any plans of sledging Mitchell Johnson in the future are likely to backfire just as they did in the second Test that ended on Saturday.
Johnson scored 88 runs in the first innings and then took three quick wickets in the morning session of day four as India lost the Test by four wickets to go down 0-2 in the four-match series.
“It probably isn’t too wise, is it? It was just outstanding the way Mitchell Johnson came out and batted in the first innings and took the bowlers on. I think it got them off their lengths a little bit and probably helped me out at the other end as well,” said Smith at the post-match press conference.
“Then he certainly turned it on for that little spell and it really cracked the game open for us. All the bowlers to be fair produced the goods for us. I think Josh Hazlewood was outstanding, and then Nathan Lyon came on and did a job here and there. Shane Watson built some outstanding pressure throughout the game as well, so all the bowlers bowled beautifully in this game,” he said.
India collapsed from 71/1 overnight to 143/7 before recovering to 224 all out. That left Australia only 128 runs to get and despite some late hiccups on a day four pitch, they managed to get home.
“The wicket was still pretty good there. The boys were going after them to try and get the runs quickly tonight. There were no hiccups there because everyone’s in good form and it’s all well. Hopefully we will get some more good performances in Melbourne,” said Smith about the run-chase.
But the real turn-around came in the first innings when Australia were down at 247/6 at one stage and then recovered well enough to score 505 which ultimately put India under pressure.
“It wasn’t a great position to be in. I don’t think those thoughts ever run through your head. I think it was just amazing the way Mitch came out and took the bowlers on from ball one. I think that was a big turning point in the game to get that partnership there with Mitch and just the whole tail – to get 500 runs in the first innings was crucial for us,” said the young skipper.
“Even after the first day which was very tough. The boys came out and the way they bowled on the second morning was outstanding. We thought the first innings’ runs were going to be crucial and to get a lead of 90 odd, the way the tail played was amazing to get us into that position was crucial,” Smith added.
Finally the question about the practice pitches’ incident with the Indian team earlier in the morning was put to him.
“None of our players had any problems with those wickets. They’re very good practice wickets. They emulate pretty much what you get out in the middle. That’s what you want at your playing ground. I don’t think any of our players had any problems with them whatsoever,” he signed off.
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