With Australia in turmoil, India are “smelling blood” but Virat Kohli’s men would also be under great pressure to perform during the four-Test series starting here Thursday, coach Justin Langer said Wednesday. “You sense they’re smelling blood. Just like the great Australian cricket team of 2001 felt and we just fell short (of winning in India) and we were able to (win in) 2004,” Langer told Australian radio channel SEN’s Whateley.
“You sense these moments. I’m sensing India feel that.” India have never won a Test series in Australia and their recent oversees record has also been poor with 1-2 loss to South Africa in February and 1-4 defeat to England in September.
However, Langer said Kohli and Co. are a good team and the hosts will show respect to the visitors. “They’re a good team and they’ve got a couple of great players and we will show them great respect,” he said. “They haven’t had great success in Australia in the past, as Australia haven’t had in India. They’ll also be under great pressure, I think.”
Australia were plunged in crisis after the ball-tampering scandal in March this year saw Cricket Australia handing out year-long bans on Steve Smith and David Warner. The hosts will play their first Test on home soil since that infamous Cape Town Test against South Africa and Langer said his team also have a lot to prove.
“… they’re (India) up against a really talented young Australian cricket team who have got plenty to prove,” he said. “We’ve been through so much in the last nine months. We’ve been rolling our sleeves up, we’ve got plenty to prove as well.”
Talking about the team for the opening Test, Langer said Marcus Harris is likely to make his debut but a decision is yet to be made about whether Peter Handscomb or allrounder Mitchell Marsh will feature in the playing XI.
“We’re pretty sure Marcus Harris will make his debut which is very exciting for him,” he said.
“He’s scored 500 runs in Shield cricket in eight innings, that’s a great way to go into a Test match. He’s a terrific young player and he’s looked very good in some of the most competitive net sessions I’ve seen for a long time in Australian cricket. He’s looked very composed.
“We’ll make the decision on the last batting spot later today. At this stage, I’d say it’ll be either Peter Handscomb or Mitchell Marsh who’ll take the five or six position.”