Australia opener Matt Renshaw reckons the first session on the second day could decide the course of the third cricket Test against India.
Steve Smith struck a resolute unbeaten 117 while Glenn Maxwell hit a career-best 82 on his Test comeback as they ended day one at a solid 299 for four after winning the toss.
“I think tomorrow first session is going to be one of the most crucial in this match. If we can win that session then we go a long way in winning the Test match,” Renshaw said.
The southpaw praised his skipper for making his bat talk after the DRS controversy in the Bangalore Test.
“I think he’s handled this whole situation really well. He showed how do it and that we’re here for a cricket series. He didn’t throw it away. He might have played a couple of bad shots, like some of the others did, like I did, but he did not play. So, I think he just made the most of it and made a big score.”
Twenty20 specialist Maxwell who replaced the injured Mitchell Marsh at number six grabbed the opportunity with both hands with unbeaten half-century. Boasting a T20I strike rate of 167.41, Maxwell stood out with his controlled shot-selection.
“You hear about this switch hits in the media a lot, that he is a bit of a cowboy sort of thing. I think he just played some good cricket shots today. He is a class player and he showed that he could do it in Test cricket today. Hopefully, he can continue that tomorrow.”
“I’ve never personally played with him so I’m sure if it’s normal or something different. But I think he’s looked pretty calm and relaxed and showed that he could play well, and he did well today,” Renshaw said.
Renshaw said batting is tough when the bowler gets reverse swing.
“I think when the ball is reversing it just has to do a little bit to show how hard it is out there. But they bowled quite attacking, in terms of stump-to-stump with the reverse balls. I think they bowled well with the reverse ball and got a few wickets with it.”
He refused to talk much about the pitch and said: “It looks like slow at the moment, so it might break up if they’re a few more foot marks, but I’m not too sure. I think the boys played really well today. We weren’t sure how the wicket would play coming in, but it’s played pretty well and hopefully can keep playing well throughout the Test.”
Asked whether India dropped intensity after the injury scare to skipper Virat Kohli, he said: “I wouldn’t say intensity. They still came out pretty hard. But I think there probably wasn’t as many words out there today. They still played pretty hard cricket and made it tough for us.”
On the change in captaincy with Ajinkya Rahane leading the team in Kohli’s absence, he said: “Kohli and Rahane probably do things a bit different. But no, I didn’t really notice anything different.”