There was not much stand-in-captain Ajinkya Rahane could do on a “placid” pitch but he did well to keep energy on the ground by communicating well with the players, says fielding coach R Sridhar.
Rahane took charge after Kohli had to walk off the field due to a shoulder injury in the 40th over of Australian first innings.
Steve Smith posted his second century of the series with an unbeaten 117 while Glenn Maxwell was equally solid at th other end with 82 as the visitors took the day one honours.
“Ajinkya did a very good job. He was very sure of his plans. Ajinkya being Ajinkya, he was taking advice from the seniors, Aswhin and Ishant. In Virat’s absence, he kept the energy well. He positioned himself in the outfield and made sure he communicated well with the bowlers,” Sridhar said at the post-match press conference.
“It was probably the better batting day in the series so far. Pitch was nice and placid. It’s not that we are in the situation for the first time during this home season. It was a very good day one batting track. We will see how it unfolds tomorrow,” Sridhar said.
“There were a few good spells from Umesh, he was coming and giving it really hard, getting the ball to reverse a bit. There was not too much of pace in the wicket to try too many bouncers. So it was not in the plan and we tried a few ones to surprise the batsmen.”
Sridhar also asserted that India is very much capable of a bouncing back in the game after enduring a tough first day since they managed to stage comeback against England when the visitors posted big first innings totals in Mumbai and Chennai in the previous series.
“We have been in the same situation. In Mumbai, Chennai and we have come back and got ourselves in the match.”
Reacting on the Wriddhiman Saha’s comic attempt to claim a catch off Smith, he said: “We all know the rules. When the ball stuck on the pads, it’s a dead ball. That pretty much ends the episode. He was maybe playing for the gallery. But the rule was quite simple.”