India’s Jasprit Bumrah stressed that the team is not looking too far ahead in the game, after bowling Australia out for 195, but stated that the batsmen would be looking to express themselves with the bat on Day 2. Earlier, Virat Kohli had been critical of India’s defensive approach in Adelaide.
For the second Test running, the Indian bowlers produced a masterclass with the ball, as after losing the toss, the visitors remarkably bowled Australia out for 195 on a fairly decent MCG wicket. It was the second straight instance of the Indians bowling Australia out under 200 in the first innings, that despite the visitors missing two key bowlers in the form of Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma. The last time India bowled Australia out cheaply, however, the batsmen let the team down immediately, getting bundled out for 36, something which skipper Virat Kohli noted was a product of ‘lack of intent’.
At 36/1, India have already matched their second innings score from Adelaide, and speaking to the press post Day 1, Jasprit Bumrah asserted that the visiting batsmen will be looking to play with intent come Day 2, and look to not get bogged down like they did in the first Test.
“We are not looking too far ahead. We are looking one session at a time. We’re just looking at the things we want to do. We don’t want to be conservative in our mindset. We want to be positive, and we are trying to control the controllables,” Bumrah said in the press conference post Day 1.
“We are just trying to be in that space - not being reckless, but being confident and playing with a lot of confidence. That is our motive going forward.”
India had four personnel changes heading into MCG, but they also had a new captain in the form of Ajinkya Rahane, who took an extremely bold call to bring Ravi Ashwin into the attack as early as the 11th over, despite the ball swinging and seaming. The tactic proved to be a masterstroke as Ashwin claimed 2 of Australia’s top 4 batsmen and set the game up perfectly for the rest of the bowlers. Bumrah revealed that the presence of moisture in the wicket led the stand-in skipper to take the brave call of introducing spin early.
“When we were bowling in the morning, there was some moisture in the wicket. As you saw Ashwin as well as Jaddu got some spin. Because we wanted to make the most of the moisture, we were trying to use them - they were getting good bounce as well.”
Pretty much everything went India’s way on Day 1, barring a third umpire decision involving Tim Paine, who got a controversial run-out call in his favour, despite, from one angle, looking like he’d not reached the crease in time. This decision once again brought about the ‘neutral umpires’ topic which Jason Holder had talked about last week. However, when asked if he, like Holder, would like to see the best umpires being flown with the players, Bumrah refused to take a side and claimed that as a team, India are ready to take any decision that comes their way on the chin and move forward.
“These are the things that we cannot control. I understand the situation is difficult and all of these things are out of our hands. I try not to focus on these things which we cannot control,” Bumrah said, speaking on the issue of umpiring.
“It is unfortunate that the umpires are not allowed to travel, but it is something that I have no power over. We try to focus on the things that we can control. That’s the only thing that our team is focusing on. Regardless of whether a decision goes our way or not, we have to move forward.”