Australia suffered a disappointing loss in the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against India, going down by an innings and 132 runs in Nagpur. The defeat was Australia’s second in 16 matches in the World Test Championship and captain Pat Cummins believes it was largely due to the quality of the Indian spinners. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja proved too good for the Australian batsmen and Cummins says his side will have to find better methods to counter the two spinners in the remaining three Test matches.
In the first innings, Jadeja claimed his 11th Test five-wicket haul as India bowled Australia out for 177. Rohit Sharma’s ton, along with valuable contributions from Axar Patel and Jadeja, helped India post 400 runs, giving them a significant lead. In the second innings, only Steven Smith offered resistance with an unbeaten 25 as India needed just 32.3 overs to dismiss Australia for 91, with Ashwin picking up his 25th five-wicket haul.
“A lot of it was good bowling, two masters of their craft. They bowled really well,” said Cummins at the post-match press conference. “We have to find better methods. You saw Smith and Alex Carey at times put the pressure back on the bowlers. It takes a bit of bravery, it’s easier said than done. If you’re just facing ball after ball and the bowler’s pretty good, you’re going to get one with your name on it. If we get the same conditions and bowlers, what are we going to do differently? I think at times probably being more proactive.”
Australia’s second innings total of 91 was their lowest in India and it was India’s third-biggest innings win against Australia. The defeat was easier to put behind compared to closer losses, according to Cummins, who says the team just needs to make some tweaks to their approach to playing spin. The team was without the services of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Cameron Green, who were all recovering from injuries. Hazlewood won’t be available for the second Test in Delhi, while Cummins is hopeful of Green’s return.
Cummins also spoke about the exclusion of in-form Travis Head in favour of Peter Handscomb. “We were confident it was our best XI this week. We know the quality Trav is. He’s a huge part of this team but we were confident in the 11 guys out there. He’s been really good around the group. He’s been working really hard on his game like he always does,” he said.