Australia were handed a thrashing by India in the first Test in Nagpur that ended within three days. The visitors lost the game by an innings and 132 runs and go into the second Test in Delhi with a lot to ponder about. Australia captain Pat Cummins feels it boils down to the way that his team tackled the spinners against whom he reckons that his side have to be a little brave.
Marnus Labuschagne with 49 in the first innings was the top-scorer for Australia across the two innings, while there were some useful contributions from Steven Smith, Pater Handscomb and also Alex Carey. Australia were bundled out for just 91 in the second innings, their lowest score in India.
"A lot of it was good bowling, two masters of their craft, fresh legs, they bowled really well. In saying that I don't think much is going to change in the next couple of games. That's what we're going to come against, so we have to find better methods. You saw Smithy and Alex Carey at times put the pressure back on the bowlers. I think it takes a bit of bravery, it's easier said than done," Cummins said at the post-match press conference.
"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," said Cummins.
"Again, that will be the conversation this week. If we get the same conditions, same bowlers, what are we going to do differently? I think at times probably being more proactive."
Cummins further added that the loss of such magnitude was easier to recover from compared to close-fought defeats.
"I think sometimes it's almost easier to put behind those kinds of losses. You are looking at small margins, you have to have a hard look at your game and the big strides you need to change to give yourself the best chance next week. We've had a really good run the last 12 months," Cummins said.
"There haven't been many losses in that change room. I don't think we need to reinvent the wheel, it's just tweaking different approaches to how we play and maybe particular methods."
This was just Australia's second defeat in the ongoing World Test Championship (WTC) cycle. They were without some key players like Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and also all-rounder Cameron Green, all of whom who missed out due to injuries.
Giving an update on them, Cummins said, "Starcy lands today or tomorrow into Delhi. I think Joshy might not be quite ready for Delhi. He's getting up and running now, he's pretty close, but I don't think he'll be quite ready for Delhi. Greeny's a bit of a wait and see. Still hoping (he could return), he's had a couple of good hits out here. He's bowling pretty good, the next couple of days we'll assess it."
Australia also left many surprised when in-form Travis Head was left out of the XI but both Handscomb and Matt Renshaw found a place. Cummins however felt that they played the best XI.
"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," Cummins opined.
India have taken a 1-0 lead in the four-match series. The second Test in Delhi will get underway from Friday (February 17).