Having turned the tables on India in spectacular fashion in the first Test, Australian captain Steven Smith believes his team can get better and has set his eyes on winning a series in the sub-continent after a gap of more than 12 years.
“I wouldn’t say it was perfect. We did a lot of things right in this Test, that’s for sure. But there are still areas that we can improve on,” Smith said after the win on Saturday. The last time the Aussies won a series in India was in 2004-05. Smith, a cricket with a keen sense of history, didn’t need a reminder.
“Coming to India, we haven’t won a game here in 4,502 days,”the visiting skipper said, referring to their victory in Nagpur on a green-tinged track at the VCA ground.
Smith has his eyes firmly set on replicating the success of the side led by Ricky Ponting.”But it’s going to be a tough road, we know India are going to come back incredibly hard. They’re an amazing team particularly in their own backyard. And we’ve got to be ready for it.”
It’s a remarkable turn-around for Australia and Smith personally after he flew back home midway through the ODI series in Sri-Lanka in August last year.
Australia skipper Steve Smith has warned his players against complacency and expects India to come back hard after the hosts’ crushing first Test defeat in Pune. The tourists on Saturday demolished India by 333 runs inside three days to take a 1-0 lead in the four-Test series with left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe the unlikely hero.O’Keefe claimed a match haul of 12 wickets to help
skittle out India for 105 and 107.
Second-ranked Australia also ended India’s unbeaten streak of 19 Tests stretching back to August
2015, but Smith still believes the tourists have a long way to go to secure the four-match series.”It’s
certainly going to be a difficult next three Test matches. India are a quality side in their own backyard and they are going to come back hard at us,” said Smith.
“For us it’s continuing to worry about the processes and if we do that for long periods hopefully we can have more success on this tour.”Smith expressed satisfaction with his team’s ability to learn from past mistakes after coming into the series on the back of nine Test losses in Asia.
“We probably kept the foot on the throat (in Pune). When we got ourselves in the positions to win in Sri Lanka, we let the opposition get back into the game,” said Smith, whose side were whitewashed by Sri Lanka 3-0 last year.
“In this Test, we didn’t let India back in the game after the first innings. So that it’s pleasing we’re learning and trying to improve in different ways,” he said.
Australian batsmen also stood up to India’s spin threat on a viciously turning track. Matt Renshaw’s 68 and Michell Starc’s 61 showed grit in the first innings of 260 and Smith led by example with 109, his first century in India, to guide the second innings to 285.