Australia assistant coach Daniel Vettori has urged the team’s lower-order batters to be more courageous and score some valuable runs in the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar series here beginning March 9.
Unlike India’s lower-order batters who have contributed hugely in the first two Tests which the host has won, Australia’s No.8 to No.11 have added only around five runs per innings so far in the series.
Captain Pat Cummins’ 33 in the second Test in Delhi and Nathan Lyon’s 10 first-innings runs in the same match are the the only double-digit scores the Australian tail has been able to rustle up.
With Cummins returning home to be with his ailing mother, the Australian lower order wears an even more fragile look.
Vettori said the team management and support staff should instil more confidence among the lower-order batters ahead of the fourth Test here.
“I think Pat (Cummins) did that (batting) exceptionally well in the first innings in Delhi, and I think the lower four have got an understanding of how to do it and how they want to do it. It’s just having the courage to actually take it out there.
“I think we all understand that defence is not necessarily a way through that situation because of how much the ball is turning and how good the bowlers are, and finding your scoring areas,” the former New Zealand captain was quoted as saying by news.com.au.
Lower-order batting has been a major concern for Australia during the series with Nathan Lyon, Matt Kuhnemann, Todd Murphy, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland unable to negotiate the turn on Indian pitches, leading to two massive defeats for the visitors.
Australia won the third Test in Indore to secure the World Test Championship final berth due to spinner Nathan Lyon’s 11 wickets in the match.
On the other hand, Axar Patel, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin contributed immensely to India’s triumphs in the first two Tests. Umesh Yadav too batted with confidence in the third Test at Indore, playing a cameo of 17 studded with a boundary and two maximums.
“Even you see an innings like Umesh Yadav, I know it’s on the back of probably having that licence (to go for the big hits), but that can be such a difference maker in the scheme of things.
“We’ve got to push our lower four to have the confidence to actually take the game on,” added Vettori.
The veteran of 113 Tests added the pitches in India during the ongoing series are far more demanding than the flatter tracks he had played on several occasion when New Zealand toured India.
“They were always just a war of attrition, the wickets I played on. It was India won the toss and got 600, you could get 400 and hang on for dear life in the last couple of days.” “That’s normally how it played out -- it was a real grind, it was day five, the result was still in the balance, then normally a draw or a win to India.” The New Zealander added that he was extremely happy with the performance of spinners Todd Murphy and Matt Kuhnemann, and the way they had handled pressure.
“They don’t wilt to the pressure, they just understand their process and they repeat and repeat and repeat. That’s the real skill over here … you can get carried away with what’s going on,” Vettori said.
“I think (Matt) Kuhney in particular has come in so early in his career and Todd as well, and to be able to be consistent against some of the best players against spin you’ll come across in these conditions and with these expectations has been probably the most impressive thing so far,” he said.
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