Langer hopes bowlers will come good in Perth

As the India vs Australia Test series moves to Perth for the second Test, Australia coach Justin Langer hopes the new Optus Stadium would aid fast bowlers, much like the city’s other traditional venue, WACA.

Australia coach Justin Langer hoped the new stadium in Perth will bring in pace and swing.   -  Getty Images

The cameras were in place, microphones were held upright, and then some banter ensued as cricket correspondents waited for Australia coach Justin Langer at the Adelaide airport. A Tuesday afternoon waned, and a few passengers were wondering what the fuss was all about.

The host squad was flying out to Perth, the venue of the second Test from Friday. Trailing 0-1 after a mentally draining loss to India in the first Test at the Adelaide Oval, the Australian cricketers were still full of spirit. Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, warmly greeted a junior player. Meanwhile, Usman Khawaja, sporting shades, did a mock-run when a television-crew tailed him. He then stopped mid-sprint, laughed, spoke to the cameraman and strode towards the security-check zone.

Just as a few sports writers got a bit edgy about their respective flights, Langer walked in with his trade-mark winnowing steps. He smiled, cast a glance at his wards busy with their flight formalities and then faced the assembled media.

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It was a gentle conversation and not a bruising inquisition that usually follows a defeat.

Langer graciously lauded Virat Kohli’s men: “If we had been two or three down overnight it might have been different. India outplayed us, there was no point in the game where I felt we were on top of India. To their great credit they were more patient than us, they bowled really well. We got close, which shows great fighting spirit.”

The match proved to be a steady grind of less than three runs per over. The former Australian opener felt that the slow progress was a direct reflection of the turgid pitch. “The wicket was really tough to score on. Kohli, the best player in the world, got 30 in 120 balls (Kohli scored 34 off 104 deliveries), that tells you something. It is just how the game went. India bowled well, we bowled equally well in the first innings and it was hard to bat on with the slow outfield,” Langer said.

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Looking ahead at the second Test at Perth’s new Optus Stadium, Langer hoped that the pitch would aid fast bowlers, much like the city’s other traditional venue, WACA. “It's going to be hot on Friday. It will be an important toss but hopefully on a wicket conducive to a bit of swing and seam, the bowlers will get the job done. Again it's unprecedented, the first Test match on a drop-in wicket in Perth at the new stadium. Time will tell what the wicket brings. Pace and bounce. If we can get that, it would be great.”

What about skipper Tim Paine’s injured right index finger? Langer grinned and said: “Painey is the toughest pretty boy I have ever met. Even if it was snapped in about four places he would still be right. He is ready to go.”

And then it was time for the flight. The cricket caravan rolls on.