India vs Australia: McGrath lauds India's bowling strategy for Smith

IND vs AUS, 3rd Test: Australian fast bowling legend Glenn McGrath believes the return of Rohit Sharma will be a big boost for India in the remainder of the Test series.

Glenn McGrath believes batting with intent will be key to revving up Australia’s scoring rate.   -  PTI

Australia will go into the third Test against India in Sydney with plenty of questions over its batting lineup. With the Indians bowling a straighter line and to a tight leg-side field, the host team has been restricted to modest totals of 191, 195 and 200 in the first two Tests. And fast bowling great Glenn McGrath believes batting with intent will be key to revving up Australia’s scoring rate.

“It is just the mindset. It is about going out there and showing intent to score. If you are hanging around, being defensive, you will get out sooner or later, especially against quality bowlers like (Jasprit) Bumrah and (Ravichandran) Ashwin,” McGrath said.

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“You’ve to look to put the bad ball away when it comes, try and rotate the strike. Australia tried to take a lot of singles during the second innings in Melbourne, which looked positive. But as soon as a few wickets fell, they went back into their shell.

“The way Shubman Gill started, he looked to play his shots... Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja did the same – all three players were looking to score runs [in Melbourne]. They weren’t batting for survival. The way Ajinkya Rahane batted in Melbourne was sensational. So, they need to take a leaf out of those Indian batsmen.”

Glenn McGrath caught up with Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai recently.   -  Twitter/@sachin_rt


‘Interesting plan’

India’s leg-side trap has accounted for one of Australia’s key batsman, Steve Smith, who has been caught at backward short leg and bowled around his legs in this series. McGrath lauded India’s bowling strategy, saying, “It has been an interesting bowling plan to Steve Smith. I think England tried it during the 2019 Ashes, but it didn’t work for them. Then you had New Zealand with Neil Wagner bowling exceptionally using the short ball. He bowls a different short ball; it skids on rather than bounce like other guys.

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“The Indians have looked to bowl straight to Smith with a leg gully in place, and it’s worked so far. The fact that they have knocked him over cheaply in all three innings has been a massive bonus. Once Smith is into his innings, he has got the timing, is seeing the ball and has got the pace of the pitch, he goes on to make big scores. I feel once he gets to 20 or 30, he will become a lot tougher to bowl to.”

Class player

McGrath feels India’s playing XI will be buoyed by the presence of Rohit Sharma, who will play his first Test match in more than a year. “Rohit Sharma is a class player. To have someone of that skill and experience coming into the team should be a big lift for India,” McGrath said. “He will be keen to make an instant impact. I always thought that a player of his experience should do better in Test cricket than what his stats probably suggest.”

The third Test will begin from January 7, 2021, on Sony Six, Sony Ten 1 and Sony Ten 3 channels.

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