Marsh: ‘India will come hard at us’

Marsh was aware, though, that the venue had been kind to his side. Of its five Test matches on this ground, Australia has won two and lost one. “Yeah, that's something we’ve spoken about as a group,” he said. “Although none of us have played here we want to continue our winning ways at this ground. Hopefully that’ll be the case in six days' time.”

Australia’s Steve O’Keefe (left) and Mitchell Marsh inspect the pitch at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday.   -  Picture: AP

It will not have come as a surprise but as Australia’s players walked back from their training session here on Thursday, they were treated to the sight of ground staff diligently running a mower over the playing surface.

It is fair to say the tourists do not expect any grass on the pitch when the second Test begins at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday. “Looks like a reasonably good wicket,” said Mitchell Marsh, speaking to reporters. “It looks pretty dry, there are a few cracks already. But we try not to read too much into the actual wicket. Both teams have to play on the same 22 yards.”

Marsh was aware, though, that the venue had been kind to his side. Of its five Test matches on this ground, Australia has won two and lost one. “Yeah, that's something we’ve spoken about as a group,” he said. “Although none of us have played here we want to continue our winning ways at this ground. Hopefully that’ll be the case in six days' time.”

In the team as an all-rounder, Marsh was not required to bowl in the first Test in Pune, when Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon sent down nearly three-quarters of Australia’s overs. “I didn't need a rest afterwards, that’s for sure,” he joked when asked how the team spent the two free days. But with the bat, the 25-year-old made a mark, demonstrating an improved ease against spin in the second innings.

“I had quite hard hands when I first played on the subcontinent,” Marsh admitted. “I’ve been trying to work on my defence, playing with soft hands so that it takes the fielders around the bat out of the game as much as possible. To be able to spend 80 (sic) balls in the second innings on that wicket has given me a lot of confidence to hopefully score a few runs in this game.”

The win in Pune was the 11th of Marsh’s 20-Test career. It was also, the Western Australian felt, one of the sweetest. “It's probably one of the best victories. (I was) pretty emotional at the end of the game. It was fantastic.” Marsh and Australia, though, fully expect that India will respond to that stinging defeat. “We know India is a proud cricketing nation,” he said. “This team will certainly come hard at us. We're expecting a great fight.”

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