Virat Kohli and Steven have been the staggering performers ever since they were placed at the helm    Getty Images
Virat Kohli and Steven Smith have been staggering performers ever since they were placed at the helm Getty Images

Australian skipper Steven Smith has insisted that defence is going to be incredibly important for them to battle it out against the Indian bowlers in the upcoming four-match Test series beginning February 23 at Pune. The Aussies reached Mumbai early on Monday from Dubai where they had a training camp. The team is scheduled to have its first practice session at the Brabourne Stadium on February 15. Addressing the media on Tuesday, Smith said, It s always important to be positive and look to score. I think the moment you just start defending, you are probably in trouble. You have to have that mindset to score, but ultimately your defence is what helps you out when you are in trouble.

It s going to be important that our defence is strong against not only the spinners but also their fast bowlers. They have got some great fast bowlers who present a good seam, can swing the new ball and bowl very good reverse as well. So, defence is going to be incredibly important for us in this series with the bat. The 27-year-old further said that batting in Test cricket is about making good decisions and doing that for long period of time.

So we had some difficult conditions in Dubai where the balls were turning and there was some inconsistent bounce and things like that. So, guys were trying to adapt to game plans and try to find the best way to be successful, here in India. It s now about implementing those plans for long period of time.

When asked about the game plan to stop Indian run-machine Virat Kohli, Smith said, We obviously have a game plan. But we are not going to reveal it. He is obviously a top-class player.

He has been batting extremely well and has scored four double-centuries in the last four Test series. So, he is always a big player for India, along with a lot of their other batters. They all are batting very well at the moment and have a strong top six. So we hopefully can formulate a game plan to get on top of them, he added. Australia are touring India for a full Test series for the first time since they were whitewashed 0-4 by the hosts in the 2012-13 season.

Australia later defeated India 2-0 in a four-Test rubber played Down Under in the 2014-15 season. Australia, which sit at the second spot in the ICC Test Rankings following a 3-0 whitewash in their home series against Pakistan, will face a herculean task against India.

Australia have never won a Test match in India since 2004 and their last series win in Asia came against Sri Lanka in 2011. They have since suffered nine straight Test losses in the subcontinent. The first Test in Pune (February 23-27) would be followed by games in Bengaluru (March 4-8), Ranchi (March 16-20) and Dharamsala.

Squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve O’Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade (wk)