India’s batsmen need to show discipline on this pitch: Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari removed Marcus Harris and Shaun Marsh, two set Australian batsmen. (AFP Image)

Allrounder Hanuma Vihari feels the key for India’s batsmen will be to remain disciplined on a pitch which has got better for the fast bowlers after a good contest between ball and bat on the opening day of the second Test. The pitch was slow in the morning, but it quickened up after lunch which saw the Indian bowlers adjust well to take six wickets.

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Vihari took two for 53 as Australia finished day one at 277-6 after being 112-0 at one stage.

“For us the important thing is to not think about those aspects too much. If it is up and down, you can’t do much about it. If we can keep that out of mind, we will be successful. As batsmen, we will try to be as disciplined as possible, just how we did in the second innings of the last Test,” Vihari said. “You have to play ball by ball. That’s what matters. If you are thinking about the previous ball, you won’t react perfectly to the next ball. Keep that ball out of your mind.”

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Indian bowlers were “disciplined” after an ordinary start on the opening day of the second Test and the target for day two is to restrict Australia to 320-odd in the first innings.

“The first hour tomorrow will be very crucial. If we get them out for below 320, we are right back in the game. If we bat well, we have a good chance. The first hour is crucial,” said Vihari. “Our only plan was to be disciplined. I think we did very well in that aspect. In all three sessions, we bounced back well. They had so many plays and misses. It happens in the game. Overall, we put in a good effort,” he added.

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India went in with four pacers for only the third time in their Test history, and Vihari, who bowled 14 overs, said he understood the role of bowling a few overs through this match. He didn’t have the best start but tightened up enough to snare two crucial wickets, dismissing set batsmen Marcus Harris and Shaun Marsh.

“I tried to bowl a little bit quicker because I was trying to hit the surface a little bit more and get the bounce out of the wicket. That was the main idea try to keep it tight and give the seamers a rest. I knew I would have to step up if required. Overall, I was prepared for that. I was happy I could do a job for the team,” he said.

“I have done a bit of bowling, even in the Ranji Trophy level, but more in limited overs. I know the idea of where I can make the batsmen play. I try to play with the fields I have. I want to keep it simple and try to do the job for the country. I know my role very well in the team. I try to keep it tight. If the wickets come, it is a bonus. My job is to make the batsman play a loose shot for his runs.”

When enquired about the pitch, Vihari said it quickened up during the day. He further added that the Indian batting line-up will have to be disciplined and patient in similarly difficult conditions on day two. KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant were guilty of dropping catches, but a highlight for India in the field was Virat Kohli’s one-handed catch at second slip to dismiss Peter Handscomb.

“It was a blinder. Those are the moments that change the course of the game. We needed something after lunch to change the rhythm. It was a screamer. We were lucky he had come to slip in that very over. It was meant to happen, Vihari said.