Smith admits Australia are `underdogs` in Test series against India
Pune [India], Feb. 22 (ANI): Australian skipper Steve Smith has admitted that his team, whose performance has not been up to standards in the recent past, are the 'underdogs' in the four-match Test series against India starting Thursday.
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. The Aussies later defeated India 2-0 in a four-Test rubber played Down Under in the 2014-15 season.
Australia have not 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.
Meanwhile, India, riding on the euphoria of a fairytale 19-match unbeaten streak, will aim to continue their momentum and strengthen their top spot in the ICC Test Rankings.
"Yes, I guess we are the underdogs in this series. You hear comments like Harbhajan who expects us to lose 0-4. That's not how we feel. We want to compete here against India," Smith told the media on the eve of the first Test.
The right-handed batsman further maintained that his team would want to change the way we play from home.
"It is going to be a tough series. They have got some quality players in their line up from one to eleven, so, yeah, it is going to be difficult but, you know, I guess what I want to see from my boys is, you know, ability to adapt to the plans we have in place and show some fight, and you know, resilience in tough situations."
"This is (There are) going be difficult moments in games and key moments that we need to identify and hopefully we can have the skills in place and plans in place and mindsets in place to counter act those difficult moments," he added.
When asked about the importance of reverse swing available on the Indian pitches, Smith said: "It (reverse swing) is going to be pretty important in this series, you know, I think, looking at this wicket out here, looks like it is going to be pretty slow. The ball is probably going to get chewed up pretty quick."
"So, you know, might be difficult at times for fast bowlers to take wickets with the slowness in the wicket but getting the bowl to shift in the air is certainly going to make it a little bit easier for them."
The first Test in Pune (February 23-27) would be followed by games in Bengaluru (March 4-8), Ranchi (March 16-20) and Dharamsala (March 25-29).
India: Lokesh Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Abhinav Mukund, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya
Australia: David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith(c), Peter Handscomb, Steve O'Keefe, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Jackson Bird, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Agar, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Starc. (ANI)