Australia are “still fighting, still in the contest”, debutant Marcus Harris insisted Friday, after India nosed ahead by snaring seven wickets and leaving the hosts with some rallying to do in the first Test.
The opener though said that they are still in the game on account of being just 59 runs behind India’s first innings’ score of 250. At the same time he praised the Indian attack for keeping things tight and restricting them to 191 for seven at stumps.
“I thought they bowled really well – the run rate’s only two and a bit, so I thought they bowled really well. We stuck at it pretty well. It was a tough day. It wasn’t easy to score, so I thought we fought well.
“Travis Head batted well, Peter Handscomb looked good and Mitchell Starc batted well at the end. I think we’re in a decent position,” Harris said.
He said that Australia did want to get on the front foot and attack but the Indian bowlers kept relentless pressure to force them into fending off overs.
“You can only put bowlers under pressure if they give you opportunity to put them under pressure. The wicket doesn’t let you play like that.
“You want to come out and blast them everywhere and be going great guns, but sometimes it’s not that way. That’s why it’s called Test cricket. We’re still fighting, still in the contest.” Asked if Australia’s intent was to attack the Indian bowling at all, he said, “You want to attack all the time but sometimes it’s not that easy. The wicket wasn’t overly easy to score on, and I thought they set good fields.
“It was just one of those old school, hard days of Test cricket and I think it’s pretty even and both teams have bowled pretty well so far like you’ve seen.” Harris scored 26 off 57 balls in his first Test innings before R Ashwin, who finished with 3-50 on day two, dismissed him. The off spinner also got rid of left-handers Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh after lunch.
“I’ve faced Nathan Lyon a lot and he’s pretty good. I thought Ashwin bowled really well, mixed up his pace a lot, bowled a few different variations with side spin and over spin.
“There’s probably going to be a little bit of turn there going on in the game for the third and fourth innings, so Nathan will come into it like he did in the first innings.
“(Ashwin) was hard to score off and Virat set some really good fields. It wasn’t easy but hopefully we can keep finding a way.” “It was just a change of pace that came on a little bit quicker,” Harris added, about his own dismissal.
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The opener said that it was a tough day of Test cricket when shot making wasn’t easy and that they had to bide time against such a disciplined bowling attack.
“It’s not easy to score on. The last couple of years have been tough with the pink ball wicket and it’s similar now with a lot more grass on it. So it’s not as easy as it used to be with the old Adelaide Oval wicket.
“We haven’t got millions of Test matches in our top six, so I think people just have to be a little bit patient. We’ll work it out, but it’s a tough wicket and they bowled really well.
“Sometimes there’s going to be days where you can’t come out and blast them at three and four an over, just got to grind away. “A good thing with this wicket is it gets better as this match goes on, so I think that should hold us in good stead,” he signed off.