Aussie bats draw on past success vs India

Oliver Caffrey
·3-min read

Australia's batsmen will draw on past successes against India as they aim to gain the upper hand on the tourists' disciplined bowling attack.

India have dominated Australia's top-order in the first two Tests and powered to an eight-wicket victory at the MCG to level the Border-Gavaskar series at one-all.

But fast bowler Pat Cummins is adamant Australia are not panicking despite most of their top-six, headlined by Steve Smith, desperately out of form.

Marnus Labuschagne's top score of 48 in Melbourne meant it was the first time since 1988 Australia have finished a home Test without any player posting a half-century.

It is now six consecutive home Tests against India without an Australian making a hundred, dating back through the 2018-19 four-match series.

"India, historically, we've got a really good record against a lot of these bowlers in whatever format," Cummins said.

"There's lots of good stuff our batters can draw on.

"We've really only had three innings (not including the brief fourth innings in Adelaide) so it's too small a sample size to say people need to change the way they go about things."

The reinforcements could be coming with star opener David Warner trying to prove his fitness for the third Test on January 7 after being sidelined with a groin injury since November.

Will Pucovski is also set to be in contention with his Victorian coach Chris Rogers confident the uncapped youngster will have recovered from a concussion suffered less than a week before the opening Test.

Even if Warner and Pucovski still aren't fit, Joe Burns' run at the top of the order appears over after he scored a duck and four at the MCG.

No.5 Travis Head's spot is far from secure, either, after again failing to capitalise on starts.

Cummins knows Smith will bounce back after watching the world's No.1 ranked Test batsmen dominate India with two centuries in the recent ODI series.

But if Smith doesn't turn it around in the final two games, it will be the worst Test series of his glittering career.

The 31-year-old is averaging 3.3, with last year's two-Test series against Pakistan, when he went at 20 from two innings, his worst.

"I think we all hold such high standards and that's because they (Smith and Labuschagne) do seem to go and score runs just about every time they bat," vice-captain Cummins said.

"Every player goes through ups and downs and the great ones find a way to get back, so absolutely no stress.

"It was only 12 months ago our batters absolutely dominated some really good attacks. There's lots to draw on, you don't have to go back too far."

AUSTRALIA'S TOP-SEVEN ACROSS THE FIRST TWO TESTS

Joe Burns - 63 runs at an average of 21

Matthew Wade - 111 at 27.75

Marnus Labuschagne - 129 at 32.25

Steve Smith - 10 at 3.33

Travis Head - 62 at 20.66

Cameron Green - 68 at 22.66

Tim Paine - 87 at 43.5