London: Even though their bowlers were pummelled for 327/3 by World No.1 Australia on the opening day of the World Test Championship (WTC) Final at The Oval here, India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey was confident that the team will make a comeback in the Ultimate Test.
Travis Head and Steve Smith took full advantage of a lacklustre Indian bowling line-up to stitch a mammoth 251-run unbeaten stand for the fourth wicket to put Australia in the driver’s seat by putting 327/3 on the board at the stumps on Day 1 on Wednesday.
Mhambrey conceded that his bowlers could have been a bit more disciplined, gave away more runs than they would have liked and that the pitch did not behave throughout the day as they had expected before the toss.
Thanks to their dominating innings, Australia are in a great position to pile up a massive total and put India under further pressure.
Though the pitch now looks very good for batting, Mhambrey said he was confident India will bounce back on the second morning on Thursday.
“Yes, why not? I thought conditions today obviously, like the wicket, it was better. But the second new ball that we took, we saw that the ball was seaming a little, cutting a little bit. So, definitely, tomorrow morning will be an important session for us. If we take a few wickets quickly, then definitely we have an opportunity to come back in the game,” Mhambrey said during the post-day press conference at The Oval on Wednesday.
Mhambrey said his bowlers could have done a bit better on the opening day.
“In terms of the bowling, I thought we could have been more disciplined. Definitely. I thought we started off very well. The first 12 overs, first 15 overs, I think we really bowled in the right areas. But maybe after a little bit, I thought we kind of weren’t disciplined about our bowling. And that’s one of the reasons I thought we conceded a few more runs than we ideally would have preferred. But yeah, we definitely should have been a little more disciplined,” said the former India and Mumbai pacer.
Mhambrey said the pitch had flattened out after the first hour or so and it is easier now to bat on it.
“Yeah, it did a little bit in the morning. If you can look at the first hour of the session, it did a little bit, it seemed around. But as the day progressed, it definitely got a little flatter than what we expected it to be. But yeah, just a little better to bat now,” said Mhambrey/
The former India bowler said they planned to test Travis Head with the Mohammad Shami and Mohammad Siraj having a go at him with short-pitched stuff, though he admitted that they could have resorted to it a bit earlier than they eventually did.
“Yeah, I thought that’s one definitely discussed amongst our bowlers. We always felt that that was an area that we could exploit against him. But yeah, we could have done it a little earlier. Maybe 30 – 40 runs before, this strategy could have been implemented. But you’ve got to trust the captain. I think you also go with his instincts. And he felt maybe that situation wasn’t right to use that kind of a strategy. But I thought we could have done it a little earlier,” said Mhambrey.
India would now try to utilise the conditions on the second morning to get both Steve Smith and Travis Head out as early as possible and turn the tables on Australia.
Considering the situation, India find themselves in now, that could be easier said than done.