Thu, Dec 25, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Australia claim psychological edge over India

AP, MELBOURNE, Australia

Australia paceman Josh Hazlewood catches the ball before bowling during the second Test against India at the Gabba in Brisbane on Saturday. The third Test is scheduled to begin at the Melborne Cricket Ground tomorrow.

Photo: EPA

Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood says his team’s refusal to be intimidated by India’s verbal sledges and physical play during the second Test will give them an advantage when the teams meet again tomorrow in the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

India greeted Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson with a barrage of short balls and some heated verbal exchanges. However, Australia’s response, led by Johnson, helped propel them to a 2-0 series lead in the four-Test series, winning in Brisbane by four wickets in four days.

“It backfired at the Gabba with them trying to get stuck into us and Mitch fired back,” Hazlewood said yesterday. “It was good to see him pick up some wickets in the second innings and really fire up and bowl fast.”

Johnson scored 88 runs to help revive the team’s first innings and turn the match in Australia’s favor.

Hazlewood took five wickets in the first innings and another two in the second on his Test debut in Brisbane.

Australia received some good news on the batting front yesterday when David Warner and Shane Watson returned to training.

Warner batted for the first time since hurting his left thumb on the final day of the second Test.

“It was a bit sore when it hit the splice and toe of the bat, but that’s to be expected,” Warner said. “It’s going to be quite painful, but I can bear that pain and get out there on Boxing Day.”

Watson shook off the physical and psychological effects of being hit in the head by a James Pattinson bouncer and returned to batting in the nets.

On Nov. 25, Australia teammate Phillip Hughes was hit by a bouncer during a domestic match in Sydney and died in hospital two days later. Warner and Watson were on the field that day.

“It probably shook him [Watson] up a lot more than he would have anticipated,” Warner said. “He was close to Hughesy. It brought back a bit of a memory for him, and he got back on the horse and trained again today which was fantastic.”

Meanwhile, all-rounder Akshar Patel is to replace the injured Ravindra Jadeja in India’s squad for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests.

Patel, who turns 21 next month, is a left-arm spinner who has taken 14 wickets in nine one-day internationals, but has not played a Test.

Jadeja has a shoulder injury and is to return home to undergo rehabilitation, India cricket officials said in a statement.

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