Aiming at the stumps should be the way forward for Australia’s fast bowlers against India to take advantage of the uneven bounce on the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch, fast bowler Josh Hazlewood said yesterday.
Hazlewood, 26, took three wickets before tea on the third day to help Australia reduce India to 120-4 as the tourists looked favorites to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series, but Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane shared an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 93 to keep alive India’s hopes of a series-leveling win, giving the hosts a lead of 126 at the close.
“The quicks were still too wide,” Hazlewood told reporters. “With the odd ball shooting through with that up-and-down bounce, we could be more straighter. There’s not much swing and not much reverse swing either. So the plans are pretty simple, but sometimes they are hard to execute. You’ve got to bowl stump to stump.”
“With that up-and-down movement with the cracks and uneven surface, just brings the [leg before wicket] more into play. That’s probably where the wickets are for the quicks for the rest of the game,” he said.
All Hazlewood’s wickets yesterday came when he attacked the stumps.
Abhinav Mukund and Ravindra Jadeja were bowled, while India captain Virat Kohli was trapped leg before wicket.
Pujara and Rahane survived nervous moments at the start of their innings, but grew in confidence as they batted through the final session.
“I think he [Pujara] was more intent. Obviously, they scored about three runs an over which is an increase since their last couple of innings,” Hazlewood said. “They were more intent at the crease, scoring off those looser deliveries and I think they kept rotating the strike, which is the key here. They weren’t getting stuck on one end for extended period of time. I think those guys did that pretty well.”
On-field sledging was a raging topic before the four-Test series between the world’s top two Test sides, with both India and Australia led by demonstrative captains in Kohli and Steve Smith.
There were a number of verbal confrontations on the field while Smith was batting on Sunday, with the umpires having to intervene to calm both sides down.
“Temperatures are rising a little bit — yesterday and today,” Hazlewood said. “It’s pretty intense out there, but we are trying to stick to just playing on skills and be calm out there.”
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