India might not be able to adapt in Australia: Warner

Australia's players sense fragility in India's mental approach when playing matches away from home, and have discussed taking advantage of it during the Boxing Day Test.

Updated: December 24, 2011 13:25 IST
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Melbourne: Australia's players sense fragility in India's mental approach when playing matches away from home, and have discussed taking advantage of it during the Boxing Day Test.

Among the many topics covered in preparation for the first Test at the MCG was the disparity in Indian attitudes to matches at home and away. The opening batsman David Warner said Australia had discussed how the sense of invincibility India enjoyed on the subcontinent can slip away rapidly on the other side of the world.

"You look at their line-up and you can think 'oh how are we going to get these guys out'," Warner told ESPNcricinfo. "But we know when they're in Australia, the wickets are different, and we think their mental approach is a bit different to what it is when they're in India.

"We think they automatically know they're going to win series in India because the wickets turn and it is all in their favour. And it is probably similar to when they come out here, we think the bouncy wickets, they might not be able to adapt to it.

"They're one of the best line-ups in the world, and capable of scoring big runs on the wickets we're producing here. We've got to be spot on with our lines and lengths with our quicks, and when we're batting we need to put on as many runs as we can … I reckon we're in for a good series."

While Australia's batting was a weak spot for the team over recent matches, no worse than during traumatic defeats to South Africa and New Zealand in Cape Town and Hobart, Warner said the top six had set themselves to keep India's bowling attack in the field for long periods.

Fitness doubts surrounding Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan, plus an inexperienced back-up group behind them, mean a couple of long stints in the field in the first Test would go a distance towards stretching Indian resources, much as they were against England earlier this year.

"I definitely think the longer we keep them out there [in the field] the harder it'll be for them, mentally as well," Warner said. "We know a couple of their players don't like being out in the field for too long and their fast bowlers are under injury clouds as well. So the more overs we can get out of them, the better for us going into the second innings and also the upcoming Tests. If we can do our damage early in the series it'll hold us in good stead for the following three."

Warner has come a long way since he made his international debut at the MCG in 2009, in a Twenty20 match against South Africa. He said his mental approach to the game had changed "massively", allowing him to achieve the rich array of scores in 2011 that propelled him into Test cricket.

"My mental side of the game has changed massively, sometimes in the past I might've gone out there and just lost my head or just thrown my wicket away," he said. "Now I respect my wicket 100 times more. Even in the nets it is the same thing, I used to just go in there, have a hit and say 'I'm satisfied with that'.

"But I look at that now and say, 'what was I thinking, that was a load of crap'. Now I'm in there, focused, switched on, and it is like a game to me now when I'm in there. When I get out I really kick myself because you only get one chance in the middle."

That thinking should preclude Warner from using his eye-catching knack of "switch-hitting" in a Test match. Though if he reaches three figures at the MCG, Warner may just feel the time is right.

"It's like a forward defence, if I'm practising that in the nets and doing it to perfection, you can do it out in the middle," Warner said. "But then if you play a shot like that and you get out then people will start saying things. You have to pick the right time to do it, if you're going to do it.

"In Test cricket you've got to score runs but you've got so much time to do it, you don't need to play those shots, unless you're at the back-end of your innings and you want to start firing. Eventually it will come in if I'm settled in, but definitely not early in my innings."

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