We've struck psychological blows on Indian batsmen: Arthur

Australia coach Mickey Arthur has thrown down the gauntlet to India's famed batsmen by claiming that they have "chinks in their armour" and his team's young pace attack has inflicted "psychological blows" on them for the remainder of the ongoing Test series.

Updated: December 31, 2011 12:03 IST
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Sydney: Australia coach Mickey Arthur has thrown down the gauntlet to India's famed batsmen by claiming that they have "chinks in their armour" and his team's young pace attack has inflicted "psychological blows" on them for the remainder of the ongoing Test series.

"They all have chinks in their armour. They all come with great records and fantastic scores. Yet every batsman in world cricket loves to keep scoring. If we can step the dot balls up and build pressure, it's a way in for us. Pressure is the name of the game in Test cricket," said Arthur after his young pace attack laid low the Indians in both innings of the first Test.

"We could keep them under the pump (in Melbourne) long enough. I would like to think we have struck some psychological blows," stated Arthur as he looked to build an early lead into a 2-0 advantage during the second Test at the SCG, starting on Tuesday.

Indian batsmen appeared shell-shocked against the pace trio of James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus at the MCG, losing their last eight wickets for 68 runs in the first innings and being all out for 169 in the second. The pace trio took as many as 19 of the 20 Indian wickets

Arthur, who had earlier coached South Africa, mocked the Indian batting line-up and claimed he now has "information" on them to execute the plans better in Sydney.

"I do think our bowlers were very good. I do think we executed over plans very well. I do think we now have a lot of information we can use going forward. We will alter our game plan slightly for the top four of the six.

"There is enough information to enable us to do it."

Arthur has no fears that Tendulkar averages 221.33 from his four Tests in Sydney and that he once struck 241 at the hallowed turf. Another Indian veteran, VVS Laxman also averages 96.20 at the SCG and has three hundreds from as many matches.

"If you look at Sydney, Sachin and Laxman have played very well there. Traditionally, the bounce has been a little lower here. It's been one of the wickets in Australia where they were as close to the sub-continental conditions as you could be outside.

"But the SCG has changed a little as we would see. I hope there is some grass on it. I have no doubt that he (Tendulkar) would get his 100th century at some stage. He's a quality player. But I would like it to be after the tour of Australia.

"Sydney has seamed around a little bit of late. Perth is going to be bouncy and quick. We believe we have a method. We just need to execute it," said Arthur.

"Still, whatever plans you make you still need bowlers to execute them. I can't speak highly enough of them."

Arthur said the present Australian attack has the potential to be world's best.

"I do think this pace attack has the potential to become the best in the world.

"The potential Australia has, and not just in bowling stocks alone, is very exciting. We've got guys firing all the time. We wanted 15 players who can play international cricket at any time. By the end of the summer, we could have 22," he said.

"There's competition for every spot and that's a good sign. We need to reduce our 12 to 11 for Sydney; when Watson comes into picture, we would have to squeeze 11 out of the 13; if (Pat) Cummins comes in at Perth, we would have to get 11 out of 14. What it means there is no guarantee for anyone."

Arthur almost ruled out that Australia could go into the Sydney Test with four fast bowlers now that impressive swing bowler Ryan Harris is fit. He also backed off-spinner Nathan Lyon to do well against the Indians.

"I am pretty loathe to go into any Test without a spinner. SCG normally favours spin down the line. Five days is a long time as well.

"It could be they would try to go after Lyon. But he is a skillful spinner. It would be interesting for if it is typical SCG pitch, he would have to bowl a lot of overs," he said.

"I hope he can tie them down and hopefully strike in the second innings. But for it to happen, we need to have enough runs. Then with Nathan bowling could become very interesting prospect for us."

Even though conditions are likely to be difficult for batsmen, Arthur showed full confidence in his first six to do the job.

"The six batsmen we have at the moment are the best to do the job. We just need to give them time especially younger players who are at number one, two and three.

"Warner is going to be a great players; same with Marsh and Ed (Cowan) gives the stability we were looking for. He brings a certain calmness...we need to give them every opportunity to come through."

"Opening partnership with the bat and opening partnership with the ball is going to be crucial," Arthur said.

Arthur also couldn't praise the two senior batters of the side, Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey, high enough.

"When the score is 27 for 4, you need Mike Hussey walking to the wicket. At that moment, we needed two experienced heads in the middle. You can't buy experience in a supermarket. I do think the bat camp, or boot camp, offered the best possible Test match preparation. I think we saw the value of it," he said.

"Ricky played really well; Hussey was striking the ball fantastically. I had no doubt he would come to the party. The emphasis mainly is about maintaining performance.

"Good teams become ruthless. They become consistent. Their highs and lows are close. Hobart and Melbourne were apart; we got to bring them closer. Our bad days need to be nearly as good as our good days are and then we become a very good team," he added.

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