We need some inspiration: Dravid
Sydney, Jan 6: Trailing by 354 runs and having lost the important wickets of Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid, the SCG Test match was tilted in Australia’s favour at the end of Day 3. After the day’s play, Dravid reviewed the contest between the two teams and spoke to the media about the way forward for India.
Excerpts from the press conference:
On the plan ahead
The key for us is to keep them on the field for a long period of time. If we can keep their bowlers and fielders on the field for more than 100 overs, then we can put them under pressure and some of their bowlers [will] wilt. Sadly in the three innings we have played so far, we haven't been able to do that. They kept us on the field for a long time [on Day 3]. We need to try and do that. We have probably been in the field much longer. They put us under the pump. The real key for us is to keep them in the field for that long. They are coming in hard, running in hard. The last spell they bowled really well. After drinks, the last 15 overs they came in really hard. That's one of the challenges.
On whether India would be able to bat after tea on Friday
That's where the real challenge is. If we can hang in there, play out time, and have them on the field for a long time.
On whether India could save the Test by batting out the next two days
I don't know if we can think about saving the game right now. We need to go out there and show some fight. And bat as long as we can. Who knows what can happen? We have got quality batsmen who can bat long periods. I am sure the guys will go out and fight and do the best they can.
On whether a performance like the one VVS Laxman and he had put up in 2001 was possible here
I would hope so. We need a lift. We need to perform better than we have. We have not played well in the last three days. We need some inspiration.
On the challenges for the batsmen
Part of the challenge is mental, part of it is physical and technical. Physically you have to bat for long period of times. Technically, they have a good attack that is bowling well, so you have to counter them technically as well. It's a combination of effort. If we are going to save the game, we need everything to work for us.
On the team’s effort
I'm a little bit disappointed in the sense. In the England series we were not always with our best attack. Due to injuries and various other reasons, our bowling attack in England wasn't the best possible attack. Here we had the best bowling attack we can possibly hope for. So it is obviously disappointing.
On India’s bowling
Once partnerships develop, and runs [are scored], we need to pull it back and try to control the runs. Having said that, it's not easy. It's something we need to consider. We can't afford to give a lot of runs. Even if we don't take wickets, we have to stop the run flow.
On the defensive field placements
It's hard when you are under the pump, you have 190 runs to play with, and the game is running away from you. The wicket was pretty flat. You try and bring the field up and they were stepping out and hitting it over the top or piercing the field. You try to push the field back to control the runs for a bit and maybe get a wicket and bring it back in. We didn't get a wicket all day. Sometimes it happens.
After [Ricky] Ponting got out, we brought the field up, but [Michael] Hussey came out and played a few really good shots. Again you are forced to push the field back because the game is running away from you very quickly.
On India’s decision to bat first on winning the toss
I don't think it was a wrong decision to bat first. We didn't bat well, that's why we find ourselves in this situation. I think we knew it was going to be challenging. The first 35-40 overs on the first morning were always going to be a challenge. We didn't bat particularly well. 190 is not good enough on that wicket.
On the wicket
The wicket hasn't changed too much. If anything it is a bit slower. There wasn't much turn for [Ravichandran] Ashwin nor for Nathan Lyon in the couple of overs he bowled. Shot-making might be a little bit more difficult because of the slowness.
On the Australian bowlers
Obviously they are pitching it up. The ball has started to reverse a little bit. When you are pitching it up, and it is reversing, obviously they are looking to bowl [out batsmen]. It's pretty obvious. [When] the ball is hard and swinging normally, you look to bring the slips into play. Once the ball becomes old, obviously they are looking to attack the stumps. I can understand that's what they are trying to do. They have bowled pretty good balls.
On Gautam Gambhir
I'm happy for him. He has worked very hard. He’s been under a lot of pressure, obviously. He wants to score runs, he’s keen to do well. He’s played positively. Later, towards the end of the day when things were tough, he gritted it out and hung in there. Hopefully he can convert it into a big one. We know he likes batting for long hours.