Maxwell wants fourth-innings ‘havoc’
Glenn Maxwell took the flight to India just days after bagging a million-dollar contract with the Mumbai Indians. But he quickly had to get over the euphoria and get into the Test cricket mindset. After Australia lost the first Test, he was handed his Baggy Green cap in Hyderabad, and was expected to make contributions with bat and ball on debut to revive his team’s flagging fortunes in Indian conditions.
The first opportunity came with the bat and it couldn’t produce more than two boundaries. With the ball, he was taken to the cleaners by India’s marathon centurions, Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay, on the second day of the second Test. It was turning out to be a forgettable Test debut for the 24-year-old all-rounder. But then a wave of change came in the second session of Day 3.
Maxwell removed Vijay (167) with a ball that turned and bounced out of nowhere, and thus the procession of Indian wickets began. From 387 for one, India were bundled out for 503. Maxwell went back to the dressing room with four wickets against his name and some valuable lessons about off-spin bowling on Indian wickets.
In his chat with bcci.tv, the optimistic Aussie all-rounder insisted that with a dogged batting display, the visitors can avoid a defeat that’s staring at them at the moment.
How many butterflies wreaked havoc in your tummy before this big game?
Yes, I was pretty nervous before the game. I’m glad that I’ve got my first hit with the bat and my first ball out of the way. Now I can move on in the second innings.
After a tough day in the field yesterday, you tasted success today. Did those wickets feel like sweet fruits reaped after a lot of hard work?
I didn’t bowl too well yesterday, so it was nice to come back to pick up some wickets in the second session today. I’ve done a lot of work on my bowling in the last few years and it all came off today.
Did you pick up anything from the two Indian off-spinners?
I learnt a lot watching them use the conditions to great effect, especially the pace variation. I also saw how well they use the over-the-wicket angle to their advantage. I tried it today and it worked well for me.
How tough is it to believe in yourself when opposition batsmen bat like Pujara and Vijay were going about their business?
Honestly, I was really optimistic. I knew we were only one ball away from pegging back in, and it happened today. Out of nowhere, Vijay nicked one to Ed [Cowan] and it was stream roll from there. It was a great feeling to pick up four big wickets today, and hopefully things fall our way in the next two days.
What happened during the second half of the post-lunch session? Did the wicket start playing up or did you and Xavier Doherty make significant changes in your plan?
I think it was just that one wicket that got us going. As soon as you get one, you get another because this is a hard wicket to start on as a new batsman. So, the moment we got Vijay, we knew we can open them up and get the new batsmen out quickly.
That’s the biggest cue for the Australian batsmen, isn’t it?
Exactly. Big hundreds are the key. If we get a few of them in this innings and get a lead, we might be able to cause some havoc in the second innings.
Having bowled on this track today, how difficult do you reckon will it be to face the Indian spinners?
The Indian batsmen seemed to do it so easily in that middle period, handling myself, Doherty, Warner and Clarke. If our batsmen bat with good footwork, we too can do the same. It’s just a matter of hanging on.