India certainly are an upbeat side after their victory over Australia at Adelaide. However, former India cricketer Anil Kumble felt that the side need to show a lot more discipline, especially in their batting, heading into the second Test at Perth if they are to move closer towards sealing the series.
In an exclusive interview on Cricketnext, Kumble touched upon the topic of the Indian batsmen giving their wickets away quite cheaply in the first Test at the Adelaide Oval, both among the established batsmen as well as those in the lower order.
"Whether you win the toss and bat first or bowl first, you have to do your disciplines right. I think India got it right in terms of the bowling department. One thing that they have to really iron out is their batting in the first innings. I think there were too many loose shots too early at the start of the Test series and start of a session.
"I mean, you don't play those kinds of shots on Day 1 of a Test series when you have the opportunity to grab it with both hands and similarly, in the second innings, they will be disappointed that they missed out with their bottom five batsmen throwing their wickets around to get some quick runs," said Kumble, adding that the Indian bowlers needed to be well-rested before resuming duties at Perth.
While the Indian bowlers were clinical as a unit in the first Test, and are expected to make the most of a green pitch at Perth, they once again showed the inability to quickly polish the tail off, a problem that had plagued them in their 4-1 series defeat in England.
According to the spin legend, India's inability to dismiss the opposition's tail-enders quickly boiled down to the bowlers trying too many things. Additionally, with bowlers starting to pay attention to their batting skills as per the requirements of the modern-day game, Kumble added that the Indian bowlers needed to treat their opposition counterparts as proper batsmen rather than tail-enders.
"I think they try too many things. As soon as you see a lower order batsman, you start to think that I have to get him out in these six balls. It doesn't happen that way. You still have to restrict them. You still have to entice them.
"Everyone works on their batting, so it's not easy to just come in and run through the lower order anymore but that's why I am saying, you need to treat them as top order batsmen and then bowl accordingly," said Kumble.
While Cheteshwar Pujara was the standout among the visiting batsmen in the first Test, with Ajinkya Rahane chipping in with a vital half-century in the second essay, the Indians have largely struggled with the bat so far in the series, and opener KL Rahul is among the batsmen on whom the spotlight has fallen for the wrong reasons.
The former India captain felt that Rahul needed a boost in his confidence in the form of his team management backing him if he were to revive his form in the five-day format.
"He hasn't had a consistent run in the international cricket. He hasn't been someone who has put in a score and then followed it up with another good score and that's something I am sure must be playing in his mind.
"What will help is to go and settle his nerves, say you are going to play the next three Tests and I don't know if that has happened. It's something that always plays on the young player. Yes, he has already played 30-plus Test matches and isn't a youngster anymore, but at the same time it's important that someone like Rahul needs that assurance..." added Kumble.
The third Test between India and Australia gets underway on Friday at the Perth Stadium, which gears up for its Test debut, having replaced the iconic WACA as the cricketing venue in the Western Australia capital. While the Tim Paine-led hosts announced an unchanged side, the Indians enter the match without Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma, both of whom are nursing fitness issues.