Having watched England’s abject surrender against India, Australian captain Steve Smith is “under no illusions” that the four-Test series against Virat Kohli’s men starting February 23, will be an easy one.
Australia thrashed Pakistan 3-0 at home but Smith is extremely cautious about what to expect when they meet the world No 1 Test team at their own backyard especially after the disastrous last tour in 2013 when they were blanked 0-4.
“It’s obviously going to be a very difficult series. We are under no illusions that it’s not going to be tough. We’re going to have to play some very good cricket if we want to compete over there. It’s going to be a great challenge and learning curve for this group,” Smith told reporters here.
Smith was a part of the team that toured India in 2013.
“A few of us have been there before. We know it’s extremely difficult to play them in their own backyard. It’s a completely different place to play, playing on those wickets that are nothing like playing on the wickets here in Australia.”
Coach Darren Lehmann feels that his boys will have to do what England could not do on a few occasions.
“Batting long periods of time is going to be the key. I think (England’s) Alastair Cook summed it up really well on their tour, where they didn’t bat long enough. They got decent scores but they still didn’t bat long enough. That’s going to be the challenge for this group,” said Lehmann.
“We batted 135 overs in the first innings (in Sydney). We’ll need to bat for 150 overs plus in India to post a big total. It’s a great challenge for the young group. They’re fit and strong so they should be able to bat long periods of time.”
Asked about what kind of squad composition is expected against India, the coach didn’t divulge even though there is a buzz that veteran opener Shaun Marsh will find a place in the squad.
“It is a case of what’s the best line-up to win in India and compete. At the moment, you would say he would play but we have to sum up what the conditions are like, what the pitches will be like, how we will play everyone in the XI to give us a chance to take 20 wickets.”
The first Test against India is scheduled to start in Pune on February 23.