Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Ajinkya Rahane looks on(Getty Images)



India’s batting performance in the second innings of the first Test in Adelaide left the cricketing world shocked. The No. 3-ranked Test team in the world, in a bid to extend their first-innings lead of 53, imploded, getting bowled out for a record low Test total of 36 all out, setting Australia just 90 to get. The Australian top order completed the formality and took a 1-0 lead, leaving India with plenty of questions.

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As the team heads into the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground hoping to pull off the grand daddy of comebacks, former Australia batsman Michael Hussey is hoping to see a better show, especially from India’s batsmen. Hussey believes India embarrassed themselves in the Adelaide Test, but now is the time to take the sting and convert it into a performance that hopes to bring them back into the series.

“It’s really going to test the mental strength of the Indian batsmen in my opinion. I think the Melbourne pitch will suit them a little bit more so they can take some confidence from that. I hope to see a response because they’ll be embarrassed by that – getting bowled out for 36. I was in a team when we were bowled out for 47 and it was embarrassing. You’d want to put up a better performance next up. But I think there will be some psychological blows there,” Hussey said on ESPNCricinfo.

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With Virat Kohli heading back home and premier fast bowler Mohammed Shami all but out of the series due to a fractured forearm, things don’t appear the best for India. But having said that, India’s squad still comprises some of the best batsmen and bowlers in the world, and together they need to get the team out of the rut it currently is in, feels Hussey.

“It’s a bit of a hammer blow. The last time India were here, they’d won the first Test match and it just really game them a lot of belief and confidence that they could win here in Australia. Suddenly they go 0-1 down, their captain heads home. Mohammed Shami being hit on the arm – now we’re not sure how bad that is – he’s one of the best bowlers in the Indian camp. I think the confidence would have really taken a hit and there’ll be a few doubts in mind,” Hussey added.

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One of the key elements for India will be their mental approach and Hussey feels now is the time for head coach Ravi Shastri and stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane to take the team forward by shunning the negativity out of the minds of their players.

“It’s very important for the likes of Shastri and Rahane, who is a now the captain, to get around the group and kick in a positive frame of mind. They can bounce back. These guys are all quality players, they have done the business in the past but a lot of it is played between the ears. If they can, I still believe there’s a chance for India in the series,” said Hussey.

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