It was a forgettable day for the Australians here on Saturday. Particularly, for spinners Nathan Lyon and Ashton Agar.
Xavier Doherty, the 30-year-old left-arm spinner from Tasmania, said, “It was not a good day for the spin group. We were working on different fields and spaces. Things did not begin well but hopefully we can do better,” he said.
Asked about Lyon’s expensive figures — 97 runs in 20 overs — and queried whether the off-spinner would be better off bowling a little faster at the Indian batsmen, Doherty replied, “Nathan is not that type of bowler and it would not work for him.”
On left-arm spinner Agar being punished by the India ‘A’ batsmen, Doherty said, “Being the youngest, he struggled the most among the three spinners. He is going to play plenty of cricket at this level in the future and it will be a great learning experience for him against quality batsmen.”
Doherty has just three wickets in his previous two Tests but his display here on day one — dismissed three front-line batsmen — could put him in contention for a place in the first Test.
He was not willing to speculate though. “There are two more days to play here and we would have to decide after that.”
Talking about his style of bowling, Doherty said, “I am a little faster through the air. I have been like that all through my career.”
He felt the Aussie pacemen had impressed in the conditions. “The pacemen bowled well all day and there were some misses and nicks. I thought they were very good towards the end of the day too. The ball was reversing as well for them.”
Rohit Sharma, well set for a hundred, fell for 77 but did not sound disappointed about not progressing further.
“I am happy with whatever I got. If I get a hundred then some may ask why I did not go on to make 150. I am looking forward to the opportunities that I will get,” he said.
The 25-year-old Rohit, yet to play a Test, dwelt on his 128-run second-wicket association with Gambhir. “We have always complemented each other. The ball was turning when I came on and Gambhir and I had a chat. He told me that we should play the waiting game for some time and then the runs would come freely.”
Rohit congratulated Gambhir on his century. “The way he batted, it was wonderful.”
He said pacemen Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle made the batsmen work hard for runs. “Siddle and Starc bowled really tight lines. They were getting the ball to reverse too. It was a slow wicket and it was not easy to pick runs off them.”
The strokeful right-hander was unwilling to write the Australian spinners off. “You cannot underestimate anybody. They are not bad bowlers. At the same time, except for the last series (against England) our batsmen have really done well against spin.”