Hyderabad: Left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty on Monday said the Australian batsmen need to take a cue from the performances of Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay in order to save the side from the ignominy of another crushing defeat in the second Test match, here.
"Watching the two Indian batsmen [Vijay and Pujara] go about it - how disciplined they were yesterday and again this morning - that's how we've got to be," Doherty said when asked about what they needed to do in order to save the second Test.
After conceding a huge 266-run first innings lead, Australia were 74 for 2 in their second innings at the end of third day's play. "We've got some quality players at the crease. We need to find a way out that works and keep the good balls out. Yesterday, they [Vijay and Pujara] absorbed all the pressure we threw at them early on and scored their runs later in the day. If we do that tomorrow, it is game on, but we know there is a lot of hard work to be done tomorrow and we are well aware of that," he added.
Doherty said it was pleasing to get the nine wickets quickly after the mammoth partnership for the second wicket. "We came in today knowing we were up against it. We needed to put in a better effort than yesterday to eventually knock them over. Today, we took nine for 190 or something like that (9 for 192), which was a pleasing effort. But the damage was done yesterday, so there's still a lot of work for us to do to get ourselves back into the game," he said.
The 30-year-old, however, did admit that at one point, he felt as if he wouldn't get a single wicket. "It was starting to look that way. Particularly, with that close leg before decision which I thought was pretty good. Things just didn't seem to be going my way. In the last five or six overs, it was just more pleasing how the ball started to come out. To get a couple of wickets was nice as well," he said.
The Tasmanian conceded that the rough created on either side wasn't of any help to him. "The rough for me really wasn't in play at all. The little plates along the wicket, if you hit mid-plate, you get a bit more out of the odd ball. When Pujara and Vijay were going, it didn't seem like anything was really happening. But once we started to get into the middle-order, the ball started doing something so that was pleasing."
Asked whether he is losing his place in the side to Nathan Lyon for the third Test in Mohali, Doherty replied, "Not even thinking about the third Test at this stage. It was pleasing in some ways to find a little bit of form during the spell but the selection and those stuff, we've got a couple of days to worry about here before that."
Doherty said that he always knew India will be a tough place to tour. "We knew it was going to be hard. They're very good players of spin. Warnie [Shane Warne] came down and spoke to the spinning group post first Test and he said he averaged 45 over here, Murali averaged 47 or something like that they were the numbers he threw out. I'm not sure if they're accurate but that's what he said. So, some of the best bowlers in the world do battle over here.
"We knew it was going to be tough but it's just about grinding away. They weren't just going to walk off. You've got to keep going and really try to apply some pressure and move your field and just try little things, which is what we did."
Doherty was dismissive when asked to comment on former legspinner Stuart McGill's view that his selection wasn't a correct one. "I had no idea. The good thing about being here is you avoid all that. I am well aware there are people that want me in the team and people that don't want me in the team but that is the nature of being at this level," he signed off.
Will the Australian batsmen come up with an improved performance in the second innings?