And as expected the focus was on slip catching after a number of dropped chances saw the Indians hand away the advantage to Steve Smith and his boys in the opening encounter at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Having lost the opening Test by 333 runs inside three days, the boys went on a hike on Monday to Tamhini Ghat, around 80km from Pune, to unwind and return fresh. And having reached Bengaluru on Tuesday, the team hit the ground running on Wednesday morning.
The old adage goes that catches win you matches. And the Pune Test bore testimony to the statement. While the likes of Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw picked up some blinders to dismiss the Indian batsmen and remind former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar of yesteryear star Eknath Solkar — known for his close-in catching — India’s established slip fielders like Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay put up a pretty mediocre show.
And after the initial warm-up session at the National Cricket Academy ground, the likes of Kohli, Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha were seen practicing slip catching under the watchful eyes of fielding coach R Sridhar. The session went on for close to half an hour before the boys got back to batting and bowling drills.
Post the nets, it was the turn of Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara to join Sridhar for a slip-catching session. Pujara also took some catches at forward short-leg to sharpen his reflexes at the spot.
Bhuvi bowls as Ishant wears umpire’s hat
After being left out for the first Test in Pune, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was seen in the thick of things on Wednesday as he was one of the first set of bowlers to hit the nets. With the NCA having five nets, one was used for throwdowns, two nets were used by the spinners and the other two by the fast bowlers.
While the spin bowlers getting first use of the nets were Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, the pacers who started proceedings were Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar. Interestingly, Ishant was seen standing behind the bowling crease at the umpire’s spot. Clearly, he will have his task cut-out to make it into the playing XI after a poor show in the first Test.
Kohli hits top gear
Thanks to the hectic playing schedule, players are nowadays known to take it light during training sessions. But after a rare failure in the Pune Test, with scores of 0 and 13, Kohli wants no let-up in the second Test in Bengaluru. The Indian skipper was seen having a long session at the different nets.
Starting off with a throwdown session, Kohli turned to both pace and spin as he looks to come back strongly in the second Test. Coach Anil Kumble too was seen keeping a close eye on his wards as he doesn’t want another debacle.
Karun Nair too was seen having a longish outing at the nets after failing to find a place in the team in the first Test.
Shami comes visiting
India pacer Mohammed Shami who is currently at the NCA undergoing rehabilitation post an injury-induced break came over to meet the boys during training. He was seen having a chat with the boys as they went through the drills.
Kohli and Kumble will be hoping that the Bengal pacer can return to full fitness ahead of the selection meeting for the third Test in Ranchi. Shami last played for India in the third Test against England at Mohali in November.
Ajinkya RahaneBhuvneshwar KumarIndia vs Australia 2017ishant sharmamohammed shamiR AshwinRavindra Jadejasteve smithUmesh Yadavvirat kohli
First Published: March 1, 2017, 12:11 PM IST