After picking up two wickets with his off-spin on day one of the Perth Test, Hanuma Vihari is of the view that India’s batsmen will have to be disciplined to score runs when they walk out for their first innings. India managed to pick six Australian batsmen for 277 runs on a green looking wicket after the home team put together an opening stand of 112.
"For us the important thing is to not think about those aspects too much,” said the 25-year-old at the post-day press conference about the pitch. “If it is up and down, you can't do much about it. If we can keep that out of our mind, we will be successful. As batsmen, we will try to be as disciplined as possible, just how we did in the second innings of the last (Adelaide) Test.
"You have to play ball by ball. That's what matters. If you are thinking about the previous ball, you won't react perfectly to the next ball. Keep that ball out of your mind.
"The first hour tomorrow will be very crucial. If we get them out for below 320, we are right back in the game. If we bat well, we have a good chance. The first hour is crucial."
Vihari, who was brought in to bowl once the seamers were tired, didn't have a great start to his spell but improved and went on to snare two crucial wickets, dismissing set batsmen Marcus Harris and Shaun Marsh.
"I tried to bowl a little bit quicker because I was trying to hit the surface a little bit more and get the bounce out of the wicket. That was the main idea try to keep it tight and give the seamers a rest. I knew I would have to step up if required. Overall I was prepared for that. I was happy I could do a job for the team," he said.
"I have done a bit of bowling, even in the Ranji Trophy level, but more in limited overs. I know the idea of where I can make the batsmen play. I try to play with the fields I have. I want to keep it simple and try to do the job for the country. I know my role very well in the team. I try to keep it tight. If the wickets come, it is a bonus. My job is to make the batsman play a loose shot for his runs," he added.
Speaking of Virat Kohli’s catch that sent back Peter Handscomb, Vihari believed that moments of brilliance on the field such as those can turn games.
“It was blinder,” said Vihari. “Those are the moments which changes the course of the game. We needed something after Lunch to change the rhythm. We were lucky that in the same over he came to the slips and changed the field around. It was meant to happen.”
Despite the loss of wickets in the latter stages of the day, Australian opener Aaron Finch reckoned that it was a good day for the home side. The opener, along with his partner Marcus Harris, gave Australia a solid start, also scoring his second half-century in Tests.
"I thought we batted really well today," he said. "The position we are in, we would have taken that at the start of the day."
But the Australian opener didn’t shy away from praising the opposition bowlers, especially Jasprit Bumrah.
“The length that he (Bumrah) has bowled so far has been outstanding,” said Finch. “He comes from wide on the crease and can move the ball both ways. This is a huge advantage for him.
“Some of the balls that he bowled today, you have to be in brilliant nick to edge them. Coming around the wicket to left-hand batsmen and straightening the ball so much is a huge asset to have. Even to right-hand batsmen, the ball towards the end to Tim (Paine) just took off and missed off stump.
“He’s a good bowler. He knows his game very well and he doesn’t give you anything easy. You have to feel as though you’re playing really well just to keep him out, but added to that the scoring options just aren’t there, as much as you would like.”
(with agency inputs)