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Mitchell Starc takes a dig at Team India

Wisden India logo Wisden India 03-03-2017

Australia are high on confidence going in to the second Test against India in Bangalore starting on March 4, and Mitchell Starc, their pace spearhead, is all set to use his familiarity with the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, where he has played a lot of cricket for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, to help the visiting side prepare well for the contest.

"I can't see it being too bouncy or quick because it's a weakness of the Indian batters," Starc told reporters on Tuesday (February 28), ahead of the team's flight from Pune to Bangalore. "We'll probably see it not turning as much as this (Pune) wicket has, or breaking up as quickly.

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"I think we'll probably see a wicket similar to maybe the England series they had over here, where it's probably flatter and there's some really big first-innings totals and the game happens a bit quicker towards the end. It's a smaller ground, but a bit better of a wicket than what we've seen here in Pune."

Australia have won just two of the five Tests they've played in Bangalore over the past 38 years, but coming into the contest on the back of a massive 333-run win over the hosts in the first Test, Steven Smith’s side will be hoping to better that record.

"We know that first innings are going to be huge now for the rest of the series, and when we bat in the second innings to really make the most of it," said Starc. "If we can do that as a batting unit, it's going to leave us in great stead. And then the bowlers, we really feel like we can take 20 wickets whether it be with the reversing ball or, as we've seen this week, with spin."

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Starc stressed on the importance of using reverse swing to good effect, revealing that the Australian pacers were working hard at perfecting the skill.

"Obviously, we'll wait until we get there to see what the conditions are like, but I'm sure it will be a pretty dry wicket again,” he said. “So that'll probably help reverse swing there and it's something we'll be working hard at all the time in the nets.

"After the first over I bowled (in the first Test in Pune) there was a little bit of natural swing, and then Steve (O'Keefe) obviously bowled at the other end and it was quite an abrasive wicket. It didn't swing after that. I think we can get better at reverse-swing, in terms of how we get that ball – looking after that shiny side, because if there's going to be more wickets like Pune, they're going to be so abrasive and really chop the ball up.

"So we probably didn't get it going as much as we would have liked, but there's three Tests to go and we're 1-0 up."

Starc was Australia's most successful bowler in Sri Lanka last year during their otherwise poor tour, where they were swept 3-0 in the Tests. His tally of 24 wickets at 15.16 was the best by an Australia pacer in a three-Test campaign in Asia.

"The Sri Lankan series is probably a blueprint for the way I want to bowl over here, in terms of using my air speed and really exploiting that reverse-swing to batsmen," he revealed. "Because if you're moving it off the straight, it makes it hard no matter where you're batting and if it's home or away conditions.

"It's something Josh (Hazlewood) has really improved on as well over the last 12 or 18 months, his reverse-swing bowling. He's a great exponent of it now as well, and it's something we can continue to work on as a fast-bowling pair."

The third and fourth Tests of this series will be played in Ranchi and Dharamsala, both first-time Test venues, from March 16 and March 25 respectively.

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