Sport

Australia v India: David Warner says twos, not boundaries, the key to lifting shackles of spin

Australia's hopes of coming from behind to win the Twenty20 series against India, and of seriously challenging for the World Twenty20 in March, rest on them finding a way to score freely against spin.

The most influential factor in Australia's 37-run loss on Tuesday night in Adelaide was how India spinners Ravindra Jadeja and R. Ashwin mostly kept them to singles in the middle part of the innings – and took four wickets to boot.

In the seven overs the spinners bowled outside the powerplay, so having the protection of five outfielders, they produced a combined 4-32 off seven overs. Three-quarters of those runs came in singles; the only exceptions were a boundary and two shots that each went for two.

India captain M. S. Dhoni said he was pleased – but not surprised – at how left-arm finger-spinner Jadeja and off-spinner Ashwin had shackled the Australians.

"In this format, we have seen spinners being quite successful, especially after the sixth over once the field opens up," he said. "Over here, especially with the bigger outfield, they can exploit, unless the batsman is willing to play a few reverse-sweeps and all those shots or if he's very good at playing spin, then he can put pressure on the spinners. Otherwise it becomes slightly difficult to consistently hit them for big boundaries."

Warner was out by the time the field spread after the powerplay. He said he and his teammates should not get preoccupied with thumping boundaries off the spinners and should instead look for gaps so they can score twos.

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Finch twice hit Jadeja for two in his first over. No other Australian was able to do that in the following six overs of spin from Jadeja and Ashwin.

"During those middle overs a lot of us get carried away trying to play those big shots and not trying to take advantage of the big fields in Australia. In India, you can get away with trying to hit boundaries because it's a bit smaller," Warner said on Wednesday.

"Our 'basic' batting wasn't there, trying to get twos on the big fields."

The site of the second match, the MCG, will be conducive to Warner's strategy. The home team will also have at least one more spin option in the field, with all-rounder Glenn Maxwell to return from the minor hamstring injury that sidelined him from Australia's past two matches.

Warner also reckoned Shaun Tait's performance in his return to international cricket was better than his figures of 0-45 from four overs indicated. Tait could have had a wicket in his first over, of Rohit Sharma caught for four, but Kane Richardson spurned the chance as he battled to hold the catch while staying inside the boundary rope.

"Definitely [better than the scorecard indicated]. I think he should've had 3-20 ... but that's what happens in this game. It's very fickle," Warner said of the 32-year-old, whose hopes of making the final 15-man squad rest on impressing in the three matches against India.

The unbeaten 90 from Virat Kohli in Adelaide that fuelled India's victory took his record in Australia, across all formats, to 2136 runs at an average of 56.21, with nine centuries and seven half-centuries – a record hailed by his captain, Dhoni.

"I think in Adelaide they're making a stand [named after] him. With the [number] of runs he's scoring, by the time he ends his career quite a few Australian grounds will have his stand," Dhoni quipped, in relation to the 27-year-old.

"He's batting really well. The important thing is when he's taking a risk of playing a big shot he calculates it well.

"It's good if youngsters, if they get a chance, they grab it with both hands. I feel Virat did it really well, once he got the chance to bat up the order."

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