The head coach of the Indian cricket team Anil Kumble is completely supporting his team even after a drastic collapse of the Indian batting line-up against Australia. The Indian batsmen surrendered themselves to left-arm spinner Stephen O’Keefe and got bowled out for 105 in the first innings, giving the visitors an important lead.
Talking about India's innings, Kumble said, “Like you said, you are bound to have one bad day. It was disappointing. We were in a pretty decent position when (KL) Rahul and Ajinkya (Rahane) were batting out there. But once Rahul got out, we lost those four wickets in five or six balls. That certainly pushed us back. It was one of those things with a couple of soft dismissals."
O’Keefe , playing the fifth Test of his career and first in India claimed a six-wicket haul by conceding just 35 runs. He forced the Indian batsmen to lose their last 7 wickets for just 11 runs.
Explaining the Indian innings, Kumble said, “And this pitch was certainly challenging, so we needed a lot more restraint and showed that if you put your head down, you could make those runs. It was unfortunate that once Rahul got out, we seemed to lose the bearing at that point of time."
He further elaborated, “It is a challenging surface which requires application, aggression and a bit of caution as well. You need a mix out of that. And today was not our day. We have to give credit to the Australian bowlers as well. It was one of those days when you go back and start, ‘Ok, how do we come back and pick those six wickets?’"
Talking about the pitch conditions, the spinning legend said, “It’s a surface where you needed to adapt. We didn’t adapt really well. Probably if you look at yesterday, the first 80 runs in the first session and the last 60 runs for the last wicket – that slightly took us away from what we were wanting to restrict Australia too. And like I mentioned, we are bound to fail (at times). A couple of batsmen are bound to fail, having been scoring exceptionally well. (Captain) Virat (Kohli) got out today and Pujara got out cheaply; and so did Vijay."
Kumble also talked about the partnership of Rahul and Rahane, he said, “Once Rahul and Ajinkya had that partnership of 50, that’s when we could have consolidated and probably got closer to the target or probably even got a lead. But once we lost that wicket, the lower order has performed brilliantly over the last year or so, just had a poor day. I still feel there’s a lot of cricket to be played in this Test match. Tomorrow is another day. You need to play your shots on this type of wicket. You couldn’t really blame the batsman (Rahul). In hindsight, he could have held back."
Talking about Rahul's shoulder injury while attempting a big shot and got out, Kumble said, “He hurt his shoulder a little bit. He came off a little bit while he was batting. So we had to take care, this is more a precaution. He is ok now. He was back on the field for the last couple of overs. He should be okay. Tomorrow we have to see how he responds. Usually, these kinds of injuries take 24 hours before it resurfaces. So we are hoping he will be fine.”
When asked about the missed chances of the Australian captain Steven, Kumble replied, “We would like to restrict them to as little as possible. We dropped a few catches. It has hurt us in the past, especially in this game you need to hold your chances even if half chances. We dropped Steve Smith on a couple of occasions; that has certainly pushed us back. Hopefully tomorrow morning we can pick up a few early wickets and then put the pressure back on them.”
Kumble concluded by praising O’Keefe, he said, “I think he bowled steady. He bowled consistently in good areas. Like I mentioned, there were a couple of soft dismissals, and that pushed us back. It was one of those days where we saw Jadeja bowl in the last session where probably every over he was beating the bat three times. It was one of those days where on another day, that could have all taken the edge.”