Dubai: Cheteshwar Pujara, the rock of Indian batting line-up during their historic Test series win in Australia in 2018-19, is bracing up for the challenge of taking on Mitchell Starc & Co in the day-night opening Test in Adelaide with pink balls. India made their ‘debut’ in a pink ball Test last year around the same time against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens, a mis-matched contest which finished in little over two days.
“We will be playing with the pink Kookaburra in Australia, it will be slightly different,” Pujara, the series’ leading run scorer on their last visit, said in an interview with PTI.
“One has to understand and accept and get used to it (pink ball and lights) as early as possible ... The twilight period is more challenging than other periods.”
Looking ahead at the tour, Pujara, who spent a quarantine period in Dubai before leaving for Down Under with the Indian squad, said their team were capable of repeating their heroics from their last Test tour in Australia even though the hosts are stronger this time with the return of batsmen David Warner and Steve Smith.
Both Warner and Smith were unavailable for Australia while serving 12-month ball-tampering bans as India beat the hosts 2-1 in four matches.
Pujara said the current crop of India’s bowlers are capable of taking quick wickets to give them “every chance of winning” the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. “(Australia’s batting line-up) will be a little stronger than what it was in 2018-19, but then victories don’t come easy,” Pujara said.
“No doubt Smith, Warner and Marnus Labuschagne are great players. But the good part about our current crop of bowlers is that most of them play in the same series and our bowling unit will also not be very different to what it was in 2018-19.
“They know how to be successful in Australia as they have enjoyed success there in the past. They have their gameplans in place and if we can execute them well, they are capable of getting Smith, Warner and Labuschagne out quickly.” Pujara said.
Meanwhile, Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey said that despite many of their team members having not seen their families for months while staying in the bubble, they remain in good spirits.
Carey and a host of his Australia teammates are midway through a two-week quarantine period in Sydney after returning home last week from the Indian Premier League, which was played in a biosecure bubble in the United Arab Emirates.
Training sessions are the players’ only break from the monotony of being holed up alone in their hotel rooms, so they have been taking to practice with gusto, said Carey. “Its really strict - which is good,” the 29-year-old told reporters of quarantine in a video call from his room.
“Once were back in the hotel from training were locked in our rooms. No contact with anyone else.
“At 9 a.m., were really excited to get out of the hotel and head to training which brings a lot of energy to group sessions.
“Everyones staying really tight on that, we understand that (with) the summer coming up, doing everything right is what we have to do.”