Australian coach Justin Langer has admitted the present side lacks world-class batsman, and also conceded that Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara are the difference between the two sides in the ongoing Test series. India are 2-1 ahead in the series after thrashing the hosts by 131 runs at Melbourne. The final Test begins at Sydney on Thursday.
"At this stage, the difference in the series is Pujara and Kohli, if we're frank. Pujara averages 53 and Kohli has averaged 46 and got a duck in the second innings. The lesson we learn from that is he just absorbed all our pressure. It's the art of batting, isn't it? It's about absorbing pressure. You've got so much time in Test cricket, and I guess in the world we live in, everything is so instant and so quick and talk about strike rates. Our guys are learning that, or hopefully, they're learning that. If they don't we'll keep having performances like we're having," Langer was quoted as saying in a Times Now report.
According to Langer, Australia lost the Test after being bowled out for 151 in the first innings. There was no way back from there. "It was a really tough Test match. I've said from day one it's going to be a real arm wrestle the Test series and it feels like that. It has been tough, we probably got the worst of the conditions in this Test match and our first innings batting particularly was not up to the work we put into it. We feel disappointed and tired, but we are getting ready to refresh and get ready for the fourth one," Langer went on to say.
While Australia are still missing David Warner and Steve Smith, the form of opener Aaron Finch and Mitchell Marsh is a worry, with Peter Handscomb already being dropped. "He (Finch) is having a bit of a lean run of it although he has got a couple of the fifties. He got a 100 run partnership one Test match ago and that set up the whole Test match for us. Finch is a really good player and he is working harder probably than he has ever worked. He has got to somehow recharge his batteries over and over again. It is a great challenge for him at the moment and he will be better I think," Langer stated.
--By A Cricket Correspondent