Smith rejects India whitewash forecast

Australia captain confident team will put up good show against arch rivals

Afp February 22, 2017
Photo Courtesy: CA

PUNE: Steve Smith dismissed predictions Wednesday that Australia face another series whitewash against India but admitted they had to show more fight to have any chance of stopping the world's number one Test team.

Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly and veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh have both forecasted a clean sweep for the hosts when the arch rivals begin their four-Test series on Thursday in Pune.

India, who are on a record-breaking 19-match unbeaten run, toppled Australia from the top of the Test rankings back in August when Smith's side were beaten 3-0 in Sri Lanka.

That was the third time in a row that the Australians had lost all of their Tests in away series against teams from the sub-continent, a sequence which began with a 4-0 reverse in India in 2013.

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But speaking to reporters on the eve of the first Test, Australia skipper Smith said the tourists knew they were in for a difficult series but rejected the idea that another whitewash was on the cards.

"I don't believe that's the case. I'm confident in the squad we've got here to compete against India," he said. "India have played some very good cricket off late, particularly at home, so we're under no illusions there, it's going to be tough. But we've got the squad here that can compete in these conditions."

Smith said Australia were determined not to dwell too much on their most recent performances on the sub-continent but admitted that a repeat would spell disaster.

"Obviously some of the away performances of late haven't been up to standard from my point of view and the Australian cricket team's point of view," he said.

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"We want to change the way we play away from home. We want to be more adaptable to conditions and show some fight.

"For me it's starting things fresh. We have come here with a positive mindset. The more we think about the last time we came here or Sri Lanka, we start to lose."

After the match in Pune, the two sides are also due to play Tests in Bangalore, Ranchi and Dharamsala.

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