PUNE, India (Reuters) - Captain Steve Smith described Australia’s thumping win against India as one of his best victories but warned his team mates of a possible backlash from the smarting hosts.
“They’re an amazing team particularly in their own backyard. They’re going to come back hard and we’ve got to be ready for it,” Smith told reporters after Australia’s 333-run victory in the first test on Saturday.
The odds were heavily stacked against the visiting side when they arrived in India, after they had lost their last nine tests in Asia and suffered a 4-0 whitewash on their 2013 tour to the country.
India, the world’s top-ranked side, were unbeaten in their previous 19 tests with their last loss at home coming in 2012 against England in Kolkata, prompting the Australian captain to call his side underdogs.
Smith’s men, however, thrashed India inside three days to go 1-0 up in the four-match series.
”It’s right up there. Coming to India, we haven’t won a game here in 4,502 days. I’ve been told those facts,“ Smith said. ”So it has been an incredibly long time.
”The guys have been excited by the opportunity to come and play here. We know it’s a great challenge and this game the boys were up to the challenge.
“The pressure was on us. Everyone wrote us off and expected India to win four-nil. That can’t happen any more.”
On a surface offering prodigious turn for the spinners, left-armer Steve O‘Keefe picked up six wickets for 35 in both innings to help Australia scythe through India’s batting line-up.
Smith, who hit his 18th test hundred and his first in India in the second innings, congratulated his team mates for their efforts.
”Terrific job over the last three days,“ the 27-year-old said. ”But it’s only one game. It’s a four-match series and we’d like to win the series, as you like to do with every series.
“For us it’s about taking it one day at a time and continuing to worry about our processes. If we do that like we did in this game, hopefully the result will take care of itself.”
Australia’s last series win in India came way back in 2004 when they won 2-1 and Smith urged his team mates to keep up the intensity.
“I wouldn’t say it was perfect but we did a lot of things right in this test match, that’s for sure,” Smith said. “But there are still areas that we can improve on. It’s going to be a tough road.”
There was a lot of criticism of the pitch at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, making its debut as a test centre, with the surface assisting the spinners from the first session of the match.
Smith said the pitch was prepared to suit the home team but played into their hands.
”I think it was certainly a wicket that would more likely suit the Indian players. I think it evened up the contest a lot more,“ he said. ”It was up to them to prepare a wicket and they prepared a wicket that actually played into our hands.
“It would be interesting to see what they come up with come Bangalore.”
Editing by Clare Fallon