PERTH (Reuters) - Australia captain Tim Paine believes his emerging team found a hard-nosed identity appropriate for their reformed demeanour after a 146-run victory against India in the “bruising” second test on Tuesday.
Having set the tourists a daunting 287 runs to win on a menacing Perth Stadium pitch, Australia dismissed top-ranked India for 140 midway through the first session on the final day to level the four-match series.
After losing the series-opener in Adelaide by 31 runs, a purposeful Australia held the upper-hand throughout to secure Paine’s first win as skipper in his fifth match at the helm.
“Really happy with the competitive, hard style we played. I think we’re slowly building into our style of cricket,” Paine told reporters.
“We stuck to our guns and delivered skill under pressure and managed to keep ahead in the game.”
Australia’s on-field behaviour was under the microscope in the aftermath of the damaging Newlands ball-tampering scandal and they have opted for a staid approach ever since.
In a tension-filled second test, Paine heatedly clashed with counterpart Virat Kohli on several occasions conjuring images of previous fiery contests between the teams.
The wicketkeeper-captain said Australia had struck the right balance with their on-field behaviour in Perth.
“We talk about playing on skill and not emotion,” he said. “We know our best cricket is played when we put emotion aside.
“(But) at times you’ve got to draw a line and stick up for yourself and team mates. We aren’t going to sit back and be walked all over.”
Paine praised Australia’s well-rounded performance, which started with an 112-run opening stand between Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch on the opening morning laying the platform for a first innings total of 326 – the highest of a low-scoring match.
“I think the way Finchy and Harris started was critical. From that moment we were always just ahead of the game,” said Paine.
“As a group we’re relieved, it’s been hard work. It’s been a bruising test match.
“To get a win like that against the number one test team is going to give us a huge boost of confidence.”
The series shifts to the traditional Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground followed by the finale in Sydney.
Editing by Amlan Chakraborty