India effectively strangled Australia with a leg-side trap to secure an epic 2-1 series victory Down Under, bowling coach Bharat Arun revealed on Friday.
Humiliated in Adelaide, where they were shot out for a record innings low of 36, an injury-ravaged India drew level in Melbourne before completing a series victory for the ages by clinching the Brisbane decider.
It all began with a call from head coach Ravi Shastri five months before the first Test got underway in Adelaide, said Arun.
“Ravi Shastri called me sometimes in July and said we need to take the off-side out of the Australians,” the former test player told reporters in a video conference.
“We had our own analysis. Steve Smith and (Marnus) Labuschagne and most of the Australians got a lot of runs out of the cut, the pull and on the off-side,” he said referring to Australia’s batting lineup.
They had also noted Australia’s batting mainstay Smith’s discomfort against balls aimed at his body during Australia’s series against New Zealand earlier last year.”
Ravi said ‘I want to make a plan to eliminate the off-side for the Australians.’ Then we sat about and planned the whole thing.”
“We said we’re going to attack more straighter lines and have on-side field, so it is very difficult for their batsman to be consistently clearing the on-side fields. That really worked for us.”
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was impressed how India employed the leg-slip position in Melbourne where Smith, Labuschagne and captain Tim Paine all fell into the trap.
Arun said skipper Virat Kohli, who returned home after the Adelaide loss to attend the birth of his daughter, and stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane endorsed the plans, while the bowlers stuck to the suggested line.
India returned to a rousing reception on Thursday and Arun said the euphoria would not affect their preparation for the four-test series against England beginning on Feb. 5.
“As our fielding coach R Sridhar said, it took us two days to forget that 36 all out,” Arun said.
“Similarly, we have done an exceptional job in Australia… but we need to forget this also and look forward to the England series.”