Australia coach urges team not to panic

Coach Tim Nielsen is saying in public what he's been telling his Australian lineup since its comprehensive second-Test loss to India: don't panic.

updated: October 26, 2008 09:39 IST
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New Delhi:

Coach Tim Nielsen is saying in public what he's been telling his Australian lineup since its comprehensive second-Test loss to India: don't panic.

India is 1-0 up after two of four Tests after completing a crushing win at Mohali earlier this week.

With Australia bereft of experienced spinners on the turning Indian wickets, and up against a more experienced team, the tourists are faced with the prospect of a rare series defeat.

However, Nielsen said the players should draw on their creditable performance in the first Test in Bangalore as they approach the third game of the series in Delhi from next Wednesday.

"One thing we just have to be so certain about is that we don't panic," Nielsen said in comments reported Thursday. "We have to understand what the right way to go about playing over here is, and keep ourselves controlled and calm enough that we can deliver under the pressure we find ourselves.

"We understand it's only a week since we played well in Bangalore. If we do the same in Delhi we will be competitive.

"Our challenge is to ensure the momentum they have gathered does not carry itself through to the next two Tests."

Australia controlled the first Test at Bangalore but was unable to dismiss India on the final day and had to settle for a draw.

"We showed in Bangalore we can compete and put ourselves in winning positions," Nielsen said.

The pitch for the third Test is again expected to favor spinners, with even the curator saying it will be a gift for India captain Anil Kumble, who is expected to return from injury.

"We have to accept it's not the WACA or the Gabba or Adelaide Oval, and accept it's Delhi," Nielsen said. "It's not what we're used to, but it's still a wicket, and we need to execute our skills. It does put a bit of pressure on Anil, coming back from injury to get a present like that. I hope he bowls well."

As well as the dearth of spin options in the Australian squad, the tourists also have to address the below-par performances of strike bowler Brett Lee, who has struggled on the slow wickets in his comeback series following the break-up of his marriage.

Lee was not used in the opening session of the fourth day of the second Test, with Australia captain Ricky Ponting preferring even the efforts of batsman Mike Hussey. Ponting said the resting of Lee was designed to correct Australia's slow over rate, but Nielsen confirmed it was more to do with Lee's poor form.

"The over rate wasn't crazily out of control, three down at the time," Nielsen said. "In the end it was a tactical decision.

"He certainly hasn't got the results he's been looking for. He's been a little inconsistent.

"Brett was keen to have a real impact and when that happens it is easy to get impatient and search for results. He's working hard, he's come off a break from his personal issues and has had a break from not playing in Darwin. All those things have added up to him being a little bit off the boil."