Marnus Labuschagne was left to lament “three innocuous dismissals” as India took control of the second Test against Australia.
The tourists bowled out Australia for 195 at the MCG on Boxing Day after the hosts had elected to bat first.
Labuschagne’s 86-run stand with Travis Head was the best resistance Australia offered as Jasprit Bumrah (4-56), Ravichandran Ashwin (3-35) and Mohammed Siraj (2-40) laid waste to the top of the order.
Joe Burns and Steve Smith went for ducks and Matthew Wade’s promising start of 30 off 39 deliveries was undone after a reckless shot off Ashwin.
It marked the first time since November 1984 that Australia failed to reach 200 in consecutive first innings, after they mustered just 191 in the first Test in Adelaide before India’s spectacular collapse.
“We had three innocuous dismissals, that we probably didn’t need,” Labuschagne, who top scored for the hosts with 48 from 132 balls, said.
“Just three frustrating dismissals, and I think all three of those guys were set and were in.
“It’s a big job from our batting group, whoever that is on the day – whether that’s myself or anyone else in the top order – that we make sure we get the big scores.
“You just know you’re going to have to lock in and bat for periods of time. They’re bowling really straight lines, you’re not getting many runs through the off side, so this is the art of Test cricket, this is why we all love it. Because it’s a continual challenge for the bowlers to come up with new ideas to stop the batters scoring and build pressure and that’s what they did today.
“Something that we’re realising very quickly is people are coming up with new ways, thinking about the game slightly differently. Obviously today, they came out with a heavy leg-side field and bowled very straight and didn’t give us any scoring options to the off side.
“So for all our batters, you’ve just got to keep rolling with the punches, learning the game, understanding what they’re doing and take that innings to innings. I think that’s the key. As long as we do that as a batting group and learn from that, we’re just going to keep getting better and learning.”