India v Australia: Steve Smith backs tourists in second ODI in Kolkata – Sport

Updated

September 21, 2017 09:04:37

Captain Steve Smith says Australia cannot use injury and an interrupted lead-up as excuses if it fails to level the one-day international series with India in Kolkata.

Australia will face India in the second encounter of the five-match series beginning Thursday evening (AEST), with the hosts coming off a 26-run victory in a rain-affected opener in Chennai.

The tourists do not have Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc at their disposal, with both quicks injured, while opener Aaron Finch’s sore calf has thrust Hilton Cartwright to the top of the order.

Australia entered the series off the back of two Tests in Bangladesh, but Smith remained confident his side could push India on its home turf.

“We still believe in these guys. They’ve got a lot of talent,” Smith said.

“We’ve got a team here that can hopefully challenge India in the next couple of games.”

Both sides were prevented from training on the Eden Gardens practice wickets on Wednesday because of recent wet weather.

While the Australians have been restricted to indoor nets sessions, Smith was not concerned about their preparation since arriving in Kolkata.

“I don’t think it will have a big impact,” he said.

“Guys are in a fine space. It’s just been about topping up as much as we can indoors and getting a few things right.

“But no excuses from us, we’re ready to go.”

Kolkata pitch may favour quicks

Thunderstorms are forecast to clear on Thursday, but could cause another shortened match on what does not appear to be a typical Indian pitch.

“There’s a little bit of grass on it, probably more than I’ve seen in India for a while,” Smith said.

James Faulkner’s lacklustre performance with the ball in the first match may put him under pressure to retain his spot.

Kane Richardson is the other fast-bowling option in the squad and could be used if the pitch retains its grass covering.

“You might give it a bit more of a roll and you might even cut it,” Smith said.

“We’ll have another look in the morning and we’ll decide our team then.”

Pace bowlers Nathan Coulter-Nile and Pat Cummins were impressive in Chennai but leg spinner Adam Zampa will need an improved performance, with fellow tweaker Ashton Agar also in the squad.

AAP

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First posted

September 21, 2017 08:21:19

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