Australia's Jackson Bird bowls to captain Steve Smith in the nets in Bangalore.
Australia's Jackson Bird bowls to captain Steve Smith in the nets in Bangalore. Aijaz Rahi

'I'm sure they'll feel under a bit of pressure'

AUSSIE captain Steve Smith believes India are a team feeling the pressure, as the rattled hosts face the haunting reality that their fortress could fall in Bangalore.

Smith has provided an extraordinary insight into the "trance-like" state he entered into during his defining first Test hundred in Pune - an "eye-spinning" zone he says he can now re-enter as he tries to bat his team to an unbeatable 2-0 series lead.

The single-minded skipper has declared Australia will not suffer a let-down after the high of last week's historic achievement, reinforcing an edict for batsmen to make defence their No.1 priority and avoid being struck on the pads by the Indian spinners at all costs.

More grass is to come off the Bangalore wicket and Smith believes the surface will offer some pace and carry early for Mitchell Starc, and then turn as the game goes on - but a huge onus will be on the Australian top order to bat big.

Smith's all-consuming zeal for winning on the subcontinent has rubbed off on teammates and Australia charges into the second Test full-steam ahead on Saturday with an unchanged XI, confident that heads are spinning in the Indian dressing room.

"Obviously going into this series, all I heard was 4-0 to them. So they're one down and need to come back ... I think they will feel under a little bit of pressure," said Smith.

"We're one win away from retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and things can happen pretty quickly here.

"So we might be one or two sessions away from getting that back.

"I'm sure they'll feel under a bit of pressure."

If the extreme focus exercised by Smith in the first Test is anything to go by, Australia is a team possessed.

The skipper found an extra gear from deep within and now he knows he can draw on it again when the second Test goes on the line on a more moderate surface where a huge first-up total is likely to be crucial.

Smith's fighting hundred in the second innings of an unacceptably poor pitch ought to serve as inspiration for the rest of the dressing room.

"I hope so. I guess I was in what they call, 'the zone' out there," said Smith.

"I was doing things that I probably haven't done before. My eyes were sort of spinning and I was in a bit of a trance.

"For me it was just such an important period of the game.

"That afternoon I was very determined and focused on the job at hand ... and if it calls for it again hopefully I can bring that next level out and next gear out.

"It was pleasing to know I had that level in me.

"When we first came over here it was about making sure we had the mindset that we were able to bat for long periods of time and try and post those really big scores.

"The first wicket wasn't (like that) ... but I think this one is more likely going to be one where we are going to have to go really big."

Smith says Australia must simply keep hammering away at the key factors which combined to spark two chronic Indian batting collapses in the first Test.

Australia's top order have been instructed to be on guard for the straight one from Indian spinners Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja, with the onus on batsmen to not get trapped lbw, even if that means occasionally edging a turning ball.

Technique and focus will be vital in Bangalore, but Smith isn't worried in the slightest about a let-down effect.

"No. It was a great achievement, I was really proud of the way the boys played last week, but it's only one game of cricket in a four-Test series," he said.

"We're going to have to turn up, sum up the conditions and play accordingly.

"From our point of view, the way we played last week was such a positive sign.

"It was a difficult wicket and we showed them (India) that we can compete in those conditions.

"And more importantly, we probably showed ourselves as well."

Second Test, Bangalore: starts 9.30am local time (2pm AEST). Australia lead 1-0 in four-game series.

Australia: David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Steve Smith (c), Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Marsh, Matt Wade, Mitchell Starc, Steve O'Keefe, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

India likely: Lokesh Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravi Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar

News Corp Australia

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