Melbourne: The tailenders' gritty show was among the many positives that Australia skipper Michael Clarke listed after his team's crushing 122-run victory over India in the first Test in Melbourne on Thursday.
"The most pleasing aspect was to see the tail wag and get critical runs in both the innings. To see our bowlers execute our plans so well. To see Huss (Michael Hussey) under pressure walk out and play the way he did. The way Punter (Ricky Ponting) played in both the innings. Ed (Cowan) on debut, his first innings was crucial. There's so many positives to come out of this game," said Clarke after the match.
Heaping praise on his bowlers for restricting India to 282 and 169 in the two innings, Clarke said: "I wasn't taking it lightly till the last wicket. We know how dangerous Mahendra Singh Dhoni could be. A lot of credit needs to go to our bowlers. I think they bowled really well. The wicket throughout the game had enough in it and it was hard to start. If you got in, it was probably a little bit easier, but it wasn't the type of wicket you ever felt comfortable to play your shots."
"They've got a lot of class players, their batting order is as strong as any batting order in the world, so for our bowlers to have success, I think they deserve a lot of credit."
Clarke thought that three seamers were enough on the MCG pitch. "I thought if we could bowl in the right areas, there was going to be enough throughout the game. I've got confidence in Lyono [Nathan Lyon] as well. He's a wonderful talent. He can hold up an end, even if he's not taking wickets," he said.
Clarke said he is confident that his batsmen can keep scoring runs throughout the series. "It just can't be our batters. If we can knock over such a strong batting line-up like India for the amount of runs we have in this Test match, there's got to be something in the wicket as well."
"We copped a bit of criticism for the top four for not scoring many again in the second innings. There's reason for Cape Town. There's reason for Hobart. They have been very bowling-friendly conditions. I'm really happy with our batsmen's plans. I'm confident we can keep scoring runs."
The captain also came out in support of wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin, who didn't have a good match with the bat. "I also didn't score runs! But I'm confident Hadds will come out and score runs in Sydney. He's certainly in good form. Unfortunately, he got a couple of good balls," Clarke insisted.
The 30-year-old Clarke said Australia would have to be at their best if they wanted to beat India in the four-Test series.
"It was a really hard-fought Test match and like I said before the start of the series, we have to be at our best to beat India," he said.
Clarke, though, admitted that his side needed to improve in certain areas going into the second Test at Sydney, which begins on January 3.
"Consistency is what I've spoken about in the past. There were periods throughout that game where we didn't perform as well as we'd like. We need to look to improve that, come Sydney."
"We need to assess the conditions and see what eleven we decide to take into that Test. Against such a good team, you can't afford to give them a sniff. When you're on top, you need to make the most of it," explained Clarke.
Looking ahead to the Sydney Test, Clarke wanted to keep his options open, depending on the pitch. "The SCG, of late, has had a fair bit of grass on it. It's great news for us if Ryan Harris is fully fit. Ryano' has had a lot of success for us and he's a quality bowler."
"We need to see the conditions. We have the option I guess, if it is going to spin, we can talk about two spinners, we can talk about an all-rounder. But if it has got grass on it like it did last year, then there is a chance we can play four fast bowlers," he said.