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Australia vs India, 5 takeaways from an impressive test victory

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Australia vs India | 5 takeaways from an impressive 1st test victory

Australia vs India | 5 takeaways from an impressive 1st test victory

“Hazlewood is out. India win the test match” – the commentator cried as KL Rahul took a low catch to send the Aussies packing. India eventually won the game by 31 runs but the margin didn’t seem as convincing. Needing 219 runs to win Shaun Marsh & Travis Head started proceedings. When an inspired Ishant Sharma produced a bouncer using every ounce of his strength, Head managed to glove it to Ajinkya Rahane in the gully region. Shaun Marsh’s patient innings came to end when he edged one to Rishab Pant off Jasprit Bumrah. Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc & Nathan Lyon tried to bat the Australians out of trouble but constant pressure & quality bowling eventually led to their downfall. Australia didn’t show the aggressive intent which they usually pride themselves on. The Aussies scored at 2.42 in 119.5 overs & received some heavy criticism for the likes of Allan Border.

Border said – “Batters need to play with an intent & look to score but also absorb good spells of bowling when they happen. If you’re too negative you miss out on opportunities to score(which is the objective of the game) but if you’re too positive you can get out being reckless.

It’s a fine line & as a batter, you need to work out when is the best time for you to shift through gears. This comes with experience & is a skill in itself”.

The world number 1 ranked team didn’t have the best test batting line-up against them but like the Indian teams of the past, they let the opponents sniff a possible victory. All said & done, the Indians are 1-0 up in the 4-match test series. We look at 5 positive takeaways from an impressive Australia vs India 1st test victory.

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1. Cheteshwar Pujara – The New Indian Wall

Pujara, before this triumph, had played 6 innings in the Australian continent & scored only 201 runs. He’d only scored one fifty & averaged a mediocre 34. Tim Paine in the post-match interview said that Pujara was the difference between the two sides. How did he manage to make this world-class Aussie bowling attack look like a child’s play? Well, Pujara left & Pujara kicked. While the other top order batsmen in the first innings were dismissed fending of to deliveries outside the off stump, Pujara judged the line & length to a remarkable nicety. But the most crucial part of his knock was an aptitude for runs. He put every loose ball away & was only dismissed when he tried to sneak a single.

In the 2nd innings, Pujara added 87 runs with Ajinkya Rahane for the 4th wicket. The basics were finely followed & an impressive 71 in the second innings(with 123 in the first) earned him the Man of the Match award.

i)Cheteshwar Pujara is the only batsman to score 50+ in all 3 away wins for India in 2018

50 off 179 vs South Africa at Johannesburg (1st innings)

72 off 208 vs England at Trent Bridge(2nd innings)

123 off 246 & 71 off 204 at Adelaide

ii) Batting averages in the 3 overseas wins

Virat Kohli: 55.33, Pujara: 55.16, Ajinkya: 41.60

iii) Adelaide 2003 – Rahul Dravid bats at number 3, scores hundred(233) number 16. India beats Australia

Adelaide 2018 – Chesteshwar Pujara bats at number 3, scored hundred(123) number 16. India beats Australia

2. Jasprit Bumrah – Fast & Furious

When India toured South Africa earlier this year, West Indian legend Michael Holding said -“I would not have Bumrah as my new-ball bowler in tests. He doesn’t take the ball away from the right-hander with the new ball. My first choice is always Bhuvneshwar Kumar”. While the West Indian great did get the first part of his monologue right not playing Bumrah in the first test would have been an absolute disaster. Bumrah bowled with a lot of pace & his accuracy had reached remarkable heights.

He was easily the best pacer in the test & with the quality of pacers he was going up against, doing what he did needed a special effort. The run-rate was kept under check & deliveries over 145 kmph were hurled with utmost ease. The Indian pacers are now doing to the Aussies what the Aussies do to the other teams. They are beating batters with pace. He’ll be the player to watch out for the Perth test.

Bumrah’s figures in the two innings

24-9-47-3 & 24-8-68-3

3. Ajinkya Rahane – Man for the Crisis

Ajinkya Rahane is one of the most technically sound batsmen in the Indian batting line-up but his decision making in the last two years has been questionable. He’s averaged 32.78 in the last two years & during this period, Rahane has only scored one test hundred. Having said that, Rahane was at his absolute best in the 2nd innings at Adelaide. The cuts, the straight drives, the cover drives were in full flow and a crucial 70 helped India post a 323-run target. Rahane’s contribution in the next tests will be extremely crucial & if India have to win games consistently, the current series being the primary target, Rahane like he’s done in the past has to come good.

4. Ravichandran Ashwin – A Tweaker Par Excellence

Ashwin was the leading test bowler in the world for a good year & a half. His rankings dropped significantly after the South African tour & an abysmal England tour. Ashwin is ranked 7 at the moment & his bowling effort in the 31-run victory was commendable. Ashwin bowled 86.5 overs picked 6 wickets for 149 runs. Not only did he vary his pace & length to a nicety, but his accuracy was also exemplary.

At Perth, for the next test, where the pacers will do the majority of the bowling, Ashwin’s role can’t be undermined. And the form he’s hit, yet another marathon spell is certainly on the cards. The Indian bowlers struggled to dismiss the waging Aussie tail & they’d like to be more clinical hereafter. And Ashwin has to play an essential role there.

Ashwin hasn’t picked a 5-for in Australia. He’s played 7 tests & averages 48.07. Can he conjure a magical spell around the Australian batsmen at Perth?

5. Rishab Pant – Safe as a House

Wriddhiman Saha is assuredly the best Indian wicket-keeper, but in his absence, Rishab Pant has been given the responsibility. And what does he do? Gulps 11 dismissals in a test match. The most by any wicket-keeper. The other keepers with 11 dismissals in a single test – Jack Russell & Ab De Villiers. Pant isn’t a purist behind the stumps but he swallowed every edge that came his way. The Byes column in the 4th innings also was a testament to his nifty glove work. While the Aussie skipper let go 21 byes, Pant only conceded a solitary run. Keeping to Ravi Ashwin isn’t easy especially when the surface is abrasive. But Pant held his act together. There’s more to come from this dynamic star with both gloves & the bat. His commentary behind the stumps also reminded us of a certain MS Dhoni. But can he get as prolific?

Stat Attack

i)With this victory, Team India for the first time ever won the first test of a series in Australia. They’ve travelled to the Australian continent 11 times.

ii)Virat Kohli became the first Asian captain to win in England, South Africa & Australia.

iii)India also became the first team from Asia to win tests in England, South Africa & Australia in the same year.

iv)India is only the 3rd away team to win a test against Australia in Australia without any bowler picking at least a 4-for in an innings. (England in 1954-55 & 1970-71 were the only two times)

v)Kohli’s record when he wins the toss – Played: 20, Won: 17, Draw:3.

vi)Test wins for India in

England – 7 in 62 Tests

Australia – 6 in 45 Tests

New Zealand – 5 in 23 Tests

South Africa – 3 in 20 Tests

Pakistan – 2 in 26 Tests

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