The Current Indian legion is on the verge of achieving one feat that no travelling Indian side has achieved. They’re on the brink of winning a test series in the Australian continent. How did the batters fare for team India on Day 1? Crictech’s Shubh Agarwal explains.
The Sydney Cricket ground was greeted with bright sunshine for the first Test match of 2019 but the clouds seemed dark for Australia. For the first time since they lost the Ashes at home, in January 2011, the Australian team took the field in a Sydney Test with their back against the wall.
They started positively though, with Hazlewood sending KL Rahul back early but once Pujara marked his guard in the second over of the Test match, they never looked in the game again. Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara ensured India don’t lose any more wickets till lunch and after that, it was one-way traffic with the Australian bowlers trying their best to make further inroads, but to no avail.
Here are some takeaways from the opening day’s play of the first Test of this year, in Sydney
Key to success – 300 runs on Day 1
After losing the toss in the Boxing Day Test, which eventually played a part in his side’s defeat at the MCG, Tim Paine would have hoped to win the toss in Sydney and bat first on one of the most batting friendly tracks in the country. But he was left disappointed again as the coin did not turn up in his favor and Virat Kohli was not perplexed about batting first.
SCG has had a peculiar relation with the number 300 in the currently active decade. Since the beginning of 2011, no side which has touched the mark of 300 runs on the opening day of the SCG have gone onto lose the Test. However, even falling marginally short of the magical number has not gone well for the side batting first.
In 2013, Sri Lanka managed 294 in their first innings of the 3rd Test at Sydney and ended up on the losing side. The Indian team must be glad that some decent stroke-making by Hanuma Vihari towards the end of the day’s play carried them just over the 300-run mark which seems to be the safety point in Sydney.
Test match results at the SCG since January 1, 2011
|Year||Opponent||Team Batting First||First Innings/First Day’s Score||Result|
|2018||England||England||233/5||Aus won by an innings & 123 runs|
|2017||Pakistan||Australia||365/3||Australia won by 220 runs|
|2016||West Indies||West Indies||207/6||Drawn|
|2014||England||Australia||326||Aus won by 281 runs|
|2013||Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka||294||Aus won by 5 wickets|
|2012||India||India||191||Aus won by an innings & 68 runs|
|2011||England||England||280||England won by an innings & 83 runs|
Starc falling ‘short’ again
Mitchell Starc had a reasonably good but a mysteriously short first spell to begin the Test match. In the three overs he bowled in that first spell, he hit the full length on 11 occasions, which accounts for 61%, that helped him generate 0.59 degrees of average swing. It further resulted in a false shot from the batsmen on 7 deliveries (63% false shots on full deliveries).
But for some inexplicable reason, Starc adopted the short ball ploy for the rest of the day. Off the next 90 deliveries he bowled in the day’s play post his first spell, only 9 deliveries exceeded the full-length mark and 52 balls were pitched short (57%). There was no trademark Mitchell Starc yorker to be seen as well.
However, he dismissed Ajinkya Rahane with an impeccable bouncer from around the wicket, only 23% of Starc’s short balls induced false shots from the batsmen. Starc has not bowled this amount of short balls in any of the innings so far in the Test series, let alone in a single day’s play.
Pujara’s continued mastery against spin
Since making his comeback to the Indian Test team post the first Test in England last year, Cheteshwar Pujara has given a new life to his Test career. The rejuvenated Pujara has carried the Midas touch to Australia as well making it the breakthrough series in his career and his skills against spin has been a key factor in his batting armory.
Accumulating 130 runs over all parts of the ground, Pujara scored 59 runs against pace at a strike rate of 52.2. His strike rate against spin went up to 63.9 as he scored 71 runs against Nathan Lyon and Marnus Labuschange.
Since his comeback, Pujara has been striking the spinners at a rate of 52.4 and has been dismissed only once in 17 innings. The vast difference in his average and strike rate against the spinners and the pacers tells the tale of his dominance against the slow bowlers. Adil Rashid struggled against him in England and Nathan Lyon is the latest to face Pujara’s excellence against spinners.
Pujara against pace and spin since his return
|Bowling Type||Runs||Average||Strike Rate|
Pujara has scored 4 hundreds since his comeback to the side. Interestingly, in all those knocks, the flick has been the most productive shot for Pujara.
|Innings||Runs scored from the flick shot||% of runs from the flick shot|
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