As the people in India were getting ready for their works, Team Blue were preparing for their first encounter of the much awaited Border – Gavaskar clash. India disclosed their playing XI a day before the game started which was considered as a bold tactical move.
It started with a rare site where Kohli won the toss. Pitch had grass but keeping 4th innings in his mind, Kohli opted to bat first which was a good move. Shaw and Agarwal started the innings but to India’s dismay Shaw was sent on a two balls duck by Starcs. Pujara then joined Mayank and proceeded. After few plays and misses and some dropping short edges, Mayank too failed to score big as he was decieved by lovely nip backer by Pat Cummins.
Skipper Kohli came to tackle the situation. Initially he too was unsettled by the unnerving bounce and the tight lines by the three pacers. Pujara’s defense looked solid and feet movement was top notch. Both Pujara and Kohli tried to unsettle Lyon and succeeded for an hour in doing so. But Lyon continued with same length and eventually fished Pujara when he tried defend a ball using his feet.
It was now the time for the most successful batting pair for India in recent times. Rahane and Kohli added some quick runs and both were looking solid before a horrible mix up claimed Virat Kohli’s wicket. Rahane drove a fuller ball by Lyon to the left of Hazlewood who was at mid off and immediately called for a single. Kohli responded but to his disappointment, Rahane backed away and Kohli was stranded in the middle. Soon after the captain, vice-captain followed him to the dressing room. Kohli’s wicket proved to be a turning point in the innings as Australian bowlers exploited Indian lower middle order. 3 wickets in quick succession, claiming Kohli, Rahane and Vihari.
India ended the day with 233 runs on board and have 4 more wickets. Ashwin and Saha are overnight batsmen. India need their batting prowess to click tomorrow. They need to stitch a good partnership and score atleast 70-80 more runs to give their bowlers some room.
Though the Indian batting failed, India is not out of the game completely. Australian batting order doesn’t look promising. With Bumrah, Shami, Umesh and Ashwin, India can make inroads. Without Warner at the top, only Smith and Labuschagne are dangerous from India’s point of view.
Both Smith and Labuschagne are vulnerable against short balls. Neil Wagner exploited their weakness in their previous series. Indian pacers are very much capable of doing the same.
With 3 more innings to go in the match, we are about to see some contest between the two top sides. All India need is a gritty partnership, some swing and a barrage of bouncers, may be.