Allowing Australia a route back into the Domain test series after slumping to a 146 run defeat in the Perth test, India will be in retrospection at what went wrong for their campaign. It was a test match that was marred by mistakes for the visitors. Be it from team selection, decisions on the field to a massive batting collapse, India’s wheels fell off in royal style in the inaugural test match at the Optus Stadium. We analyze the biggest flaws of India in second test match and how they can work on them come the third test match at the MCG.
Biggest Flaws of India in Second Test
Ever since the team was announced, a lot of Indian supporters were left questioning the team combination. There was no front-line spinner in the XI with the team opting to go in for four pacers. Even the pick of the pace battery was questionable with Umesh Yadav being picked ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Bhuvneshwar is not only a wily bowler, one who can entice batsmen into making mistakes with his ominous line and length but also helps contribute crucial runs down the order.
Come to the match and our fears began taking life with India’s incompetency to select the right team costing them. Umesh was lacklustre and inefficient, Vihari was asked to fill in the role of the slow bowler and the tail had no impetus and strength in it. With Lyon delivering a man of the match performance with his 8 wicket haul, the team management drew great ire from all quarters for their decision to leave out Jadeja from the matchday squad.
What is more disappointing is that this is not the first time the team has faltered in their task of reading the pitch and conditions properly and fielding the right team in overseas tests. South Africa and England were both series where India had already burnt their fingers due to a mishap while picking the team and with the same failing coming to the fore in Perth, ex-cricketers and experts have stated raising fingers of Ravi Shastri and company.
Known not to mince his words, legendary Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar has had a right go at the team management for their repeated blunders.
“We have been seeing this – the selection blunders that have been committed since the tour of South Africa. It has cost the team because it has lost matches which could’ve been won if the proper selection had been made,” Gavaskar said. “They have to look at the combination of their team, look at the hole that needs to be plugged and pick the men too. If they do that then they can certainly win the next two matches but if they don’t, and that too against this Australian team which does not have Steve Smith or David Warner, then the selectors need to think whether we are getting any benefit from this lot – the captain, coach and support staff.”
Opening Pair Failures
Murali Vijay and KL Rahul have long lived their stay in the Indian test squad now. Their frailties have been highlighted time and time again no pitches that offer vicious and variable bounce to the pacers with the duo showing no application on green tracks. In a test match, the opening pair plays a vital role in the team’s fortunes with a successful partnership not only providing a platform to the middle-order to build on but also seeing off the new ball threat and frustrating and fatiguing the opposition’s bowlers. The way Rahul threw away his wicket in both the innings was appalling. He had no idea whether to leave or play the ball, something that is considered the most basic of techniques a batsman should have in his artillery. He and Vijay have no willingness and determination to play out a long inning and it is high time the team stopped reposing faith in them.
While Kohli played out one of his best innings ever in the first innings, he was abject as a captain on the field. His bowling changes left us baffled as he kept removing Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah when they were breathing fire to replace them with Ishant Sharma and an insipid Umesh Yadav. A decision that hurt India more so when Bumrah and Shami had helped trigger Australia’s collapse in the second innings, one the hosts were allowed to get away with Ishant and Umesh being given a go at the last pair.
He has also been guilty of backing a group of players for far too long now. While as captain it is always good to show confidence in your players, more so when they are out of form, it is fools hearty to keep backing them when it is apparent that they are not cut out for the task. KL Rahul, Umesh Yadav, and Murali Vijay all need to go and it’s high time for the captain to take some hard decisions for the benefit of his team.
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