It was clearly a selection blunder by Virat Kohli and the team management. However, after the match, he defended his choices, stating that Bhuvneshwar Kumar did not have enough match practice in four-day cricket and hence he preferred Umesh Yadav as he had taken 10 wickets in his previous Test (against West Indies in October)
The second Test between India and Australia saw the hosts bounce back to level the four-match rubber 1-1. The Tim Paine-led side registered a comprehensive 146-run victory over Virat Kohli and Co on Tuesday.
While there were several talk points from the match, here we list out five major things which led to India’s loss at Perth’s new stadium.
Flawed team selection
Before the start of the Test, the 22-yard strip gained all the attention from players and fans. The Perth pitch was expected to be quick and the curator had promised to make it the “bounciest”. Once the game began, the wicket did live up to the pre-match hype. It was a green top and captain Kohli was forced to field an all-pace attack. It was definitely a wrong move by Kohli and the team management. The injury to Ravichandran Ashwin was a big loss and they could have replaced him with Ravindra Jadeja, who is a capable batsman too. However, Umesh Yadav was preferred and it raised many eyebrows. And the Indian team management was proved wrong as Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon took eight wickets in the match. The part-time spin of Hanuma Vihari too made an impact but it was not huge in the context of the match.
It was clearly a selection blunder by Kohli and the team management. However, after the match, he defended his choices, stating that Bhuvneshwar Kumar did not have enough match practice in four-day cricket and hence he preferred Umesh Yadav as he had taken 10 wickets in his previous Test (against West Indies in October).
Also read: Ishant-Jadeja clash on the field
False start by fast bowlers
Paine won the toss and chose to bat first. He did not back away from taking on India’s pacemen, who are rated among the best in the world. The quartet of Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav began on a disappointing note as they failed to dislodge the openers Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch. The first session of Day 1 saw the duo being unseparated and later they raised a century partnership. Both Harris and Finch scored half centuries. The failure of the fast bowlers against the opening pair was one of the reasons for India’s defeat.
Opening woes continue to haunt India
KL Rahul and Murali Vijay yet again failed as a pair. If Harris and Finch defied the Indian bowling on a green pitch, Rahul-Vijay duo made no impact in the match. Vijay was out for a duck in the first innings while he made 20 in the second essay while India were chasing 287. Rahul made 2 and 0. With just eight runs on the board, both were back in the pavilion in the first innings. In the second essay, Rahul fell to the fourth ball of the innings and India were 0/1. At least one of them is likely to be dropped for the third Test in Melbourne. India have called up uncapped Mayank Agarwal as Prithvi Shaw is ruled out due to ankle injury.
Overdependence on Virat Kohli
Kohli produced another masterclass with 123. Barring his knock and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane’s 51, the rest of the batting line-up collapsed in the first innings. In the run chase, Kohli was out for 17 and with that all hopes of a win were extinguished. It was only a matter of time for the Australians to secure the win. The highest score for India in the second innings was 30, by Rahane and Rishabh Pant. While bowlers delivered by taking 20 wickets, batsmen failed miserably.
No resistance from the lower-order
India’s lower-order should learn from their Australian counterparts to make useful contributions with the bat. Shami, Ishant, Umesh and Bumrah together added just nine runs in the first innings and in the second it was just two. India’s number eight to 11 batsmen don’t take their batting seriously. They are just throwing their wickets away. On the other hand, Australia’s 10th wicket pair of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood added 36 runs in the second innings to take the lead past 250.
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Last Updated 19, Dec 2018, 1:46 PM