In a fascinating D/ N Test match at Adelaide the first of the four match Test series between India and Australia. it was the Aussies who came out on top with a clinical display to take a 1-0 lead in the series with two days to spare.
Electing to bat after winning the toss India could score only 244 in the first innings thanks skipper Virat Kohli ( 74 ) when he was run- out that changed the match for India . India were at 188 / 3 . But after the Kohli run- out in massive error in calling by vice- captain Ajinkya Rahane, India slumped to 244 all out. Other contributors with the bat were Cheteshwar Pujara ( 46), Ajinkya Rahane ( 42). Openers flopped – Prithvi Shaw ( 0) , Mayank Agarwal ( 17).
Cheteshwar Pujara’s defensive batting worked well in 2018 but there is propensity to get stuck as Shane Warne, during commentary, pointed out at his inability to rotate the strike. As much as one romanticises that 43 off 160 balls as a display of pristine Test cricket but that lack of runs in the first two sessions also came back to bite India hard.
For Australia Mitchell Starc took 4/53, Pat Cummins 3/48, Nathan Lyon 1/68, Josh Hazlewood 1/47
In reply , Australia found runs hard to come by . Marnus Labuschagne scored ( 47) Steve Smith struggled was out for 1 off 29 balls. But skipper Tim Paine played a captain’s knock an unbeaten 73 off 99 balls as Australia finished at 191 all out . India fielding was pathetic to say the least dropping as many a five catches. Indian bowlers though bowled well to put India back in the match defending 244. Ravichandran Ashwin was brilliant with 4/55, Umesh Yadav 3/ 40 , Jasprit Bumrah 2/52
India took a lead of 53 runs . Little did anyone visualise what would happen the next day. In a sensational batting collapse India were bowled out for mere 36 runs . India’s earlier lowest score was 42 at the Lord’s, in 1974 against England, known in Indian cricket parlance as the ‘Summer of 42’. The total was also the lowest score in the brief history of Day/Night Tests and joint-fifth lowest overall.
The Aussie pace attack was simply lethal . Josh Hazelwood (5-3-8-5) and Patrick Cummins (10.2-4-21-4) showed fast bowling of the highest quality as they ripped through the Indian batting order. No Indian batsman reached double figures . Mayank Agarwal was top scorer with 9 . It was horrendous batting display. It fell like pack of cards. The sequence 4, 9, 2, 0, 4, 0, 8, 4, 0, 4, and 1 on the scorecard presented a grim picture. What is worrisome for India is injury to Shami . Mohammed Shami’s series could well be over due to a wrist injury, sustained by a short delivery from Pat Cummins, which could potentially be a fracture. Shami could not continue and India’s second innings was terminated at 36 for 9 in 21.2 overs.
The easy target of 90 runs was achieved by the home side in only 21 overs. The batsmen out were Matthew Wade (33) and Marnus Labuschagne (6). Joe Burns staked his place for the second Test with a fine unbeaten 51 as Australia reached 93/2 .
India have lot to think ahead of the second Test. There will be no Virat Kohli . Huge pressure on Ajinkya Rahane to lead now . Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal flopped as openers. Agarwal might retain his place but Shubman Gill sure to come in next. Who comes in place of Virat Kohli remains to be seen. Shami’s injury if he misses out will be big blow . Already the team is without the leader of the pace attack Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Big test ahead for Ajinkya Rahane and Ravi Shastri . The team is sure to get a backlash after this 36 all out score for sure till the second Test begins.