Cricket: Team India Still Brittle Against Tougher Opposition, Australia Thrash India by Ten Wickets!

Player-of-the-match David Warner

Recently Team India played ‘kings’ beating Bangladesh, West Indies and Sri Lanka in the shorter formats at home, and several conclusions had been drawn about a ‘young’ team. However, those were relatively weaker teams with only West Indies offering some resistance, and the conclusions made on team performances cannot hold good against tougher rivals. Of course, the basic fact still prevailed, then and now: at least two of the Indian top-four 
batsmen must have long innings for any chance of winning a match, and after today’s match against Australia in Mumbai and in light of the ICC World Cup-2019 experience it seems certain that apart from the top 2 either Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli must score high—preferably a century. In the first of the 3-match one-day international (ODI) series against Australia the hosts did poorly in the field and the visitors thrashed the former by 10 wickets with more than 12 overs to spare.

Except for staunch Australia fans the match was insufferably one-sided, taking nothing away from the rollicking unbeaten opening wicket partnership between skipper Finch and Warner—both picking up their centuries. The real pain was to watch the Indian bowlers meandering listlessly without being able to make a strike despite the presence of Bumrah and the much-hyped Shardul Thakur. While the Aussie spinners Agar and Zampa bowled commendably well capturing prize Indian wickets the Indian famed spinners could not even make the opposition batsmen take them seriously. Captain Viral Kohli looking helplessly around having no clue how to go ahead and his failure to score must also have played a part in his mind. This was one of the biggest wins for Australia and India not able to take a single wicket is set to rankle both players and cricket lovers for a long time.

Aussie Skipper Finch
Put into bat India started badly with Rohit getting out early. Then again, the blues of the batting-order came afore. For any team it is only good that the No. 4 batsman performs well promoted to the opening slot due to injuries; KL Rahul did exactly that in the absence of the injured Dhawan. Unfortunately, this ‘good’ thing affected India adversely: as Dhawan came back Rahul was promoted to No. 3—a position always occupied by Kohli with justifiable results; this change was totally unnecessary, and such changes keep on happening in the team, often damaging the morale of the team. Of course, today Rahul played a useful role in the 100+ partnership with opener Sikhar Dhawan which was the only silver lining in the Indian total of 255 all out in 49.1 overs. It must also be stressed again that the so-called ‘IPL talents’ could do some justice in the T20I format, but it’s a folly to select some of them for the one-day format too on the basis of their IPL performances.

The Aussie bowlers, both pacers and spinners, maintained a tight line and length throughout adjusting masterfully to the pitch and its lack of swing, and never allowed the Indian batsmen settle down. Aaron Finch and David Warner achieved a record opening wicket partnership of 258 runs against India in the ODI format. Warner was the man-of-the-match for his 128 runs not out.

Australia leads the series 1-0 at the moment. With the next match coming up in Rajkot on 17th January, 2020 it is to be seen how India try bouncing back into the three-match series—hopefully not with more unnecessary ‘experiments’.


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