Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Keys for Day 2, 1st test, Australia versus India

With the first day in the books of the Summer of test cricket.  All the organisers, players, and spectators need to be given the highest dues for a proper show of respect for Phillip Hughes's sad passing.

On the ground, the first day could be viewed as being 60/40 in Australia's favour. With a stumps score of 354/6 ( 7 down, if one factors in Michael Clarke's injury, and the likelihood, he will not be back ). It was arguably 50 more runs more than India wanted to give. But, if they can wrap up the Aussie tail quickly, and dismiss Australia for around 400, they are still in the match.

The hero of the first day was Dave Warner, who is fast becoming a batsman worthy of being included in the conversation of test crickets finest batsman. His 145, not only displayed his destructive prowess, but, it reeked of a new found maturity, with his aggression, which used to border on reckless, now controlled. Steven Smith, late in the day, with his unbeaten, fluent 72 showed he is fast becoming the blonde version of Steven Waugh.

Looking forward to day two, these are the keys:

1, The first-hour arm wrestle 

India fought back late on day one with three wickets to keep them in the game. On day 2 Australia will target 500+, and India will see dismissing them under 400 as a huge mental boost for them. A lot of the emphasis will fall on Steve Smith to bat well with the tail to get to 500. Especially, if as expected Michael Clarke is unable to resume batting. From an Indian standpoint, the bowling needs to be more disciplined, and less giving. Ishant Sharma needs to justify India's seven-year obsession over him being the spearhead they so crave, by leading the attack and delivering.Crucial in support of the bowling will be Virat Kohli's captaincy, who after talking about his attacking mindset before the game, proved he was all talk and no action. With both curious, and ultra defensive fields that at times defied logic

2, India's batting versus Australia's bowling

The first thought over the pitch was it would make India's batsmen feel at home. With it being so like, a dead, batting friendly pitch that is unforgiving for bowlers.

Which begs the question, can India's batsmen take advantage

I ask this on behalf of all the Indian fans who will reminisce on India away from home, and bemoan:

 'It looks like a road now, but, wait till we bat on it, and make it look like a minefield....'

Tut tut, ye of little faith!

The key for India will be an embrace of time, knowing that with Australia advancing the game with their attacking batting there is plenty of time left in the game. So, use that, and shelve sexy get out shots, and bat in a solid no risk fashion. Embrace the leave and grind out a big score. The key in this will be the Indian top order seeing off the exceptional Australian new ball attack of Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson. It will not be easy, but, if they can, they can make the bed for their potential devastating middle order to be decisive.

Look for Murali Vijay to show what a fine player he is

And, the highlight will be Cheteshwar Pujara, who in England was exposed against the ball nipping in, and whether he has addressed this. Both Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle have high class off cutters as part of their arsenal, so, they will provide a stern test for the man touted as the next Rahul Dravid

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