It may not have been the “Virat-spectacular” that everyone was expecting in Adelaide, for the Indian skipper it was even better as his side clinched victory in the first test of the series. Harsha Bhogle summed it up perfectly, winning a test match in Australia is huge regardless of the quality of opposition, and all that matters is that India defeated Australia at the Adelaide Oval in 2018-19. This may not be Australia’s strongest playing XI, but don’t expect them to just roll over and die. The series heads to the newly-constructed Perth Stadium in Western Australia, and that’s where the home team will be looking to square things up with the inspired-tourists.
Australia came oh-so-close to stealing the victory right from under India’s noses on day five in Adelaide, but it wasn’t to be. In hindsight, too many of their batsmen let them down throughout the test which almost-certainly lost them the match. It was a valiant effort from Australia’slower order who kept the match alive for longer than anticipated, after the wickets of Travis Head, Shaun Marsh and Tim Paine it looked game, set, and match. More embarrassingly, off-spinner Nathan Lyon was just about Australia’s best batsman for the test with scores of 24* & 38* as the slimly-built tail-ender wagged ferociously, particularly in the second innings. While it’s a huge upside to have a lower order that can hold the bat, it’s not something Australia will want to make a habit of doing in test matches. Opening batsman Marcus Harris looked promising on debut, but he just failed to go on with his innings which will only improve with experience. It was the likes of Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb who proved to be the biggest let downs for the hosts, a couple of loose shots cost them their wickets which had a ripple effect on the rest of their top & middle order.
All three will be seeking redemption in Perth, but conditions aren’t expected to get any easier. Shaun Marsh could be Australia’s biggest key to success on his home turf in WA, a hard-fought 60 in the Aussies second innings in Adelaide might have given him some added confidence as well.Whether Travis Head can maintain his batting form away from his home state is also a key factor, he looked the part in the first test against India and could make a real indentation in this second test. Nathan Lyon was once again brilliant with the ball for the Australians claiming 8 wickets, but it’s their pace attack that’s expected to do some damage in this second test.Pace-spearhead Mitchell Starc isn’t quite at his damaging-best at the moment,he still managed to pick up 5 wickets in Adelaide but had some real problems with his accuracy. The troublesome-trio of Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins must find a way to dismantle Cheteshwar Pujara who resembled a brick wall in Adelaide, the Indian No. 3 is definitely one of the main reasons they won that first test and is more than capable of repeating his heroics.
Prior to this series, the last time India won a test match in Australia was back in 2008 in Perth. That 10-year winning drought finally came to an end earlier this week in Adelaide where Virat Kohli and his men did the job against the Australians by 31 runs. You could just see the passion oozing out of Indian skipper Virat Kohli every time a wicket of significance was taken, and when that final wicket of Josh Hazlewood was taken by Ravi Ashwin, a wave of emotion poured out. It was a gripping-contest to watch, and thoroughly deserved by India. Cheteshwar Pujara stood tall when not many others did, his gritty-first innings century proved to be the deciding factor early in the match. The Aussies let him off the hook after not reviewing a faint-nick in the 80’s, Pujara then went on to punish the Australians with a large influx of runs in a short amount of time. The win would feel like solid gold to Virat Kohli, but at the same time he’d be equally as filthy that he failed in both innings given his lofty-standards. Murali Vijay is on thin ice after a couple of disappointing efforts in Adelaide, Prithvi Shaw was India’s first-pick for the test series and should find himself back in the team as soon as he’s recovered from that ankle injury he picked up, most likely at the expense of Vijay.
Rishabh Pant’s intentions to score at the crease are fresh,innovative and somewhat Adam Gilchrist-like, but he’s got to rope himself in every now and then. It’s refreshing to see a batsman who’s looking to score quickly in test cricket, something that Gilchrist was heralded for during his time in International cricket. India has been dealt two massive injury blows in the form of specialist spinner Ravi Ashwin and middle order batsman Rohit Sharma. It was confirmed today that both players will miss the second test in Perth due to injury, opening the door for Hanuma Vihari and one of Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav or Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Despite bowling very-well in Adelaide, those dreaded no-balls are coming back to haunt Ishant Sharma. The experienced campaigner is a serial offender for this particular flaw in his game, and it potentially cost him a couple wickets in that first test. India could potentially go into this match with four specialist seamers and use the all-rounder Vihari as a spinning option, although Jadeja would be the likely inclusion to replace Ashwin who claimed 6 wickets in Adelaide.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Australia | 2nd test | Perth
- Shaun Marsh
- Josh Hazlewood
- Nathan Lyon
- Usman Khawaja
- Mitchell Starc
Wildcard pick – Pat Cummins
Top 5 fantasy picks | India | 2nd test | Perth
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Virat Kohli
- Cheteshwar Pujara
- KL Rahul
- Ishant Sharma
Wildcard pick – Ajinkya Rahane
Australia (possible)– 1. Aaron Finch 2. Marcus Harris 3. Usman Khawaja 4. Shaun Marsh 5. Peter Handscomb 6. Travis Head 7. Tim Paine (c & wk) 8. Pat Cummins 9. Mitchell Starc 10. Nathan Lyon 11. Josh Hazlewood.
India (possible) – 1.KL Rahul 2. Murali Vijay 3. Cheteshwar Pujara 4. Virat Kohli © 5. Ajinkya Rahane 6. Hanuma Vihari 7. Rishabh Pant (wk) 8. Ravindra Jadeja 9. Ishant Sharma 10. Mohammed Shami 11. Jasprit Bumrah.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.