Perth, 2018 – The test match that should have been won
After the first victory over the Aussies, India looked like an unbeatable unit in the series. Superb middle order batting, ecstatic bowling by the pacers was said to have found a new change in the Indian camp. To have a lead was unusual in any overseas test series.
The pre-match news and pitch report suggested to be a whole green cover with little cracks, a pitch suitable to the pacers only, and as expected India went in with 4 pacers – Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, and Umesh Yadav. Rohit Sharma’s injury forced India to make a replacement in Hanuma Vihari
While there were forced changes in the Indian team, Australia retained the same side.
Australia won the toss and undoubtedly decided to bat first. On the back of some knocks by Marcus Harris (70), Aaron Finch (50) and Travis Head (58), Aussies reached a total of 326. In reply, India scored 283, thanks to a brilliant century by Virat Kohli (123). Ajinkya Rahane with the knock of 51 supported the captain.
On a pitch that looked like it will suit the pacers, Nathan Lyon took 5 wickets wiping India’s tail in no time.
Australia went into the second innings with a small but crucial lead of 43 runs. In the second inning, it looked like Australia might fall out early, but one man prevented it – Usman Khawaja. The Aussie batsman scored a crucial 72 which helped Australia to reach 243 and set a target of 287 for India to win.
India’s second innings started falling early with the fall of KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara. India lost half of its line-up at the end of day 4. Day 5 was a quick finish for the Aussies as they took the remaining wickets in a span of 15 overs. The bowlers ripped apart the tail by taking the last four wickets in just 15 balls. For the Aussies, all their bowlers took 2+ wickets, with Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc taking three each.
Nathan Lyon was declared the Man of the Match for his overall bowling display.
Stumpguru’s take on the game
India needs to up their game with the batting. The openers KL Rahul and Murali Vijay have outlasted for long and have failed to provide a solid start in each of the innings in the series. Bowling selection was also a cause of concern as a spinner bowled India on a pitch suited the fast bowlers. India has still not given their best bowler, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, a chance to play in this series, whose presence will strengthen the batting line-up, as was seen in the series against England.
Post this match, and with the series at 1-1, India should get their sleeves up and look at the Boxing Day test match as the match that shall not only allow them a lead in the series but also will ensure they do not lose the series. Boxing Day matches at the MCG is one of the most significant traditions in cricket.
|first innings||second innings|
|Marcus Harris 70 (141)||Virat Kohli 123 (257)||usman Khawaja 72 (297)||Ajinkya Rahane 30 (71)|
|top bowler||Nathan Lyon 5/67||Ishant Sharma 4/41||Nathan Lyon 3/39||
Mohammed Shami 6/56