Adelaide Test, Australia register thumping win over India: Key learnings
Hosts Australia clinched an eight-wicket victory over India in the first Test (Day/Night) at the Adelaide Oval. In a strange turn of events, the Indians were bowled out for 36 in the second innings, their lowest-ever total in Test history. This allowed the hosts to chase a meager target of 90 with ease, on Day 3. Here are the key learnings from the game.
Budding opener Prithvi Shaw's technical frailties were under the scanner throughout the match. He was bowled out in both the innings, by Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins respectively. The 21-year-old must go back to the drawing board and correct his flaws, as his feet movement has been under the scanner in seaming conditions. In the first innings, he also looked sluggish in the field.
During the 2018/19 tour, Cheteshwar Pujara's masterclass helped India register a maiden series win Down Under. He was the series' leading run-scorer back then (521). Even in the recently concluded Adelaide Test, his defiant 43 (160) rescued the Indian innings, before Kohli took over. However, Pujara should start delivering in the second innings, if the Indian batting has to sail through overseas.
Pujara's batting average drops to 35.26 in the third and fourth innings, as compared to his overall average 48.22 (Test cricket). Notably, only two out of his 18 tons have been registered in these innings (Innings: 54, Runs: 1,728).
Pace spearhead Mohammed Shami suffered a blow on his wrist while batting on Day 3. The senior pacer returned retired hurt as he appeared to be in pain. In the post-match presentation, Indian captain Virat Kohli informed that Shami will undergo scans. Shami's absence from the MCG Test could further mar the plight of Indians, who are already missing the services of Ishant Sharma.
The Indians were yet again sloppy in the field, throughout. As many as four catches were dropped during the Australian innings. Labuschagne, who went on to make 47 off 119 balls eventually, was at the helm twice, in the 19th (Bumrah) and 23rd over (Prithvi Shaw). Later on, Paine and Starc were dropped once, by Mayank Agarwal and Wriddhiman Saha respectively.
"I can't see any other Indian team in the last 15-20 years that has had the same run in such a short time," Indian head coach Ravi Shastri had said in 2018. However, barring the previous Australian tour, Team India hasn't achieved much success overseas. Even during the 2019/20 New Zealand tour, the Indian batsmen couldn't perform as a group on green-tops.
Now, India will have to leave the ghosts of this pungent defeat behind. The upcoming Boxing Day Test (Melbourne) will certainly be a series-defining game. With Kohli's departure, the holes in batting line-up will further proliferate. In such crisis, India could play the experienced KL Rahul at the top, alongside Mayank Agarwal. Meanwhile, Shubman Gill's flamboyance might also be of use in the middle-order.