Pujara's form and Ishant's no-balls among hits and misses for India

Ajit Vijaykumar 09:00 11/12/2018
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Cheteshwar Pujara.

India won a tense Adelaide Test against Australia by 31 runs with almost all members of the team contributing to the country’s first ever win in an opening Test Down Under.

Cheteshwar Pujara held the Indian batting together with a fine century and a fifty in a low scoring match where only one team crossed 300 while all Indian bowlers chipped in across both innings.

Here we take a look at the hits and misses for the Indian team from the opening encounter.

HITS

Pujara’s batting

The top order batsman showed playing cautiously is still a critical part of Test cricket. On a slow pitch and against a top class bowling attack, Pujara led the way with a shade under 200 runs in a match where 300 was scored just once.

Hopefully now, no one will ask Pujara to up the scoring rate or show ‘intent’. Batsmen like KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma should take a leaf out of Pujara’s book and not look to hit their way out of trouble. Without doubt one of the finest efforts by an Indian batsman in an away Test.

Pacers on fire

Jasprit Bumrah.

Jasprit Bumrah.

India’s fast bowlers definitely did ‘bring it’ to the opening Test. Matching their Aussies counterparts for pace and accuracy, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma made life difficult for every Australian batsman.

If the three quicks manage to stay fit in the remaining three Tests, Australia’s batsmen are in for a tough time. Not only that, India’s reserve bowlers – Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar – are not too bad either, which give the Indians an edge over Australia.

MISSES

Ishant’s no-balls

As captain Virat Kohli revealed in the post-game presser, veteran quick Ishant Sharma was livid at himself for bowling two no-balls in the second innings that would have resulted in the dismissals of Aaron Finch and Nathan Lyon at crucial moments.

It could have cost India the match. And if it continues in the remainder of the series, it might bite India where it hurts. The main concern is that Ishant bowled big no-balls throughout the second innings and he needs to rectify the problem quickly before the second Test starts on Friday.

Ashwin on Day Five

Off-spinner Ravi Ashwin’s inability to land the killer blow in the second innings of an away Test has become a trend. He failed to pick up a wicket as South Africa almost chased down 458 in the fourth innings in the 2014 Johannesburg Test. Then in Southampton against England this year, Ashwin picked up just one second innings wicket wickets on a turning pitch while England offie Moeen Ali snared nine in the game.

In Adelaide, Ashwin took two early scalps but on day five, didn’t take wickets until the very end when he dismissed Josh Hazlewood. He will have to up his second innings game as he is likely to remain the team’s lone spinner.

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