March 2, 2017 5:29:08 pm
India suffered their first Test defeat in nearly three years when they were thrashed by Australia at Pune in the first of the five match Test series. On a track that could be best described as a sand pit, Indian batsmen could not hold their own and stumbled to a crushing 333-run-defeat. In reply Australia’s 260 and 285, India managed totals of 105 and 107. But the series has only yet started. There are three matches to go and the Australians have repeatedly told the media since the first Test that they are wary of the Indian team bouncing back. Virat Kohli and co. now have the opportunity to do just that when they take on Australia at the M Chinnaswamy stadium for the second Test on Saturday.
Here are a few factors that could be crucial for an Indian victory:
1. Sharpness in fielding: Steve Smith himself admitted to have rode his luck a little on the way to his century in the second innings. The Australian captain was dropped twice on low totals. Although the catches weren’t exactly sitters, it goes without saying that letting go of chances to dismiss one of the finest Test batsman in the world is asking for trouble. That was exactly the case as he cruised to his 18th Test hundred and his first in India. His innings played a crucial role in Australia bloating out their lead to 440.
2. DRS decisions: As was the case for him in the Test match as batsman, it was an off day for Kohli as far as reviews were concerned. India used up all their reviews in Australia’s second innings in an almost careless manner. It is interesting to note that Steve Smith could have been out twice through DRS, once for a caught behind and then for a LBW.
3. The Toss: India never could get their chase going in their first innings on a track that only deteriorated after Australia made their total. It would be crucial for India that they win the toss and take advantage of a Day 1 pitch. For India, the safest approach would be bat first, bat big and give the bowlers enough time to bowl out the opposition twice. Provided the spin, or opposition captain’s call, comes in their favour.
4. Bowling attack: Umesh Yadav’s spell was the only positive take away for India. He was the chief tormentor in the Australia’s first innings, taking four wickets in his 12 overs. What was surprising was that on a rank turner, Umesh managed to outclass the spin twins Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin in the first innings. They didn’t have a particularly bad outing as well as Jadeja went on to take three wickets while Ashwin took four in India’s second essay with the ball. The bowlers did well for India and would have given the hosts a fighting chance had it not been for the dropped catches and DRS decisions. India would need them to perform in the same vein in Bangalore.
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