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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Boxing day test - Australia take 1-0 lead

Australia took a 1-0 lead in the test series by dismissing the Indian team for a paltry score in the second innings on the penultimate day of the MCG test. It was a good performance by the young bowlers against the batting might of the Indians who were expected to fare much better than this. Continuing a run of low scores in away test matches, the Indian team struggled to score against a target of 292.

The stats reflect the travails of the Indian batting - 1 score of 300   during the England tour as well as 1 score of 300+ in the 3 Caribbean tests does not do justice to a team that has four players in excess of 8000 runs in their career. Now, the Indians will do well to put this defeat behind them and look at the same time last year when they made a remarkable comeback against the Proteans on their soil (who had a much better bowling attack than the current Aussies). From a position of 200 for 2 when they were primed to take a good lead over their opponents, the Indians succumbed in the next 2 days to lost by more than 130 runs.

The day started with the Aussie tail scoring valuable runs and taking the target to a formidable 292. The Indian attack would take their deficiency to wipe the tail as an area of improvement for the forthcoming tests. Even then, the likes of Dean Jones thought that the Indians were favorites to score the runs required in the last innings. If the target was less than 300, Sehwag was confident of chasing it down. But, he was the first one to leave the crease even before lunch was taken. This dismissal raised the hopes of the entire Oz team so much so that after the lunch break, the bowlers were all over the Indians. The bowling coach, Craig Mcdermott, would have been very happy with the way his wards responded to his suggestions.

The Indians seemed to have lost the battle in the mind more than on the ground. Gambhir was once again dismissed poking to a delivery outside the off - a failing he had few years before his big innings. Sachin started well but failed to continue the show once again. The 2nd innings savior, VVS, once again failed in MCG - a bizarre statistic in his Oz tours. Dhoni and Ashwin tried to score runs but the Aussie win was just a matter of when and not if. Ashwin, meanwhile, showed that he can be a suitable No.7 (if Dhoni takes the No.6 position) batsmen for the tour and thus accommodate an extra spinner in the playing eleven. This will give the much needed depth for the bowling attack while putting the onus on the batsmen to contribute more.

Once again, a defeat in the first test match of the series for the Indians. But, there are many positives they can take from the match as well as areas of improvement. With the arsenal in their army, they should be able to mount a comeback in the series very quickly. Will the New Year seem them coming back? If I were a betting man, I will still put my money on India!
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