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Friday, January 30, 2015

Australia Tour Tri-series - India bow out winless

On Twitter, Statistician Mohandas Menon posted the series where India finished winless since 2011 World Cup

  • 2011 in Eng 
  • 2013/14 in SA 
  • 2013/14 in NZ 
  • 2014/15 in Aus

They escaped a whitewash in the test series and another losing streak in the ODI series (thanks to rain) but that was no consolation to a team that has high hopes on retaining the next World Cup.

At Perth, the Indians started well. Their openers did a decent job to see off the dangerous Anderson and managed to score a 80+ partnership with both taking chances but surviving. Dhawan was back to something that resembled form. Rahane, after the initial jitters, settled down to anchor the innings. It was the failures again of Kohli, Raina that hampered India. The batting collapsed from 83-0 to 165-9 before Shami hit out to get 200 on the board.

The Indians seem to be experimenting with the batting positions and getting some answers. Stuart Binny has made Dhoni realize that he is a handy person to have in the lineup. Jadeja was rusty with bat and ball but Axar has proved that he is a good bowler to have in the middle overs. The batting depth is present on paper but that has to be translated to reality. With Ashwin in the squad, the team management must figure out what is the combination to play in the World Cup. What happens to Umesh and Bhuvi? Are they injured? Dhoni's answers in the press conference seems to suggest.

The Indian batsmen dont have a first (or even second) gear - they seem to bat only at the top gears or perish. This was the fashion few years ago when batsmen used to play defensive and rotate the strike over. But, the new generation tend to be aggressive in any situation - that is causing the problems to the Indian batsmen, like this game. No longer are they happy to score at 3-4 runs per over. They are looking at boundaries every over. This will not work - Kohli, Rahane, Rayudu, Jadeja should be told this. Rahane should have gone on and controlled the innings but could not.

The Indians fared better while bowling thanks to the pitch and an accurate bowling attack (except the comeback man Jadeja). Binny made use of the conditions to his favor and picked up wickets to put England  on the backfoot. But, the Indians could not restrict the winning team. Jadeja and some sloppy fielding (by selected fielders) meant that the Indians could not put enough pressure on the duo of Butler and Taylor. Overall, a tour that ended without a win. It can be termed as a success still if the next tour (with more or less the same players) contains few winning moments. Hopefully, the players remember and implement the lessons learnt.
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