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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Australian Tour 2014 Final Test - When draw was more enjoyable

The Indians lost 0-4 during their previous tour Down Under. This time it was 0-2 - a reflection of the progress that the team made over four years. The team transitioned on many counts during this tour. The old order moved into retirement while the new generation batsmen came after losing (if not disastrous) campaigns from New Zealand, South Africa and England. The team had come close to winning matches in the first two tours but on the last tour to England, they did win at Lords.

On this tour, there would be no wins but the two draws could be considered as morale boosters for a team that has now moved to a new captain as well during the series. The test team will no longer have a certain Mr. Dhoni. Virat Kohli seems to enjoy his captaincy considering that he has scored three centuries and a forty in his two tests as captain. Let us see how this run continues in the next series overseas.

The positives have been limited on the batting front from the Indian side - Vijay, Rahane and Kohli have been standout performers in all tests. Rahul did well in the Sydney test, showing signs of long-term promise. Shikhar Dhawan and Chet Pujara will be still in the scheme of the Indian cricket - part of a good set of batsmen for the next generation.

It is the bowling that will give the Indian management a big headache. Discipline was missing in all matches and it was very clear that the slow wickets would not help any of them. The fact that the opposition bowlers also struggled meant that the Indian bowlers were not far behind - if that was a consolation factor. Ishant Sharma did well to apply his learnings of many years but it shudders when you think that the others are in the same situation he was few years ago. Umesh Yadav looked full of promise during the last tour Down Under but he has not progressed much. Bhuvi could not do much in the last test due to injury but he needs support from the pitch and conditions to be effective. Can Aaron become more consistent is the question on everyone's lips?

Overall, the Indians lost the series but not disappointed their fans. A win would have been good but I think the next overseas series will be the one where India will start their winning streak.
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