Border-Gavaskar Trophy - Daunting task awaits Aussies at Hyderabad
India comprehensively won the first match of the Border Gavaskar Trophy, thanks to heroics from the Chennai Super Kings, R Ashwin and MS Dhoni, in bowling and batting respectively. With the second match starting tomorrow, here is a look at some important factors which would likely decide the outcome of the match.
The Pitch: Like any other Indian pitch, the turf at Hyderabad would support spinners. But unlike the one at Chennai, which was a rank turner and the ball started turning from day 1 itself, the one at Hyderabad is a harder one. So, the team batting first will try to put on a good score. After day 3, the cracks will begin to widen up, thus bringing the the spinners into play. Fast Bowlers will have to hit the deck hard to get something out of the pitch.
India: The Indians would be pretty satisfied with their performance at Chennai. The middle order finally showed some form. Pujara was rock-solid during his stay at the crease. Sachin was at his usual best, but would have been disappointed on missing out on a century.
The centurions, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, were extraordinary and would like to continue their form. Ashwin bowled really well at Chennai, but it would be interesting to see how he bowls at a wicket which does not turn as much as the one at Chennai. In his last outing here, Ashwin grabbed 6 wickets in both innings, albeit against New Zealand.
The openers were off target yet again and failed to chase the meagre target of 50 by themselves. This would definitely worry the captain. Moreover, Harbhajan Singh has been a liability for a long time now and benching Ojha for him is foolish. One would have to wait and see whether Dhoni retains the same team or benches Harbhajan.
Australia: The Aussies will not be very proud of their performance, but they would take a lot of positives from the 1st Test. Moises Henriques stood as an example for the Aussies on how to bat on turning pitches. Michael Clarke was looking good too, but was undone by some excellent spin bowling. Other batsmen got starts but simply could not convert them into big scores. Pattinson was the best among the bowlers, who took a fifer on a rank turner.
Much was expected from Nathan Lyon but he could do nothing against some good counter-attacking batting from Dhoni. The Australian team must learn from their mistakes and take a cue from the English on how to bat on Indian pitches.
The Aussie management may decide to go in with 2 spinners, bringing in Xavier Doherty in place of Starc or Siddle. Also, Mitchell Johnson, who’s a part of the squad may get a look due to his previous experience of bowling in subcontinent conditions.
India would attack the Aussies with spin probably from the start itself. The Aussie batsmen must learn from their mistakes to approach things differently. With both their spinners and batsmen firing, India are clear favourites to win the 2nd Test as well.
India (likely): Virender Sehwag, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (c)(wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh/Pragyan Ojha, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma.
Australia (likely): Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke, MS Wade (wk), Moises Henriques, Mitchell Starc/Xavier Doherty, Peter Siddle/Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon.