Can India salvage some pride in the final four days of series?
We are in the second day of the 4th and final test of the Border-Gavaskar trophy. As predicted by all Australia have already clinched the series. The way the Indian bowlers performed yesterday, the final scoreline is likely to read 3-0 in favour of the home team when the SCG test match ends.
Coming into the series both teams carried in some heavy baggage. Australian shoulders were weighed down by the untimely loss of their mate Phillip Hughed and Indians were haunted by the string of poor performances over the years. Clearly the Aussies have dealt better with the situation. The performance baggage of Indians has definitely proven to be heavier than the emotional baggage.
The series, as we have seen, will be remembered for its 4 test captains. Two of them who qualify as best in the world and two who have shown that how the responsibility of leading your nation can ring in a growth in character and maturity.
Michael Clarke led his side into the series with admirable courage and belief before he had to hand it over to the young Steve Smith. Mahendra Singh Dhoni retired from Test cricket after he salvaged a draw for India in the Melbourne test.
The Sydney test is the third one with Smith at the helm and he has led from the front with his par excellence batting show. His young Indian counterpart Virat Kohli has struggled with the team but has shown immense character in his batting and approach to the game.
The series is already in the bag for Australia and at 348-2 in the first innings they are well on course for winning this one too. All that is left to see in this game is whether this young inexperienced bunch of Indian boys can win back an iota of pride. The bowlers have put up an ordinary or a below-ordinary show in most innings letting the team down. The batting has been worth watching only when Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli have been at the crease. The rest have not lived up to the expectations barring a few green patches.
Had India taken advantage in the Adelaide Test, the series would’ve turned out different
We can argue that had someone put his hand up and supported Kohli in the Adelaide test, the scenario might have been different. The plot was lost there and it has been downhill since then.
The story of India in this high voltage tournament has revolved around ‘Only if’. Only if the dropped catches were take, only of she could clean up the tail, only if batsmen from no 7 onwards would bat sensibly, only if India capitalised on the moments where her nose was ahead of the Aussies. The problem is ‘Only If’ doesn’t win matches and India has paid severe penalties for her mistakes.
It is nice to see Kohli backing his bowlers on the field and in interviews, but unfortunately, their bowling has moved in an opposite direction to his words. The bowlers, so far, have shown no spine and to expect anything otherwise on day 2 is highly optimistic. It will have to be the batsmen to pull India out again. Whether they can do that or they falter is what the test match boils down to.
An evenly contested remaining 4 days of the test series is the best hope for Indian fans.