India vs Australia 2019: 3 things we learnt from the 2nd ODI
India held their nerve in the 2nd ODI at Nagpur to register an eight-run win. With another success on the board, the Indians only need a solitary victory to pocket the ODI series.
The pitch at the VCA Stadium represented a tricky proposition for the batsmen, with the ball gripping in the surface. However, the hosts, powered by the irresistible Virat Kohli breached the 250 mark to set the visitors a target of 251.
In reply, Australia got off to a superb start and notched up an impressive opening stand of 83. Yet, after the stand was broken by Kuldeep Yadav, the tourists found it tough to manufacture scoring shots and they fell short at the end.
During the game, several facets came to light and thus, through the lens of this article, we would take a closer look at the three things we learnt from India’s nail-biting victory.
#3. Australia clearly lack confidence in the ODI format
The Australian team has undergone a massive overhaul over the past year. The likes of Steven Smith and David Warner found themselves on the periphery after the Sandpaper Gate. With the Aussies no longer in a position to call upon their big guns, they were left with a significant void to fill.
However, despite boasting of a large enough talent pool, they haven’t been able to plug that gap. On the contrary, they’ve contrived to make the hole deeper.
Since the start of 2018, the tourists have won a grand total of 3 ODIs with only one of them coming this year. The said victory came about at Sydney where their bowling attack blew away India’s top order.
Yet, the successful outcome only represents a deviation from a rather worrying pattern.
In several of the games they’ve lost, the Aussies have been in good positions. However, they've lacked the winning mentality at crucial junctures and crumbled under pressure.
Even at Nagpur, the Australians had no business allowing India back into the game. The former had strung together a strong opening stand and another decent partnership would’ve taken them home. But, none of the above happened and it accorded the hosts a chance to make their mark. Eventually, the lack of conviction left Marcus Stoinis with a little too much to do at the end.
While losing is part and parcel of cricket, the dearth of confidence in the Aussie ranks to finish off games is becoming an enormous concern.
And in a year when they have to defend the World Cup, Justin Langer would hope they find the winning formula quickly. Else, they run the risk of their defence ending in the dampest of damp squibs.