As we are all just trying to figure out what went right and what went wrong in the recently concluded test match, the next one is already around the corner. This is where the series should have originally begun, if not for the unfortunate incident. Every Australian player played their part in paying a fitting tribute to their departed team mate. On the Indian side a galore of questions remain, some new ones and some old ones: Is Virat Kohli mentally ready for another battle, WIll he get more support from his fellow batsmen this time around and are the bowlers physically fit? In two days time all these questions will be answered.
India might make some changes to the batting lineup that played in Adelaide. Dhoni might come back into the team, if he is fit. This will assure that the reckless shot from Saha might not be repeated, but what is not guaranteed though is an aggressive attitude to chase the target from the captain. Dhawan might get another chance to prove himself due to the wrong call he got in the second innings. Raina replacing Rohit Sharma is another possibility. All his talent in ODI suddenly becomes tentativeness in Test cricket and it will be a big test.
Irrespective of what changes are done, the Indian batsmen need to make few changes to their technique. Amongst all the kinds of spin varieties available, the off spin is probably the most benign. All the exponents of “doosra” are serving bans. It deeply hurts Indian fans to see their batsmen struggle to cope up with genuine off spin. One big differentiating factor is the bounce for spinners on overseas pitches which most of them struggled against. The batsmen could not decide whether to stay on the back foot or stretch and smother the spin.
One change seems imminent in the bowling department. Karn Sharma will make way for R. Ashwin. On a track which aided spin and bounce, you would expect a leg spinner to make the most of it. What we saw was lack of variety and control. The googly was apparently missing and so was the flipper. At one point in the second innings, there were 6 fielders on the leg side for Warner and Karn was bowling from round the wicket and the ball was pitching on off or outside off. His domestic batting exploits have been thoroughly exposed while he was batting. Ashwin hopefully would have learnt a lesson or two watching Lyon exploits in Adelaide, who bowled consistently without trying too many varieties.
Where is the bowling coach of the Indian team ?? While you can see that Australian bowlers are constantly provided inputs at the boundary, which happened even during the Ashes, the Indian bowling coach is no where in the picture. Aaron’s fitness is again in doubt for the second test. That leaves Umesh Yadav as the only choice. Shami and Aaron take turns in bowling tight line and length. What it really means is, the batsmen always have one end where they can score freely. All the Indian bowlers put together have claimed as many wickets as Lyon did in the test. Clarke’s injury might be a blessing in disguise, but there is no respite from Warner and the new skipper Smith who are at their best.
The hope for an Indian cricket fan is to see another close contest and not a meek surrender.