When India came out on fourth day morning, they were still 26 behind Australia but had nine wickets in hand. The only way for them was to capitalize on their innings by sensible batting. Yesterday, someone like Shikhar Dhawan was unusually patient as his score of 26 had come in 65 balls. It showed he was not playing rash and leaving lots of ball unplayed. Another thing happened on third day after India’s bowlers did well in the first hour of the Australian innings and took two early wickets. Mitchell Johnson arrived on the scene. The man turned the game on its head and helped Australia snatch a vital first innings lead. Next day, Johnson continued his destruction in bowler’s role as he reduced India’s batting to shambles. India had other problems, when overnight unbeaten Dhawan couldn’t continue after he suffered a blow on his hand during nets before the play began and Virat Kohli took his place. In any case, instead of taking their time to settle down, the batsmen went for early strokes and from 71/1, they slumped to 87/5 and with Johnson in full flow, India were soon hurtling to a hopeless hole and in the end, they handed a 128 run winning target to Australia. There was no way India could defend such small challenge. They finally lost by 4 wickets and Dhoni’s excuse of bad practice pitches looked patently shallow in the end as irresponsible batting had more to do with the debacle that they suffered.
As play began on fourth day, Kohli came out with Pujara as Dhawan reportedly nursed an injury, suffered during morning net practice. Kohli played a maiden over from Shane Watson and when he faced Watson again, six balls later, he scored a single in four balls that he faced. 1 labored run in 10 balls would be all Kohli had made, when he faced the first ball from Johnson’s second over. It was a pathetic site to watch India’s best batsman shuffling across lazily and touching an angled delivery that straightened off the pitch. Like an amateur, Kohli managed an inside edge and dragged the ball to his stumps. With Kohli gone, Australia applied further pressure, when Ajinkya Rahane came next. Rahane dispatched Johnson to the boundary. He scored another boundary off Johnson but soon he was gone for 10 off 8 balls after he popped a simple catch to the backward point fielder, when Johnson sent down a rising delivery. The rot had set in and India’s batsmen didn’t know how to stem it. Two balls later. Johnson picked up another wicket.
New batsman, Rohit Sharma played away from his body and needlessly edged it to the wicketkeeper. With only 15 runs added to the overnight total, India had lost three wickets to Mitchell Johnson in next to no time. Panic gripped India’s batsmen and when Dhoni joined Pujara, he didn’t have a clue as to how to go on from 86/4. Josh Hazlewood bowled the next over and Pujara took a single to bring Dhoni to face Hazlewood. Dhoni shuffled across and tried to work out a shot around his pads. But he missed the line to be declared out leg before wicket as India slumped to 87/5. Pujara was still there but he wasn’t getting many deliveries. Ashwin came next and the two batsmen took the score past 100. At 117, Mitchell Starc claimed Ashwin, as he shuffled across with his bat, finding an inside edge that went straight to Haddin. Dhawan finally came to the crease to join his overnight partner but enough damage had already been done. The two batsmen began afresh at 117/6 and went on until the score reached 143. At this score, Pujara fell to Hazlewood. It was a short ball outside Pujara’s off stump and as Pujara pushed it, the ball hit his bat near the handle and Lyon at point took a smart catch. From 143/7, Dhawan and Umesh Yadav carried the score to 203, when Dhawan was claimed LBW by Lyon. After this, nothing remained in the Indian innings, when Johnson took Yadav as his fourth victim and the Indian innings folded at 224.
Australia had an easy target of 128 and they had the time to finish the match by the day’s end. Despite losing Warner and Watson early, Rogers and Smith added 63 for the third wicket. After Rogers got out for a well-made 55, Shaun Marsh and Smith added another 29. Though Australia lost two more wickets, the target was too small to bother them and they reached 130/6 in 23.1 overs and won the test match by 4 wickets.
India lost because they failed to apply themselves, when staying on wicket was more important than scoring quick runs. They had to look for safety first but their best batsmen forgot the basics. Smith and Johnson had their tasks cut out and they filled the role admirably. 90% of India’s wicket fell with edges to the keeper and slips and patently rash strokes, best avoided in test match situations. India had done well on the first three days but they allowed Mitchell Johnson to pile up a big score on third day and played with indiscipline in their second innings.
Latest posts by R K Gupta (see all)
- Tennis News: Murray Wins First Dubai Crown but Rafael Nadal Shocked at Mexico by Sam Querrey - March 5, 2017
- Roger Federer Loses to Russian Qualifier Donskoy in Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championship - March 3, 2017
- Top 4 Teams Improve Their Status in Euro-League Regular Season with Seven Rounds Left - March 2, 2017