Spin debacle at home raises questions on India’s batting calibre | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Spin debacle at home raises questions on India’s batting calibre

Nathan Lyon produced a brilliant performance with the ball as India’s dismal batting display raised questions over the batsmen’s ability to play quality spin.

cricket Updated: Mar 04, 2017 18:34 IST
Nilankur Das
Nathan Lyon took eight wickets as India were bundled out for 189 on Day 1 of the Bangalore Test match.
Nathan Lyon took eight wickets as India were bundled out for 189 on Day 1 of the Bangalore Test match.(REUTERS)

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon returned with career best figures of 8 for 50 on the first day of the second Test between India and Australia in Bangalore on Saturday. It was the best bowling figures by a visiting team bowler in India and once again, the Indian batting crumbled to quality spin on a track that looked even more potent to spin than the track in Pune. (HIGHLIGHTS)

This dismal show by the Indian batting stars has once again raised serious questions about India’s ability to play spin. Similar questions were asked when India faltered at home against England in 2012. England had off-spinner Graeme Swann and left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, pretty much a similar combination that Australia have in Lyon and O’Keefe. India’s batting line-up has changed in the meantime, but the outcome hasn’t. (SCORECARD)

The Indian total on Saturday was slightly better than Pune where they were bundled out for 105 in the first innings. However, it was thanks mainly to a 204-ball 90 by opener KL Rahul. The rest of the team — despite skipper Virat Kohli’s assurances that the batting debacle in Pune was one-off — did not account for much.

READ | Nathan Lyon (8 for 50) betters Lance Klusener’s bowling record in India

In Pune, India fell to left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe. In Bengaluru, it was conventional off-spin on Nathan Lyon. His figures were the best by a visiting bowler on the first day of a Test, better than West Indies great Andy Roberts’ 7/64 in Chennai in 1975.

A super home run in between the two series was celebrated. India defeated Australia, West Indies, New Zealand, South Africa, England and Bangladesh, most of them on turning tracks and created an aura of invincibility.

Australia in 2014, did not have a quality spin attack and their dressing room was in disarray. New Zealand did not have the batting to back their spinners and so did Bangladesh. England badly missed a combination like Swann and Monty and the South African batting was too reliant on AB de Villiers. However, here’s a very balanced Australian bowling attack, irrespective of what results they have achieved in the run up to this series.

READ | Virat Kohli’s error in Bangalore Test due to Nathan Lyon’s skills: Sanjay Manjrekar

India’s first-class domestic tournament, supposed to be the supply line to Test cricket has failed to deliver. The domestic T20 league, IPL, is now where the radar is.

After matches in the Ranji Trophy began to end in three days, the BCCI decided to play the four-day matches in neutral venues so as to take away the host team from doctoring the wicket to their strength. The idea was to play the Ranji Trophy on sporting wickets for an even competition between bat and ball.

What it has actually done is taken pressure off batsmen. One year is too short a time but even then Indian batsmen are not prepared to grind it out on difficult wickets any more.