India vs Australia: India report card after Adelaide’s surrender - Woeful fielding, abject batting needs addressing
Six sessions of hard work undone in 30 minutes. That was the story which turned Indian cricket upside down. Having worked hard to first post 244 and then take a 53-run first-innings lead by bowling Australia all out for 191, the stage looked set for India to take a 1-0 lead in the series, but as things would turn out, no one could have foreseen what was to come on Day 3 at the Adelaide Oval. Batting collapses are nothing new for the Indian cricket team, but that unravelled on Saturday left the sour taste in everyone’s mouth as Australia’s pacers steamrolled the mighty Indian batting line-up for 36 to open the account in the Test series. Following their disappointing result, we take a look at how the 11 players fared.
1 Prithvi Shaw – 1/10 (Very Poor)
The sooner Prithvi Shaw and the Indian team management forget this game the better it is. Like Tom Moody rightly pointed out, Shaw’s flop show wasn’t entirely his alone. The Indian team management deserves flak for sticking with the 20-year-old youngster despite poor form. He was not in the greatest of touches heading into the Test and Australia sensed it. It’s not his low scores, but the manner on which he got is concerning. His technical flaws were exploited well by Australia’s pacers. A second-ball duck in the first innings, followed by 4 off 5 in the second, to go with a drop catch. It will be a surprise to see Shaw getting another chance, especially with Shubman Gill waiting in the wings
2 Mayank Agarwal – 4/10 (Average)
Mayank Agarwal, who made his Test debut two years ago Down Under, showed promise but like Shaw, he too had technical errors. In the first innings, Agarwal did well to calm his nerves and get 17 before Cummins exploited his gate. In the second innings, well, an edge and that was that. Agarwal looks a lot more assured than Shaw, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done.
3 Cheteshwar Pujara – 6/10 (Good)
Rahul Dravid said it at the beginning of the series. India need someone to do a Pujara from the last tour, and who better to do so than the man himself. In the first innings, Pujara did great to weather the storm of the Australian bowlers, irrespective of whatever whoever says. His attritional innings of 41 off 159 balls allowed India to build a partnership and although Brad Haddin claims it may have bogged Virat Kohli down, that’s exactly what he is in the team to do. However, in the second innings, Pujara should have avoided sending the nightwatchman in and walked out himself. For all, no one can block the ball as well as he could. A duck in the second innings should not make people read much into it.
4 Virat Kohli – 7/10 (Good)
It was almost as if India’s batting collapse began in the first innings itself, once Virat Kohli was unceremoniously run out for 74. It was an unusual innings from the India captain but one that deserves credit. He dug it in, set himself and finally brought out the shots and looked like taking India forward. As far as the second innings is concerned, Kohli didn’t really have much option with wickets falling at the other end. As captain though, India’s lowest total in Test cricket is something he will have to live with, although he would have liked to leave Australia with a win. At 32, Kohli might have a couple of more series left in Australia, but this one will certainly not be worth remembering
Also read: India vs Australia: The lowest ebb
5 Ajinkya Rahane – 1/10 (Very Poor)
First, Ajinkya Rahane gets his captain run out. Then, he is so affected by the run out that he falls the first over bowled with the second new ball and gives away his star. To make matters worse, in the second innings, Rahane is dismissed for a duck. Irrespective of a century in the first practice game, heading forward, Rahane, being one of the senior-most members of the side, not only has to step up as a batsman but also lead the team in Kohli’s absence. The odds don’t get bigger than this.
6 Hanuma Vihari – 2/10 (Poor)
Like Rahane, Vihari got a century in the pink-ball practice game, but with scores of 16, 8, the batsman would look back at this Test as a match of missed opportunities. Both innings, Vihari looked confident to begin with but couldn’t carry on. Although he is likely to retain his place in the next Test, India and Vihari himself will expect a lot more, especially with Kohli gone and the Indian middle order lacking solidity.
7 Wriddhiman Saha – 2/10 (Poor)
It was one of those matches where the presence of India’s wicketkeeper was hardly felt. With the bat, Saha failed scoring 9 and 4. Behind the stumps, all he did was affect the run out of Matthew Wade at a time when the match was beyond conclusion. What would hurt Saha the most is his dismissal in the first innings. On Day 2, a contribution from Saha could have helped India, but he fell cheaply. He is likely to hold on to his place for the MCG Test, but one more failure might see Rishabh Pant make his way back in the XI.
8 R Ashwin – 7/10 (Very Good)
For someone who’s had to deal with comparisons of his performances home and abroad, R Ashwin did well to shut his detractors. Ashwin picked up 4/55 in the first innings – his best bowling figures in SENA nations and bowled a tidy line and length to the dangerous Steve Smith before being rewarded with his wicket. However, for someone with four Test centuries, Ashwin would want to tie the loose ends of his batting.
9 Umesh Yadav – 8/10 (Very Good)
Only for his performance in the first innings, Umesh gets the most points. Why, you ask? One, because he was spectacular with the new ball, bringing his form from the practice games into the Adelaide Test, and secondly, for proving why he was the best fit to be India’s third seamer despite the presence of youngsters Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj. Umesh removed the dangerous Marnus Labuschagne just when he was looking to get set, and ensured Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood didn’t trouble India much with the Australian tail.
10 Mohammed Shami – 2/10 (Poor)
As strange as it may sound, Mohammed Shami looked the least effective and threatening of the three Indian pacers. He went wicketless in the first innings, and unfortunately, could not bowl in the second. Reports suggest that Shami left the Adelaide Oval with his right hand in a sling. If this in fact was his final match in Australia in the tour, he would be disappointed with the way he had to go out.
11 Jasprit Bumrah – 7/10 (Good)
Jasprit Bumrah looked the Bumrah of old with the new ball, keeping the batsmen on his toes and producing an effort that had Australia’s batting approach being questioned. Although he could not last long on Day 3, props to him for coming out as nightwatchman and seeing India through to Day 2 stumps without another damage. He would be India’s hope with the ball at the MCG Test, especially if Shami is not given the clear.