An exciting second Test match between India and Australia at Bengaluru led the hosts to a series-levelling win in a hard-fought but a rather feisty game, but is that momentum enough for India to roll over their opponents or will we see Australia come back harder at the hosts when the two sides meet in Ranchi for the third game? Suneer Chowdhary and Shruti Chopra look to preview and predict the course of the match. Read excerpts of their conversation or you can listen to them right here..
We know how the match went but to see how things unfolded after the game with allegations and counter-allegations and complaints and statements from match refs that weren’t and the two boards getting involved, one almost thought that the third Test couldn’t come sooner but in the end, do you think it was only appropriate for both sides this week-odd long break.
It’s interesting you ask that, because according to the cards it’s very important that Team India..and Australia don’t get too swayed in the emotion of it all and this longer gap between Tests was probably much needed. But despite this, I will say that India may take a while to settle themselves and create the right balance between skill and emotion.
And that balance between skill and emotion will be much needed, especially from the Indian openers who have struggled to get going in recent times. In the 21 innings that India have batted during this home season and that includes matches against New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and now Australia, there has been just one 100-run and two fifty-run partnership…so while KL Rahul has been India’s best batsman in this series so far, the opening stands have been worth just 26, 10, 11 and 39 so far. Not exactly ideal, Shruti…
..and It’s not going to continue to be exactly ideal – there’s still confusion amongst the opening batsmen on how to best approach the start of the 1st innings, if they can just remain a tad careful for around the first 17overs, then they should’ve weathered the storm (I know that’s a long time for Indian openers!)..but.. The rest of the innings should display some confident and exceptional batting. As for the 2nd innings, the opening batsmen appear far more sure of themselves – so there’s less concern there.
I suppose, Murali Vijay, if fit should walk back into the XI for Mukund but wouldn’t want to see any other change if the pitch is expected to remain tough to bat on as has been the case so far. Despite India’s obvious issues with the bat in this series – and they have had scores of 105, 107, 189 and 274 so far, the Indian bowling was mighty impressive in Bengaluru. And when I use the words, India bowling, I mean all four bowlers, Ishant, Umesh, Ashwin and Jadeja, and it’s not often one can say that. Look, I know Jadeja took a six-fer in the first innings and then Ashwin followed it up with one of his own, but it was Umesh and Ishant’s efforts in the first innings that choked up the run-supply for long periods of time that allowed India to get away with just an 85-run deficit. Do we expect more of the same in Ranchi?
O’ yes more of the same but not initially, in the first half, India’s bowling will be a tad aggressive and risky – they’ll try to get under the Aussie skins, but that may not always be wise.. better sense should prevail and India’s bowling will be on point. In the second innings, India begin by giving away some easy runs then to eventually settle into a good rhythm.
Moving on to Australia, they approached their two innings in Bengaluru differently. They were cautious, and attempted to absorb as much pressure as they could in the first dig and batted for a lengthy 122 odd overs to score just 276 in the first innings before trying to launch an offensive in the second and I, for one, think they lost the game in the first innings when they did not score at more than just 2.25 runs an over…wonder what will the Aussie approach to batting be in this game, Shruti, what do the cards say for you?
Australia actually seem heartbroken and very disappointed with their collapse – overall, in this series they have had the better of India, but this one innings has probably created enough doubt for them to second guess themselves. But where I see them to be a tad lucky is their first innings where India’s bowlers give them enough leeway to break away and make most of the opportunity..although their tail-enders may not be able to hang on for long. It’s the second innings where Australia falter a lot more – they’re having to be a lot more careful then they would like – runs appear harder to come by but a mini-middle order revival seems to be on the cards.
Australia have been hit by two injuries – both Mitchells from the previous game have been ruled out of the rest of the series and while the absence of Marsh isn’t quite a big blow, Starc’s injury could be a stinger. Not sure how the Australian selectors think at the best of time but for me, the best approach to replacing Mitchell Marsh at number six will be to bring in a player who can bat first in these conditions and everything else is a bonus – so whether that’s Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell or even Marcus Stoinis, they will need to take a call accordingly. Pat Cummins has been given an SOS call but they already have Jackson Bird in the line-up and it could well be a toss-up between the two as far as the bowling goes – unless the selectors decide to bring in a third spinner and confuse the living daylights of all fans. Shruti, how do you reckon will the Aussie bowling go?
It’s tight smart bowling, but they may need to constantly tweak their plans as they’re more likely to meet a more resilient team India. Risks will need to be taken if they’re to see India buckle in the first innings. It’s in the second innings where Australia need to be more sure of their strategies, and bowl better in tandem – it’ll be quite a battle.
Last, but not the least and our listens will be itching to listen to your prediction for this game?
Take risks, make your luck – this match for me is about the team that can do that and not a lot separates both teams except for just one card – I just wish to put one thing in perspective.. I take out a minimum of 25 cards for 1 team – that’s 50 cards for the match.. and in this match.. only 1 card separates both teams – now because of the one card, it’s Tarot Advantage: India.
Suneer.. What does your analysis side with..who are you picking as your favourites?
Again, it could well boil down to the pitch and the toss. There have been rumours circulating around how there have been three pitches prepared and it will be down to the Indian team to select which one they want but those were refuted later by the curator – all in all, it seems like we could see another game on a surface that turns from very early in the game and if that is the case, the team batting first will be a favourite.