by Rex Clementine
This was supposed to be a long tour where India and Australia went neck to neck and towards the tail end we found out the holders of Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The number one slot in ICC Test rankings was at stake and so was a place in the ICC Test Championship final. Yet, all what it took Australia to blow it was six days.
Both the Nagpur and Delhi Tests ended inside three days allowing India to secure a 2-0 lead in the four match series. For all its hype the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has been an anti-climax. Surely, you expected a much better fight from the Australians. They have been completely outplayed, their strategies exposed and their planning found to be wanting.
Australia arrived in India with Mitchell Starc, Cameroon Green and Josh Hazlewood not fully recovered from injuries but they were expected to be part of the series down the line. Hazlewood returned home after being ruled out of the series without playing a game after the second Test while Starc and Green are yet to be fit while India has secured an unassailable lead.
Ahead of the second Test in Delhi, Australia flew in left-arm spinner Mathew Kuhnemann as leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson returned home for the birth of his first child. Khunemann made his Test debut in Delhi but Australia already had a left-arm spinner Ashton Agar in the squad in India. Then inexplicably, it was announced that Agar would return home after the second Test. Why bring him to India in first place if you don’t have confidence in Agar? Australia’s thinking has been flawed, very.
India’s all three spinners Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel aren’t mugs with the bat and they all contributed some big runs that proved to be vital in the series. Australia’s batting strategies meanwhile were flawed. They chose sweep as the scoring option against spin but that backfired. To play spin well, you’ve got to use your feet, trust your defence and rotate the strike. Sweep can be an option when the bowling is wayward and hasn’t got much control, but against the accurate Jadeja and Ashwin when you sweep and miss, you are a prime lbw suspect. Instead of choosing the sweep selectively, the Aussies swept everything that came their way and there was going to be only one winner in this contest. Australia have played poor cricket no doubt but India have been outstanding. They have been in a spot of bother during the series more than once but found someone to bail them out on all occasions. Sadly for Australia, there’s no one to battle it out during those tough phases.
Jadeja in particular returning from injury has bowled superbly not giving away any freebies. His batting is flawless and no wonder why he’s rated the number one all-rounder in the world.
While the spinners have done a terrific job for India, the seamers have been effective too. Mohammad Shami and Mohammad Siraj have provided the early breakthroughs and with the older ball found some reverse swing.
India have all bases covered and deserve to be ranked world’s number one team.