India vs Australia, 1st Test: Taking last wicket early, neutralising pacers' threat crucial for hosts on Day 2

You cannot give India a sniff in their own backyard. The most important thing is to start well and then maintain consistency in order to have any hope. Australia haven't done that and their batting failure has put them on the back foot on the very first day on the tour of India. They won the all-important toss but have managed to squander the advantage with the ball turning significantly on day one of the first Test of the series in Pune .

They started off well and ended the day well, but in between, it all went haywire. The habit of losing wickets in a heap came back to haunt them. But the fact that they gave away four wickets to a pacer – Umesh Yadav – on a turning track would have hurt them more. Matthew Renshaw and David Warner provided a stable start but after Warner's wicket, it started going downhill for the visitors.

File picture of Cheteshwar Pujara, one of the pillars of the Indian batting order. AP

File picture of Cheteshwar Pujara, one of the pillars of the Indian batting order. AP

Renshaw's retirement due to an upset stomach was a crucial moment in the game because he looked solid at the wicket and suddenly there were two new batsmen at the crease. While the others struggled with their footwork, Renshaw showed that runs can be scored on this wicket with application. Mitchell Starc then provided Australia some relief with a breezy innings of 57 from 58 balls. India missed out a trick as the last wicket have now added 51 unbeaten runs.

India would look to wrap it up as soon as possible in the morning session on day two. Australia are 256/9 at the end of day one and anywhere close to 300 would be a morale booster for them. India bowled with discipline and were rewarded for that. After wrapping up the Australian innings, they need to make sure they get a strong start much like Australia. Umesh swung the ball throughout the day which might bring some smiles to Australian faces as they have gone into the match with three pacers – Josh Hazlewood, Starc and Mitchell Marsh.

Tackling the swing of Starc and accuracy of Hazlewood early on will be vital. They can perhaps take a chance against Marsh who doesn't pose much of a threat. Reverse swing will play an important part in the series and tackling Starc – one of the best exponents of reverse swing – with the old ball too becomes important.

A lead of 100-150 runs with the pitch assisting significant turn from the first day itself would be India's aim. Over the years, it's Australian pacers who have been more successful than the spinners in India. Yes, Nathan Lyon and Stephen O'Keefe might be crucial for Australia, but it's how India handle the pacers that will decide how the Test pans out. India will be batting last on this wicket which could be a really tricky affair which is why a hefty first innings lead becomes imperative. Application at the crease will be the key and India do have some very good batsmen who can put on an exhibition.


Published Date: Feb 24, 2017 08:00 am | Updated Date: Feb 24, 2017 09:23 am