It was a case of so near yet so far for India in Adelaide Test. And then they squandered a golden opportunity to beat Australia at a venue where the hosts have not suffered defeat since 1988.
India ended the day one at 311 for four – the highest opening day score against Australia at the Gabba in more than 50 years. A batting collapse on the second day saw India lose the plot somewhat and getting dismissed for 408. India were in the driving seat again when they had Australia on the mat at 247 for six, but the tail tagged. Indian pacers peppered Mitchell Johnson with bouncers and Johnson kept on hitting them to all parts of the Gabba.
Johnson raced to his fifty off just 37 balls- the second fastest fifty by an Australian against India. Johnson’s thunderous counter-attack also helped Steven Smith to settle down at the other end. Johnson was finally dismissed after scoring 88 – a game changing knock that snatched away any advantage that Indians seemed to possess. Taking a leaf from Johnson’s book, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazzlewood also used the long handle to good effect and Australia ended with 505. The last four wickets added 258 runs to the total and Australia were in a position from where they could dictate the terms.
Not for the first time India found it tough to deal with the tailenders. Earlier this year India allowed last 3 England wickets to add 294 runs to the total at Nottingham after the hosts were reeling at 202 for seven.
It is pretty much clear that India’s performance against the tailenders since 2010 is their worst than in any decade back till 1960s.
The following table gives details of tail’s batting against each team since 2010. India have been the most generous side when it comes to deal with the tailenders.
Another problem plaguing this Indian side is losing wickets in a heap. In first innings at the Gabba India were 321 for four, but lost 6 wickets for 87 to be 408 all out. In second innings, after being 76 for one, India collapsed to 143 for seven, losing 6 wickets for 67 runs.
In the first Test at Adelaide also, India had lost cluster of wickets in both the innings. In fact India have now lost 5 wickets or more for just 100 runs in 9 consecutive innings!
It’s not very common to see a side losing a Test after scoring 400 in the first innings of the match. Brisbane Test provided only the fourth such instance for India:
A different set of captains in consecutive Tests
MS Dhoni returned as India’s skipper at the Gabba. Australia also had a new skipper in Steven Smith, with Michael Clarke ruled out of the series. Both sides were thus led by different players in consecutive matches.
There are not many instances of two teams being captained by the different players in consecutive Tests in the same series.
It first happened in the 1888-89 South Africa v England series. In the first Test Owen Dunell captained South Africa, while Aubrey Smith led England. In the second Test, the captains were William Milton and Monty Bowden.
In the 1926 Ashes, in the fourth Test the captains were Arthur Carr and Warren Bardsley and in the fifth, Percy Chapman and Herbie Collins.
In the 1947-48 series between West Indies and England, in the first Test at Bridgetown, West Indies were captained by George Headley while the England team was captained by Ken Cranston. In the second Test, Gerry Gomez and Gubby Allen took charge.
In the 1961 Ashes, in the second Test at Lord's the teams were captained by Colin Cowdrey and Neil Harvey. In the next Test at Leeds the captains were Peter May and Richie Benaud.
In the 1968 Ashes, Colin Cowdrey and Bill Lawry captained England and Australia respectively in first three Tests. In the fourth Test at at Leeds, the teams were led by Tom Graveney and Barry Jarman. Interestingly, both Cowdrey and Lawry returned to captain in the fifth Test.
In the 1989-90 West Indies v England series, Desmond Haynes and Graham Gooch captained the respective sides in the third Test and for the fourth Test Viv Richards and Allan Lamb were skippers.
In the 2001 Ashes, in the third Test Mike Atherton and Steve Waugh were the captains and in the fourth, Nasser Hussain and Adam Gilchrist.
Steven Smith had a great start to his career as Australia’s captain as he notched up 133 in the first innings. Smith thus became ninth Australian to score a hundred on captaincy debut and first since Graham Yallop in 1978. At 25 years 200 days he also became the youngest Australian captain to score a hundred on captaincy debut. Smith’s innings is the joint second highest by an Australian in the debut innings as captain.
With Virat Kohli scoring twin hundreds at Adelaide and Steven Smith scoring a hundred at the Gabba, this provided the first instance in Test cricket when two players scored hundreds on captaincy debut in the same series.
Steven Smith’s first innings century fetched him man of the match award. He thus became only the ninth player to win man of the match award in first Test as captain. The complete list:
Steven Smith won man of the match award on captaincy debut, becoming only the second Australian and only the ninth player to do so. The complete list:
MS Dhoni –leading India for a record 29th time in an away Test- had a rather forgettable return to Test cricket. Interestingly he has maintained a clean slate against Australia as captain. Dhoni has won all eight Tests against Australia in India and lost all four in Australia in which he has captained India!
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Updated Date: Dec 22, 2014 15:54:00 IST