The Border-Gavaskar Trophy as well as India’s first-ever overseas pink ball test aka the day-night test ended with an accumulation of unexpected turn of events as they trail to Australia in the test series. Australia clinched victory in the first match with a fierce performance mainly in the second innings.
The first innings saw some promising performance from both teams. Prithvi Shaw’s miserable form continued as Mitchell Starc rattled his stumps in just the second ball. Cheteshwar Pujara along with Mayank Agarwal played for some time when Mayank had to depart. As the Indian skipper Virat Kohli stepped in, fans gained some confidence and so did he keep the words of the fans. As Cheteshwar Pujara gave away his wicket, Ajinkya Rahane with Virat Kohli showed some stability as they took on the Australian bowling lineup. A horrendous mixup between the two cost India a crucial wicket of the skipper. Ajinkya Rahane had to follow very soon along with the rest of the batting lineup as India managed to put up only a mere score of 244 where all the batsmen were bundled up.
On the bowlers’ part, Mitchell Starc managed a 4fer with Pat Cummins claiming 3 wickets. The following day saw 14 wickets being taken. Marnus Labuschagne was the only man standing from the top five batsmen in the Australian lineup who also survived four times including dropped catches and reversed decisions. Australian skipper Tim Paine survived the longest with his 73 run knock where he managed to not get out and for which he was adjudged the Man of the Match.
Indian bowlers showed some brute force in their bowling as Ravichandran Ashwin took a 4fer and Umesh Yadav claimed 3. On the other hand, India was terrible on the field with nearly seven catches dropped.
On the second day, India came out to bat where they lost the wicket of Prithvi Shaw who was yet again bowled out. India’s effort to save their wickets went in vain as Jasprit Bumrah was sent in as a night watchman. The second innings on day three saw a bizarre day of cricket as India recorded their lowest ever score in test matches, scoring only 36 and losing all the wickets. None of the batsmen showed promise, especially the middle order fumbled including the skipper due to which India was four down for just 11 runs.
Pundits were surprised by this performance too, as India looked helpless in front of Australia and the conditions there, getting no chance to even properly hit the pink ball which swung and bounced due to major windy and moderately cold conditions. Josh Hazlewood was Australia’s star performer as he managed a 5fer along with Pat Cummins who claimed 4 wickets. Australia who was lethal with the ball too was unmoved with their batting as they wrapped up the match on the very third day chasing a total of just 93 runs. Joe Burns managed to score a quickfire 51 off just 63 deliveries.
It would be very interesting to see how India would shape up without Virat Kohli, who returns to India due to family matters. Mohammad Shami would too miss the rest of the series as he suffered a fracture in his right wrist due to a detrimental bouncer from Pat Cummins in the second innings. With the absence of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane would be given the duties of the skipper who would be under some pressure. With all this, India needs to get their opening pair and middle-order sorted before the second test which kicks off at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.