5 Boxes Team India needs to tick to win the Bengaluru Test
Updated - Mar 2, 2017 10:22 pm
The hype around the series between India and Australia only got intensified after the hosts were handed a shocking defeat by the Aussies in the first Test at Pune. Nobody had given the visitors a chance and most of them had written them off with predictions of 4-0 in the favor of the Indians. However, when the action unfolded at MCA Stadium at Pune, it was the Aussie camp that emerged victorious by a mammoth 333 run margin. The action now moves to Bengaluru for the second Test of the four-match series.
There are a few boxes that they need to tick in a bid to get back to the winning ways. Here we analyze the 5 spots India needs to seal to win the Bengaluru Test:
1. Get the DRS right; for God’s sake!
One of the key reasons why the Indian team failed to live up to the mark in the first Test was the poor usage of the Decision Review System (DRS). Most of the decisions reviewed by the Indians in the Test looked to be decisions taken in a hurry. They were largely inefficient with the usage in both the departments.
The scene came to the fore when India had a daunting target to chase in the second innings. Both openers, KL Rahul and Murali Vijay, despite being plumb in front of the stumps, took the reviews and saw the results going against them. For the stats, the reviews taken by the team during their bowling were all unsuccessful in the Pune Test. While in the case of batting, there was a solitary review that they managed to get right.
Definitely, the numbers are not the most pleasing for the hosts. With the Bengaluru Test coming up, skipper Virat Kohli needs to back his guts to take the tough DRS calls. Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha needs to up his levels of concentration along with other close-in fielders to be the ideal support say while taking the decisions.
2. Openers need to fire
India had a rare failure in the grand home season of Test cricket. The debacle of all sorts saw India bundle out for 105 and 107 in both the innings. One of the key reasons for this was the failure of the openers. Much to the defense of the openers, it could well be said that KL Rahul did notch up a fifty in the first innings.
In all acceptance, the knock by Rahul stood out but one cannot take the fact away that he eventually threw it away with a reckless shot. Moreover, it was his dismissal that triggered the downfall of the Indian innings in the first innings. Murali Vijay’s twin failure across both the innings did not help the cause of the Indian team either.
When scrutinized at deeper levels, one of the parameters of India’s success against England and New Zealand was attributed to Vijay’s consistency; even Bangladesh Test for that matter. KL Rahul has been largely inconsistent. If he wishes to seal a spot for himself in the ever competing Indian lineup, he needs to step up time and again to claim his stake.
3. Wag the tail
Team India boasted of a strong tail coming into the series. It came as no surprise to see Jayant Yadav selected ahead of other players like Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav in the playing eleven. It was not only for his bowling but predominantly for his lower order batting. Having Jayant in the lower order beefs up the Indian batting for sure.
This comes as no surprise that the wagging Indian tail was one of the reasons for their dominion in the Tests at home this season. With Ashwin promoted ahead of Wriddhiman Saha, the latter saw himself playing in the lower order. Knowing his capabilities, it is obvious that the number 7 looked strong.
Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin have been batting well in the recent times and the addition of Jayant Yadav only boosts the case a notch higher. Even the likes of Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami were seen taking the long handle during the England series. India needs to replicate the same with the lower order if they wish to turn the tables in the Bengaluru Test.
4. Catch the opportunities
Former Australian skipper Michael Clarke rightly remarked in a quote recently when he said, “Hang on to your catches otherwise Smith will make a hundred.” This was precisely one of the key differences between the two teams in the Pune Test. The Indian close in fielders could not latch on to their opportunities. Spinner R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja created many opportunities for the close in fielders to take some half chances and a few relatively easier ones.
However, most of the catches were dropped and the result was evident for all to witness. Taking a cue from their Australian counterparts, it comes as no surprise that the Indian team will be working on this aspect. Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund were one of the main culprits as he alone gave a couple of let-offs to the Aussie skipper Steve Smith in the second innings.
Smith went on to hit a gritty century in the second innings of the match. Vijay, after the game, had conceded that they hope to hold on to the chances in the matches to follow. Just for comparisons, Aussie short leg fielder Peter Handscomb was a live wire in the field. He was seen scalp a few stunning catches while his Indian counterpart substitute Mukund popped out Smith multiple times.
5. Tweak the team
Cricket is a game that depends a lot on the combinations the teams go forward with. If at all India wishes to get their act right at Bengaluru, they will have to put their best foot forward. They need to strike a balance in the playing eleven. In the first Test, Jayant Yadav, the third spinner of the XI, was picked because of his batting prowess.
But when it was needed the most, the Haryana offie failed in both the innings. The team can thus try and spring a surprise for Australians by drafting in a chinaman like Kuldeep Yadav for the Bengaluru Test. Alternatively, they can beef up the batting by including Karun Nair in the XI. Nair has been in a stunning form and had scored a triple ton the last time he played for India.
In the pace bowling department, the team can consider swapping in and out Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma. This could help them strike a balance in their playing eleven for the all important fixture at Bengaluru.