Australia vs India: Five mistakes India should avoid in the Test series

India can't afford to be complacent by any means.

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Indian team

Indian team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The upcoming Test series against Australia is India’s best chance to win a series Down Under. The Australian team, after conceding defeats against South Africa and Pakistan, are low on confidence with a very poor international record in 2018. The current bunch is by far the weakest team ever in the history of their cricket. Following the ban against Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft for their alleged involvement in ball-tampering scandal that surfaced in the infamous Cape Town Test earlier this year, Aussie batting line-up looks really fragile and inexperienced.

India should see this as an opportunity, grab it with both hands and win the historic Test series for the first time in Australia. Although Indian cricket team’s batting lineup is not at its best in recent times with lingering problems in the middle order, still it is not as bad as their opponents whose batting line-up looks really unsettled at present. Bowling of both the sides is going to be the deciding factor in the series, with both teams having equally good bowlers in their arsenal.

If India happens to concede this series then it would be more the case of India losing the series themselves by committing similar mistakes they did against England rather than Australia winning it. Here let’s have a look at the mistakes from the past series which India should avoid against Australia if they want to win the series:

Over Dependence on Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Twitter)

In recent times, the Indian team is relying heavily on Kohli to score runs than other players also chipping in and take the responsibility. The 30-year-old is doing the bulk of the scoring for India in Tests. In the Test series against England recently, the Delhi born Kohli scored 593 runs at an average of 59.30 and finished the series as the highest run-getter. He also scored two centuries including a 103 in the third Test as India defeated England at Trent Bridge.

The Australian team is down but not out, so it will take a huge amount of effort from the whole Indian team particularly batsmen other than Kohli to step up and perform if they want to beat the Kangaroos in their backyard. Batsmen such as Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rajane have enough experience among them and they have a decent record as well outside India. All they need to do is keep a belief in themselves, come out with a positive mindset and give time to themselves on the field.

More killer instinct in the bowling

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma of India. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

How many times have we seen Indian bowlers getting the top six batsmen of the opposition out with few runs on the board and then end up conceding approximately 300 in the end. This had happened in the Gabba Test match in the 2014 series Down Under and also most recently in the series against England where Indian bowlers lacked any plan to get Sam Curran out cheaply throughout the series. Team India’s lack of planning against the opposition’s lower middle-order had been a major reason for its defeat in the series against England.

Kohli and company need to take knowledge of the situation and come up with a good plan if they really want to win the series against Australia. As soon as the tail-enders start hitting the Indian bowlers, they go on the back foot and try different things which ultimately lead to more smashing. Instead of altering their tactics, they should stick to the basics and bowl a good line and length. They keep on trying too much and end up leaking runs and by the time they realise their mistakes, the match is already out of their reach.

Not losing wickets in clumps

Murali Vijay
India batsman Murali Vijay. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

It has been noticed that India’s lower middle-order batsmen, unlike the other big teams like England, New Zealand etc, give away their wickets without any fight. None of the lower middle-order batsmen was able to contribute big runs against England which was one of the core reasons why India were not able to put up a healthy fight and ended up conceding the series.

Unlike their counterpart Sam Curran and Moeen Ali, the likes of Hardik Pandya and Ravi Ashwin were unable to stitch vital partnerships lower down the order when it mattered. India’s lower middle order lose wickets in quick succession and hence, tarnish the good work done by the higher order batsmen. Kohli needs to address this concern soon and train his lower middle-order batsman to take their wickets seriously and avoid getting out to rash shots.

If India are considering to tame down the Aussies in the series then their lower middle-order needs to flourish. Indian bowlers should also be given enough batting practice ahead of the series so that they can also stick around and score runs with the bat. Lack of self-belief and responsibility is what the Indian lower middle-order and tail is experiencing which should be taken care of soon.


Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Rishabh Pant, India’s backup keeper, had a really tough time behind the wickets in the swinging conditions in England. His horrible wicketkeeping technique got exposed which resulted in heavy criticism from all around the world. Some former keepers termed his glovework as ‘shoddy’ and said that the Uttarakhand-born youngster needs to cover a lot of ground before he can be trusted as a Test level keeper. The 21-year-old conceded an unprecedented 76 byes in six innings against the Three Lions.

In the fourth Test in Southampton alone he conceded 23 byes and India lost by 60 runs. Although, the team is carrying a more prominent keeper in Parthiv Patel this time around still they need to work hard on their skills so that they don’t end up giving so many extras again. Minimizing giving away free runs could very well be a difference between a win and a loss in a match where the losing margin is very less. For the time being, Pant should focus on his keeping skills and give way to Parthiv Patel who is much more experienced than him behind the stumps.

Proper Assessment of the conditions

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli India. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Proper assessment of the conditions plays a crucial role in choosing the ideal playing eleven for the team. Kohli, in the Lord’s test against England, committed the mistake of playing Kuldeep Yadav as the second spinner in the seamer-friendly conditions and ended up paying a heavy price. Many such mistakes were made by the Indian captain on that tour which is why the visitors strained to find their feet.

So, before choosing the playing eleven, Captain Kohli needs to be spot on with his evaluation of the playing conditions and come up with the best suited playing eleven. Any blunder in the judgment in any of the games can have a huge impact on the series, so the margin of error here is very low. The Delhi-born Indian captain should take a leaf out of MS Dhoni’s book and learn the art of assessing the conditions from the former captain who was mostly spot on with his estimations.

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