India and their misreading of surface surfaces again in Perth
Why did India not play a spinner?
Updated - Jan 6, 2019 6:00 pm
Nathan Lyon with the ball in his hand, chewing away at that gum, gestured for the fielder at short square leg to move his left just a touch. He trundled in, got the ball to land on the slightly patchy surface outside the off stump and the ball turned. It beat the batsmen, then one ball did not spin and it accounted for Ajinkya Rahane, in the first innings, Virat Kohli in the second.
And when Kohli went back to the pavilion, disconsolate, forlorn, there was a thought hanging over him: Why did we not play a spinner? Lyon, who picked up 5 in the first innings, came back to pick Kohli and Murali Vijay in the second dig, screamed out and asked the Indian management to either duck for cover or blurt out answers. Why did India not play a spinner?
Excited with the green track
Before the match started, Virat Kohli was excited. He spoke about how a green track excited him, he spoke about how he believes India have the arsenal to dismantle the hosts.
“We hope no grass is shaved off”, “we are more excited than nervous”, “we have the fast bowlers to exploit these conditions”.
Interesting comments, one just hoped it was not false bravado and one hoped India did not carry away. And hopes are fickle aren’t they? Kohli played 4 frontline quicks, no spinner and the writing was on the wall. Yes, this Indian attack is one of the best, yes, they have the ability to blow the opposition away, but as Lyon vindicated on a pitch, more so at Perth on a drop in surface, one needs a spinner.
India lost 6 wickets in the first innings, and the country blinked. Next moment Ishant Sharma was holding the new ball to pound it. It elongated the tail and amplified the lack of contribution. Ravindra Jadeja pranced around the outfield, saw the pitch, saw the cracks and the roughs and then walked back in. Forget his batting and the importance he brings to the table, Kohli would have wanted him to wheel away at one end with his tweakers.
This is what a spinner does, this is what R Ashwin did in Adelaide. He was not amongst the wickets, but he was locked in at one surface and kept things tight which allowed Kohli to attack with his seamers at the other end. Instead, India had Umesh Yadav as the fourth bowler and he leaked runs. There was no sense of control and this is where the match drifted away from India – in the first innings when Australia meandered away to 326.
This is no longer an aberration, the management has misread conditions more often than not in the recent past and this has come back to bite the team hard. Lyon was making the ball bounce and he made the ball spin, India lost the Test by 146 runs and the advantage in the series.
So for the ‘best team to have travelled away from India’ according to coach Ravi Shastri has once again got carried away and went for bravado instead of going with the norm and playing a tweaker in the side.