About the Match
The first test in Pune is progressing at a rapid rate and we are already 4 wickets into the third innings. Australia has their foot firmly on India’s throat and could be celebrating a famous victory as early as tomorrow. Or will India strike back in their second innings?
3rd Day Preview
India lost their last seven wickets for 11 runs as Steve O’Keefe ran through the Indian batting and bowled them out for 105. It was a supreme performance from the Aussies in the field where every one of their front line bowlers contributed in a meaningful way.
Mitchell Starc picked up Pujara and Kohli in one over, while Hazelwood and Lyon kept up the pressure whenever they came on to bowl. The Aussies also took every chance that was offered to them, something the Indian failed to do when it was their turn to bowl again.
As things stand, Australia leads by 298 runs with 6 wickets still in hand and Steve Smith batting well set on 59 not out.
It is very difficult to see Australia losing this match from here on in, although, a better batting performance from India can be all but guaranteed. We think Kohli will have a tough time between looking for wickets and trying to keep the runs as low as possible.
We expect Australia to add another 100-120 runs to their total before being bowled out with most of the runs coming from Steve Smith.
What is really funny is that even though the pitch is spinning and doing a lot, it is by no means unplayable.
The Aussies showed excellent application while batting and were able to bat for long periods in the day while the Indians just did not do the same. Murali Vijay and Pujara got excellent deliveries from the fast bowlers but the rest of the wickets were down to poor shot selection.
To be honest, though, this was a collapse that was coming for a long time. India has been playing with 5 frontline batsmen in tests for a long time now and a good bowling lineup was always in the game to blow this batting lineup away.
Kohli, who has been masking the flaws of the team for a long time now through his fantastic batting failed and there was no one left to take up the mantle.
So what chance does India have in the second innings?
The one thing that they do not lack for is time and even though the pitch will continue to take a lot of spin through their second innings, we expect the bounce to be more or less even until the fourth day. India will be looking at a target of around 400-450 in all likelihood, something that has been achieved seldom in Test history, leave a spinning track in India.
None the less, we think Kohli’s India will not take a backward step and just wait to be finished off. They will come out and try to make a better fist of things by batting naturally.
Lokesh Rahul showed excellent form before playing the worst shot of the Indian innings while Vijay, Pujara, and Kohli are all capable of playing the big innings. Their batting lineup stretches down to Jayant Yadav and on paper, they should be able to make a fist of it.
The Indians have not been in this situation for a long time now and we think their batting will crumble in the second innings as well. Kohli and Pujara are the only two players that we would recommend backing for some runs.
If the Indians can get within a hundred of the Aussie total then we would have seen some exceptional batting.
For the Aussie bowlers, Starc will be the main wicket taker in the second innings in our opinion, although, Steve O’Keefe would be high on confidence and will have a lot more overs to try and pick some wickets. Back one of the two to be the top wicket taker.
All points sign to an Australian victory
. One that will be celebrated for a long time because of the relative inexperience of the squad, the form of the hosts and the zero chance they were given before the match began