After ending Day 1 with a score of 196/4, David Malan (56) and Moeen Ali (38) added 50 runs, before the former perished to bring an end to the 83-run stand. In the second innings, the Australian top order collapsed for 76/4 before Steve Smith (64*) and Shaun Marsh (44*) guided the hosts to 165/4.
A tale of two captains
Steve Smith has been a great servant for his country over the last seven years and the numbers he has racked up, especially in Test cricket where he averages almost 60, are enough to prove that. However, when it comes to his captaincy, there is still that secret ingredient missing. It might be that Australia
His counterpart, however, looks like he has it all figured out. As soon as Cameron Bancroft was dismissed, and even though Root had two more pacers who could exploit the new ball, the English skipper introduced spin to trouble Usman Khawaja, whose struggles against spin are well documented. But wasn’t just Khawaja who had a plan associated with him. David Warner was cramped for room and it eventually led to the opener throwing his wicket away. Similarly, the fields that were set for Handscombe and Smith appeared to have proper motives behind them. One trick, however, that Root seemed to have missed is the option for another spinner – a decision that could have proved be devastating on this Gabba wicket.
The psychological battle
The one thing that always set the great Aussie teams apart from their peers was their expertise in playing mind games. Good teams would play them and under the cackling of all the Aussie
When Anderson got the leather in his hands, most fans would have expected him to return the
One man team?
Coming to India, earlier this year, not many people gave Australia a chance of getting anything out of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. However, Steve Smith produced a performance that not many can claim or hope to match. In four matches in India, Smith scored an incredible 499 runs at an average of 71.28 with three centuries, including one on the rank turner in Pune. However, with no support from anyone else, Australia lost the series despite winning the first match. The only other players who have shown some sort of resilience this season have been David Warner (42.53) and Peter Handscomb (42.33).
While Warner’s performance depends on how good a start he can get off to, Handscomb isn’t too dependable. If his century against Pakistan in Sydney is excluded his average falls to 36.18. Usman Khawaja can’t play spin if his life depended on it while Shaun Marsh looks like a rookie when the pressure is on. That, unfortunately, is the entire Australian middle order. With Tim Paine, Starc, and Cummins making up the lower order, if Steve Smith fails, Australia might be
Shoaib Malik or Johnson Charles? Who will score more runs?
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