In what looked like a miserable batting display from India, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara rescued the team with their half-centuries after they lost three early wickets. James Pattinson was the pick of the bowlers for Australia, picking up three wickets on the first day of the practice game.
Prithvi Shaw needs a break from cricket
Such has been the torrid time for Shaw at the crease that he has managed to score 4 ducks in the last 8 innings with the highest score of 10, which includes the duck he scored today. Given that he is exceptionally talented, it’s understandable to give the youngster an extended run despite his horrible form, but there has to be a limit to the opportunities he gets as he looks like a fragile fish out of the water on the crease. In the recent past whenever he has come out to bat, it has only been a matter of time before he put his team behind by one wicket, which is the same script followed by him in today’s match as well.
Today, he came out to bat looking extremely uncomfortable against Michael Neser and James Pattinson, who were bowling some brilliant lines and eventually, perished after playing just 8 balls on a duck. In a way, it was nice to see him walking back to the pavilion, ending his struggle on the crease. But the thing that should be taken into consideration is that this is not the way to bring a player back to form and certainly not on the tough Australian pitches. It’s time he should be given a break so that he can go back and work on his technique and form because it’s just utterly painful to see him fail over and again.
‘Flexible’ Hanuma Vihari needs to up his game
Vihari has been the nice guy of the Indian Test team who has played in whatever position he has been offered so far in his short stint of 16 innings. Contrasting to his career in the Ranji Trophy, he opened the innings when India lacked openers, showing the flexibility he possesses as a batsman and on most other occasions, formed the tail of the middle-order, where he has had quite a success but he is yet to play an innings that would justify the solid technique that he possesses.
Even today, he looked good batting against disciplined Australian A attack, but a lapse in concentration led to his wicket on 15, trying to play across the line on a straightish delivery. This inning of his followed the same trajectory that his career so far has followed, where he has looked good but has failed to play match-winning innings. Now, with Virat Kohli out of the equation for the last three Tests, Vihari has the perfect opportunity to make his mark on the international scene by taking the responsibility to score runs for India in the upcoming series and take the team over the line, but if he continues to play like this, he might very well end up being ‘the one that could have been’.
Australia has massive depth in the fast bowling department
With Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins as the front-line pacers, the Australian team has the bowling line-up that can dominate any opposition on any given day. Such has been their dominance especially in Test cricket that it might feel at times what would happen to the bowling line-up if one of the pacers isn't available for the Tests? Worry not, Australia have that covered as well with the number of pacers in the reserves, who are as threatening as the main bowlers of the team, which India witnessed in today’s practice game.
All the pacers of the Australian A team were consistent, disciplined, and stuck to their plans which resulted in impeccable performance from them. They never allowed the batting line-up to get away and forced them to make mistakes, a perfect example of which was Cheteshwar Pujara’s wicket. Pujara was comfortable at the crease and looked almost certain to play another one of his marathon innings, but Pattinson perfectly deployed the plan of bowling to the ribs and thigh area of the Indian batsman and kept a catching leg gully sort of a fielder to grab any aerial flick from Pujara. Eventually, Pujara got trapped and hit straight to the fielder. This goes to show the preparedness of the Aussie bowlers, along with the massive depth they have in the pace department with the likes Jackson Bird, Pattinson, Michael Neser, and sensational Cameron Green bowling really well.