In what was going to be a real Test for the Australian batsman against the tough pace attack of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, it was India who collapsed to a first innings total of 194. However, in the second innings, the Indian duo really put on a show, dismantling the Australian top order.
Brief scores: Australia A 108 all out in 32.2 overs (Alex Carey 32 and Mohammed Shami 3/29) trail India 194 (Bumrah 55 and Jack Wildermuth 3/13) by 86 runs
Shubman Gill’s class overpowers Prithvi Shaw’s talent
A talent would only last as long as the results start reaping the rewards - that is the case of Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw. Two of the most talented players in the country went head-to-head possibly for the top spot to walk alongside Mayank Agarwal for the first Test in Adelaide. While Agarwal walked off early on in the innings, the two put on a real show for the second wicket, especially the right-handed Gill, who seemed to be in T20 mode before hitting the brakes. But in true essence, Gill’s innings propels him ahead of Shaw in the pecking order not just because he scored more runs but scored it in a way that was exceedingly more convincing than what Shaw did.
During both their stays at the crease, Shaw was at his effervescent best in spells like the fizz of a soda but Gill ensured that the fizz never faded, managing to preserve his wicket even after the carnage. Last away tour, Shaw got the nod ahead of Gill but at this rate, keeping a keen eye on technique, the Indian management should rather sleep on Shaw’s technique, which looks like a nightmare, and live in the Gill reality - which could turn out to be beneficial for them. So at the Adelaide Oval, don’t be surprised if Gill walks out with his shining new cap alongside Mayank Agarwal.
Remember last year when Bangladesh played India in the first pink-ball Test in the country? That’s when most of the Indian stars came out and admitted that playing in a day-night Test is comparably harder than playing a day Test with the pink-ball doing its ludicrous thing by swinging under the lights. So when the schedule for the Australia tour was sketched up, you’d have seen that the pink-ball practise game was a prevalent thing, and the Indian management would be sane enough to play their full-strength team. However, as it turned out, they had more starters in the first Test (at least from a batting perspective) than the second one, which in all reality was supposed to be the ‘serious’ one.
At the toss, Rahane revealed that he was the only senior presence in the Indian top-five, with Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari both getting a look-in. The big news, however, was that the duo of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara would miss out on the action. At tea, India were 111/6 with just Wriddhiman Saha the lone specialist batsman at the crease, which shows a lot of concern whether India are really well prepared going into the first Test. More importantly, India didn’t even get to bat under the lights, which prompts a bigger concern - have they missed a point here?
Australia get the better Test with the pink-ball
The opportunity of playing the pink-ball under the lights is one of the toughest things in world cricket, probably on the same level as facing Jofra Archer and that was one of the main reasons behind the itinerary featuring this contest. While India got to bat first, on a sunny day, they didn’t even get the real Test of the pink-ball on what was a flat morning track in Sydney. During the biggest test, Australia’s incumbent opener Joe Burns suffered yet another failure, his third in a row against the visiting Indian attack. Ahead of the Adelaide Test, it puts the management under immense pressure to back him in such an adverse form.
On the other hand, Marcus Harris, who possesses a ‘great’ chance of being selected as the opener for the first Test that starts next week, still had to show his mettle in front of the watchful eyes of the Australian management, all under lights. Before rain spoilt the rugged test for the two Victorians in the middle - Nic Maddinson and Marcus Harris. Harris in particular seemingly defied all the barrage of short deliveries and scored fluently, becoming the front-runner for the Adelaide Test that starts next week after passing one of the toughest tests against one of the best bowling attacks.