At the end of Day 2 when India went back with the lead of 62 runs and nine wickets in hand, no one would have predicted that we would have a result with just half day’s play. India had a horrible hour of play and at the end of it they were 9 down for mere 36 on board. To add to the misery, Shami got injured after being hit on right forearm trying to evade Cummins short ball and could not continue any further. This meant India were reduced to their lowest ever Test score beating the previous low of 42. Australia needed just 90 to secure a win in the first test and keep their impeccable record of all wins in D/N tests intact. Thanks to 70 runs opening stand and a confidence-boosting half century from Joe Burns, Australia achieved their target losing just two wickets.
Horrid batting display
The day started with a flick off Starc by Mayank to bring his 1000 runs in Test cricket. This was going to be the only positive thing for India for the rest of the day as what followed was an absolute carnage. The night watchman Bumrah was the first to be dismissed, caught and bowled by Cummins, deceived by the change of pace. India’s score was 15 at the moment. Without any further increment in runs India lost three more wickets. Pujara was caught behind for a duck by a peach from Cummins that seamed away a bit. Hazlewood struck twice in his first over with his probing line just outside off. Both Mayank and Rahane were caught behind. Mayank’s 9 turned out to be the highest score on India’s dismal scorecard.
Kohli’s boundary thorough gully region took India to 19. However the very next ball, trying to drive Cummins, Kohli edged to Green at gully, who initially fumbled but took it safely in the end.
Vihari and Saha showed some resistance but their 30-ball 7 runs partnership was broken by another twin-wicket over from Hazlewood. First he got Saha caught at midwicket and then the next delivery kissed Ashwin’s edge and carried to the keeper Paine. Hazlewood completed his fifer with anther probing delivery that angled in and then straightened enough to take Vihari’s edge to Paine. With this wicket Hazlewood also completed his 200 wickets in Test cricket. His figures of 5/8 is the most economical five wicket haul by an Australian in 73 years. With India’s score at 36, Shami received a mighty blow that fractured his forearm and not only rendered him unfit for the day but also the series.
Walk in the park for Australia
One bowler down India came out to defend the meagre target of 90 runs. However the demon had vanished from the pitch by the time Australia came out to bat. The opening duo of Wade and Burns put on 70 run partnership and took the game well out of India’s reach. Losing Wade’s and Marnus’ wicket Australia reached to the target without breaking a sweat. This gives Australia the 1-0 nil lead and an apt start to the Test series. Australian captain Tim Paine was adjudged Man of the Match for his crucial 73* in the first innings and 7 grabs behind the wicket.
India will now be without the services of Kohli and Shami for rest of the series. With Ishant already out due to injury, this will give an opportunity to either Siraj or Saini to debut for India. Another probable debut could be of Shubman Gill who has been knocking at Indian team’s door for quite long. Given the terrible form of Shaw and unavailability of Kohli, Melbourne Test will be perfect for his introduction. For Australia, Warner may come back to boost the opening slot. It will be interesting to see how a young, inexperienced Indian team will bounce back in the next test after this terrible start to the Border Gavaskar Trophy.
Also, read statistics from the first Test: