Maybe it’s surprising. Maybe some would bring the ‘pitch’ thing in between. Maybe it could well be one of the those Tests where everything clicked for an overseas team. But at the very same time, one can’t deny the fact that Steven Smith-led Australia annihilated an ever strong India at home by 333 runs to announce their arrival in sub-continent.
Without going much into the details of the pre-series discussions about how Australia were going to be outclassed by an upbeat Virat Kohli’s India, it’s better to come straight to the point.
Starting from toss, openers David Warner and Matt Renshaw showed resistance before a quickfire knock from Mitchell Starc propelled the visitors to 260, a total which spin legend Shane Warne predicted to be enough for first innings.
In reply, as always – a lot was expected from a formidable Indian batting line-up but it collapsed like a pack of cards, only to get bundled out on 105 with Steve O’Keefe being the wrecker in chief. Maybe the hosts lost the match here itself, but it should be fair to say Starc’s innings had much of an impact to cause an unbalance in the Indian camp.
Then came Steven Smith’s resilient century. Maybe with that technique, plums were on the cards but Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav had no answer to his defense and attacking hits. A well-compiled 109 and India were all but out of the game. 441 was needed to break the world record set by Brian Lara-led West Indies (against Australia in 2004) but it took just 34 overs for the Kangaroos to complete an impressive victory in less than three days.
Let’s have a look at some of the ‘firsts’ that came into notice after India’s Pune defeat:
–> India’s first Test loss at home since 2012
–> Virat Kohli’s first Test loss at home
–> India’s first Test loss since August 2015
–> For the first time since 2010, India trail in a home series
–> Australia’s first win in India since 2004 and in sub-continent since 2011
For the visitors, a series win looks pretty realistic. One more match and India would be under extreme pressure of losing their first Test series under Kohli’s captaincy. On the other hand, the hosts should not press the panic button and stick to the same team, that guided them to wins over West Indies, England, New Zealand and Bangladesh in past.