India’s best chance of winning a test match during the 2020-2021 series in Australia was at the first test in Adelaide. This was a day and night test match where India was playing at almost full strength and Australia were without David Warner.
If India ended up winning at Adelaide, they would be 1-0 up in the four match test series and would significantly improve their chances of winning the test series in Australia. At the end of the second day’s play, India looked to be in command and many thought they would push for victory on Day 3.
Dramatic Collapse Will Scar India
India had a dramatic batting collapse on Day 3 and ended up registering their lowest test score in the history of Indian cricket. It’s a record that captain Virat Kohli will never live down as he is a proud man. India were bowled out for just 36 runs with Hazelwood taking 5 wickets and Cummins taking 4.
If you take into consideration the first innings where India lost 4 wickets for 11 runs, you will see that India lost their last 13 wickets for just 47 runs with M Shami retiring hurt – otherwise it would have been 14 wickets.
That is an abysmal performance with the bat on a wicket that was doing a bit but certainly had no demons in it. The terrible batting performance would have left many a scar on the Indian batsmen who don’t have a lot of time to recover.
The second test match starts on Boxing Day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). India go in as betting underdogs with odds of 4/1 while favorites Australia have odds of 4/9 and the odds of a draw are fixed at 5/1.
No Kohli – No Shami For Rest Of The Series
Virat Kohli who is the captain and best batsman in the side will leave Australia and return to India to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Kohli is not expected to return to Australia as the quarantine requirements will make it difficult for him to play any further role in the series.
India will also be without the services of M Shami who bowled really well in Adelaide. Shami suffered an injury at the Adelaide Oval when he suffered a fractured wrist. Shami is not only expected to miss the MCG test but also the rest of the series.
India knew that Kohli was going to fly home and were prepared for his absence. They were not prepared to lose M Shami who is one of the specialist bowlers on tour. With no I Sharma, B Kumar or M Shami for the MCG test, India will have to depend on J Bumrah and U Yadav to fire with the ball. The third seamer will be either M Siraj or N Saini depending on how the selectors go.
Selectors Need To Make Right Call For MCG
We said before the start of the test series that victory in Adelaide for India will depend heavily on whether the selectors get the team combination right for the first test. They ended up choosing the out of form P Shaw and W Saha who both failed.
The selectors cannot afford to get it wrong a second time in a row. They need to bring in S Gill for P Shaw, R Pant for W Saha, KL Rahul for V Kohli and R Jadeja for H Vihari. Those are bold decisions but decisions that have to be made if India are going to be more competitive at the MCG.
Stand in captain A Rahane will have his work cut out as he has to inspire his side to bounce back and he will have to lead from the front with the bat and in the field! The MCG test starts on 26 Dec.