The first Test at Adelaide Oval has turned out to be a batsman’s paradise. After the Aussies plummeted the Indian bowling attack with centuries from David Warner, Skipper Michael Clarke and Steve Smith, Australia declared their innings at an imposing 517/7 thus putting big pressure on the young Indian batting unit. The Indian team in reply to the gigantic Aussie total responded with lot of determination and aggression.
Though opener Shikhar Dhawan fell early for 25, his fellow opening partner Murali Vijay set the tempo for the Indian innings with a fluent 53 off 88 balls. Cheteshwar Pujara coming in the crucial number 3 slot , the slot of his idol the great Rahul Dravid, was into the groove straight away. He played well all round the wicket and looked set to score a ton. But he fell for a well made 73 off 135 balls. He and Vijay put on a 81 run stand for the second wicket.
Enter Virat Kohli. Leading India for the first time in Tests, the aggressive Kohli played the way he is known for – take the attack to the opposition. Though Mitchell Johnson tried to shake him up with a bouncer the very first ball Virat faced, but the Indian skipper was all grit and determination as he played some shots all round the ground to score a fine attacking hundred. This knock by Virat will add pressure to regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni when he does return to lead India in the second Test. Kohli’s knock of 115 off 184 balls was a captain’s knock. During his stay Virat found an able ally in Ajinkya Rahane, who scored an equally aggressive 62 off 76 balls and put on a 101 run partnership. It is absolutely clear that if India has to fare well in Australia, the likes of Kohli, Pujara, Rahane will have to stand up to be counted. The only worry though for India and the team management is the opening combination of Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan. They have been opening for a while now. So one expects them to fire.
After a miserable tour last time around, the young Indian batting unit will be pleased with the show in Adelaide Oval. The first Test of any series sets the tone of the series and there is an issue that the Indian side will look to rectify at the earliest. India’s inability to bowl out Australia is a major concern – an attribute that was visible in Australian second innings too as Indian bowlers struggled to take wickets and hard- hitting Aussie opener David Warner relished the Indian attack to score yet another ton.
While the bowling had nothing to be proud of, the batting form has certainly given them the belief that they can match the Aussies in their backyard. And the total of 444 by India against Aussies 517/7d is a case in point. Whatever the target the Aussies set, the onus is on the Indian batsman to prove that the first innings show was no fluke and they have the skills to counter the Aussies and show the intent for the rest of the series as well. So , India has plenty to play for on day 5 at Adelaide and give answer to host of questions.