Menacing Pace attack

“Bowlers are the biggest positive to come out of this series. 60 wickets in a series, which we haven’t done in the past”- shows the belief of Indian skipper Virat Kohli on his bowlers while acknowledging an Indian win in 3rd test at Wanderers this year. A proud moment for him as well as for the whole country that they now have a formidable bowling attack to rattle oppositions even at their dens.

Since Jan 2016

  Home Away
Bowlers Matches Wkts Avg Matches Wkts Avg
M Shami 9 29 27.48 15 52 25.75
I Sharma 8 21 30.09 11 34 24.82
U Yadav 17 50 29.86 6 14 31.42
B Kumar 5 18 20.38 4 16 16.37
J Bumrah 6 28 25.57

More settled, pacey and experienced set of fast bowlers will be seen in executing their plan in Australia which is weaker than ever. There will be a much-needed exploitation of the void due to the absence of Smith and Warner which has created a dent in their relatively inexperienced batting line up. Tim Paine led feeble batting unit seen in a long time for Cricket Australia will be under tremendous amount of pressure of winning or even levelling the series against the high-spirited Indian side, who start as favourites. With the likes of Bumrah, Shami, Ishant and Bhuvi being the pace battery along with proven quantifiable wicket column this year (132) India will be fancying their chances of a series win here. They have been lethal in both South Africa and England, so here it would be important to continue their rhythm. Though there is still a question mark on Ashwin’s bowling, but focus is more on Indian pacers than spinners. So, bowling with consistency and accuracy will be the pertinent key in wrapping up the opposition cheaply.

Most wickets by Teams (Since 2016)

Team Wkts Avg
South Africa 514 24.62
India 600 26.19
Australia 492 30.76
Pakistan 398 30.98

Kohli and The other Batsman

The other most important part of the journey to this Australian series win is that Indian batsman who will be toiling with this Aussie attack and making the most of the opportunity he has been given. Definitely, Kohli will lead the batting line-up but at least a batter other than him would surely be needed in this series for India to conquer this dream. Will it be a Watchful Vijay, a Patient Pujara, a Rattled Rahul or a Reluctant Rahane, this will be a serious question to answer for someone like Virat Kohli who has been a Lone Warrior and seen in desperate need of a partner in recent away series.

Since Jan 2014

Batsman Tests Runs HS Bat Av 100s
V Kohli 19 1919 169 51.86 8
M Vijay 16 1060 146 33.13 2
C Pujara 17 861 73 25.32 1
A Rahane 17 1174 147 35.58 3
KL Rahul 9 459 149 25.50 2

Meagre averages for all of them just seem to nod few heads about their success in the Australian conditions against this pace attack. One of them has to stand up to the task to bring them home in all of the tests along with the in-form skipper. Rahane and Vijay were amassing runs in the previous tour and will be keen to get that form back. Pujara and Rahul with one century apiece in England would be looking to cement their place in the side for future. It would be an interesting contest to watch if these batsmen show their grittiness in this Summer of Oz.

The No.6 Conundrum

“Rohit is a class player. It’s just a case of him smelling the coffee, spending some time in the middle and getting a start.” – Ravi Shastri at the start of India’s test series against South Africa. Invariable, Rohit Sharma was picked ahead of Ajinkya Rahane. But 2 tests forward, Sharma was dropped and never picked again.

Stellar performances in limited overs cricket has gained a spot for him in his test career. He has forced his way back into the team with more than 1000 runs @73.6 in ODIs in 2018. But now he has to battle with the budding talent Hanuma Vihari for the No. 6 slot in the first test here in Adelaide.

Rohit’s Test Career

  Matches Runs Average Highest 100 50
Overall 25 1479 39.97 177 3 9
Overseas 16 710 25.35 79 0 4
SENA countries 10 452 23.78 72 0 2

These sorry figures show his batting incapabilities in foreign conditions except West Indies. A lion at home is all he is till now

On the other side of the coin is an unknown commodity named Hanuma Vihari with only test in England. Both, Rohit and Vihari were not picked to play against West Indies. There is going to be straight shoot-out between the two of them for the No.6 slot after the team announcement for the 1st test. Vihari may be slightly ahead in the race given his all-round abilities and consecutive 50+ scores in England and in the game against the CA XI. In any case, this series could potentially pave the path to either of their test careers. So, what could possibly the result of this nail-biting series? All the best Team India!!!

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