Indian openers, pacers still remain a concern

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 27, 2013 08:27 hrs

India know that they have a few issues to address despite the fine win in the first Test at Chennai. They will be aware that England came back after a similar loss in the first Test of the series, and so can ill afford to be complacent. The Australians will be hoping that the Hyderabad pitch does not turn as much as the Chennai one did. 

Having said that, with more than 1200 runs scored for the loss of 32 wickets shows that even on pitches where there is spin and bounce, good batsmen will find ways to score runs as Clarke and Henriques did for Australia and Tendulkar, Kohli and Dhoni did for India.

India’s worry will be in the opening batting and bowling departments, for these are such crucial parts of a team.  Sehwag and Vijay failed in both the innings, and if Australia had set India over 150 to get, it could well have been a real close game. Sehwag playing in glasses for the first time was not his usual fluent self, though the straight driven boundary in the second innings gave hopes of a recovery of form.

Vijay, batting in front of his home crowd, did not give himself enough time to settle down and lost his wicket trying to play expansive drives in both the innings. The opening bowling also is a worry, especially Ishant, whose last over of the fourth day to Nathan Lyon, the number 11, was a forgettable one with the final ball of the day almost a wide. 

He just does not seem to have the rhythm and his pace has dropped alarmingly. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, playing in his first Test, was understandably nervous but came good with the bat, and being a swing bowler, he will be hoping that Hyderabad will have a little more help for him.

Australia too will be looking for improved performances from Starc and Siddle. It’s still a wonder why Pattinson was taken off after three overs spells on day two when he was subsequently bowled for longer spells from the next day. Australia lost an opportunity to put pressure on the Indian batsmen with that move, and allowed Pujara and Tendulkar to settle down. They will have been told that it was a mistake not to go in with another spinner to partner Lyon, but even Lyon hardly troubled the Indian batsmen and went for over 200 runs.

On a pitch that was responsive to spin, only Ashwin looked dangerous while Harbhajan and Jadeja were more restrictive, though both picked useful wickets in the second innings.

The three days between the next Test will give plenty of time for both teams to look at their combination, India after their win  will play it with much less pressure than when they came to Chennai for the first Test. 

Professional Management Group

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