Australia did not fully capitalise on the advantage of winning the toss and batting first. The Mohali pitch played differently from its usual self with the ball not quite coming on to the bat, as it normally does. The fact that it is towards the end of the Indian season and summer is round the corner meant that it was going to be drier and there would be much more assistance for the spinners.
The weather on day one would have helped to retain some moisture and any movement that the seamers could have got was in the first hour of play. Bhuvneshwar did get some swing but the pitch was so slow that the batsmen were able to negotiate that quite easily. Ishant has been off colour but he gave India the breakthrough when the Steve Smith - Brad Haddin partnership was looking threatening and then got Henriques in the same over. He is still bowling a shorter length than is productive at the Test level and is thus unable to fulfil the potential that he has.
The opening partnership between Warner and Cowan was the big plus for Australia, for it not only gave the platform for the later batsmen but also helped take any negativity of the last week away. If Australia had lost early wickets, all the blame would have been on the happenings of the last few days, but that partnership gave the solidity as well as sending a message that the team was beyond all the past events and were just focussing on the present.
Unfortunately for the Aussies, the man in form Michael Clarke got out to the first ball he faced when he bizarrely left the crease even before Jadeja released the ball and so was stumped by the proverbial mile. Those two wickets gave India the belief that they could strike back and when Hughes fidgeted around without looking convincing, the Indians were back on top again. Smith and Haddin thwarted them with some bold stroke play and Smith was most impressive as he stood tall and still and played the ball very late and looked totally at home.
Jadeja has come on so well as India’s breakthrough bowler, and with his fielding, is proving to be an asset to the team. He gives the team just the flexibility that it wants and an additional option with the ball. It’s important for the Indians not to allow the Australian tail to wag, for a score over 300 will not make it easy for them and give the Australians just the tonic they need to give it everything with the ball.
Professional Management Group