The last day of the first day between Australia and India went as expected. Clarke declared considering 364 as safe total and confident of his bowlers grabbing 10 wickets. He was proved right as Australia won by 48 runs. The only surprise was the Indian fight through Vijay and Kohli. He created captaincy records, but failed to get his team through. Still, the attitude to fight and extraordinary effort to try and win is something new for the Indian team. May be, better days are round the corner for India in test cricket under Kohli.
India were asked to bat the full day as Aussies declared at overnight score of 290/5. That saved Karn Sharma from having the dubious record of being the only Indian spinner to have conceded 100+ runs in both the innings. On any other normal day, it would have been a safety first approach. In the past India has refused to chase even 150+ against “weak West Indies”.
But, Kohli represents the new Youngistaan who believe in achieving anything and succumbing is the word they have never heard of. No wonder, despite losing two quick wickets in Dhawan (9) and Pujara (21) and with the scoreboard reading only 57/2 in 20th over, they still continued the effort to chase.
Murali Vijay played one of the most memorable test innings with his 99 runs, becoming the second Indian batsman after Sidhu to be out a run before the century. His 4 sixes in the match are second best by any Indian opener, after Sehwag’s 5 sixes abroad. Still his strike rate was only 42.30. He played first with caution ass Dhawan and Pujara succubmed to pressure of Johnson and Lyon, respectively. Both were caught behind.
Then, as the Indian skipper Kohli joined both took India to a position of winning adding 185 runs for the third wicket. After Vijay’s wicket India needed 122 runs in 31 overs. But, unfortunately Kohli remained the only fighter. Rahane (0) was unlucky to be given out in the same over of Lyon when Vijay fell.
But, Rohit Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha showed they do not belong to test level right now, at least in Away matches. Rohit was clueless in his stay of 18 balls scoring 6 runs. He became Lyon’s 4th victim, while Saha just wanted to finish the match in one over. Despite hitting Lyon for a 6 and 4, after Kohli had taken 5 runs already in that over, Saha wanted to have another big hit and was bowled giving Lyon his 10 wicket in the test.
After that it was just about Kohli. The captain still tried to win instead of defending in the old style of Indian team. Probably, there he could have accepted the fate and settled for a draw. But, first he fell down attacking Lyon and then after that Shami (5), Aaron (1) and Ishant (1) went cluless. Not their fault when the some of the skilled batsmen played like teenagers.
Karn Sharma remained unbeaten on 4. Kohli scored 141 runs and became the second captain after Greg Chappel to score two centuries on debut test as captain. Chappel had scored both centuries in 1975 at Brisbane. He now holds the records for maximum runs by a captain on debut scoring 256 runs. Earlier Graham Dowling of New Zealand has scored 244 runs (239 and 5) against India at home in 1968.
There were many heroes in the match. Two centuries by Warner and Kohli, fighter Murali Vijay in both innings, Johnson, Steven Smith in both innings, but the most impressive was Nathan Lyon.
While Australia lost only 12 wickets, they grabbed 20 wickets and 12 of them went to Lyon who has now the best bowling figure by an Aussie against India in test matches with 12/286. He was deservingly the Player of the Match.
The match is lost and India trails by 1-0 but the guts they showed might make Australia to ponder. Virat Kohli as a captain appears more threatening now than just as a batsman.