India go-down 4-Nil in Series
by Andy Jalil
DateLine: 28th January 2012
|Andy Jalil reporting from Australia
© Pakistan Cricket|
In association with Etihad Airways.
For Australia to perform the last rites it took less than an hour on the fifth morning and send India crashing to a 298-run defeat and their second successive away series four-nil whitewash. They have totally lacked the ability for resistance and showing grit and guts in battling it out. It is beyond comprehension that India, at the start of the current series, were the number two side in world Test rankings and until only six months ago were number one. They lost that elevated position after a similar drubbing in England during the last northern summer.
It's been glaring throughout the series that India's performance has been inept in all areas of the game. They have been out-batted, out-bowled, out-fielded and, indeed, out-thought in all four Tests despite having the most experienced players in the game. Ironically, it is those senior players who have not risen to the occasion and their mediocre showing has largely contributed to the teamís woes. While Sachin Tendulkar's batting, by his standard, has been relatively poor, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag have failed to lift their game when it mattered.
With 45,000 Test runs between the four stalwarts of the game and 126 centuries, not one of them was able to play a three-figure innings in eight attempts. It took a relative novice by comparison, Virat Kohli, to score the only century for India and he did so with the determination that seemed so lacking in his seniors in the face of a bowling attack which pressured Indian batsmen into their demise. It highlighted Australia's strength, particularly in pace bowling even in the absence of some of those who would have been the preferred choice for selection but for injuries.
India players have blamed the pitches suggesting these have been prepared to suit Australia bowlers. They have, however, admitted that the pitch here in Adelaide has been the type as seen in the subcontinent. Yet they have failed to put up even a reasonable total or dismiss the opposition. India's bowling too has lacked penetration they managed just 26 wickets in the last three Tests.
Sehwag, the stand-in captain said: "Yes, this wicket is like a typical Indian wicket (good) to go out and just score runs because there is nothing happening for the bowlers especially on the first two days. But itís difficult to explain what went wrong, but we didnít bat well and didnít give a good start as openers, hopefully will do well in coming (ODI) series."
In reply to a question on the reasons for the four nil defeat here as well as in England in their last away series less than six months ago, Sehwag explained: "We didn't bat well in England and here too. The six or seven batsmen didn't score enough runs for the bowlers to win the game. In England Rahul Dravid scored a couple of hundreds and here only Virat Kohli, so itís a positive for the Indian team that a youngster has scored a hundred in Australia."
He went on to say: "There are also a couple of other positives, the way Umesh Yadav, Zaheer, Ashwin and Ishant bowled was very impressive. If you look at the Australian team, they were struggling a year back and they lost Ashes and got out for 47 in South Africa, this happens with every team so we have to rebuild the team. The best thing is to forget about what happened and concentrate on what weíll do in the coming matches and practice hard and plan well and execute our plans in the game."
The final day's play began with the four remaining India tail-enders attempting to score 334 runs, a highly improbable task or attempt to keep the bowlers out and bat all day, an equally improbable proposition, to salvage a draw. Resuming on 166 for six, they lost two wickets within the first four overs. Ishant Sharma played without moving his feet and edged a ball, from Ryan Harris, without adding to his score of 2 and Wriddhiman Saha fell four runs later for 3 also caught behind, giving the man-of-the-match Peter Siddle his only wicket of the innings in addition to his brilliant five for 49 in the first innings.
Zaheer Khan swung his bat to hit three boundaries but on 15, in attempting another big hit, off Ben Hilfenhaus, he looped a catch to short cover. The last pair added fourteen before off spinner Nathan Lyon, playing a Test on his home ground the first time (where until last year he was employed helping the groundsman) ended the match with a four wicket haul for 63. It showed India batsmen that it wasn't just the pace bowlers who troubled them but the spinner as well. The innings was wrapped up on a modest 201.
Australia captain, and man-of-the-series, Michael Clarke said: "Our goal was to win every Test match we played so a lot of hard work has gone in to get this result. It looks convincing, the end result was four nil but I can guarantee there were a lot of tough times throughout this series. But I couldn't be happier, we played some really good cricket, some very consistent cricket and itís very satisfying."
He added: "We are currently ranked fourth in the world so we have a hell of a lot of work to do to get to where I see this team going. We have played some fantastic cricket, we have shown a lot of people around the world that we are on the way up which is a positive sign. There is a lot of improvement needed individually and as a team but we are getting better everyday and thatís the most pleasing thing."
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2012 Andy Jalil)