Australia v India, 1st T20, Sydney

Similarities with England tour continue

A limited-overs game in which rain plays a part in your defeat. It is all looking awfully familiar for India

Sidharth Monga at Stadium Australia

February 1, 2012

Comments: 94 | Text size: A | A

Rahul Sharma releases the ball, Australia v India, 1st Twenty20, Stadium Australia, Sydney, February 1, 2012
India's spinners struggled to grip the ball in wet conditions © Getty Images

India last played in Sydney about a month ago. During that Test, R Ashwin, the India offspinner, complained about how everybody was already finding similarities between India's tour of England and their trip to Australia, and how it was a deterrent to India that people were already talking about a 4-0 whitewash. A month later, India's first night of limited-overs cricket on this trip already shares eerie similarities with the limited-overs leg of their England tour.

Unseasonal rains have made their appearance again. Even though India - for a change - got the toss right on a rainy day, and correctly chose to field first, it rained only when India were bowling. By the time Australia came out to field, the clouds had disappeared, and the only towel seen on the field was the one India threw in. MS Dhoni, who has now gone 14 international matches away from home without a win, saw the similarities too.

"The weather played a big part in it [the loss in Sydney]," Dhoni said. "In England we didn't win any tosses, it rained in the second innings and our bowling suffered because of that. This time I won the toss, and with the rain forecast I thought we would chase. I though the pitch would remain the same, if not get better, and 170-odd runs was a good score to chase if the pitch remained the same.

"We got off to a good start but after that it didn't rain. It started to turn and grip, and the odd ball was bouncing more than the normal delivery. It was difficult."

However, while India may have had a valid-ish excuse about being on the wrong side of the weather, the selection of their XI was incongruous with the forecast. They picked two specialist spinners to go with three part-time spinners. They could have played the seaming allrounder, Irfan Pathan, if they wanted to pick two specialist spinners. As it turned out, the spinners found it hard to grip the ball, and went for 108 in their 13 overs.

The medium-pacers, though, did worse, going for 62 runs in their seven overs, with Praveen Kumar not even finishing his full quota of overs. Matthew Wade, the Man of the Match, said India's spinners were more difficult to negotiate than the seamers. That severely hampered spinners were better than the quicks says a lot about India's plight in the match.

"We wanted to pick Rahul Sharma because he did really well in the IPL, and if you look at his bowling analysis he did the job he was supposed to do," Dhoni said. "I think all the spinners did well. I think [Ravindra] Jadeja was a bit expensive but we always play him because he gives us balance. The part-timers also contributed. [Suresh] Raina bowled two very good overs before he was expensive in the third one. Overall it went our way because in between we were able to pull the game back towards us."

The similarities with the England tour continued when India came out to bat. Rohit Sharma's tour of England lasted just one ball when he broke his hand in his first match there. Here, he was bowled off the pad first ball. The pitch did become difficult to bat on, but 31 runs was too emphatic a margin of defeat.

After a night that bore so much resemblance to the England tour, India will hope to avoid one dreaded similarity with that trip: going winless.

In England, the whitewash in the Tests was put down to injuries. In Australia, though, India continued to lose Tests even when not missing any of their stars. The losses in the ODIs in England were put down - and not without merit - to not winning tosses in rain-affected matches. Here, India won the toss in the first game, and still lost emphatically.

Dhoni, though, said that he wasn't reminded of England when on the field. "At that point of time you think of how to get through the adversities."

India need to get through the adversities sometime soon because when that winning feeling is denied for long enough you kind of forget how to get it back.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by CricFreax on (February 3, 2012, 2:59 GMT)

will the selectors look at our comment the XI for next game should be Gambhir, Sachin (sehwag can be dropped), Virat, Raina,Rohit,MSD,Ashwin, Umesh, Irfan, Praveen, Rahul if groomed well and given chance this team can play anything test odious or t20

Posted by keecha on (February 2, 2012, 21:45 GMT)

India are most comfortable on the 50 over format only. They have forgotten how to adapt to the 5 day format and never learned the 20 over one. I say this bearing in mind they won the first WC of that format It was won when other teams were caught unaware of that version. They have gone on to quickly adapt and we stay where we were in 2007, still waiting for a last ball blunder by an unsuspecting random Misbah.They need to assign roles to players at diff positions and identify 20 20 specialist bowlers Need to plan for diff scenarios and mentally prepare of every occasion.Assign short term targets and strive to over achieve at each stage of the match, that is what great 20 20 teams do. Dhoni cannot carry the Chepauk pitch all along as he can carry Ashwin, that said Ashwin is one of the best in business no doubt..He has to groom horses for diff tracks, I feel he should bat no3 in 20 20 as he can pace the innings better than any one else, Raina aside.Kohli can be No.4 and Rohit 5.Raina 6..

Posted by CricFreax on (February 2, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

Another problem there not enough international games played by youngsters recently. the team is getting shuffled too often. they keep on changing players. as every say below. even if the openers are to be changed then the new player will again struggel to get into form. the team should be maintained. may be irfan can come for praveen and umesh for vina or rahul. but the batting line up should be same. we can have one more bowler instaed of jadeja as ashwin's batting also seems promising

the XI for next game should be Gambhir, Sachin (sehwag can be dropped), Virat, Raina,Rohit,MSD,Ashwin, Umesh, Irfan, Praveen, Rahul

Posted by CricFreax on (February 2, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

The problem for the indian team startd in the toss itself. i am not sure what motivated indian captain to bowl under a overcast condition. As for regarding pitch analysing capablities outside India, we could see the captain has no idea either to choose in toss or selecting team. Ozzies had 2 seamers 1 med pacer and 1 main spinner and 1 parttime spinner. the difference between their bowling and our were there bowled stump t ostump on a good length our bowlers bowled everwhere they wanted to and the captain did not stop it. Also their spinners were quick and our bowler gave them enough time that they might had tea before hitting for six. As fas as batting concerned every one fell down due to the pressure of run rate and captains cool's cool batting

The end line is that Indian team played as if they dont know cricket and dont have brain and ozzies played good cricket. The indian team should first lear nhow to bowl and where to bowl. until then there will be a loss

Posted by CricketChat on (February 2, 2012, 11:44 GMT)

There is no hope for Ind team on this Aus tour. Their core players have been too battle scarred to come out of the rut they are in. Painful as it may be for BCCI and Ind fans to bare this low after last year's WC high, it did serve its purpose. Time to phase out seniors on decline and infuse new blood. I am certain BCCI will act decisively under a new selection committee. For now though, we just have to see how much fight is left with new comers.

Posted by AvidCricFan on (February 2, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

If any, Vinay Kumar should be replaced by Irfan and top order, Shewag and Gambhir, needs to be bench until they sort out their issues. India is not served well by Shewag who fires once in 10 matches and rides on it. He needs to provide more consistent performance. Gambhir is out of sorts. He needs to be replaced.

Posted by Hold_the_line on (February 2, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

"In England, the whitewash in the Tests was put down to injuries. In Australia, though, India continued to lose Tests even when not missing any of their stars. The losses in the ODIs in England were put down - and not without merit - to not winning tosses in rain-affected matches. Here, India won the toss in the first game, and still lost emphatically."

A lot of English fans boast of thier win against Aus in 2011 against a side weakened by the loss of a generation of stars. But here we see the relative strength of 2 sides 12 months on. One is on the way up, one is on the way down.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

Correction to my earlier post: Please read the statement as: "This Indian team is physically and mentally NOT fit enough to win against Australia"

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (February 2, 2012, 6:14 GMT)

well done India. keep going!

Posted by   on (February 2, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

complain complains lol........

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