India v Australia, 2nd ODI, Jaipur October 15, 2013

India brace for another pace test


Match facts

Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Start time 1330 local (0800 GMT)

Big Picture

On a slow pitch in Pune, Australia's fast bowlers made the Indian batsmen hop and jump, asking old questions about their ability to handle high-quality pace bowling. India are going to be put through the same test again, but in conditions that will add another level of difficulty. The series moves to Jaipur, where the pitch - on the evidence of how it played during the IPL and the Champions League this year - will be spicier and in a way, rather Australian.

The quartet of Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, Shane Watson and James Faulkner didn't just deliver a win in the first ODI, they also put seeds of doubt in the minds of the Indian batsmen, forcing them on the back foot with predominantly short of length bowling, but cleverly mixed it up with accurate bouncers and teasing fuller ones.

Virat Kohli acknowledged that too. "Very few batsmen get out to short deliveries," he said. "It's not a wicket-taking delivery but a tactic used by teams. But at international level, one should be ready to play any delivery that is thrown at him." It was a 'tactic' that was executed to perfection by Australia's bowlers, two of whom - Watson and Faulkner - have played more matches in Jaipur in the recent times than anyone in the India side.

Australia's seemingly inexperienced batting has taken advantage of India's weak bowling too. In 70 overs, they have amassed 505 runs, that too without Watson making a contribution. Aaron Finch continued his dominating form this year and Glenn Maxwell provided those sudden spikes in scoring later in the innings.

It's still early in the series though. India's top three have looked comfortable against the Australian seamers and it's about how the rest pull their weight. That includes the bowlers, who, until now, have looked tired despite this being just the start of the new season.

Form guide (Most recent games first)

Australia WWLWW

In the spotlight

The figures of 10-0-38-1 don't tell the whole story of Mitchell Johnson's spell on Sunday. Johnson was at his menacing best, hustling the batsmen with deliveries that were hurled around 150 kmph. His only wicket was that of Yuvraj Singh, who was given a good working over. Yuvraj stayed on the back foot for five deliveries expecting the short ball, but only got full ones. Then came the snorter, which Yuvraj could only edge behind. It was a masterful spell. However, the other Johnson, the one who sprays the ball around, is never too far and Australia will hope the bad one keeps his appearances to a minimum this series.

Ishant Sharma's career has been almost as long as Johnson's - both have played the same number of Tests. But while Johnson's form follows a cycle, Ishant's stays in a perennial trough with a few stray spikes. The only remnants of the exciting young bowler who debuted in 2007 are his run-up and his hair. He has lacked pace and leaked runs in the two matches against Australia, but with limited fast-bowling stocks, India don't have the luxury of letting him go. Kohli, Ishant's Delhi team-mate, also defended him, saying, "I don't think you can drop a player on the basis of two poor matches." Ishant has just two more matches to do something of note before the squad for the last four ODIs is announced.

Team news

MS Dhoni has a tendency to stick with the same XI and is not likely to disturb it just after one ODI, but there is a case to try out either Jaydev Unadkat or Mohammad Shami.

India (probable) 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suresh Raina, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Vinay Kumar, 11 Ishant Sharma/Mohammed Shami/Jaydev Unadkat

Brad Haddin left the field during the first match after being accidentally poked in the eye by James Faulkner, but he was back to keep wickets later in the day and should remain part of the XI. Australia are not likely to make any changes.

Australia (probable) 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Phillip Hughes, 3 Shane Watson, 4 George Bailey, 5 Adam Voges, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Xavier Doherty

Stats and trivia

  • In the last five years, the average of India's middle-order batsmen (Nos 4-6) is below 35 against only three teams - Pakistan, South Africa and Australia.
  • In the same period, India's bowlers have struggled against Australia. Each Australian wicket costs them 46.55 runs, which is their worst against any team


"In T20s, everyone gets hit. Even Australian bowlers went for a 200-plus score. They didn't change their bowlers in the next match. This is my opinion and rest is on the team management. I am not the captain or the coach to decide on selection matters."
Virat Kohli

"I don't think we used the short ball any more than any other game we play, but we were happy with the result. We do have plans against certain players though."
Brad Haddin

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nazim on October 16, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    @Harmony111 Posted by Harmony111 on (October 16, 2013, 5:59 GMT) "The match was well within India's grasp at that point but Raina had a sudden brain freeze & India lost the momentum form that point onwards."

    I don't know why you are trying to take the credit away from the Australian bowling and blame it on brain freeze. the pressure was consistently built up on the indian batsmen. its just not that credit goes to a bowler when an unplayable delivery takes a wicket. Consistency and building pressure is also a wicket taking tactic and the bowlers should be lauded and blame shouldn't be put on brain freeze. Brain freeze is when the batting side is well ahead of situation (asking rate etc) and batsman throws his wicket away for glory.... that was not the case

  • Dinesh on October 16, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    I'm a Sri-Lankan, I support India. C'mon India thrash the Aussies ! India is the number 1 team. Dhoni & co you have done it in the past, please keep up the good work.

  • vinod on October 16, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    i cant believe it india dont hav bowler like watson.....can any1 tel in present indian cricket who can bowl better thn watson...n he is batting all rounder......watson will select in any team as a addition he is pure all would be nightmare 4 indians if watson comes 2 form...with poor bowling attack....no1 can stop would be terms of hitting he is jst next 2 gayle......mayb indian fans praying dat he should not come 2 form...

  • Dummy4 on October 16, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    @ Harmony111 on (October 16, 2013, 6:18 GMT):

    Most of the concerns were regarding Indian Bowling (not batting); which let the Aussie team score 300+ on a 240-250 pitch.

    If we don't see changes in the bowling group, it means there is something wrong with the team management who decide the playing XI.

    Incidentally, the OZ bowlers seem to have learnt a lot from their IPL experiences.

  • Murray on October 16, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    As good as ODI's get ! This is a good series. What is interesting to me is not the scores.... it is how fast and straight Johnson bowls. The other 21 out there are largely irrelevant to me. However, I expect this match might be Watson's turn ?

  • Rama Gopal on October 16, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    Mishra and Jaidev must get in place of Ashwin & Ishant. India must stop project Ishant immediately to save their batsman. Ishant made Vinay look much better than he is. Ashwin must be out too so that he can sort his bowling issues. On current form Mishra is a better bowler and an improved batsman. Of-course both Ashwin and Mishra are below club standard fielders.

  • Dummy4 on October 16, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    Please exclude Vinay Kumar and Ashwin, get Jaidev unadkat and Mishra into the team. Ashwin lost the variations in his bowling and Vinay kuamr don't know how to bowl.

  • Venkat on October 16, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    It has become fashionable to call the Indian batsmen as weak against short pitched bowling. The reality is that nobody likes quick short bowling directed at them. In this particular game, the top order in fact played pretty well, and it was the short selection that let them down. Rohit prodded at one outside off, Raina went for a swipe over midwicket and so on. Only Dhawan and Dhoni got out to real wicket taking deliveries. The reason was pressure, pure and simple, due to chasing a large score, and some good bowling, and had nothing to do with short pitched bowling, or the inability of the Indians to cope with it. In fact, in this current team, with the exception of Jadeja and Raina, most of the others can play the short delivery quite competently, though the latter is improving in that regard as well. Rohit and Dhoni in fact revel in punishing it, and Virat, Dhawan and Yuvraj are not bothered much by it.

  • Dummy4 on October 16, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    My playing Xi will be... 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suresh Raina, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Jaydev Unadkat, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Amit Mishra, 11 Vinay Kumar

  • vijay kumar on October 16, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    Drop Vinay kumar & Ashwin please include Jaydev Unadkat & Amit Mishra Reason for this is Ashwin is not able show much serious impact on Aussies batsman so let's have a go to Mishra. Vinay kumar is not international pace bowler he will be best fit for domestic level only.

    My playing Xi will be... 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suresh Raina, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Jaydev Unadkat, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Amit Mishra, 11 Ishant Sharma

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