India v Australia, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 4th day

Mismatch in skills makes for no-contest

India had more skill and determination than Australia in the conditions in Chennai and Hyderabad and the results reflected that

Sharda Ugra

March 5, 2013

Comments: 99 | Text size: A | A

Ravindra Jadeja punches the air after getting a wicket, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 4th day, March 5, 2013
Ravindra Jadeja is proving to be an excellent fifth bowling option in home conditions © BCCI
Enlarge
Related Links

After the relief of Chennai, comes the emphatic joy of Hyderabad. India will believe they have the number of the Australians in this series, which cannot be lost from here.

When one team scores 500-plus, margins of defeat are likely to be large, but the Australian batting performance, would have indicated to the Indians that the opposition batsmen are, for the moment, in a word, shot.

If the Australian response to the deficit of 266 runs was, as many are calling it, un-Australian in its lack of resolve, the Indian reaction arrived at a kindly conclusion - that the Australian second innings batting lacked skill rather than intent. In unfamiliar and difficult conditions, it takes equal amounts of skill and determination, not one or the other, to make contests possible.

Hyderabad was not, it must be said, a contest. India were able to bring their skills to work in familiar conditions and to make it count. Along with a Test victory, MS Dhoni's elevation to the position of India's most successful Test captain and a 2-0 series lead, there were other less discernible or quantifiable gains that can be considered.

The key hand played by their newer and younger players - Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja, five Tests between them - and the return of M Vijay to the front line. While Cheteshwar Pujara and R Ashwin have been making consistent progress in their performances in home series, Bhuvneshwar, Jadeja and Vijay give the selectors and the team management more options than they had three months ago, when England turned the tables on the Indians.

Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar offer two sets of alternative all-round options. Jadeja's role is being treated as a very limited one - that of spin-bowling allrounder in conditions like Chennai and Hyderabad. Yet if he is able to, a la Ravi Shastri, make more of his batting than he has in this series, India can count on his skills in conditions where playing a fifth bowler might make sense, and not just in India. Jadeja's skills on slow, turning wickets could be made to work outside India too. India have not won a series in Sri Lanka in 20 years, where it's slow and turning too, and pitches in the West Indies have certainly not been juiced up recently.

Jadeja is a radically different fifth bowling option for India, a slot that has been filled by many forms and shapes in the past. In the last 15 years, though, it is the medium-pace variety of Sourav Ganguly and Sanjay Bangar that has been brought into play, Bangar playing a vital role opening the batting for India in Headingley 2002 and taking two second-innings wickets. Players with double skills and resolve are not easily found. Bhuvneshwar's biggest asset is that he is able to bowl tight, disciplined medium-pace in conditions that do not help his brand of bowling because those are the only conditions he knows.

Bhuvneshwar happens to be a like-for-like copy of Praveen Kumar, the rare Indian performance in the tear-jerker that was England 2011. India return to England in a little more than a year and, in Bhuvneshwar, they are presented with a possibility. Between now and mid-2014, enhancing his batting skills for conditions found outside the subcontinent could perhaps end up being an example of genuine "informed player management" for India.

In the buzz of victory came Gautam Gambhir's tweet: "Smells like revenge. Half way there boys. remember Perth? Remember Adelaide? Two more, come on." Just like India believe Chennai and Hyderabad were victories of more skill over less skill and more determination over less, so indeed were Adelaide and Perth. Ideally, real vengeance means travelling back to Adelaide and Perth and returning the favours of 2012. Talk of payback at the moment remains mere advertising.

The last two Tests will be played in conditions that are at least expected to be different to those in Chennai and Hyderabad. Mohali's reputation as India's 'quickest' wicket has outlived the truth by several seasons. The Kotla in Delhi can offer a 5-o'clock-stubble of grass but it is, as Delhi captain Shikhar Dhawan will confirm, only a means to confuse the batsmen. It is believed the Australian fast bowlers may show up in force but as long as their batsman don't, the series will remain one-sided.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Sharda Ugra

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by TRAM on (March 7, 2013, 0:56 GMT)

Jadeja is the 4th bowler - after Ashwin/Ohja/Bhuvi. And he is the 10th or may be the 11th batsman. He is the #1 fielder, #2 being Raina. I think simple ranking like this in the 3 fields (bat/bowl/field) and adding them should give the player's net ranking (lowest number being the best). Wondering what ranking Sehwag, Harbajan. Ishant would get !

Posted by lara999 on (March 6, 2013, 19:27 GMT)

Ok, sure the Indian team has been pathetic overseas recently. But why do the pundits (yes, incl u Ugra) overemphasize fast tracks only as if that is the only cricket that counts, and spinning tracks are most often looked at as not up to international standards. These tracks have been sporting and would have lasted 5 full days if the Aussies had showed some skill, application and determination. I have seen fast tracks regularly produce results less than 5 days, oftentimes 2 and 3 days, and these are celebrated for the outstanding fast, seam, swing bowling, etc. Why does real vengeance mean traveling back to Adelaide and Perth - sure winning there would be great, but you make no sense in defining that as the only option for "real vengeance". I think humbling and frankly embarrassing the Aussies as well as exposing their lack of skill to cope in conditions away from their home pitches (aha, they seem to have a similar problem to India) is real enough vengeance.

Posted by Nampally on (March 6, 2013, 19:17 GMT)

Now we are talking of mismatch of skills to play spin bowling on Indian pitches. But soon we may be talking about the same mismatch to play fast bowlers on the SA pitches unless India plans right Now. Firstly almost all Fast bowlers are on the injured list- recovering. Yadev, Aaron, Irfan Pathan to name 3 potential candidates. Sreesanth has not been tried. This leaves just Ishant Sharma. B.Kumar & Shami Ahmad - none can bowl consistently over 140 KPH. So what is India doing in this field? Secondly the opening batsmen issue is not yet resolved.Even assuming Vijay is one opener, the second opener is a big? There are 6 candidtaes but none have been tried What are the Selectors thinking about? Thirdly the Spinners. One of them will be Ashwin. Ojha will be out because Dhoni prefers Jadeja. Hopefully Bhaji will be Out! Lastly the batting which is in half decent shape mainly because of Pujara, Tendulkar & Kohli @ 3,4,5 spots. I think the last middle order batsmen should include Tiwary.

Posted by YaksNad on (March 6, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

Revenge is actually the right word if a 4-0 or 3-0 happens (though test matches seem to have results more often than not now-a-days). Winning in Adelaide or Perth will be something much more, as big if not bigger than when Kumble's team of experienced players had won in Perth.

Posted by Harmony111 on (March 6, 2013, 16:33 GMT)

@Int.Curator: A very simple thing that you must understand is that there is no one "NORMAL" wicket. There are several ways where a wicket can be made normal. It is all a case of having the right resources for a given wicket. Is there is a NORMAL Tennis surface? Which is more NORMAL? Grass or Clay or Hard? Which tennis match is more standard? There it is a case of having the right style for the surface to do well and similarly in cricket too the players must know the right way to play on a given wicket instead of saying "Oh this is not a NORMAL wicket anyways so our performance here does not matter."

As long as a wicket poses no excessive physical injury risk it should be ok to play on it.

Tell me how long have Aus been #1 since Aug 2009? ZERO weeks. India have been #1 for 21 weeks during that period. What happened to Aus there? They were still playing on NORMAL wickets, right?

Posted by Harmony111 on (March 6, 2013, 16:02 GMT)

@Int.Curator: A very simple thing that you must understand is that there is no one "NORMAL" wicket. There are several ways where a wicket can be made normal. It is all a case of having the right resources for a given wicket. Is there is a NORMAL Tennis surface? Which is more NORMAL? Grass or Clay or Hard? Which tennis match is more standard? There it is a case of having the right style for the surface to do well and similarly in cricket too the players must know the right way to play on a given wicket instead of saying "Oh this is not a NORMAL wicket anyways so our performance here does not matter."

As long as a wicket poses no excessive physical injury risk it should be ok to play on it.

Pity that you know so little about NORMAL wickets even though your handle is Int.Curator.

Tell me how long have Aus been #1 since Aug 2009? ZERO weeks. India have been #1 for 21 weeks during that period. What happened to Aus there? They were still playing on NORMAL wickets, right? Huh stats.

Posted by Harmony111 on (March 6, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

@Int.Curator: In the 2 tests so far, we have seen MSD playing a destructive stroke-filled 200, CP getting a very fluent 200 & MV too getting a big 100 that became more fluent as he got his confidence back. in 2001, AG scored that magnificent 100 in Mumbai, so how can you say these wickets do not promote stroke-play? When Ind batsmen get 100s in Tests/ODIs in India/SC then you label these as flat wickets good for batting and call our batsmen as FTB and when your batsmen fail then you call these wickets as not good for stroke-making. How confused you are???

You can't say these wickets have no bounce. Rem the ball that got Viru or that got Wade or Hughes or Patt's bouncer to MV? You just need the right skill to get that bounce.

These wickets are full of runs, give ample help to spinners, give good help to fast/seam/swing bowlers too - Did you see Bhuvnesh? He got the ball to talk even late on Day 3.

And these wickets did not crumble. What exactly is your problem with these wickets?

Comments have now been closed for this article

TopTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Sharda UgraClose
Tour Results
India v Australia at Delhi - Mar 22-24, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Mohali - Mar 14-18, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Hyderabad (Deccan) - Mar 2-5, 2013
India won by an innings and 135 runs
India v Australia at Chennai - Feb 22-26, 2013
India won by 8 wickets
India A v Australians at Chennai - Feb 16-18, 2013
Match drawn
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days