Five Things We Learned – First Test: Australia v India.

After a tremendous finish to the First Test in Adelaide, Jarrod Febbraio tells us what we learned from India’s narrow victory over Australia.

1. Marcus Harris has a technique worth sticking with.

Despite hitting 26 in both innings, with a start he was unable to convert into a half-century, Marcus Harris showed glimpses that he can be a batsman that can earn the opening spot for at least the rest of the Australian summer. His first scoring shot, a flick onto the off side for a couple got fans off their feet, but many were impressed with his defensive side of the game.

He certainly didn’t fail in either innings, with his total of 52 runs outscoring Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb and even Virat Kohli. Harris’ strong Shield form and his ability to come into the side and not look out of place means the selectors would be silly to drop him, especially when there isn’t anybody breathing down his neck for the opening spot. If any opener is under pressure, it is Aaron Finch. Expect Marcus Harris to be a fan favourite, if he can turn a solid score into a 50 or even a century in Perth on Friday.


2. India’s bowlers bowled better than expected.

India’s downfall on many occasions in Australia was their bowling, and while Australia’s batting lineup is as poor as it has been in recent memory, their ability to take 20 wickets has been questioned on this tour again. However what we saw, especially in the first innings, was fantastic bowling from all of their quicks.

Ravi Ashwin was always going to give them something as one of the best spinners in the world, but it was whether the likes of Ishant Sharma (who has a poor record in Australia) and his fellow quicks. We saw great line and length, persistence to a game plan and most of all, pace. We thought that our lack in batting power would be made up by such a bowling advantage, but we were matched. While we can too, India can take 20 wickets in every test on this tour; it is going to be a battle.

3. Nathan Lyon…a batsman?

The fact that Nathan Lyon was the only Australian batsman not to get out in this test match, with two great scores, is a testament to the issues that lie within the batting order. However, how good was it to watch Gazza play like he’s a top order batsman? He was playing proper cricket shots, no swings and misses here and certainly no french cuts. These were proper cricket shots, with his 24* and 38* showing that he is no slouch, and that he may be moved up in the order.

Currently coming in after Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, expect to see him move up at least one spot for the Perth test, as he truly let the Australian tail wag. His runs were valuable and kept Australia in the match, and even got us close to a test victory that would have been one of the biggest steals in recent times.

4. We are good enough to take 20 wickets in each test, its up to our batsman.

We knew we had one of the best bowling attacks in the world, but our restriction of India to 250 and 307 are two scores that are good enough to win most test matches. On your home deck, you expect to win matches when you restrict the visitors to just 550 runs. It just reiterates the fact that our batting order is not good enough to consistently warrant us winning test matches, let alone a series.

This isn’t really something we learned, more reminded that even on our home soil, we do miss the likes of Steve Smith and David Warner. They were our most consistent batsmen, and while Travis Head and Shaun Marsh can be given ticks, it is highly likely that in Perth, these two batsmen will fail and two others will be given ticks. Will this order of batsmen be enough to win five days of cricket? Cynical, but I think not.

5. India won with most batsman under-performing.

India were in control for most of this test, and it took the tail wagging for Australia in both innings’ to make this result closer than it normally would be. But unlike Australia, it can be said that India’s batting lineup (while having a bad test) is more likely to produce consistent cricket for the rest of the tour. Pujara was obviously brilliant and was rightly awarded man of the match, with Rahane and Rahul chipping in, but there is a lot of room here for improvement, starting with Virat Kohli.

One of the best cricketers in the world could well and truly hit a ton in every innings from here on in, and it would not surprise any. Murali Vijay is definitely better than what we saw in Adelaide, with wicketkeeper Pant showing glimpses of how he can become a key factor in this series with the bat. When you look at the two batting lineups, there was just as much positives in both sides during this test. The difference? India have more potential to be better, and they still won. Let that sink in.

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