Five Things We Learned: Second Test – Australia v India

What did we learn from Australia’s series levelling victory in the Second Test in Perth? Jarrod Febbraio tells us his five.

1. Australia aren’t as far off as we may have thought.

A brilliant win for Australia that had so many ebbs and flows, that Justin Langer’s men will be as ecstatic as ever to level the series at 1-1. It was just the beginning of day 3 when Virat Kohli was set, that an India win was imminent. A touch of luck and the raising of the finger from the umpire called Kohli out – this is when the test turned on its head. Even up until stumps of day three, you could have imagined India pulling a rabbit out of the hat, because of the inconsistencies that we have shown over the past 6 months.

We held strong though, and showed a bit of the Aussie spirit that we have become known for. While they weren’t great, and neither were we, maybe we aren’t as far off as we thought we’d be. Despite losing the first test, it was only by 30-odd runs – although we were never in control. India’s bowlers have been outstanding, but so have ours. India’s batsman have been poor and ours, while poor, have been meeting our expectations. We are matching up against one of the worlds best sides, and now we have won a test. Could this spur us on to a series win?

2. This could be a bowlers v bowlers type series.

Both sets of batsmen have been poor, India especially. As previously said, Australia’s batting lineup has been average, but has met the majority of expectations. But the bowling on show from both sides has been brilliant. Starting with the tourists, Jasprit Bumrah has almost been player of the series, behind a certain ‘G.O.A.T’. Bumrah’s consistent line and length has put constant pressure on batsmen, making him tough to score runs off. He has been the perfect compliment to the likes of Mohammed Shami, whose six-wicket haul in the second innings in Perth can in some ways be put down to the pressure being put on by Bumrah at the other end.

Ishant Sharma was definitely better in Adelaide, but was still serviceable and more impressive than he has been in many other trips down to Australia. As for the Aussies, the pace bowling attack we possess is brilliant. They all compliment each other greatly – we never find it hard to take 20 wickets in a test match. The pace in which we bowl and the tanks these three have to bowl out long, consistent spells is also quite profound.

But then there is Nathan Lyon, who has no doubt been the player of the series thus far. The man who has moved in front of Dennis Lillee in the all-time wicket takers for Australia took another eight wickets in Perth, and in some ways spun us to victory in the first dig. This series so far has been centred around the bowlers, with 80 wickets falling and no team yet able to declare. It has been a great watch, and an excellent showing from all bowlers involved.

3. The tail can make all the difference.

Australia’s bowlers hit a total of 71 runs in Perth, in comparison to India’s 11. 11 runs from a total of eight innings from India’s bowlers, you may as well call it all out when the Aussies take their sixth wicket. While Josh Hazlewood isn’t great, we know that Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon can all not only hold a bat, but can most definitely hit runs. India on the other hand offer nothing when it comes to their tail, and despite Australia winning but 146 runs, the extra 70 that Australia’s bowlers give them completely changes the complexity of any test.

If Australia’s bowlers had performed as poorly as India’s, India would have chased around 200 for victory – this would have had Virat Kohli and his team licking his lips. It is surprising that there is so little emphasis placed on batting as a number 11, or in India’s case, number 8. The lack of firepower and batting ability in their lower order puts a lot of pressure on India’s top order, and while it is their job to hit runs, many of them are struggling at the moment. Keeping the Indian bowlers out there for a few hours longer and frustrating Kohli is something the Aussie bowlers did extremely well with the bat, and is something that goes a long way in test cricket.

4. Marcus Harris continues to impress early on.

Another 90 runs for Marcus Harris in just his second test match once again shows he is worth persisting with, even if it was a poor leave that saw him hit the sheds just 20 runs into his second innings knock. His maiden test 50 and his performance in Adelaide showed that there is a lot to work with here, and despite Aaron Finch not looking like his permanent partner, the return of one David Warner could make these two the perfect combination.

The combo of Rogers/Warner was brilliant to watch, with Warner the aggressor and Rogers the one who could consistently hit runs and value his wicket with all he’s got. While it is too early to compare, Harris seems the type that will be happy to let Warner come back in and play his game, while he pushes the ball around and ticks the scoreboard over. With Usman Khawaja the only other batsman in the current side that looks like his technique can stand up in test cricket, would it be wrong to think Marcus Harris is the next best thing?

5. Boxing Day will be huge.

Despite what I thought, which was an India 4-0 whitewash, the Aussies have proven me wrong and levelled the series at 1-1, which makes the Boxing Day test bigger than we all may have imagined. If we can get a result in Melbourne, and somehow not lose this series, it may be one of the best series wins in recent memory.

We know that the army of Indian cricket lovers will be out in force, as they have been for all ten days of cricket thus far. There is 80,000+ expected to turn out on Boxing Day, and is is going to be huge. An India 2-0 lead going into the test would have for sure turned people away, but this is truly set up for an epic; and I cannot wait.

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