India vs Australia first Test: Virat Kohli & Co have a lot to review after Aussies gave them a wake-up call

Indian team got outclassed by Australian in their own game as they fail to tackle Nathan Lyon and Steve O'Keefe on Pune's rank turner.

The India vs Australia Test series created quite a stir on all kinds of media as the Aussies had a tough task ahead of them, to stop Virat Kohli & Co’s unbeaten run of 19 Tests. Former players warned Australia against Indians who had registered their sixth series win on the trot. Former players compared Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin to Sir Don Bradman in their respective departments.

Pune Test was a wake up call India needed to get a hang of things as they got outsmarted by the Aussies in their own game. Pune wicket was a rank turner from Day 1. Steven Smith knew that at the time of toss and it reflected in his decision. Smith said that this pitch looks like it will turn from Day 1. It will be partially correct to comment that Australia won the guess as soon as the coin flipped and turned their way.

India were coming off a great home season and before that beating teams in their home. India have not lost a single game since August 15, 2015. They crushed teams in their backyard as described by Australia’s fiery opener David Warner before the first Test. Even Steven Smith did not think that they could dominate the hosts with such precision like they did at Pune, mauling over them by 333 runs, bowling India for 105 and 107 runs in both innings.

Captain Kohli too agreed that India took their success for granted after their unbeaten run of 19 Tests. He too considered it to be a wake-up call, something they needed in the start of the series to get their heads back in the place. He also assured that India will put pressure on Australia from ball 1 at Bengaluru Test starting from March 3.

But before we discuss and make speculations about the second Test, let us have a look at what all went against India in the first Test in a descending order that it got wrapped up inside Day 3-

Repeating their mistakes
After getting bowled out for 105 in the first innings, India needed 441 runs to win in the fourth innings. Almost everyone thought that India will lose this Test. It was beyond the highest successful run chases by any team in cricketing history. It was almost an impossible task for them on a track like Pune where the ball turned from the first over. But none expected them to bundle out again within two sessions.

India got off to a bad start in the second session itself losing 6 wickets before Tea Break. Top order hurried towards the pavilion, with Kohli getting out Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha throwing their wicket away before the break. The third session started and ended with a blink of an eye.

Steve O’Keefe took 6 wickets in the second innings as well. It seemed like he was bowling in a video game taking wickets at will. Nathan Lyon too mopped up the tail quickly and ended the proceedings. Despite Pune pitch being a rank turner, it was Indian batsmen who lacked the intent to play a longer innings, they threw caution out in the wind and displayed a careless behaviour throwing their wickets away. This is something they will not aim at doing in the second Test.

Sloppy fielding
Indian spinners R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav were using the pitch to the utmost effect in the second innings. It was not their bowling which failed but their sloppy fielding and butter fingers which took helped Australia give an unassailable lead.

There is a saying in cricket, ‘Catches win the matches’. Indian fielders will be getting that a lot after the first Test as they dropped a few many catches that proved lethal for India. Steven Smith was dropped twice, one of them was dropped by substitute fielder Abhinav Mukund who dropped a sitter in short leg position.

Smith went onto score his 18th Test century taking Australia to a more than enough total in the second innings, giving India a target to chase which has never been chased before as long as the history of Test cricket goes.

India’s worst 7-wicket batting collapse
Indian batsmen were cruising towards Australia’s first innings score after three early wickets with KL Rahul timing the ball well and dominating Australian bowlers. He tried to take on O’Keefe over the top but failed to connect it in the middle od the bat and got caught at long on. That marked the beginning of India’s worst 7-wicket batting collapse in the history of their Test cricket performance.

O’Keefe wreaked havoc on Indian batsmen as they raced towards pavilion as soon as they took their guard on the crease. O’Keefe got his big break taking a 6-wicket haul in subcontinent conditions. His magical spell helped Australia send 7 batsmen back to the pavilion in a matter of 11 runs which gave the Aussies a 155-run lead which turned out to be decisive in the first Test.

Mitchell Starc ‘stars’
India reduced Australian batting line up to 205 for 9, it seemed like Indian openers will come out to bat in the last session of Day 1 but Starc thought otherwise. Starc launched a brutal onslaught on Indian spinners as he slogged the ball for humongous sixes towards over mid-wicket boundaries.

He went on to score 60 runs in the first innings with almost run-a-ball strike rate. He added valuable runs to Australia’s first innings score which helped them create pressure on Indian batsmen and take an emphatic lead. He played a similar innings in the second innings as well scoring 30.