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Missing the Big Two

Since the cheating incident in South Africa, in the absence of Smith and Warner, Australia have failed to win any Test match in four attempts

Missing the Big Two

The second Test between Australia and India is being played in Perth. Virat Kohli-led India have the best opportunity to win their first-ever Test series in Australia as the current Aussie team is not as strong as they it used to be a decade ago. Their batting looks ordinary in comparison with India’s heavyweight batting line-up.

Skipper Steve Smith and opener David Warner are suspended until the end of March next year for tampering with the ball in the Test series against South Africa earlier this year. In their absence, Australia lack solidity in batting.

Since the cheating incident in South Africa, in the absence of Smith and Warner, Australia have failed to win any Test match in their four attempts. Overall, they managed to win only two out of seven Tests in 2018.

In Australia, Smith scored 2931 runs in 26 Tests at an average of 83.74, including 13 hundreds. Warner scored 2886 runs in 27 matches with 12 hundreds, averaging 62.74.

Legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne thinks Australia desperately need Smith and Warner as they are lacking in their batting department.

India have only managed to draw one series in Australia and that was under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly in 2003–04.

India won the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs. Overall, it was only the sixth time that India won the opening Test in South Africa, New Zealand, England or Australia.

Before India, Pakistan were the only Asian team to win the first Test of a series in Australia. The Green-shirts did that at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1978-79 and that series ended in a 1-1 draw.

The last Test India won in Australia was at the WACA Ground in Perth in 2008, and the last one in Adelaide was in 2003.

Kohli has become the first Asian captain with Test wins in Australia, England, and South Africa. Rahul Dravid & MS Dhoni won Tests in England and South Africa but not in Australia.

It was only the second occasion when India won three Tests outside the subcontinent in a calendar year.

With Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammad Shami, India have one of their best ever pace attack.

In the Adelaide Test 35 players were out caught, a record. The previous record was 34, set in the match between South Africa and Australia earlier this year.

Indian wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant made history in his sixth Test by taking 11 catches in a Test. With that he joined England’s Jack Russell and South Africa’s AB de Villiers. He took six catches in the first and five in the second innings. Pant surpassed the Indian record of 10 catches set by Wriddhiman Saha.

Before the ongoing series, India had played 44 Tests in Australia, and won only five: in Melbourne in 1977-78, in Sydney in 1977-78, in Melbourne in 1980-81, in Adelaide in 2003-04 and in Perth in 2007-08.

The two countries have played 25 Test series. Eleven of those were played in Australia, but the visitors have never been successful.

Despite being the number one Test team in the ICC ranking this year, India have lost both their overseas Test series. In South Africa they lost 1-2 and 1-4 in England. They won home series against the West Indies and one-off Test against Afghanistan.

Cheteshwar Pujara completed his 5000 Test runs during his century in the first innings. He has proved himself a true replacement of Dravid.

Pujara completed his 3000, 4000 and 5000 Test runs in 67th, 84th and 108th innings of his career. Dravid reached these landmarks in the same innings. Surprisingly both Dravid and Pujara got their first centuries in Australia at Adelaide. Both scored half-centuries in the second innings. In both instances, India won the match and took 1-0 lead in the series.

Khurram Mahmood

Khurram Mahmood 2019

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