India vs. Australia - Second Test
MATCH UP STATS
India vs. Australia - Second Test
Recent Test resultsIndia: W W W W LAustralia: W W W W W
Top runscorer tipsIndia: Virat Kohli - $3.25 at LadbrokesAustralia: Steve Smith - $3.50 at CrownBet
Top wicket-taker tipsIndia: Ravindra Jadeja - $3.75 at LadbrokesAustralia: Mitchell Starc - $3.75 at Sportsbet
IT was not supposed to be this way.
India were unbackable favourites to win the first Test of the 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, yet it is Australia who will take a 1-0 lead to Bangalore.
The visitors handled the dodgy, dusty wicket in Pune better than anybody could have expected.
Matt Renshaw and Steve Smith played big knocks, Peter Handscomb starred once again in the field and Steve O’Keefe returned six wickets in each innings to record the best-ever match figures by a visiting bowler in India.
Although SOK hogged the headlines, the performances of Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc were no less admirable.
The display in Pune was a world away from the nightmare of Hobart in November, when a dismal defeat to South Africa triggered the biggest reshuffle in Australian cricket since the 1980s.
According to David Warner, that capitulation against the Proteas was exactly what they needed.
“I think it takes a loss like that at home sometimes to really get guys going,” he said in an interview this week.
“It’s not that we needed that, it’s just the fact it’s a bit of a reality check really that you can [have] one bad session or one bad Test, it can be taken away from you even on home soil.
“For us it was obviously poor cricket in general. We didn’t adapt to the conditions and that’s one thing we’ve done very well here.
“We’ve had the preparation in Dubai which has been fantastic and we’re grateful for that opportunity and it’s really put us in a really good position coming here to India.”
For Starc, who laid the groundwork for India’s first-innings collapse with the key wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, the result was the perfect response to all those who had cast doubt on Australia’s credentials.
“Obviously we’ve come here as a group believing we can win, and I think everyone has written us off and expected India to win,” he said.
“So to shut a few people up and really show that this young team is here to play – and we’ve adapted really well in our lead-up – has been great for the group.
“But it’s one Test win, it’s not a series win yet so we’ll be doing all we can. Especially in the next Test in Bangalore.
“It’s going to be pretty special for this young group [if we pull it off].”
With India failing so spectacularly on a heavily doctored pitch in Pune, pundits and players alike are expecting to see a more balanced wicket in Bangalore.
“I can’t see it being too bouncy or quick because it’s a weakness of the Indian batters,” said Starc.
“We’ll probably see it not turning as much as this wicket has or breaking up as quickly.
“I think we’ll probably see a wicket similar to maybe the England series they had over here where it’s probably flatter and there’s some really big first innings totals and the game happens a bit quicker towards the end.
“It’s a smaller ground but a bit better of a wicket than what we’ve seen here in Pune.”
The defeat was India’s first in Test cricket since August 2015, and their first at home since England beat them in Kolkata more than four years ago.
While others were pointing fingers at the pitch and the groundsmen, the skipper made no attempts to dodge the blame.
“I don’t think it was any different from the turners that we played on in the past,” Kohli told the press.
“We just didn’t play good cricket.
“You can ask me any sort of question or any perception about the loss. We know exactly what happened, the mistakes that we made.
“External perceptions don’t matter to us, they have never mattered to us.
“We played good cricket, that’s why we won. We played bad cricket, and that’s why we lost.
“That’s how simply we look at this defeat.
“We just want to take the learnings forward, improve and come back stronger in the next game.
“I can assure you that we are going to come back with more intent for sure, and put Australia under pressure straight from ball one.”
India vs. Australia match tips
Match drawn – +250 at William Hill
Virat Kohli man of the match – +500 at Ladbrokes
Smith top batsman/Starc top bowler – +1000 at Sportsbet
Expect a more traditional Indian wicket in Bangalore.
It will still be flat, and it will still turn, but it should give the batsmen something to work with.
Last time they played here, in 2010, Australia made 478 batting first and lost by seven wickets.
It is that sort of ground where games tend to fast forward in the last two days.
Picking the result depends on how big you think the first-innings totals will be.
Whoever hits the crease first will be looking at 500 or more, so backing the draw is not the worst play here.
Steve O’Keefe betting specials
The more turn there is, the more dangerous bowlers of SOK’s nature become.
He proved that and then some with his 12-wicket haul in Pune.
There will be less turn in Bangalore, although not so little that the spinners won’t be the main threat.
Lyon might take over the leading role, but O’Keefe already has a huge lead in the race for top series wicket-taker.
William Hill has a number of future bets and match specials for the diminutive New South Welshman:
- -125 to take more wickets than Lyon in the second Test (first innings)
- +150 for top series wicket-taker
- +300 to take 30 wickets or more in the series
- +400 to claim a five-wicket haul in the second Test (either innings)
- +2000 to take 10 wickets in the second Test
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