Melbourne: A few days ago it seemed India would potentially return from Down Under without registering a win against the mighty Aussies. But with the induction of youth and two wins under their belt (one ODI and a T20I) India suddenly appear to be a well balanced outfit.
India opener Shikhar Dhawan during the practice session in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP
Ashish Nehra’s experienced head combined with Jasprit Bumrah’s ability to bowl yorkers at the death and Hardik Pandya’s enthusiasm are providing a refreshing feel to Team India.
Bumrah’s unusual action
Australian captain Aaron Finch admitted after the first T20I that Bumrah’s unusual action had caught Australian batsmen off guard. "His action is unique and he skids the ball through. When the ball is back of a length, you tend to go on the back foot, but because he skids it, you need to be on the front foot. It is something we need to be aware of," said Finch.
It’s been a while since an Indian bowler has made the Australian batsmen think about their own game. This is further indication that even in the shortest format, bowlers need to play a key role.
Going into the second T20 in Melbourne today, there will be few adjustments the bowlers will need to make considering the dimensions of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). While the Adelaide Oval has long straight boundaries, the ones at the MCG are relatively short, so if yorkers become full tosses, they could prove costly. While the pitch is supposed to be a belter, India offie Ravichandran Ashwin felt there would be some assistance for spinners.
"I always thought you get some help from the pitch at the MCG. Whenever I have played here in the past, at the World Cup last year or before that, the ball did turn a little," he said.
Good for spinners?
India will be encouraged by the fact the even the slightest amount of turn was enough to restrict the inexperienced Australian middle-order in the opening T20I, but with Glenn Maxwell likely to return in place of Travis Head, the visiting spinners might not find it easy to lock down the hosts. Maxwell’s inclusion will be crucial given that Australia are likely to rest Steve Smith and David Warner ahead of the upcoming New Zealand series.
On the eve of the match yesterday, Ajinkya Rahane was restricted to just throw downs, meaning India are unlikely to change their winning combination. With Virat Kohli in scintillating form, the likes of Pandya and Yuvraj Singh could continue to have only a few balls to face. Yuvraj and Pandya’s hitting prowess, along with Mahendra Singh Dhoni makes India seem intimidating. And playing against a depleted Australian team with the luxury of being one-nil up in the series, the second T20 is an ideal opportunity for India to wrap up the series.