Brisbane: At the end of the Adelaide Test, India's stand-in skipper Virat Kohli stated, "They (Australia) never let the tail bat, so you never know how they batted. You can’t analyse or comment on something."
Three days into the second Test, Kohli and his teammates were made aware of the potency of the Australian tail as the last five wickets added 273 runs. On the other hand, the last five Indian wickets have made a total of 202 runs in three completed India innings.
What made it even more frustrating was the fact that India’s pacers bowled with great discipline and skill to restrict Australia to 36-2 in the first 10 overs on Day Three. It was a replica of Australia’s bowling performance on Day Two and India were raking in rewards before getting carried away with the bouncer.
The short ball had led to the dismissal of Brad Haddin, but the effort the Indian bowlers put in certainly deflated them. Varun Aaron, the man who executed the short ball plan, was jaded and was replaced by Ishant Sharma. The tall, lanky bowler had just finished a four-over spell and had only received a breather for four overs in the scorching Brisbane heat. Ishant looked worn out. His bouncers lacked penetration and were only marginally over 130 kmph.
Johnson bludgeoned 14 from Ishant’s docile first over. In the meantime, from the other side, Johnson was beaten twice by Umesh Yadav with full deliveries. There was a clear message — pitch it up and look to kiss the edge.
Instead, Ishant went for the throat again and Johnson obliged by pulling and cutting him to the fence. Ishant’s two overs had cost 25 runs and Australia gained the initiative.
Opportunity slips away
India had let an opportunity slip. The visitors had overdone the short-ball theory. When the time seemed right to bowl Ravichandran Ashwin, India captain MS Dhoni reverted to a bodyline tactic which fell right into Australia's hands.
Right throughout the first three sessions with the ball, the Indian bowlers had been content being driven instead of being pulled or cut.
For half an hour on the third morning, all of a sudden, the primary plan of bowling full became the secondary plan. One thing for sure, India has now seen the Australian tail bat.