Sydney: The second day of all the four Tests played in Australia this season have been nightmarish for India. It has been a case of waiting for declaration in three out of four Tests.
Steven Smith. Pic/AFP
Steven Smith, the lynchpin of the Australian batting, has remained unbeaten thrice overnight. On every occasion, India have failed to adopt a new plan, apart from an outrageous strategy of trying to get him out at leg slip.
One of the shots Smith is least comfortable with is the cover drive to a ball pitched up. The plan should have been to bowl on the seventh stump line, set a pre-dominantly off-side field including a third man and a ring of inner fieldsman.
In the Test series so far, Smith has hit 75 boundaries out of which only eight have been through the covers off the front foot. India should have tested his front foot play a lot more in the series, but only bowled a fuller length which was wider than the seventh stump line.
A chance to experiment
With Australia in a commanding position, it was a chance to experiment for India. Not once throughout the series have India tried to be slightly negative in their bowling plans.
Yesterday, the ball from Umesh Yadav that dismissed Smith might have not been menacing, but it was the line and length to bore Smith out worked. Smith termed it as a "half volley that should have been put away" but it is the least productive of his strokes.
Even after the Brisbane Test, India's bowling coach Bharat Arun was overheard mentioning that Smith rarely scores through mid-off. He was correct, but his bowlers were not able to execute plans.
Sometimes, it is the most tedious and defensive line that can dismiss the batsman. Perhaps, the Indian bowlers knew of the deficiency, but seems like they were not good enough to execute plans.