India captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri seem to be concerned about something at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata yesterday. Pic/PTI
Sunday's opener in Chennai, rain-reduced to the scramble and gamble of a T20-like chase for the Aussies, will have provided the adversaries a long-enough look at each other.
The visitors slipped to a 0-1 deficit in the five-match ODI series, but they will have seen India's soft spots as well as their own failings in the field.
Dropped catches, missed run outs, resting on oars and a panicky chase had undone Australia's stinging start and the visitors will want to believe these are areas that can be addressed and rectified quickly. Ironically, it's India who have to grapple with a problem that doesn't have a quick fix. Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile showed on Sunday that searing pace and movement can still unhinge India's much-vaunted batting line-up, and to mend that would require the sort of technique and quick-footedness that cannot be summoned in a session or two at the nets. The Indians will be hoping guts and gumption prove good enough substitutes for the moment.
Marcus Stoinis showed they could also be drawn into poor shot selection with a surprise bouncer or two.
On a firm Eden pitch that has a green tinge, Aussie pacers versus India's top order may again be a key battle as the fierce rivalry finds expression during the second ODI today. Rain denied both teams practice for the second day in succession, with some making use of the indoor facilities. It'll be a shame if another promising contest is reduced or ruined. India's faulty start in Chennai provided another peep into their depth in batting as well as a resilience that is beginning to define the current crop. It's just as well that MS Dhoni continues to redefine and reinvent himself.
If Hardik Pandya spelt the new spunk during the resurgence in Chennai, two young wrist spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have begun writing a new script as well.
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