Boxing Day Test: Melbourne win puts spotlight on Indian bowlers rather than batsmen

Dec 31, 2018, 07:38 IST | Gaurav Joshi

Three Tests, two victories and 20 wickets on different decks... this is truly an Indian bowling attack that has lived up to expectations

Boxing Day Test: Melbourne win puts spotlight on Indian bowlers rather than batsmen
India pacer Mohammed Shami walks back after the win over Australia on Day Five of the third Test at Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP

As the Indian team started their celebrations on the ground, the three fast bowlers Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah grabbed a stump each and posed for a photograph alongside bowling coach, Bharat Arun.

It is the year of the Indian fast bowlers. In the rich history of Indian cricket, all the focus has constantly been on the batsmen, but times have changed. Between them they have taken 49 of the 60 Australian wickets this series. Since the start of 2018, there have been only two instances on overseas tours that the bowlers have not taken 20 wickets. It is a remarkable feat. It is what makes India the No. 1 team in the world.

Three Tests, two victories and 20 wickets on different decks... this is truly an attack that has lived up to expectations. The pitches in South Africa had enough juice, the Dukes ball along with the overhead conditions aided the bowlers in England, but it was the barren wickets of Australia with minimal lateral moment that was going to be the toughest challenge for the three-man attack.

Incredibly, out of the 49 wickets the Indian fast bowlers have taken in the series, 35 have been taken after the first or the second new ball has been 20 overs old. This has been an area that they had struggled in past tours.

Yes, the pitches have been more receptive, but the three quicks have had to constantly adjust their lengths as per the surface. Adelaide got slower as the match progressed, Perth quickened up and the lack of pace in Melbourne prompted them to shift their lines to be at the stumps. So what has made India so successful with the old ball? Firstly, it is the relentless pressure applied by all the bowlers. A large part of that has been brought about due to the physical conditioning that has enabled the bowlers to concentrate for a longer period of time.

Bowling coach, the conditioning coach and physio deserve plenty of praise for ensuring the bowlers are at the prime of their fitness. Such is the strength of the fast bowling pack that Virat Kohli and his fellow batsmen know that any score in excess of 300 will always be competitive.

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Melbourne was a great example that if batsmen can take a few blows and bat patiently to accumulate enough runs, the pace bowling unit has the capability to blow apart any team. It is what makes team India the No. 1 side in the world.

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