Team India got their Border-Gavaskar Trophy campaign off to a great start on Day 1 of the first Test against Australia in Nagpur.
After the visitors won the toss and elected to bat, Ravindra Jadeja led the way with five wickets as India bowled out the opposition for just 177. Rohit Sharma then essayed a calm fifty as his side erased 77 runs from the deficit by Stumps.
India had an excellent day to start the series, one that would’ve given them great confidence. But it wasn’t a spotless one, and there are a few small issues for them to make a note of and iron out in the upcoming days.
Here are three areas of improvement for India after Day 1 of the first Test against Australia.
#3 Mohammed Siraj lacked control in his second spell
Mohammed Siraj’s potent new-ball spell set the tone for Team India on Day 1 of the first Test. He trapped Usman Khawaja in front with his first ball of the day and challenged both Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne throughout the first session.
The fast bowler’s second spell, however, wasn’t as accurate. Bowling in the post-Lunch session, Siraj was hit for four boundaries by the counter-attacking Alex Carey. The Aussie keeper-batter picked off the four fours through vacant spaces on the off-side, and the pacer was taken out of the attack after just two overs.
The composition of India’s playing XI demands control from their fast bowlers. Siraj needs to hold up one end without giving away too many runs and allow the spinners to make the most of the consequent pressure created.
#2 Virat Kohli’s slip catching drew the ire of the experts
Virat Kohli has never been a safe slip fielder, and the same problem came to light on Day 1 in Nagpur.
The former Indian skipper first grassed a chance offered by Steve Smith off Axar Patel as he went with one hand and appeared to be taken by surprise. Later, a deflection off KS Bharat’s thigh presented him with a tougher opportunity, but the manner in which the ball flew past the labored Kohli was concerning.
Experts on air, including the legendary slip fielder Mark Waugh, were quick to point out the flaws in Kohli’s technique. He later held on to an easy chance but it’s clear that India need safer hands in catching positions, especially against the spinners.
#1 KL Rahul played a reckless shot to get out
KL Rahul endured a miserable calendar year in Test cricket in 2022, and his start to the Border-Gavaskar Trophy wasn’t particularly convincing. He tried to play out the new ball and was successful in doing so, largely because Rohit Sharma kept finding boundaries at the other end.
But Rahul, as he has done so often in the recent past, just switched off. He spooned a simple return catch to the accurate Todd Murphy off an innocuous full delivery, and the off-spinner gleefully accepted the offering. The Indian opener walked back for 20, with Rohit appearing to be livid at the other end.
Rahul’s place in the Test side is under serious question despite him being the vice-captain. He needs to get his act together in the second innings.
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