For the second game in a row, India’s bowling failed to take 20 wickets in a Test, a prerequisite most times to win a five-day game, unless of course the side has exceptional batsmen in their midst. This hasn’t been the case with India, which is why they have struggled to stay on par with Aussies even though they have been much more competitive that they were during the forgettable tour three years back. Unless and until the bowlers show some exceptional improvement, and figure out a way to bowl Australia out twice, a 4-0 whitewash seems on the cards again.
India have so far tried two different combinations at Adelaide and Brisbane, and both have failed, rather miserably at that. In the first Test, India’s bowlers only managed 12 wickets across the two innings. Mohammed Shami and Varun Aaron only managed three wickets while giving away plenty of runs as well. India’s lead bowler only finished up with a solitary scalp even though he displayed better control in comparison to the other two pacers. Leg spinner Karn Sharma, who debuted at Adelaide claimed four wickets, but was expensive and never showed any sort of consistency.
In spite of his poor showing, India retained Aaron for the second Test at the Gabba, and he only got worse. He picked up two wickets, but went at a rate of 5.57 runs, and this after bowling a good 26 overs. In the second innings, he fared even worse, conceding 7.35 runs per over in 5.1 overs. Umesh Yadav, who replaced Shami had better figures. But, even he conceded over 100 runs for his three wickets in the first innings. And his two in the second were achieved at a poor economy rate of over five.
India’s lead bowler Ishant also continued to disappoint at Brisbane. He claimed three wickets for 117 runs at an economy of 5 bowling the first time. He claimed three for 28 in the second innings, bowling exceedingly well, but by that time the game was well and truly out of India’s grasp. Ravichandran Ashwin, who was recalled for this Test in place for Karn, only fared better than the leggie in the economy aspect. He claimed two wickets for 128 runs while conceding 3.80 runs per over. He also batted better than Karn at Adelaide, but that was quite expected.
The above figures are clear indicators of how India’s bowlers have failed to deliver across the two Tests in Australia. And, this is one of the key reasons why India have failed to win either of the matches so far in spite of managing to cross 400 in two out of four innings. The fact that the tail isn’t contributing with the bat as well has meant that India’s have pretty much been losing their last five wickets for close to nothing. While it is equally true that India’s batsmen need to pull up their socks, the lack of bowling skills is a bigger worry for the struggling visitors.
--By A Cricket Analyst