It is an old adage that there is no point crying over spilt milk. However, if India want to genuinely analyse their performance in the four Tests Down Under, they would realise that they could have won at least two of the four Tests. In fact, on numerous occasions in the series, they found themselves in positions from where they could have dominated the Australians. But, they failed to do so, primarily because, one they did not believe in themselves, and two, they did not display the aptitude to fight it out for longer periods, as desired in a five-day game.
There is no denying the fact that India's lacklustre bowling had a major impact on India's poor showing in Australia. They just never put the hosts under any kind of pressure. But, it is equally true that their batting, while good overall, could have done much better. In fact, if you compare the batting performance of the two sides, Australia still piped India by a reasonable margin. While the Aussies were successful in crossing the 500 mark in all the four Tests, India were satisfied with 300 plus and 400 plus scores, never once reaching the magical figure of 500.
If you look back at the Adelaide Test, although they were playing catch up for most part, on the final day of the Test, they had their noses well in front. In fact, they were in such a comfortable position during the partnership between Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli, India were undoubted favourites to win. All they needed to do was bat sensibly and the target would have been achieved. Instead, there was a Pakistan-West Indies-type batting collapse, and India crumbled to defeat. Yes, it was a fifth day pitch, responsive for the bowlers. But, then what did the Indians expect from a fifth day surface? Clearly, there was panic, when none should have existed.
Another opportunity presented itself at Brisbane, when Australia's batting faltered for the first time in the series. The Indians had Mitchell Johnson into bat, much earlier than expected. Although Steven Smith was handling one end, India should have been confident of claiming wickets from the other end. Instead, the fielders sledged Johnson, and the bowlers allowed him the luxury of big hits. Johnson completely turned the game around in a small matter of an hour. What was a dominant position for India had suddenly become an hugely embarrassing one as the bowlers had nowhere to hide in the wake of the Johnson-pasting.
While the bowlers were primarily responsible for India's defeat, the batsmen could also do with some soul-searching. If you look back at the series, only Vijay, Kohli and Rahane held the batting together for the Indians. Speaking of Kohli and Rahane, they featured in a sensational partnership at Melbourne. But, again, they allowed Australia to recover after having the bowlers at their mercy. India were in a position to bat the Aussies out of the game. In the end though, they were themselves left gasping for breath. That, in a nutshell, was pretty much the story of the series for India.
--By A Cricket Analyst