Test 2 - India loss: The 5 costly mistakes

Test 2 - India loss: The 5 costly mistakes

India's captian Virat Kohli (C) shakes hands with Australian players at the end of second Test cricket match between Australia and India in Perth on December 18, 2018. (Photo AFP)

After a historic win in Adelaide, India came to Perth as favourites to take a 2-0 lead but the World No. 1 side was made to eat humble pie by an Australian side whose bowling was excellent, but batting lacked depth.

While their bowlers did live up to expectations, the batting unit showed great fighting spirit to collectively outbat an admittedly superior Indian batting. Strategy-wise also, India committed a few mistakes that led to their 146-run loss in the second Test here at the Optus Stadium on Tuesday. DH looks at things that went wrong for India.

Going with the wrong combination

India’s eyes were lit up by the thick green cover on the pitch at the new stadium and decided to go in with a four-pronged pace attack which thinned their batting resources. India was wrong on two counts here. If they thought the pitch was so spicy, three pacers should have been enough. A spinner like Ravindra Jadeja not only would have helped rotate the pacemen but also could have provided some meat to their batting line-up. While Australia’s doughty tail contributed 71 runs with both innings combined, India’s tail managed a combined nine runs. And if they wanted four pacers, why not Bhuvneshwar Kumar who could have added some sting in the tail?

Reading the pitch wrong

Their assessment of the pitch too was wrong as they thought there won’t be any role for a specialist spinner. While there wasn’t much turn, the bounce did trouble the batsmen as Nathan Lyon showed by returning figures of 5/57 and 3/39.

Opening blues

On any surface, opening partnerships are crucial and particularly so on a pitch like Perth. You don’t want your No 3-4 facing the new ball and fresh bowlers. K L Rahul and M Vijay managed stands of six and zero which exposed the middle-order early in the innings. On the contrary, Australia had 112 and 59 runs partnership that helped the inexperienced batting order to cash on it.

Pacers off the target

Indian pacers have been impressive so far but in the first hours of first two days they bowled the wrong lengths and lines to let the Aussies get off the hook. On the opening morning, they appeared to have got carried away with the amount of grass on the pitch and bowled too short and wide to make life easy for home openers. By the time they began to hit the full length and straighter lines, Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris had betted themselves in. On the second morning, too, they committed the same mistake with Tim Paine and Pat Cummins at the crease and allowed the total to swell.

Virat Kohli’s dismissal

Virat Kohli was threatening to take the game away from Australia with a magnificent century and his controversial dismissal – off a debatable catch from Peter Handscomb at second slip – led to their quick demise and they ended up conceding 43-run lead. On a pitch like this that was a handy lead to concede.