Australia vs India 2018-19, first Test, day 2: India favourites to win the Adelaide Test
Australia ended the second day of the first Test against India at Adelaide on 191 for the loss of seven wickets. They are 59 runs behind India’s first innings total with three wickets in hand, including that of their top scorer, Travis Head.
On the face of it, the match seems to be evenly poised. But a closer look will suggest that it’s India who is the favourite to win this Test, at this point. This is for the following reasons.
First and the most obvious reason is that Australia is going to bat last on this pitch, which is getting more and more difficult to bat on, with each passing hour. Even a target in the vicinity of 250 will be very difficult to chase.
Secondly, the Indian bowlers, probably barring the exception of Mohammed Shami, have been spot on with their line and length. Both Bumrah and Ishant have not only stifled the runs but have kept the batsmen uncertain through their judicious use of short balls.
Ashwin has been a revelation on a second day pitch which is showing some signs of turn. And he is sure to be Kohli’s trump card, come the fourth innings.
One of the criticisms of Indian bowling in recent times, especially overseas, has been that they have failed to clean up the tail quickly. This was especially the case in the England series. But such an argument discounts the fact that these days most Test teams bat deep.
As for England, their ‘tail’ wagged because it consisted of players like Sam Curran, Rashid and Broad who are no slouches with the bat, from numbers 8 to 10. Curran is a genuine all-rounder, and his number 8 Australian counterpart Cummins cannot be compared to him.
Moreover, it is easier for the batsmen, especially the lower order to help set a target, than to chase one. By winning the toss and electing to bat, something he could not do even once out of five attempts in England, Virat Kohli has ensured that being slightly ahead after the end of the first innings of both the teams, is in all likelihood, going to prove to be a major advantage for the team NOT batting last in this match.
Even if Australia manages to eke out a slight lead, which seems unlikely at this point, India will still be the favourite to win the first Test and go 1-0 up in the four-match series.