That would be shallow and foolish thinking on their part, but it appears their most likely course of action.
- At 6/221 late on the second day, India should not have had a lead on the first innings. And yet, Jadeja’s slashing all series finally paid off for India, with his 63 getting India to 332 and an invaluable lead. Saha’s support again was dogged, but Australia’s inability in the first session to get those final four wickets cheaply was troubling. Still, it should have showed that the pitch was fine for batting on, right?
- Right. And wrong. Because Yadav and Kumar came charging in from the outset, and using a surface that finally gave them something to use, they gave it to the Australian top order. They were aggressive and accurate, never letting up on the batsmen, who in their own ways caved for a final time on this tour. The Indians knew that if the top order crumbled, there was little resistance left down the bottom, and they did their job superbly.
- Dave Warner failed for the final time, and will be happy if he never sees the sub-continent ever again. Matt Renshaw completed a forgettable Test, with no runs and several dropped chances. Given his efforts previous to this his can be forgiven. Peter Handscomb fell again when set, though it was to a peach of a delivery. Though he has made only one score of note on tour he will have learned a lot and will surely only get better as a result.
- Shaun Marsh played two dogged innings in eight in this series, which tends to be about his strike rate when it comes to Test cricket. Despite his efforts in saving the 3rd Test, there appears little doubt that he will complete his final Test match when today’s proceedings. I have thought that in the past however. But Australia needs Usman Khawaja in that top six, and he has to come back in somewhere. Glenn Maxwell found yet another way to be dismissed, triggered LBW not offering a shot, or at least only a half-hearted one. It was a disappointment, as once again he looked at ease at the crease. It will be interesting to see what the selectors think of his two Test matches, and whether he will be persisted with into an Ashes series in November.
- Steve Smith’s shot to be dismissed was the real killer blow, the one moment that probably cost Australia any chance of winning this series. It is an unfair comment to lay at his feet given his amazing series with the bat, but both of his dismissals in this Test have lifted India and cost Australia. This fact alone emphasises how important he is to the Australian batting, and how average most of the rest of the order has been in his wake.
- India was vociferous in the field, with a level of sledging that usually brings calls for retribution when Australia has been behind it. While the umpires intervened when necessary, it was an ugly look on TV, one that none of the commentators cared to discuss too much. This is not to say Australians were not involved, and have not been involved. One wonders how much further this will go before something NEEDS to be done to curb it. As always, winners will be grinners and losers will have to accept it.