By John Cheeran
What separates India from Australia in Adelaide is not a mere 15 runs but a world of difference in attitude towards life and cricket. Australians play their cricket hard, are part of the first world. Indians have made steady strides towards economic progress in the last 20 years, their cricket has undergone a rapid transformation, being the innovative bone of global cricket in recent times. Indian cricket, even though many would be reluctant to admit it, has taken many leaves from the Australian book, be it in attitude or technique.
With three days gone in the first Test of the Domain series, India definitely has the edge against the Aussies. A restrained and pragmatic approach in the second innings has taken the visitors to the shore of stability at 151/3 with the first innings centurion Cheteswar Pujara remaining notout on, having survived two out decisions, by confidently resorting to the DRS. Those lives were more than deserved for the Gandhian gatherer of meek but meaningful runs.
A great ally in Virat Kohli’s pursuit for victory here is time. Despite the rain in the morning session, Indians do not have to hurry to score runs. It would come, although Nathan Lyon and Hazlewood are trying all they could do. There are still enough opportunities for spinners on this wicket as shown by Lyon in his 22 overs, and that would cheer up his Indian counterpart R Ashwin. Australia’s significant success on Saturday was seeing the back of Kohli. As the situation warranted, the king played a commoner’s knock, acknowledging the trying situation for batsmen in general. But another 100 runs to the Indian second innings would tilt the game decisively in the visitors’ favour. Looking for close to 280 runs on the final day, if the match goes that far, for a victory would not be easy for any side, leave alone this fragile Australian batting lineup.
Kohli and India have bounced back into the Test not by magic but falling back on mundane aspects of the game—disciplined and determined bowling, backed up by occupation of crease in trying times. The scoreboard, then, move along.