Watch the Boxing Day Test between Australia and India LIVE on Fox Cricket, coverage starts Saturday at 9:30am AEDT!
Seven days of Test cricket have been played between Australia and India this summer and we’ve taken the honours in exactly one of them.
Don’t be fooled by the 1-1 series scoreline, Australia has been dominated for most of the first two Tests.
It continues the one-sided nature of this match-up that started two years ago when India broke through for a historic series win on Aussie soil. That 2-1 result was similarly misleading given India had an iron-grip on the SCG Test when it was washed out.
FOLLOW ON PODCAST
Shane Warne, Robert Craddock AND Tom Morris dissect India’s MCG win.
TO LISTEN, TAP HERE OR SUBSCRIBE IN ITUNES OR SPOTIFY
It’s remarkable to say after Tim Paine’s men looked capable of becoming one of the few teams to reel off a double figure winning streak after winning the first Test in Adelaide, but it might be time to admit India is just better than us.
The statistics are undeniable. Ricky Ponting was scathing about how poor our batting has been and this list, which features just one Australian in Marcus Harris, is all you need to know about how lopsided the run-scoring has been.
Highest scores in the last 2 AUS v IND Test series (6 Tests)
193 – Pujara
159* – Pant
123 – Kohli
123 – Pujara
112 – Rahane
106 – Pujara
82 – Kohli
81 – Jadeja
79 – Harris
77 – Agarwal
76 – Agarwal
74 – Kohli
@cricketcomau @BCCI #AUSvIND
— Swamp (@sirswampthing) December 29, 2020
But we’ve also been too slow to give full credit to India’s bowling.
Australia’s sub-200 scores in the first innings of both Tests this summer are as bad as anything we’ve seen since the West Indies toured in the 1980s, but few would be willing to mention India’s attack in the same breath as those fearsome fast bowling units.
Maybe they’re not as far off as we think.
Jasprit Bumrah is as effective as any fast bowler in the past 50 years. His average (20.68) is the best of anyone who has taken at least 75 wickets since 1970 and he’s going at basically the same clip in Australia (28 wickets at 20.75).
Ravi Ashwin’s overall record is just as good. Nathan Lyon might be called the GOAT but Ashwin was correctly picked ahead of him in the ICC’s Test team of the decade.
Any quibbling over where his wickets have been taken is a tired argument, particularly when he’s dominating the best batsman in the world to the point Steve Smith was forced to admit: “I’ve let him dictate terms and that’s something I’ve never let any spinner do in my career.”
Ravi Ashwin has owned Steve Smith. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)Source: Getty ImagesJasprit Bumrah has owned everyone. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
That’s two historically good spearheads and the supporting cast has been superb too. Ravi Jadeja has killed Australia whenever he’s played (59 wickets at 19 in 11 matches), Umesh Yadav looked sharp before he was injured and Mohammed Siraj was spectacular on debut.
For all the frothing over Australia’s bowling outfit – and rightfully so – India has been just as good and that’s more than enough to win given the difference in the batting.
The scariest part is what the visitors had to overcome entering this series.
The unprecedented nature of playing in 2020 is impacting both teams but India has a player who missed the birth of his first child and another whose father died while he’s been away.
That Siraj has played the way he has in this match while still grieving for his father is really something. No matter who you support, you have to feel happy for him and his family, who must be so proud. Kudos to the team and management for supporting him through it. #AUSvIND
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) December 29, 2020
Their depth has been tested too after veteran opener Rohit Sharma and quick Ishant Sharma were ruled out of the first two Tests, Mohammed Shami had his arm broken in Adelaide and Virat Kohli returned home after that shattering defeat.
All it’s done is showcase how deep their talent runs – a terrifying prospect for world cricket moving forward.
Any mental edge Australia used to hold at home is gone too – as veteran cricket scribe Robert Craddock noted.
“Australia is in desperate need of batting reinforcements but something even more important has vanished from their armoury … the fear factor. Australia just doesn’t scare India any more,” he wrote.
“There is a serenity about them that is even more intimidating than Virat Kohli’s swagger. It’s like being in a staring competition with Clint Eastwood. India’s poker face is unnerving.”
To all those so called cricket experts and former Australian cricketers who said that it’s going to be a 4 0 white wash after India lost the first test and Kohli need to realize that this is a new India to the one they played – one where talent is everywhere – eat your words!
— Parth Jindal (@ParthJindal11) December 29, 2020
By no means are we suggesting the Aussies should lay down.
India’s horrible record in Sydney and Brisbane will give coach Justin Langer hope and the potential return of David Warner – even if he’s been dominated by Ashwin in the same way every left-hander on the planet has – will create optimism.
But unless there’s a dramatic change in a form line that now stretches back almost a dozen Test matches between these two teams we might be ending the summer by shaking hands and saying “too good”.
Ajinkya Rahane and Tim Paine shake hands after the Second Test. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images