Virat Kohli’s Team India had won six Test series on a trot; teams touring India and being beaten by the Indian spin duo, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, had become a ritual. While everything appeared in place in the top-ranked Test side, the Australians were India’s next opponents who flew down for a four-Test Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Similar to South Africa, New Zealand, England and Bangladesh, Steven Smith and Co were expected to go down against a fiend Indian spin attack.
However, little did Team India know they were about to be outplayed at their own backyard by an inexperienced Australian side; the team that is on a nine-match losing streak on Asian conditions. In the first Test in Pune, a four-Test Steven O’Keefe made top-class Indian batsmen dance to his tunes. He picked up 12 wickets in his maiden Test in India, while he had received support from spin partner Nathan Lyon and fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
Forgetting the nightmare in Pune where the World No. 1 side was bowled out for 105 and 107 in the two innings, respectively, Kohli’s boys began afresh in the second game on Saturday. Bengaluru is India’s one of the favourite tracks, considering its a batting pitch, India aimed to regain their lost confidence. Alas, there was not much difference in the outcome. The Australian spinners have continued to outplay the hosts in every manner.
The Indian batsmen have been getting dismissed to spinners the way you had imagined Australians would. Barring KL Rahul, no other batsman managed to stick around on Day 1 of the second Test. This time around, they witnessed the best out of Australia’s best-ever off-spinner, Nathan Lyon. His 8 for 50 in the first innings testified why he is called GOAT – Greatest of All Time, endearingly by his teammates.
Lyon, who played the second fiddle to O’Keefe in the opening Test, proved today, why he is the best off-spinner Australia ever produced. He picked up eight wickets, becoming the best visiting bowler in India.
|Nathan Lyon||Australia||8 for 50|
|Lance Klusener||South Africa||8 for 64|
|Sikander Bakht||Pakistan||8 for 69|
|Jason Krejza||Australia||8 for 215|
Thanks to the stump mics, Matthew Wade’s “Niceee Gary” is heard all the time and today it was just apt. Brett Lee was in the commentary box as he watched himself becoming the second best against India. Lyon surpassed Lee to become Australia’s bowler with the most number of wickets against India in Tests.
After Starc removed Abhinav Mukund for a duck in the third over, Lyon took charge from there. Lyon produced one of his most disciplined bowling as he maintained perfect line and lengths and that transferred the pressure immediately on Indian batsman.
Most importantly, the spinner managed to turn the ball on regularly. India lost Pujara just before lunch, bringing Kohli at the crease. Because on a few occasions Lyon brought some bounce as well, that somehow ensured Indian skipper that his stumps were safe. Lyon forced another misjudgement from Kohli, who left the ball thinking it was going above the stumps; however it wasn’t. It hit his pad in front of middle stump before umpire Nigel Llong without any hesitation put his finger up.
From there begun India’s collapse. The celebration from Lyon and David Warner said it all; Kohli’s yet another early wicket meant a big deal for the visitors. High on confidence, Lyon went on to trouble the Indians. The likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair gave away wickets losing patience to play spin. Rahane danced down the pitch to play Lyon’s straighter ball but missed it and Matthew Wade behind the wickets did the rest of the job. Nair repeated the mistake against O’Keefe, to hand the momentum to Australia.
The first Test showed that India’s lower order has not been as impressive as Australia’s during crunch situations. After the top-order was rattled, Lyon’s rhythm was too much for Ashwin, Saha, Jadeja and Ishant down the order. Within 72 overs, India was bundled out for 189 and Lyon touched another landmark and he became the only fourth visiting bowler to take an eight-wicket haul in India.