Here’s your first serious test Pat

Since replacing Tim Paine as captain, fast bowler Pat Cummins has had a near-flawless spell as captain of Australia. A series win against England, Pakistan and South Africa have been secured during his captaincy, but now is Cummins’ first stiff test.

The number one ranked in the World Test Championship Australia visit number two-ranked India, in what’s a potential dress rehearsal for the final in the summer, which is to be held at The Oval.

Coming into this four-test series, tourists, Australia, just need to make sure they don’t get beat. If hosts India wins the series, they will be the world number one, in all three formats.

On paper, this is no easy task for Rohit Sharma’s men, but the first test would play out nearly perfectly for India’s veteran skipper. In their first innings, Australia would crumble to 177 all out.

Despite Marnus Labuschagne (49), with Steve Smith, Alex Carey and Peter Handscombe all scoring thirties, Australia made a below-par first-innings total.

A huge challenge awaited Aussie skipper Cummins, who’s largely risen to all challenges as the leader of The Baggy Green outfit. Usually, an inspired bowling spell by one of the Australian front-line bowlers would follow.

Debutant Todd Murphy did his best with 7-124, but the visiting attack was put to the sword. Skipper Sharma (120), and all-rounder Ravinder Jadeja (70), who also took a five-wicket haul in the Australia innings would be the men to make telling contributions.

We can’t forget Axar Patel’s 84, who brilliantly accompanied Jadeja to help this test swing in favour of the home side. Having conceded a 223-run first-innings lead, Australia were in unchartered territory of battling to save a test, which is something they failed to do.

The first innings tormentor was slow-left armer Jadeja, in the second innings, Ravi Ashwin picked up the mantle, taking a brilliant 5-37. To sum up Australia’s second innings struggles, vice-captain Steve Smith’s 25, was the top score for tourists.

Having lost in the first test, this will be a real challenge for Australia to bounce back. Playing on a batting surface in Pakistan and drawing against a Sri Lanka team in transition, might have given Pat Cummins’ Australia a false sense of security.

After this capitulation, Australia would have realised they were going to be in a right battle if they are to win the Border Gavaskar Trophy. The second test starts on 17th February at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi.

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