The Ranchi test was a perfect advertisement for Test Cricket. Australia had come into the Test flabbergasted with India’s comeback in Bangalore and desperately needed something to go their way early on in Ranchi. And it did. Steve Smith won the toss on a pitch that resembled a dust bowl and in the mind everyone knew that India would have to play catch up cricket all along.
Australia posted a healthy first innings score but a Pujara(and Saha) special ensured that all of Australia’s advantage had vanished and it was India that had assumed the role of the task master.
2 wickets for India at the end of day 4 meant that Australia were tottering at 23-2 and needed a herculean effort to bail them out of the mess. Steve Smith was touted to be the messiah for the Australian’s but when Batman failed, Robin(two Robins actually) stepped up.
Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh drafted out a dogged partnership to keep the Indian bowlers at bay and frustrated India, who would have imagined that the Test match was all but in the bag.
Virat Kohli feels that Ashwin and Jaddu could have been far more effective but for the softness of the ball. He felt that it could have been a completely different story had the ball retained its hardness.
“I think the hardness of the ball was a big factor,” said Virat Kohli in the post match press conference.
“When the ball was new last night, it spun well off the rough. Even this morning, it was spinning well. But in the middle session, the ball was not hard, so could not generate that kind of pace from the wicket.”
Jadeja picking up Shaun Marsh as soon as the new ball was taken is testament to that.
“On day five, wicket slows down anyway. We took the new ball and got a couple of wickets. But the hardness of the ball in the middle session was a factor,”
Steve Smith felt that both teams used the same ball and it had more to do with how the Indians were bowling rather than the quality of the ball.
The Indian side must be rueing the fact that they didn’t go 2-1 up in the series but now all the focus shifts to the all important Dharamshala game, where both teams would want to gain some early momentum and cash in on the series.