India lost 10 wickets for just 216 runs after openers had stitched a partnership of 289 runs. After Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed in the second over of the day, India let themselves stumble to 499, still a competitive total, but given India’s start, at least 500 was expected.
Almost in every innings, Indians have stitched together gargantuan, match-changing partnerships. In Chennai, it came late down the order with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar accumulating 140 for the ninth wicket. It was possibly the difference between a challenging 450 and a formidable that India eventually managed.
Even more glaringly in Hyderabad, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara added 370 for the second-wicket. Remove the partnership, and the rest made only 133 in India’s first innings total of 503. From the Australian perspective, this is nothing less than annoying. “We have let ourselves down by letting partnerships get too big on us. If you take that out of the equation, our bowling unit has been strong. We have built pressure from both ends, whether it was the spinners getting the wickets or if it was quicks at the other end. As an all-round unit we haven’t executed as well we would have liked,” reflected Peter Siddle.
Often, the introduction of spinners had unhinged the pressure. “Obviously we have had to pay for that it is hard to say. You can say that and you can also say that the Indian batsmen have played them well. (MS) Dhoni in the first match was outstanding. Two boys (Dhawan and Vijay) had big partnerships. It has been a case of one big partnership denying us. You take that partnership away and there is little difference between us,” he said. But the reality is one can’t take those partnerships away, more so as Australian batsmen have managed just three hundred-plus partnerships in five innings this series.