India’s first match in the tri-series was a close one and Australia nearly made a mess of it. The hosts will have to admit the match shouldn’t have gone the distance it did. It was actually a game of difference in the ability of the lower-order batting of the two teams. India were also in a great position during the partnership between Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma but lost the push once the Indian captain got dismissed. Australia also almost lost way in the middle after being 216 for two.
The loss of Smith, Finch, Bailey and Maxwell restricted them a bit but the fire-power of Haddin & Faulkner saw them through. Faulkner is fast becoming an outstanding finisher, a strength in that position, and he will continue to be one in these conditions. I know India are a bit handicapped with injury to Ravindra Jadeja but they must start finding a way out of these because it has been a long tour and with the longest part of it still remaining, this could be a concern for them and a big challenge too.
I agree with the way the Indian team management has handled niggles and they would just wish all these players get in to the World Cup with full fitness. They move on to Brisbane where the conditions are totally different from Melbourne. India will have to rethink the two-spinner policy. This could in a way solve the problem of lower-order batting if they have Stuart Binny in the XI, as conditions in Brisbane are perfect for him with pace and bounce. But Dhoni has to make sure he goes through the grind of bowling 10 overs, which will allow him a fair idea about Stuart at different stages of the game. Bhuvneshwar hasn’t been swinging the new ball and when India travel to flatter pitches of Sydney, Adelaide, Hobart — where they have to play two spinners — Binny could be a huge option who lengthens the batting.
England will be a good team in Brisbane. Although they lost the last game against Australia they have showed some good signs and with the likes of Woakes, Butler they have a handy batting unit as well. For them their top order will be crucial and one will watch with interest as to how they approach batting upfront, as I am convinced, wickets in hand will be the key.
I can’t finish without any mention of AB’s knock against West Indies on Sunday and I completely agree with lot of past players that he is complete magic in all conditions and by far the best player in the world.