Former wicketkeeper Brad Haddin feels India’s best chance to win a Test match against Australia in the series was in the first Test at Adelaide, and now that the visitors have suffered a crushing eight-wicket loss in the opener, India will struggle to recover. The next two games take place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Sydney Cricket Ground starting December 26 and January 7 respectively, and even though the pitches in Melbourne and Sydney are expected to suit India’s batsmen better, the road ahead will be tough, reckons Haddin.
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“I don’t think they will (recover from the loss). I thought their only opportunity to win a Test match was the first Test at Adelaide,” Haddin told SEN Radio.
“I thought the conditions suited their bowling and I thought they’d get enough runs. But I don’t think they’ll be able to turn it around. You’ve got one Test up at Brisbane where no one beats Australia. These next two wickets will be suited to Indian cricket, but I don’t think they’ll be able to turn it around.”
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Like everyone else, Haddin was surprised seeing India’s batting implosion in the second innings. As a matter of fact, when play started on Day 3, India were ahead, expected to extend their lead and put Australia under pressure. However, it took about an hour for Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins to run over India’s batting line-up, leaving the home team with just 90 to win. Haddin feels India’s problems going ahead will only increase given Virat Kohli’s return to India and Mohammed Shami’s broken arm.
“They had a great bowling attack the last time they come out here, and now with Shami out with a broken arm they don’t have enough depth to cover that,” Haddin said. “I think it’s really concerning. Yes, India were driving the game and we were talking at the start of day three about how Australia would get back into it, but the collapse they had has to leave some marks.”
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Watching India collapse to 36/9, Haddin is confident there will be a few changes made to the Playing XI. Who replaces Kohli in the XI, or will the selectors stick with the under-fire Prithvi Shaw? Irrespective of what the eventual call is, Haddin believes the decision won’t be easy.
“There were a few performances from the Indian batsmen that will come under scrutiny over the next week,” Haddin said. “Do they go in with (Wriddhiman) Saha? Who goes to the top order for Prithvi Shaw? Rohit Sharma comes out of quarantine, does he come back into the side? They have a lot of things they’re going to have to tackle over this next week leading into this next Test.”