India captain Virat Kohli honestly admitted after the first Test: “Played two days of good cricket to get in a position and then just lose it in an hour. Really hurts.” Kohli’s words at the post-match presentation ceremony after the pink-ball Test in Adelaide against Australia summarised the mood of an entire nation. India had done well to take a lead of 62 runs by the end of Day 2 in their first overseas Day/Night Test against the mighty Australians.
With 9 wickets in hand, Kohli & co, were expected to put on a challenging total for the hosts to chase. But seamers Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood changed the script. The duo picked up 8 wickets in the first session, ending India’s stay in the middle at 36/9 (Mohammed Shami was retired hurt after suffering a blow to his forearm). It was India’s lowest total ever in a Test innings.
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It took Australia only 21 overs to chase down the total of 90 runs with eight wickets in hand. The demoralising defeat will now be followed by a showdown which begins on the Boxing Day at MCG. But unfortunately for the visitors, the captain would be leaving the ship for the birth of his first child. Kohli had been granted paternity leave and he would be flying back to India and would be missing the remainder of the Tests.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting pinpointed why it would be really difficult for India to bounce back now in the four-match series, with them trailing 1-0 already.
“With Kohli not being there as well there’s almost no-one to pick them back up after a loss like that. They’ve got to make a couple of changes. Rishabh Pant has to be in that middle order. With Kohli not being there they’ve got to strengthen their batting, he’s got to come in,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
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“I am sure but there’s one thing to make selection changes there’s another to lift the spirits back up again and make sure they’re mentally right for the next challenge because the Australians are not going to go away now,” he added.
Ponting further predicted a cleansweep in Australia’s favour.
“There could be a good chance (of a sweep). Let’s hope we do get a result in Melbourne and if we do, I think India are going to find it really hard to bounce back and win a game,” Ponting signed off.