With every game that India are playing in Australia, it is getting more and more clearer that they aren't going to be among the favourites to win the World Cup. The first warm-up match against the Aussies on Sunday was further assertion of the fact. Australia dominated them from start to end, and the Indians never ever looked competitive during the course of the match. They are still unsure of the combination they are likely to have in the World Cup, and the thrashing they received at the hands of the Aussies on Sunday has only made matters worse for them.
India's weak bowling is being seen as the major hindrance in their World Cup defence, and they did not find any sort of confidence against Australia. Each and everyone from the bowling attack was made to look mediocre, which they actually are. Ishant Sharma has been ruled out, but even his presence wouldn't have made much of a difference. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, as usual, maintained a steady line and length, but hardly looked like claiming a wicket. Among the others, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma all were taken to the cleaners with ease. There wasn't much to cheer for the spinners as well, with Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel also conceding plenty.
There were some positive signs for India in the batting department, which was also a disaster in the tri-series, the biggest was definitely the return to runs of opener Shikhar Dhawan. For the first time since his 81 in the Brisbane Test, the left-hander looked in some sort of rhythm. He made a fluent half-century. But, after having gotten among the runs after a long gap, he ideally should have displayed the hunger to carry on. Instead he gave it away after crossing his half-century. Ajinkya Rahane's sparkling innings was the brightest spot for India in the match. He looked in little trouble during his stay at the crease, but like Dhawan, did not go on to reach three figures.
Ambati Rayudu batted lower down the order, and after a horror run in the tri-series, did well to utilise some time out in the middle. Even if India aren't looking to play him in the eleven consistently, it is imperative that he remains among the runs since they need a good back up batsman. In that sense, Rayudu's impressive fifty would have pleased the team. However, the failures of Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina will worry them, for they weren't among the runs in the tri-series as well. Rohit Sharma also played the game, but couldn't get much practice as he fell early.
In stark contrast, Australia did everything right. They got off to a smashing start, after which David Warner went on to blast a cracking hundred. Glenn Maxwell, the star of the tri-series final, came up with another sensational hundred to annihilate the Indians. The knock was another example of Maxwell's explosive quotient. In the bowling department as well most of them made an impact. Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood and Pat Cummins were all among the wickets. Xavier Doherty was the only bowler who struggled, but Australia will not be too concerned over him since they won't be using him a lot in home conditions.
--By A Cricket Analyst