It is often said that the first day of a series can go a long way in deciding how the series eventually pans out. In a way, it sets the trend of things to follow in the days to come. In that sense, the opening day of the series against Australia and India at Adelaide could be significant. The teams went into the game having undergone the trauma of Phillip Hughes' death. The only way they could overcome the tragedy was by getting back on the cricket field. Of the two sides, Australia seemed really inspired to make a massive impact, wanting to pay a tribute to the late Hughes. India, on the other hand, were completely out of sorts.
David Warner played a sensational knock to put Australia on top on the opening day. It is no secret that Warner was extremely close to Hughes, and he all the more wanted to get the Hughes tragedy out of his mind. The best tribute the smashing left-hander could have paid to his friend was by playing his natural attacking game, and putting the Indian attack to the sword. Although Warner is known for his attacking style of play, his knock on Tuesday at the Adelaide was something different. It was as if he wanted to punish the Indian bowlers without an iota of mercy. The knock was brutal, but the celebration was emotional for reasons known to all.
Throughout the day, Australia dominated the innings. Even though Chris Rogers fell early, Warner never allowed the pressure to build on the team. He found good support in skipper Michael Clarke, who played a steadying knock. It was an important innings since he was returning from injury. However, the fact that he had to retire due to his back problems does not augur well for the team and his future in the series. Australia need his services in the four-match Test series, and if he cannot recover, the team's batting line-up will be thrown out of gear in some sorts. The hosts can only hope for the best as far as Clarke is concerned.
India's bowling performance on the opening day also does not augur well for them for the days to come. It was no secret that the Aussie batsmen were going to go all-out against the inexperienced Indian bowlers. And, the manner in which the Indians responded was utterly shocking. They just did not have a plan to stop Warner and co once the Aussies got going. The fast bowlers as well as the spinners were thrown out of their line and length rather soon. And, the Indians just did not have a plan B to stop Australia after the initial plan failed. Varun Aaron was among the wickets, but he showed unbelievable generosity when it came to leaking runs. The others fared only slightly better.
The terrible performance on the opening day has immediately put India on the back foot. Even though, it must be admitted that Australia have a strong batting line-up, it is nowhere as good as Steve Waugh's invincible bunch. But, India's bowlers made them look like one as they concerned close to five runs an over. From this situation, they will find it extremely difficult to stage a comeback. The bowlers have failed to give India the desired beginning to the series, which will put additional pressure on the batsmen, who are already feeling under the England disaster. The series is only one day old, but if manic Tuesday is anything to go by, India are in for another pathetic time.
--By A Cricket Analyst