India were in a very strong position when Mitchell Johnson came out to bat after the fall of 6th wicket. Australia were in a spot of bother at 247 for 6 when Mitchell Johnson came out to bat. At that time, India were in a very strong position and they would have believed that they bowl Australia out around 300-320.
Mitchell Johnson was greeted with lots of sledging in the middle. It all started with Rohit Sharma sledging Mitchell Johnson: “You didn’t take any wickets on this track.”
After this, Mitchell Johnson and Steven Smith took full hold of the situation and scored runs freely around the park. Johnson and Smith put on 148 runs for the seventh wicket in quick succession and Johnson contributed 88 of them at a strike rate of 94.
During this partnership, Indian fast bowlers bowled very wayward lines and got carried away with too much “uncontrolled” aggression.
The ball-map above shows the lines and length that Indian bowlers bowled to Mitchell Johnson. Just look at where India bowled to Mitchell Johnson: almost all the deliveries were directed towards his body and no one tried to attack his stumps.
After the fall of Steven Smith’s wicket, Mitchell Starc came in to to bat and joined Mitchell Johnson. He also scored a half century, and Indian bowlers kept repeating the same mistake i.e. to bowl short at their bodies.
[blocktext align=”left”]The Australian batsmen between No.s 8-11 contributed 195 runs between them, which ensured the hosts take a 97-run lead.[/blocktext]
“To be fair the whole tail batted beautifully to get us up over the 500-mark. It was remarkable and we had a good day of cricket in the end. It was outstanding from Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon as well. Josh Hazlewood on debut was very good with the bat as well. They gave us a lead of 90-odd and it was a very good position,” Australian captain Steven Smith said.
India’s ability to dismiss tail-enders in not new. Over the years, we have seen Indian bowlers struggle against the tail and lose their strong hold on the game.
Since Anil Kumble’s retirement India have struggled regularly against the tail-enders and Indian bowlers have leaked lots of runs against them.
Today, Indian fast bowlers tried to be over-aggressive and bowled too many short-balls and got carried away.
There’s one more point that arises here and that is- What was Mahendra Singh Dhoni doing when his bowlers were bowling without any plan?
There can be two reason behind MS Dhoni’s laid-back approach:
1) It was his plan to go short at the Australian tail-enders.
2) He was clueless
If it was Dhoni’s plan, it was a pathetic plan. And if he was clueless, he has no right to be the captain of India.
The runs that No. 8, 9, 10 and 11 added well might be the deciding factor in the game.
By Aniket Arora