India’s stubborn attitude against using the umpire decision review system, as well as selecting a team based on sentiment rather than form, could well cost them the first Test match against Australia in Chennai.
Michael Clarke scored his 23rd Test century and put on a partnership of 151 with Moises Henriques to frustrate the Indians after they were reduced to 5/150 at one stage. It could well have been 6/206 had umpire Kumar Dharmasena spotted a huge inside edge off Clarke’s bat when he was on 39.
But once again the Indians had objected to the use of DRS, and Clarke took full advantage as he went on to finish the day unbeaten on 103, taking Australia to an above-par total of 7/316.
At the conclusion of the play Ravichandran Ashwin was asked at the press conference if he thought the DRS would have made a difference. He said, “We could have used it twice before and when it came to Clarke decision no reviews would have been left, so in hindsight we could well be in the same situation.”
Perhaps it will take more than a solitary decision to change the Indian thinking. However if India are in a precarious position tomorrow they might be ruing that chance.
The other facet which greatly benefited Australia was the Indian team selection. It seems even after 100 odd years in the game, the India selectors still believe in handing out matches on basis of personal landmarks.
It becomes even a bigger issue when it comes in the expense of their best spinner, Pragyan Ojha.
The whole benefit of having an extra off-spinner was to make it difficult for the Australian left handed batsmen, but Ashwin later said, “When the wicket is turning and there are footmarks a left arm or right arm spinner can be equally effective.”
The theory was even more puzzling when Ashwin, a few minutes later, contradicted himself, saying, “I would have picked two off-spinners as well.”
On a track tailor-made for spin, dropping Ojha and playing Harbhajan Singh was a bizarre tactic, not that the Australians are complaining.
Indians had been suggesting a four-nil whitewash before the series started. If they continue playing these foolish tactics, the prediction could well be right, but in the Aussies’ favour.