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Adelaide Test: Imperfect storm or Indian summer?

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Roar Guru
12th December, 2018
2

If ever two wrongs made a right, it was the Test cricketing peach served up by Australia and India in the city of churches.

It was an enthralling opening instalment, fuelled by a cocktail of both sides’ flaws, that has left us greedily eyeing the second Test in Perth.

The desperate Australian Test cricket team may have just stumbled upon its summer saviour in India, or we’ll look back at the first Test as a mirage, a mere five days of respite from the five-day game’s struggles.

Of course, India’s status as cricketing royalty always attracts local eyeballs. But it’s the visitors’ soft away-form underbelly that offers hope for a sorely needed summer of Test cricketing love in this country.

We all know sporting hoodoos take some breaking, and India’s failure to win a series in Australia in 70-odd years of trying is a giant cross to bear.

India’s misguided first-innings batting bluster coupled with their nervy close of Australia’s second innings suggests history is not lost on them.

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Yet, such is the perilous state of Australian Test cricket that India is presented with the opportunity of a lifetime.

There is, of course, the Australian team’s unparalleled identity crisis, borne of a belated comeuppance following years of belligerence, that has robbed this crop of its customary home ground bite.

Throw in Australia’s uber-brittle batting line-up, which was on such painful display in Adelaide, and you have a home side uniquely ripe for the picking.

The question now is whether India’s first Test victory has served to exorcise its away-form demons.

If so, an unshackled India, already boasting the world No.1 Test ranking, may well run rampant from here on out.

But if the Adelaide win is more base camp than summit for Virat Kohli’s side, Australia at least has the bowling line-up to make things sticky.

After all, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are a difficult enough proposition without having to face them on the rumoured green top that awaits in Perth.

If there’s one positive about the performance of Australia’s batsmen in the first Test, it’s that they couldn’t get any worse.

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Of course, whether this series goes the distance or not does not obscure the challenges facing Test cricket in this country.

A game that forces its fans to wait four days for a climax that occurs during business hours on a Monday is truly the white whale of contemporary sports.

That India was able to force Australia’s hand in kiboshing Test cricket’s potential saviour in day-night matches is deeply troubling.

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One also wonders whether the local cricketing public’s interest in ex-player commentators – and the by-gone golden era they represent – can ever be properly captured again by the modern game.

But all that is best left for a rainy day. For now, the sun shines again on Australia’s grand old game.

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