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The first Test is over. Can we do better in Perth?

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13th December, 2018
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Well the first Test is done and dusted. Neither the doomsayers nor the cockeyed optimists had a win.

We saw five days of gritty scrapping that ended with the team that played better winning. But before that we saw incredible cricket.

A catch from a player who was channelling Steve Smith and who had been categorised as a poor fieldsman.

Some of the most inaccurate fast bowling ever seen in an Australian Test where four byes were called by an umpire that had forgotten what a wide looks like.

Nathan Lyon pretending he was Keith Miller with a great all-round performance of off-spin bowling and late order batting.

The fact that this anachronistic game called Test cricket is not only not a dead parrot but is in fact riveting viewing for hundreds of thousands of spectators, TV watchers and Radio listeners for five days is the most amazing result.

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In spite of everyone’s attempt to bury the body it is reborn. Look out Perth!

Australian bowling
The “best attack in the world” was not quite that. Josh Hazelwood and Pat Cummins lived up to the hype.

Mitch Starc put in his usual first Test erratic performance, bowling listlessly and occasionally totally losing the plot and sending poor Tim Paine into desperate fruitless dives after ridiculously wide balls that should have been called wides.

Has there been a rule change that I missed? Gaz Lyon’s bowling was magnificent. He is improving every year and with Ravi Ashwin is the best off-spinner around. If he keeps playing he will eclipse almost all Australian wicket takers.

Nathan Lyon of Australia bowls

Nathan Lyon of Australia bowls against India (Photo by Ryan Pierse – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

Australian batting
If you said that they were the worst batting side in the world I wouldn’t argue. I know that Smith and Warner are not there but oh dear, Marcus Harris is promising.

As for Aaron Finch I don’t know! Ricky Ponting says give him another go at opener. But his last two innings were not promising for the future. Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh at times look the part, but we need 100s not fifties in Test cricket.

Travis Head looked OK to be given another go. Pete Handscomb seems at times playing a different game. Maybe next time he will take block behind the stumps.

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Let’s face it India were more consistent in both batting and bowling and deserved the bikkies.

How can we improve for the second Test?

1. Starc must regain his rhythm and hostility.
2. Batsmen must maintain their concentration when they reach 30 and achieve significant scores. Very few Tests are won without one or two large partnerships.
3. Batsmen must maintain pressure on the Indian bowlers by rotating the strike, taking the short single and keeping a scoring rate over 3 per over.
4. The Australians need a fifth seamer – not Marsh but Marcus Stoinis.