India's batting in the ongoing Test series against Australia has been reasonably good, but for one factor. While a lot of them are getting starts, not enough of them are converting their starts into bigger scores. So far, Indians have only played three innings in the series, but there seems to be a pattern developing for their batting. At Adelaide, Murali Vijay got fifties in both innings while Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane both got half-centuries in the first innings. However, when it came to going on to make hundreds, only Virat Kohli managed one in both innings.
Things have been charting a similar path at Brisbane. Murali Vijay came up with a brilliant hundred, but the rest of them top and middle order disappointed, when it came to going on after getting starts. Rahane got a second fifty in the series, but could not carry on. He has been batting exceedingly well during the series, but it would be great for India if he can go on to make big hundreds. It is what matters in Test cricket. It is not just about Rahane, but the batting of Team India in general. Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, all fell in 20s or after getting into double figures.
India need to display significant improvements in their game if they want to complete with Australia on an even level. In Test cricket, big runs is what matters. Only one player standing up and making a big hundred won't count. This is what has been happening so far in the series. Kohli got tons in both innings at Adelaide, yet India lost as the team managed scores of 441 and 315 in their two visits to the crease, falling short of Australia by a slender margin. In contrast, three Aussie batsmen registered tons in the first innings itself, which proved to be a telling difference between the two sides.
Fifties and sixties look good on the scorecard, and even enhances the average of the player, but when it comes to winning Tests, it often counts for nothing since it is equivalent to a 20 or 30 in one-day cricket. What India need to learn is to keep out the good balls. There is every chance in Australian conditions that you might get an unplayable delivery. If you perish you cannot do much about it, but if you survive, you must ensure that you make the best of it. This is where Indian batsmen have been failing. If they can work on this aspect of their game, they can certainly do better.
India's lower order and tail also needs to make good contributions throughout the series. The loss at Adelaide had a lot to do with the fact that Rohit Sharma and the batsmen to follow could not hold one end up. The wickets in both innings fell in a heap. As a result, the hard work done by the top and middle order went in vain. India often get themselves into a comfortable position during the first half of the innings, but falter in the latter half. The tail must realise that they too have a responsibility to score a few runs, or at least hang in with the specialist batsmen if there are any left.
--By A Cricket Analyst