Despite India stumbling to an eight-wicket loss in the first Test of the four-match series against Australia, former pacer Zaheer Khan has listed a number of positives for the visiting side and feels that the side has learned from that experience.
On Saturday, India was bundled out for 36 in the second innings of the pink-ball Test and Australia was given a mediocre target of 90 runs. Australia chased down the total comfortably inside 21 overs with eight wickets in hand.
According to the veteran speedster, India displayed confidence as they named their playing XI a day before the game and added that Virat Kohli-led side also batted well barring the second innings.
“The first positive for India was that the playing XI was announced a day before. I feel it was a big positive because you showed confidence in the playing XI,” Zaheer said on the Sony Sports Network.
“The second positive was opting to bat after winning the toss. You showed that however good an attack Australia may have, we will play according to the conditions. The first day was very good. Pujara and Virat Kohli had set a platform although we may have fallen short by 40-50 runs of the number of runs that should have been scored.
“Bowling made a very good comeback. There were problems about length at the start, even the Australian bowlers had that issue in the first innings. India learnt from that,” he added.
Zaheer went on and lauded spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for his 4/55 in the first innings at the Adelaide Oval.
“Ashwin was another positive as you want your main spinner to play a good role in these conditions, get the breakthroughs. He got Smith out and picked up three wickets during that period. He overall took four wickets in the first innings,” he said.
Kohli will miss the rest of the series for India as he will return home after being granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Rahane is set to take on the role of stand-in captain in the remaining three games of the series.
India will also be without the services of pacer Mohammad Shami as he has been ruled out of the series after suffering a fracture on his arm as reported by ANI on Saturday.
He retired hurt while batting in the second innings at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday after he was hit on the right arm by a bouncer from Pat Cummins.
Speaking to ANI, sources in the know of developments said that the terrible pain was a result of the fracture he sustained.
“Yes, he has a fracture and that is why he could not grip the bat and lift it at the crease. It looked bad and the worst fear has come true,” the source had said.
India and Australia will lock horns in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, beginning December 26. (ANI)
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