India versus Australia Day 2, Nagpur diary: Old-fashioned Jadeja, a Lyon who has forgotten to hunt and Kohli’s worrying trend

Right roller, light roller
At the end of the first session on Day Two, Mark Waugh and Ravi Shastri were wondering why the pitch appeared to have eased out in the morning. Shastri felt it could be because the moisture had dried up from the pitch. Sunil Gavaskar felt it was the roller. “The roller makes a big difference. The roller Indians used levelled up the pitch in the first hour. That’s why we saw a couple of wickets in the second hour, a bit more turn and variable bounce etc”. It’s learnt that a light roller was used by the Indians in the morning before the start of play. It’s the prerogative of the batting captain to choose the roller he wants: heavy or light at the start of the play, according to the ICC’s playing conditions.

“Light roller will just disturb the top layer, especially on turners. But if you use a hard roller, it will break up the entire thing – bottom layer as well and there is a chance it will crumble. Especially the red soil, as it is in Nagpur, it can tend to crumble under the heavy roller. If the soft roller is used, it will take just the top off and the bottom stays intact,” a curator told this paper.

Jadeja, an LBW candidate
Ravindra Jadeja survived a close LBW call. On air former India wicket keeper Dinesh Karthik explained why Jadeja could be a candidate for LBW as he employs the old-fashioned technique, where the bat and pad are close to each other while defending against spinners. Though it ensures there is no gap between bat and pad, in case the ball straightens it could end up hitting the pads and bring LBW into the equation. What is helping Jadeja is that he is taking long strides. But with DRS in place, there is always a chance for the spinners.

Debutants have Kohli’s number?
Virat Kohli getting out to a bowler making his Test debut is a script we have seen playing out far too often. Since Kohli’s debut in 2011, 24 opposition players on their debut have bowled against India in matches involving him and nine of them dismissed him, Todd Murphy of Australia being the latest. The others are: Marco Jansen (South Africa) in Centurion 2021, Kyle Jamieson (New Zealand) in Wellington 2020, Senuran Muthusamy (South Africa) in Visakhapatnam 2019, Lungi Ngidi (South Africa) in Centurion 2018, Alzarri Joseph (West Indies) in Gros Islet 2016, Kagiso Rabada (South Africa) in Mohali 2015, Josh Hazlewood ( Australia) in Brisbane 2014 and Glenn Maxwell (Australia) in Hyderabad 2013. We don’t know whether Australia were aware of Kohli’s ‘weakness’ against debutants when they preferred him over Ashton Agar.

Healy was wrong about Murphy
Toddy Murphy, the debutant off-spinner had played just seven First-Class games, but didn’t have a five-wicket haul. But that changed when he completed a fifer in his debut Test for Australia, a haul which includes the prized scalps of KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, R Ashwin and fellow debutant KS Bharat. It was just yesterday that former gloveman Ian Healy was talking about how picking the young spinner for the first Test was a bad move. “In my eyes, probably not the right selection call,” Healy said. “I think he can bowl extremely well and he’s right in the shadow of Nathan Lyon whenever he’s needed, but for me, we’ve left on the bench our most experienced spinners in Ashton Agar and Mitch Swepson. If we’re not going to use them they might as well pack their Baggy Greens away. I think we needed more variety and more experience,” he added.

Salt in Lyon’s wounds
Steve Smith dropped a simple catch of Ravindra Jadeja in the final over of the day and off-spinner Nathan Lyon looked distraught. It would have been a much-needed breakthrough for the visitors. Nathan Lyon, Australia’s most experienced bowler, has seen better days. It looked like nothing was happening for a long time as Jadeja and Axar Patel put on a solid partnership. And then came a chance for the Australians. Smith would be hoping that it would not cost his team too much on Day 3. Lyon has now bowled over 35 overs for one wicket. He has not looked threatening at all in this first innings. In the conditions that aid spin and being the bowler with so much experience he was expected to do better.

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