Former India opener Gautam Gambhir analysis that Australian batting is weak, fragile and heavily dependent on Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith was proved to the hilt by the Jasprit Bumrah-led Indian bowlers on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test as they knocked over the home side for a mere 195 after Tim Paine won the toss and decided to make first use of the Melbourne pitch.
Gambhir had made his comments on the eve of the Boxing Day Test where he had said that Indian bowlers can exploit the fact that Australian batting unit barring Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne is thin on pedigree.
And, Indian bowlers did just that as an inspiring performances by Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin and debutant Mohammed Siraj ensured that Australia were unable to drive home the advantage they seemed to have got after they won the toss and decided to bat first.
“With the kind of batting line-up that Australia have, they are very vulnerable at the top of the order. They are very fragile, apart from Labuschagne and Smith. Travis Head is very vulnerable. Cameron Green will probably be playing his second Test match,” Gautam Gambhir said on Sports Today on YouTube.
“Tim Paine, yes, he has done well in the previous game, but he has his own shortcomings as well, and then you are into the bowlers. So apart from two batters, No.3 and No.4 there is a lot of fragility. So, India can actually look to exploit that.” he added.
Gambhir also cautioned the Indian batsmen to not get ahead of themselves in pursuit of building a total in excess of 350 or 400. He advised them to focus on getting close to 275 as he reckoned that the kind of bowling attack that India has, they can knock over any opposition with disdain. He added that a bowler like Jasprit Bumrah can produce a game-changing effect within a space of a five-over spell. Bumrah was as usual brilliant on the opening day as he finished with figures of 4/56.
“When you have got people like Jasprit Bumrah who are world-class, when you have Ravichandran Ashwin, you have Umesh Yadav who has played over 35-40 Test matches. So you expect Indian bowling line-up to actually come good,” Gambhir said.
“It is for the batters to put runs on the board and don’t think about putting 400 on the board, look to get 275 and give something to your bowlers. Because you have these world class bowlers and 275 is good enough. You have got someone like Jasprit Bumrah who can probably win a game as well in his five-spell. Other bowlers need to complement him, they should not leak runs.” he added.
Meanwhile, India will now hope that their batsmen do not squander the momentum that they have attained by dismissing Australia for 195 and ensure that they build on their score of 1/36 on the second day and hopefully take a sizeable lead.