Team India’s Weakness Against Spin : Steve O’Keefe, a little known Australian Slow left-arm orthodox spinner, playing only his 5th Test Match and first against India, had spun a web, ending with a Match Winning figures of 12-70 completely decimating the Indian batsmen.
People would blame the pitch for being a rank turner, spinning from Day 1 and fault other factors like the law of averages catching up with this successful Indian Team (unbeaten run of 19 Test matches at home prior to this). But, the summary of the 1st Test is plain and simple, Poor Batting and Dropped Catches and brilliant Australia who outplayed the hosts in all facets of the game.
India, known as the best players of spin, might have been a little surprised by O’Keefe’s performance, on the contrary, Indian batsmen have faltered against spin,time and again, more so in the last 15-17 years.Of course, The Legendary Muralitharanhad his share of success against the Indians (Twice – 11 wicket match haul in a career spanning 132 Tests) but this might not be surprising as he had ripped apart most of his oppositions.
Looking at the Capitulations against Spin in the recent past.
- Daniel Vettori 6/127 in Kanpur in 1999
- NikkyBoje 5/83 in Bangalore in 2000
- Michael Clarke 6/9 in Mumbai 2004
- Ajanta Mendis6/117in Galle 2008
- Ajanta Mendis 5/56 in Colombo 2008
- Jason Krejza 12 wicket Match haul in Nagpur 2008
- Michael Clarke3/5 in Sydney 2008
- Shakib Al Hasan 5/62 in Chittagong 2010
- Graeme Swann 6/106 in Oval 2011
- Monty Panesar 11 wicket Match haul in Mumbai 2012
- Nathan Lyon 4/63 in Adelaide 2012
- Shane Shillingford 6/167 in Kolkota 2013
- Shane Shillingford5/179 in Mumbai 2013
- Nathan Lyon 7/94 in Delhi 2013
- Moeen Ali 6/67 in Southampton
- Moeen Ali 4/39 Manchester 2014
- Nathan Lyon12 wicket Match haul in Adelaide 2014
- Rangana Herath 7/48 in Galle 2015
- Roston Chase 5/121 in Kingston 2016
- Steve O’Keefe 12 wicket Match haul in Pune 2017
Key Take Away
- Indian batsmen and Kevin Pietersen seem to have one prominent thing in common – Weakness against Left Arm Tweakers – Vettori, Boje, Clarke, Shakib, Panesar, Herath and now O’Keefe.. created havoc many a times.
- Also prominent, is the fact that, obscure bowlers like Mendis, Krejza, Shillingford, Sunil Narine (in LOI’s), Moeen Ali, Chase tend to attain instant success. Indian batsmen study them and tend to tackle these type of bowlers much better in the subsequent games.
- Critically, Nathan Lyon has had the rub of green quite a few times in both Australia and India, also played a crucial supporting cog in O’Keefe’s success in the first Test in 2017
Just before the current series started, every expert were talking about Rank #1 side needs to tour abroad and perform and win. Now, with this upset, critics would be pointing out, Indians cannot play Seam, Swing, Bounce (abroad) and Spin and are only flat track bullies. This fact is not entirely wrong until proved otherwise.
The Test Rank #1 will not deserve respect if India capsize so badly, so frequently against spin (also) which has been India’s strength for so long. Some serious thinking to be done by the Management to ensure an all-round success home (on rank turners as well) and away.