Will India's new-ball woes come to an end?
India suffered a crushing 66-run defeat against Australia in the first ODI of the ongoing three-match series and one of the main reasons behind their failure was the inability of the bowlers to pick up early wickets.
Australia openers Aaron Finch and David Warner had no trouble in handling the Indian bowlers as they put up an opening stand of 156 runs. It took the Indian bowlers 28 overs to claim their first wicket but enough damage had been done by then.
In fact, this was the fourth consecutive 80+ stand the Indian bowlers had conceded to the first wicket in their last four ODIs. Moreover, this is the first such instance in their entire history of ODI cricket.
So that sums up how poor they have been of late. It's not that they don't have good bowlers. Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah are two of the best new-ball bowlers, irrespective of formats, in the world right now.
Both of them accounted for the joint fifth-most number of wickets (7) inside the Powerplay overs of the recently concluded Indian T20 League edition. So their failure to pick up wickets with the new ball in the first ODI was a bit hard to digest.
Even though Shami couldn't pick up a wicket with the new ball, he was economical -- conceding only 13 runs in his first four overs. He compensated for that in the end too, as he finished with figures of 3 for 59 in his quota of 10 overs. However, Bumrah seemed to be off-colour from the very start as he struggled to find the proper length.
Australian bowlers were successful bowling the hard lengths but Bumrah couldn't find the same success as he kept pitching it shorter than the perfect length. Navdeep Saini encountered the same issue as well as he kept bowling short on most occasions.
India last played an ODI during their tour to New Zealand earlier this year and the bowlers had encountered the same issue there as well. Their failure to pick up wickets with the new-ball was one of the major reasons behind their 5-0 loss to the Kiwis in that series.
India will be mindful of that and that's why the think tank should urge their bowlers to find the right line and lengths as soon as possible. This series is pretty short as it comprises of only three matches. The first game has already gone in Australia's favour and India need to win the second match to stay alive in the series. That can only happen if the bowlers are able to put pressure on the strong Australian batting line-up by picking up early wickets.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / @yuzi_chahal