Declarations unforeseen on paper

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2 minute read

Australia will get to declare again. Maybe this is presumptuous on our part. Maybe they were batting for a declaration but have now got a taste for scoring at ten an over and will carry on tomorrow. It seems unlikely though. If there’s one thing Australia like more than scoring at ten an over, it’s declaring against India.

In their eight innings in this series, Australia have been bowled out just twice. In Brisbane they made 505 and in Melbourne they made 530.

This definitely feeds the narrative of the weak Indian seam attack, but the fact is that Australia haven’t actually been able to restrict India either. The tourists have made at least 400 in every first innings, so the pitches must be at least partly to blame. We’re not a fan of declaration cricket. We like to see teams bowled out.

One of the worst aspects of this from India’s perspective is the unravelling of several of their seam bowlers. They’ve certainly brought some of it on themselves with their inconsistency, but if you weigh the promise of ‘what might be’ in one hand and the cooling excrement of ‘what has been’ in the other, the balance has certainly shifted in the last few weeks. And that ‘what has been’ hand will never be so clean again.

We can’t be bothered finding the exact quotes, but before the series Kohli listed the qualities of his attack. It was one of those ‘on paper’ exercises. You are never more likely to look at what a player might do rather than what they will do than when assessing a side on paper. The gist of his words was that several of his bowlers were quick and several could swing it while Ishant offered height and bounce.

On paper.

A different piece of paper summarises what’s actually happened. Mohammed Shami has the best average – 35.80 – but has conceded 4.24 runs an over. Ishant Sharma has been more economical, conceding 3.24 runs an over, but averages 48.22. Beneath them, it only gets more horrendous.

Umesh Yadav has averaged near enough 50 and has conceded 4.62 an over. He’s bowled 118 overs, so that economy rate is no fluke. Varun Aaron bowled 64 overs and conceded 5.64 an over, averaging 72.40. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has one wicket at 168.

The truth is, none of Australia’s bowlers has averaged under 30 either. The difference is, they have happier days to fall back on. For India’s seamers, a tour to Australia should have represented a nice break from slow ‘n’ low, but if anything it’s been worse.

You’re meant to benefit from experience. Unfortunately, most of India’s seam bowlers’ experience is of declaration bowling.


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  1. Speaking of getting bowled out…

    Peter Moores: “Anyone who saw us bat in Sri Lanka saw us play in a different style. We didn’t always execute it perfectly because we got bowled out”

  2. The pitches have been awful. I can only assume this was a directive from CA (or the BCCI?) to get four five day Tests. It also makes the lack of a WACA Test suspicious.

  3. Not watching as frightened by thoughts of unravelling of Indian bowlers. Textile industry in sub-continent may not recover.
    Kohli just being economical with the truth.
    India could care less about playing abroad. ACB should sue for misrepresentation. They can borrow drafting of Particulars of Claim from their spineless guests -viz claim vs WI (who at least had the integrity to put in a proper ‘no-show’).

  4. Declaration batting is tedious enough to watch in the second innings, but when it’s happening in the first innings as well you know you have a problem.

  5. I’m confused. This is more or less the same India which eventually crumbled to pathetic lows against England last summer, and made us look good. Now they’ve at least put in a half-decent effort against essentially the same Aussie side which made us look pathetic just a year ago. Are we now better than Australia again, or what?

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