Yes, Australia beat India. Who would've thought? After struggling across every format possible, losing to South Africa and Pakistan in recent times, Australia was able to put one over India and how well did they do it.
Gone was the tendency to try and hit every ball for six. Batsmen made the effort to apply themselves to the crease and when they got in, they hammered sixes at will. For instance, we had two overs of 3 sixes each, not an easy feat, but it seemed like it was achieved with utmost ease. First by Lynn against Khaleel and then by Maxwell against Pandya.
India for its part seemed to have been rushed into the match. While bowlers, in the beginning, seemed to have a control of their lines and lengths, it was a completely different story for the batsmen who other than Dhawan at the start just lacked the ability to go really go after the bowlers.
After the match, we can draw the following conclusions:
#1 India Underestimated Australia
Although the Indian leadership team would beg to differ, some situations were a clear case of lack of planning. It's almost as if there was no specific planning involved for any batsman or bowler.
Lynn has struggled massively against Bumrah and he's not the best around quality spin. While this is known Khaleel was served to him to feast on.
Australia's strength is their firepower and their firepower is most vulnerable against quality spin. Even then, the insistence to not pick Chahal who has bowled superbly alongside Yadav was hard to understand, especially looking at the bowling figures generated by Zampa.
Then came the batting, where it was almost disappointing to watch Rohit bat as he tried new ways to get himself going and finally failed on the third try. First, a pull, then a failed lap shot were followed by a nothing shot, at a time when all he needed to do was give Dhawan the strike.
It was just an amalgamation of gross underestimation of the strength of a very potent team at home.
#2 Lynn Should open
For 3-4 overs today Lynn showed why he's backed so much by the Australian management and why he's hyped as much as he is. The ease with which he smashed 3 sixes off Khaleel would have been Deja Vu for the Brisbane crowd, having seen him do that to many bowlers many a time in Big Bash at his home ground.
But again, he succumbed once again to a quality spin of Kuldeep Yadav. Australia had made a bold step in the previous series by promoting Lynn to the top with the aim of giving him the freedom to express himself in the first 6 overs.
Although it didn't work out as planned, that is a move worth sticking to. Lynn in first 6 overs would be a potent weapon and with him typically lacking the guile against spin, the more settled he is, the better chance he would have of surviving spin.
#3 India missed Chahal badly
Another instance of homework not done right has to be the decision of dropping Chahal from the starting eleven. It just showed a lack of learning from the past by the Indian team as they themselves forgot what made them a potent team overseas.
Be it South Africa or England, it was the combination of Chahal and Yadav that spun a web around the opposition and got crucial breakthroughs at the right time. With much bigger grounds in Australia, it provides an even better condition for a spinner to operate.
But somehow that approach was swept aside and a part-time left-arm spinner and a left arm medium pacer got the nod above him. Ironically, both of them got tonked out of the ground with consummate ease as they had no variation to offer.
Chahal needs to make his way back into the team as his inclusion would prevent the opposition to run away with big hitting in the middle overs and he can snatch a wicket or two as well which would be a bonus.
#4 Karthik shows he has what Pant lacks
The scoreline read 60 runs needed off 4 overs. Pant and Karthik came together to bring about some fight and take the team close to the winning total. For a moment, it seemed as if the two would rescue the team and take the win.
But it was not to be and there was one glaring difference between both the batsmen that just stood out again and again. After the first over where Pant smashed a six and a four off the first two, it appeared that the Australians had figured him out.
Pant's scoring area was the heave over mid-wicket and once that was taken out and he was bowled slower balls wide of off stump. Pant had no answer, as he kept on mindlessly swatting them for singles or less.
Karthik, on the other hand, showed a complete array of shots as he targeted third man, wide of mid-on and wide of mid off again and again which made the bowlers think. It gave the evidence that Pant, although a very bright talent, is still raw and needs time to develop while for now, Dinesh looks like a better all-round package.
#5 Pandya over Jadeja?
There are many pointed questions that would be asked from the management after the first T20I. The biggest of them all is: how good is Krunal Pandya the batsman that he overshadows the impact Jadeja has both as a bowler and as a fielder?
The team's obsession with picking the "role" and not the "player" is coming back to hound them as Krunal Pandya was picked into the team as an all-rounder over Ravindra Jadeja but his performances might not justify such an inclusion.
Jadeja is a much better bowler and on the field, there aren't many who rival Jadeja's excellence. Krunal Pandya might be a better batsman but he's not light years ahead either.
Krunal deserves a spot in the side, but he's picked in favour of a player who has actually proven himself, which raises more questions about the thought process of the team management.