Though there are still four days left in the Sydney test, India have already moved to a very dominant position with three hundred plus runs already on the board and six wickets still intact. What’s more, they have two set batsmen at the crease. So, despite the ‘glorious uncertainties’ of the game, it is difficult to see India losing from here.
In fact, the pitch is expected to assist turn from day three onwards and India has two skillful spinners in Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav, and the threat of Jasprit Bumrah cannot be overlooked on any surface and against any team. So, at this point, an India victory is the most likely result, with an Indian defeat the least likely one.
If that indeed happens, it will be one of the greatest moments in Indian cricket history. Generations of great Indian cricketers have come to Australia, only to leave the shore after heavy defeats or few drawn series. This Indian team is on the verge of creating history by being the first Indian team to win a test series in Australia.
However, in the event of India losing the toss and being asked to bowl by Tim Paine, did India have the bowlers to bowl on a batting friendly first day Sydney pitch? Though this is a hypothetical situation, but cricketing logic says, India would have struggled too, primarily because of the reason that Kohli had decided to go with just two pace bowlers, who would have had to share much of the burden as the spinners would have got little assistance.
The match would have been an entirely different one and India’s team selection would have come under the scanner.
The whole point of writing about this hypothetical situation is not to find fault with the captain and team management, but to simply point out that even the greatest of people, including sporting legends need a bit of helping hand from the lady luck to create history.
India’s likely series win against Australia is not down to luck; it’s primarily due to the collective effort of a terrific set of cricketers. And they deserve their share of good fortune here, after it had completely deserted them in England when Captain Kohli lost all the five tosses in the test series.
Three out of the four tests that India lost in England were quite competitive and there is enough cricketing logic to speculate that the scoreline would quite possibly have been very different if Kohli had managed to win at least a couple of tosses there!