Mentally tough Aussies won it

Written by: Sunil Gavaskar
Published: Tuesday, December 14, 1999, 0:00 [IST]
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Australia routed India in the first Test in a manner that doesn't augur too well for India in the remaining test matches. The Australians mentally dominated the Indians in such a comprehensive way that it will take all the motivational skills of coach Kapil Dev and the supreme self confidence of skipper Sachin Tendulkar to pick the team from the depths of despair and get them as a fighting fit unit once again. Being dismissed in less than 40 overs will not make it easy for that shows there was very little desire to stick it out and resist and the way the tail capitulated in less than an hour will put additional pressure on the main batsmen to perform better than they have in this game. Of course there will be many who will believe that the umpiring was the reason for the defeat and while it is correct to say that there were two terrible decisions against the Indian captain that was not the only reason and they only hastened the end.

The Indians allowed the Australians to recover after losing their first four wickets on the first day and let Shane Warne equal his highest Test score that helped Australia post a big total and from then it was only a matter of trying to save the game and once a team starts to think like that then it is invariably going to play in a defensive mindset and thus not play their normal game. The Indians were looking for a decent start if not a big one from the openers but in both the innings they got off to a disastrous start which meant their star batsmen were coming to bat under pressure. Now pressure is not something new to the Indian batsmen and they have coped well with it in the past, especially in India and that too on pitches which turn a darn sight more than in Australia. Yet strangely they went into a shell and let Warne dominate them.

The pitch at Adelaide is one of the best batting wickets in Australia. At the same time a player who is struggling should be given a rest so that he can analyse what he is doing wrong without the pressure to perform in a non-consequential match.

Dravid and Tendulkar just need to get away from a cricket game for a few days and contemplate what happened and they with their powers of analysis will come back in a better frame of mind for the next battle.

Professional Management Group

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