Jadeja up top, Warner around, Rapid Rohit and Nagpur patterns

Day one from Nagpur

Australian Batters - Control Percentage

No, it wasn’t an actual hat trick, but he got two in two, and then later on he got Smith, which feels like a hat trick based on his recent form. They were close enough together for an emotional hat trick.

Of the players that got in, Smith and Labuschangne were the best. And at lunch, Australia were in a good spot. But Jadeja got two balls to rag.

The ideal wicket for ‘Sir’ Jadeja

It was the ideal wicket for Jadeja, in that not every ball spun. But when the balls did bite, they either spin or bounced. But as you can see plenty did very little at all. And because of that Australia had done well with the odd play and miss.

The following image is of Marnus Labuschagne’s dismissal

It may have meant that Labuschagne was feeling pretty good, so this one he saw as another run-scoring opportunity, was dragged out of the crease and he was stumped. You can see that off the middle of the pitch, the ball took up an explosion.

Sadly for Matt Renshaw, he got another next ball that did the same thing. It spun so much that it almost missed the stumps.

This wicket was less important, but Smith was probably the best batter, and Marnus wasn’t far behind. No one else had their permanence or class.

Jadeja only gets better throughout his Tests in India. So that is something to look forward to.

The Nagpur pitch

And this was a tricky wicket. Gone are the days when a Nagpur pitch has nothing to offer. Mind you, it has been quite a long time since Nagpur had a Test match. These days this ground is barely used at all. This is the eleventh first-class game in the last five years. There hasn’t been a Test since 2017, India made 600 in that game, and beat Sri Lanka easily.

So let us not worry too much about the old Nagpur, let’s take a look at the last four first-class matches that were all just a month or two back. You can see from the first innings that they have been tricky. The last game had an early collapse. But overall a score of around 200 seems fair.

So Australia were sub that, but also not massively. But you can see even as it gets easier to bat in the middle innings, no one has gone big. So if India can get past 300 that will be tricky for Australia. But at that total, they might still be in the game.

Why do bowlers bowl around the wicket to David Warner?

They say you should always know where your off-stump is. If Dave Warner is having trouble, we have found it for him.

A lot was made of Warner versus Ashwin, but in truth, Warner has always struggled away from home. And in this case, the Mohammads (Siraj and Shami) are very good against left-handers.

Not that Shami is around the wicket here. That is not an accident of course.

For a long time, no one bowled around the wicket to left-handers outside of Andre Nel. By 2017, bowlers were doing it all the time. We’ve made videos about this before. But Warner’s career shows you really how the trend has gone. You can see that how he has to face bowling completely changes in that year. And remember that 50% of Test balls are usually from right arm seam, so his batting is now different than before.

But you can also see that not all bowlers do it. 2018 was one year where he ran into some bowlers not as keen on it. But mostly everyone does it now as coaching bowlers on that side of the wicket is now a big deal.

You can see that it hasn’t worked for him. He has found it much tougher to work out batting with the ball angling in.

It isn’t enough to finish his career, but enough to stop him from being the Warner earlier in his career. At his age, you would wonder if he can overcome this problem. It will be a tough year for him, he has Ashwin, Siraj and Shami to contend with here, and then later the Ashes. His overall legacy as a Test player might be decided this year. Great player, or a great player at home.

The Travis Head conundrum

One last thing on the Australian batters, Australia had a choice between their left-hand batters - the in-form Travis Head or the comeback kid Matt Renshaw. If Green was fit, he would have played over them. Instead, they picked Renshaw, which has angered South Australians.

But while his form has been incredible in Australia, that is all we have ever seen from Head. You can understand Australia being nervous about playing him.

He certainly wouldn’t have been in my first XI, however, with Green out, as much as I like Renshaw, I would have thought you let Head try to prove you wrong.

They did not, and so they are also missing out on Head’s off-spin (though they already have two offspinners in the team). But they are saying he is in the squad but is the 8th best option.

How does Rohit Sharma approach a Test match innings in India?

Rohit started really quick today - hitting Pat Cummins for 3 fours in the first over. He has been one of the best openers in the world since 2019. At home, he is the best batsman of all time after Bradman.

Sharma adopted an extremely cautious approach on the England tour in 2021 and had a very good series. In contrast, his approach is much different in the first 30 overs of the innings on Indian soil. The following statistics are from all the home series he has played as an opener.

The following is his record against spin and pace respectively

He does not allow the spinners to settle and takes them down.

Sound technique vs pace, punishes the bad balls quite often. Scores boundaries regularly.

He had a control %age of 77 today. The flick was his most productive shot.

Todd Murphy’s first Test wicket - the setup before the dismissal

Australia’s best news today outside the form of Smith and Marnus was probably that Todd Murphy exists. He has 14 wickets in three shield games at 17 this year, and this was what we expected. A tall fast offspinner, who seemed to think through things quickly.

It is worth wondering how in the future it will work with Nathan Lyon also being an off-spinner who gets bounce.