Wriddhiman Saha remained unbeaten after scoring one run © Getty Images
Wriddhiman Saha remained unbeaten after scoring one run © Getty Images

Indian batsmen flourished amid some familiar troubles on the third day at the Adelaide Oval against Australia. While Virat Kohli and company would be pleased with their effort, the real test of the batsmen and the unit begins now, says Devarchit Varma.

India produced a fine performance with the bat on the third day in the first Test after being outplayed on two days on a trot. It would have been heartening to see the way the Indian batsmen took on the Australians and despite facing few troubles, they successfully managed to gain some confidence which will help them and their cause in the longer run on this tough tour. But, this is just the beginning; the real test starts Day Four.

The unfortunate event of Phillip Hughes’ death led to the starting of the series at the Adelaide Oval and not at The Gabba in Brisbane, which has come as a blessing for the team. Adelaide Oval traditionally has a batting wicket; the trend has continued in this Test as well. But the one at The Gabba is not very easy to bat on, especially for batsmen from the subcontinent who are not used to the extra bounce and pace.

Michael Clarke (with all his injuries) as well as David Warner and Steven Smith played with ease on the first two days as Australia piled up a large first innings total. There were always doubts about how India will go about their job with the bat. The lethalness of Australian pace attack promised a testing time for India. But thanks to their batsmen, India have cleared the first hurdle with ease; they head into a crucial time.

India are still 148 runs behind. They do not have many recognised batsmen left apart from the two at the crease. Rohit Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha will have to grind it out to bring this lead down and spend as much time as possible. But the way this pitch has behaved, it is unlikely to witness another 25 wickets (less, if Australia declare their second innings) falling on the last two days. Given that a mere twelve wickets have fallen on the first three days; it will be a near-miracle to see that happening in the last two. Having said that, stranger things have happened in cricket.

However, Adelaide Oval has the history of producing results over the last couple of days irrespective of how the match has panned out in the initial days. The famous India-Australia Test in the 2003-04 series is a perfect example in this regards. Keeping this in mind, India still have a big task in hand.

The Adelaide pitch has not created much trouble for the batsmen. So far it has only assisted bowlers to generate a little bounce — something that Nathan Lyon has used perfectly on Day Three. India should not have a great deal of trouble in thwarting Australia’s challenge early on in the Day Four. They need their last five men to spend great amount of time at the wicket on the fourth day, and this is where the lower-order’s batting skills will be tested. Karn Sharma can bat; Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma are not rank tail-enders; their side needs them to hang around for as long as possible.

Unless something drastic happens the Test seems to be heading towards a draw. If India manage to pull off a good show on Day Four, they should be pleased by having not started this rigorous tour on a losing note. Their batsmen will take a lot of heart, having gained the much-needed confidence of scoring runs in Australia.

But the real test will actually start December 17 when the series moves to Brisbane. One would expect Mitchell Johnson and company to go really hard on India, where the ball will do the talking as compared to the bat in Adelaide Oval. The tourists will be tested to the limits.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)