At the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur on Saturday, India defeated Australia by innings and 132 runs in the opening Test of the four-match series. India dismissed Australia for 91 runs in the visitors’ second innings thanks to Ravichandran Ashwin’s five-wicket haul, Ravindra Jadeja’s two, and Mohammed Shami’s two each. Prior to it, the hosts were guided to 400 all out by Rohit Sharma’s 120 and Axar Patel’s 84, giving them a 223-run first-innings lead. Australia was reduced to 177 points by India after visiting captain Pat Cummins decided to bat first.
As India dominated the entire match, Australia was never truly in it. The problems of the visitors were exacerbated by some subpar fielding. One of the telling examples would be Scott Boland dropping Mohammed Shami’s catch at long-on. Nathan Lyon threw a delivery of a nice length area to Shami on the first ball of the 122nd over, and Shami chose to go for a big one. Boland caught the ball at long-on after it flew high in the air because of the imperfect connection. Boland accidentally missed what was a legal catch, shocking everyone.
Former Australia hitter Matthew Hayden defended Boland during the English commentary, pointing out that the stand’s shade was a major factor in making the catch challenging for Boland. “You have got that shaded area. Ball goes high through that and drops into that shaded area. The contrast (puts) some difficulty in the eyeliners,” said Hayden. Reacting to it, former India cricketer and ex-coach Ravi Shastri said: “Is that an excuse Haydos? For a catch like that at this level.” “No way,” said Hayden in reply.
As Shami, who was batting on 6, went on to hit 37 runs off 47 balls, helping India post a significant total in their lone innings of the game, the dropped catch proved costly for Australia.