All eyes on Kohli’s captaincy as India look to level series

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Virat Kohli

This is Australian cricket’s new reality at least for now. Even a win in a truncated T20I will be hailed as a significant moment in a possible renaissance. Wednesday in Brisbane was only their sixth win in 23 internationals since the sandpaper came out in Cape Town. Three of those wins have been against Zimbabwe and UAE. Imagine starting this big India tour with a defeat. India already have eyes set on their first-ever Test series win in Australia. A win at the start of the tour is expected to lift Australia’s spirit, or at least not let them be dispirited.

Make no mistake, it was a good win. Everything was against Australia. They were batting first in an increasingly bowl-first game, rain robbed them of all the batting momentum they had built, and they had to contend with the disadvantage of being the side not chasing in a rain-affected match.

India should be bitterly disappointed they let Australia get away with this one. They were given a sneak peek into what Hardik Pandya’s absence costs them. They are wary of going in without an allrounder, so Krunal Pandya had to play. They are also wary of playing three spinners, so one of their two match-winning wristspinners had to sit out. They didn’t get their match-ups right – Jasprit Bumrah didn’t bowl to Chris Lynn at all even though he has a great record against the big hitter.

Captain Virat Kohli also sacrificed his No. 3 position to accommodate KL Rahul, which on the surface is an experiment worth trying two years before a World T20. But Kohli needs to ascertain the cost and benefit of it swiftly.

Given the slip-ups in the first game, all eyes will be on Kohli’s captaincy on Friday. (Excerpted from ESPNCricinfo)

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