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India’s Unmatched Defeat Against Australia Shows Test Cricket Is Not Dead

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What a test match! Who says test match cricket is dead?

Image Courtesy; freepressjournal

Australia locked the first place in the ICC World Test Championship as they defeated India by 8 wickets in a slugfest. India was playing their first overseas day-night test in Adelaide as Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first in a belter of a pitch.

Team News

Cameron Green became Australia’s 459th test cricketer as he was presented the baggy green by his teammate Pat Cummins. David Warner’s groin injury gave Mathew Wade a chance to open the batting for his country for the very first time in test match cricket. Surprisingly, Wriddhiman Saha was picket over Rishabh Pant, who scored a 73-ball century in the warm-up match against Australia A. Prithvi Shaw was picked over Shubman Gill. Both India and Australia had three proper pace bowling options in their respective squads.

Prithvi Shaw’s Terrible Form Continues

Prithvi Shaw managed to score only four runs in the match as Australian bowlers exploited his weakness. Mitchell Starc strikes in his very first over as Prithvi fails to score again and goes for a duck in his first innings. However, he started well in his second innings by scoring 4 runs in 3 balls but again got out in a similar fashion.

“It’s a real concern. You see the first innings dismissal…. the backlift is coming from the second or third slip. These guys (Australian pacers) are too good. You are talking about the best bowlers and they are not going to let Prithvi Shaw get away with that backlift,” former England opener Nick Knight said after the close of the second day’s play on Extraaa Innings, studio show for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series on Sony Six channels.

Prithvi Shaw has struggled versus the fast bowlers lately. Even in the IPL, he was not able to score runs against the pace bowlers. Prithvi Shaw also failed to score runs in the warm-up match against Australia A, scoring 0, 19, 40, and 3 in his four innings. On the other hand, Gill was looking in much better touch as he scored 0, 29, 43, and 65. Thus, many were surprised and questioned the selection of Prithvi Shaw over Gill. Especially, when the pink-ball works in favour of swing bowlers and you have names like Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazelwood in the opponent team.  

Tim Paine won the man of the match for his performance.

Tim Paine, Not So Temporary Captain

Have you ever heard the word, temporary captain? Well, Tim Paine is surely not one of them. Although, there were questions about Tim Paine and his captaincy before the start of the tour. Tim Paine shuts down the media by scoring his highest score in Adelaide. Australia was 79/5 when Tim Paine walked in and, all Australia needed at that time was a partnership. Marnus and Paine were looking good before Umesh got Marnus LBW. It was all Tim Paine after that. He was batting with obvious attacking intent. Paine got a bit of support from Starc 15(16) and Lyon 10(21). Paine top-scored with an unbeaten 73, including 10 boundaries, before India, bowled out Australia for 191 on the second day of the test match. He also won the man of the match for his performance.

In The Air… And Dropped

While India’s bowling was exceptional in the first innings, India’s fielding was not really up to the mark. A total number of five catches was dropped by the Indian team. Remember, this is not the first time Indians are being sloppy with the fielding in this tour. India has dropped quite a number of catches in the One-day series and T20I series as well. Imagine a batsman getting three chances in a test match; Marnus Labuschagne was a lucky stiff that day. Marnus was first dropped when he was batting at 4 runs, Bumrah got Marnus with a length ball, that took the edge and keeper Saha drops it. Bumrah was not aware of the boundary rope as Marnus was again dropped by Bumrah at fine leg when he was batting at 12. Prithvi Shaw dropped the simplest of all catches at square leg as Marnus went on scoring 47.

All I can think of is the Indians are in a Christmas mood. Giving their Christmas gifts a week early” said, Sunil Gavaskar.  

Later on, when Australia was on the verge of collapse, Mayank Agarwal dropped a regulation catch of Tim Paine. That catch proved India costly as Paine went on scoring important innings for his team. Wriddhiman Saha again dropped a catch. This time it was Mitchell Starc; this was a tough one though. Mayank and Paine decided to switch roles as Paine dropped Mayank at the early stages of the third innings when India came to bat. Although, Virat Kohli did took a screamer of debutant Cameron Green; it is time India should pay equal attention to their fielding along with the batting and bowling or probably reconsider the choice of fielding coach.

Australia beat India by eight wickets(Credits: Twitter)

“The Great Indian Collapse”

Where the Indian bowling unit is performing really well in overseas conditions for the last couple of years; India’s batting is a bit of concern for the management. Batsmen are not able to carry forward the partnerships. We rarely score big opening partnerships in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia) countries. Most wickets in SENA countries offer extra pace or extra bounce and it is quite obvious that we struggle against pace or extra bounce. Earlier this year, when India was touring New Zealand for two test matches, India was only able to register the totals of 124, 165, 191, and 242 in their four test innings.

India had a 53 run lead when they came to bat in the third innings. Night-watchmen Bumrah survived initial deliveries as India finished with a total of 9/1 at the end of day two. India had a healthy 62 lead when they came to bat on day 3. After that, it was all Pat Cummins and Josh Hazelwood. They were trying to angle the bowl in; trying to go through batsmen’s defense. Cummins got the wicket of Bumrah in the second over. Soon after, he got Pujara behind the stumps. Hazelwood got the wicket of Agarwal in the first bowl of his spell. Kohli attempted a cover drive but was caught at gully. From 9/1 to 19/6, Australian bowlers were persistent as they were using the extra bounce the pitch was offering and bowling on the right areas. They wrapped up the tail quickly as India scored only 36, their lowest score in test cricket. 

India’s lowest scores in Test cricket:

Score Opposition Ground Year
36 Australia Adelaide 2020
42 England Lord’s 1974
58 Australia Brisbane 1947
58 England Manchester 1952
66 South Africa Durban 1996

Australians bowlers caused absolute carnage as India registered their lowest total ever in test cricket. India was only able to post 36 on the board with no batsmen scoring runs in double figures. Josh Hazelwood bagged his 200th wicket and he became the 17th highest wicket-taker for Australia. He also became the 18th Australian bowler to surpass 200 wickets. Hazelwood and Cummins finished with the figures of 5-3-8-5 and 10.2-4-21-4. Joe Burns scored a career-saving fifty as Australia chased down the total comfortably as they go 1-0 up in the Border-Gavaskar trophy.  

Boxing Day Test At MCG

David Warner has finally recovered from his groin injury and might return to the Australian camp. Sean Abbott and Will Pucovski also return to the squad. Australia might give another chance to Cameron Green. Siraj/Saini will replace Shami and India may bring Rishabh Pant in place of Wriddhiman Saha as a wicket-keeping option. With Kohli not available from the second match (Paternity leave) and Shami ruled out for the rest of the series due to wrist injury, it will be really interesting to see how things roll out in the Boxing Day Test.  

Interesting Facets About The Match

  • This is the first time in 26 Tests India have lost when Virat Kohli had won the toss.
  • Only once since 2010 have a side dropped more chances in an innings against Australia. That was when Sri Lanka dropped seven, in 2016.
  • None of the Indian batsmen could manage to score in double figures, something which hasn’t happened with the team in Test cricket since 1924.
  • Interestingly, India’s lowest Test score also came on the same day they made their highest total exactly four years ago in Chennai. A Karun Nair triple hundred saw India score 759 for 7 (declared) against England at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on December 16, 2016.
  • This is the 35th time India lost the first Test of a series (2+ Tests) outside Asia – they ended up losing the series in 31 of those with three ending in a draw. 
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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