Delivering an ace on match point

India’s batting stars were inexplicably and hopelessly out-of-their depth at Perth.

- Jaideep Varma & Jatin Thakkar

A thrashing once more - India's Team IMPACT on the game was a meagre 1.23 while Australia's touched 2.64 - an embarrassing difference for India.

The IMPACT scorecard for the match. All figures between 0 to 5.



* In a career context, these figures will be restricted between 0 and 5, with 5 as the highest on the IMPACT Index scale. In a match context though, the unrestricted figures tell their own stories.



Observations:

Most interestingly, David Warner's 180 in this match had a higher impact than Michael Clarke's unbeaten 329 in the Test just before this (Warner had a Batting IMPACT of 10.85. Clarke's was 9.81). It's not so difficult to quite understand why - this is where match context has its say, and corrects the skews of conventional statistics - Warner's 180 came in a team total of 369 where they were all out, and the next highest score was 30, besides his opening partner's 74. Clarke's 329 came in a score of 654 for just 4 wickets and there were two other big hundreds in that innings (and India's performances were equally miserable at both venues relatively). There were considerably more runs in the Sydney pitch than in the Perth pitch.

Warner's innings was exceptional for the manner in which he blasted the Indians out of the game in a very short time. Much like Sehwag (his captain in the IPL when he'd barely begun his first-class career) has got throughout his career, Warner got Strike rate IMPACT points in the match - a rarity in Test cricket - a considerable 1.57 in this case.

Given how the other Australian batsmen fared, Warner's 214-run opening partnership with Ed Cowan was perhaps the crucial difference in the match. Cowan's Batting IMPACT of 4.16 for his 74 was a big contributor to his team's cause and had the fourth-highest impact on the game.

Siddle and Hilfenhaus (who is certainly heading for a Man-of-the-Series award, if the adjudicating panel gets it right) had the highest impact amongst bowlers in the match. Siddle got 6 wickets, Hilfenhaus 8, but Siddle's Bowling IMPACT of 4.80 was slightly higher mainly because all his wickets were top/middle-order wickets while Hilfenhaus took 4 lower-order wickets. Ryan Harris's reasonable Bowling IMPACT of 1.68 camouflaged the Economy IMPACT he had in the second innings - of 0.42 (for bowling 18 overs for 33 runs) which would have helped all the other bowlers in his side.

Virat Kohli was impressive - his knocks of 44 and 75 got him a Batting IMPACT of 3.83 for the match. Given that the conditions were not easy, this should be a huge confidence-booster for him. If he continues playing like this and given that a new era of Indian cricket seems around the corner, it is not far-fetched to see Kohli as Indian captain perhaps just 2 years down the line. His 2007 triumph as India's Under-19 captain is still remembered.

India's batting stars were inexplicably, and hopelessly, out-of-their depth. Only Dravid and Gambhir (narrowly) crossed an IMPACT of 1 for the match. Laxman's third consecutive failure to do so in the series might just signal the end of a great, and going by the ridiculous sabre-rattling around his preferred omission by the famously objective and balanced Indian media, still a highly underrated career.

Umesh Yadav bowled well on the second day - perhaps after the horse had bolted, but it was still a spirited performance that led the way for no other Australian batsman having much of an impact on the game after the opening stand was broken. Vinay Kumar was expectedly mediocre and Zaheer Khan unfortunately did not bowl as well as he has earlier in the series. Ishant Sharma was predictably the lowest impact Indian player, as he has been for a long time. It is surprising no-one has made a strong case for his omission - his case is actually stronger than anyone else's in this Indian team.

Dhoni finally looks unambiguously burnt out. For him, at the age of 31, to be a casualty of international cricket along with veterans over 7 years older than him, is a bad sign for Indian cricket. However, in this age of profit-over-everything-else, this will probably not cause BCCI any sleepless nights. Not with IPL just around the corner.

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