2017 has been a golden year for Indian cricket, we’ve won almost every bi-lateral series and reached the finals of the Champions Trophy. Yet, just like every rose has its thorn, even Team India had a few forgettable bad days at the office that left us fans deeply wounded.
First, the India vs Australia Test match at Pune which the hosts lost by a mammoth 333 runs. Yes, the pitch was poorly prepared but losing by such a massive margin at home is inexcusable. India didn’t make that bad a start to the Test, restricting the visitors to just 260 in the first innings. However, Steven O’Keefe (Australia’s second choice spinner) became the wrecker-in-chief for their batting, with his 6 for 35 leaving India wounded and all out for just 105. In the second innings, O’Keefe again produced magic and reduced the hosts to 107 with the same figures – 6 for 35.
After this, India bounced back in terrific fashion, but considering they were playing at home, they should have mauled Australia a bit more convincingly.
India’s next unfortunate performance came in the finals of Champions Trophy. On paper, they were a far better side than their counterparts Pakistan, but a sizzling 128-run opening partnership between Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali ran water over their plans and helped the men in green post 338. Still, with a team like India, you would expect a strong comeback. Unfortunately, both Hasan Ali and Mohammad Amir found their A-Game and India were skittled out for 158, losing the game by 180 runs. It wouldn’t have been disappointing if it had been a tight match, and we would have credited the team for at least reaching the finals.
Even though India won the 2nd ODI at Pallekele against Sri Lanka, they would rather forget the day. Chasing a target of 237, India were cruising at 109 for no loss. Within the space of 22 runs, they lost seven wickets. Akila Dananjaya, who wasn’t considered a threatening spinner before the match, turned out to be a magician with several tricks up his sleeve. He finished with figures of 6 for 54. So even though Sri Lanka lost, Dananjaya was clearly the man of the match.
Lastly, the first ODI at Dharamsala was a surprising one. You can hope for rainfall in January, but you cannot expect the current Sri Lankan team to hammer India in India. Yet, that’s exactly what happened. India were bowled out for 112, and it was only due to Dhoni’s 65 that they were able to save some face.
You can watch the highlights here.
All said and done, we think India have done a good job, and it is hard for us to add to this list. We hope they continue their good run of form in 2018 too.