First Test make or break in India: Gilly

Australia must heed the lesson from England’s recent tour and not let the first Test against India slip away if the Pune match is winnable, Adam Gilchrist says.


The former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman believes a 2-1 upset win by the visitors in the four-Test series against world No.1 India, beginning on Thursday, is possible.

But only if they clinch the series opener – something England was incapable of doing when India batted out a draw in November before the tourists capitulated to a 4-0 loss from five Tests.

“If you can get into the first match, you can get into the series,” Gilchrist told 5AA radio.

“They (England) were really in the match all the way through. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the result.

“They just lost a bit of momentum at the back end of that match … and India came out firing in the second Test and basically from there clean swept them.

“Once momentum disappeared, it’s hard to claw back.”

Australian selectors appear likely to axe No.3 batsman Usman Khawaja and all-rounder Hilton Cartwright for brothers Shaun and Mitchell Marsh in the first Test.

For consistency, Gilchrist backed Matt Renshaw to retain his spot, despite the 20-year-old having almost no experience on the subcontinent and recording a double failure in a recent tour match.

“I hate this chopping and changing and coming and going – a huge turnover of players in all international teams at the moment for Australia,” Gilchrist said.

“I think they’ve got to try and show some stability and give him (Renshaw) a chance.”

Gilchrist, who scored two Test hundreds in India but averaged just 28.5 there, believes Australia’s attack should consist of its best bowlers, regardless of whether they are pace or spin.

That would mean seamer Jackson Bird getting the nod ahead of tweaker Steve O’Keefe, he said.