The case of the missing gully
Ajinkya Rahane's early runs usually come in the form of dabs through the third-man region. It's intriguing that the Australians haven't really noticed this. They were happy to place only a couple of slips against him to begin with, and later a token fielder at fourth slip for a few balls. While they keep bowling the sixth-seventh stump line throughout, the reluctance to place a fielder at gully for the entire duration of Rahane's innings against pace was interesting to note.
Wide? Go close
Before this game, Virat Kohli had only 46 runs against Australia in six innings this year. Three times in those six innings he got out driving the full and wide ball early in his innings. Today, Australia laid the same trap again. This time Kohli stood on middle stump and his trigger movement took him onto the off. There are only two ways to handle balls that are too wide - leave them alone or get closer to them. Here, Kohli chose the latter. But once he got set and Smith opted for a 5-4 off-side field, Kohli stopped walking across. So much so, that he eliminated his trigger movement completely from time to time. He started staying inside the line a lot to work the ball on both sides of the pitch.
What works in Chennai doesn't in Kolkata
Just like they did in Chennai, the Australian bowlers bowled the short-pitched deliveries a fair way outside off. In Chennai they dismissed both Rohit Sharma and Kedar Jadhav with this tactic, but in Kolkata the same ploy didn't work against Kohli. Both Rohit and Jadhav tried to drag the ball from outside off and were dismissed in the process in Chennai. Kohli hit the same balls through the mid-on and midwicket regions; had he tried to drag them square, he might have got out in the same fashion.
Today, Steven Smith's utilisation of his bowling resources was spot on. While some of it was definitely dictated by the Kolkata heat and humidity, he must be given credit for rotating his bowlers nicely. Barring the first slightly long spell, he used them in two-over busts and mostly used them as wicket-taking options. He didn't shy away from giving them slip fielders too. The overriding theme of his bowling changes and field positioning was the attempt to take wickets.
Bhuvneshwar's trick against Cartwright
Bhuvneshwar Kumar's control over his wrist was impeccable with the new ball. The first over he bowled had one ball going away and the next coming in. He continued this pattern over six balls. For the ball that dismissed Cartwright he went to the corner of the popping crease. While the change in angle might have led the batsman to expect an inswinger, he bowled an outswinger. While the angle prevented the ball from swinging away prodigiously, it moved enough to force the batsman to play outside the line, which resulted in a huge gap between bat and pad. He was castled.
Maxwell and the high-risk play
Glenn Maxwell opened his account with a six and followed it with another six. Maxwell's ability to hit sixes is exceptional, which to some extent shows his comfort against spin. Since he has also scored a Test ton in India, it's only fair to assume that he has other gears too. Still, he chooses to play a high-risk game irrespective of the circumstances. He's a match-winner when he's in a team full of match-winners, but can appear average otherwise. He needs to unravel a new style if Australia are to stage a comeback in this series.
Kuldeep Yadav's value
It wasn't easy to bowl wristspin because the ball was quite wet. Kuldeep wasn't having a great day either till Wade chopped an innocuous ball back onto the stumps. While the talk is mostly about his mystery and how it's making it difficult to pick him, we must not forget that it's not just the variations that he brings to the table. Variations, sooner or later, will be found out, but the fact that he bowls a lot fuller will hold him in good stead. Pitching fuller will leak a few runs once in a while but that will also keep presenting him with chances to pick up wickets.