India vs Australia 2017

Against Australia, India face a challenge they haven’t seen this season – a quality bowling attack

Mitchell Starc and Co possess sufficient ammunition to challenge India at home.

Eight losses and two draws. That’s the tally for Australia in Tests in India since their famous Test series victory in 2004. Australia are currently on a seven-game losing skid in the country Steve Waugh monikered “final frontier”.

The team from Down Under has undergone a bit of a facelift in the last three months as some of the players were axed quite ruthlessly after defeat to South Africa at home. While they may not boast the experience and wealth of runs in their line up like many of the previous Aussie sides to visit India, they still hold sufficient ammunition in the bowling department to challenge the hosts, who are on impressive home streak of their own.

New Zealand, England and Bangladesh combined to play nine Tests in India in the 2016-’17 season and only England salvaged a draw – just once. The annihilation of the opposition by India on their home soil has been complete, and their dominance, total.

Even before Australia set foot in India, there has been talk of India steamrollering them through the four Tests, and there is some validity to it; the form of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja coupled with the run production from the Indian batsmen. However, Australia possess something in their arsenal that none of the three earlier visitors had: A top quality bowling attack spearheaded by an out-and-out pacer who also happens to be a left-armer.

Australia’s fast bowling arsenal

Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon and Steven O’Keefe figure to be the main components of the Australian bowling attack that India will have to contend with in the series. There are further pace options in Jackson Bird and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, as well as spinning choices in young Mitchell Swepson and Ashton Agar.

Play

While India faced the pace of Trent Boult, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Taskin Ahmed et al., none of them possessed the lethal combination of pace and swing like Mitchell Starc. The left-arm pacer especially is deadly to opening batsmen; 30% of his 143 Test wickets are of batsmen that opened the innings.

This coupled with the fact India have utilised eight different opening combinations and the preferred KL Rahul-Murali Vijay duo average less than 19 runs per innings together, provides the perfect opportunity for Australia to make early inroads, and force the Indian middle order bulwark to deal with Starc and the new ball.

The other dimension to Starc is that his pace – regularly in the high 140ks – will be something the Indian lower-order batsmen have not had to deal with in the recent nine home Tests. The lower order has routinely bailed out India from trouble by forging valuable partnerships amongst themselves or provided company to top-order batsmen to pile on large totals. If Starc’s pace could limit India’s ability to extend their innings by disposing off the contributions from the bowlers, it increases Australia’s chances and limits the scoreboard pressure that Indian spinners could apply on the Aussie batsmen.

Hazlewood, amongst the top-ranked bowlers in the world, has the metronomic accuracy and nous of his idol, Glenn McGrath. His relentless attack on a length that does not allow batsmen to easily come forward and hang back, and the discipline to maintain specific lines of attack, have seen him collect his 109 Test wickets at an average of under 25, while going at just 2.8 runs an over. He is durable – has missed just one Test through forced rest – since his debut and has the ability to bowl long spells. This will provide the control that Steve Smith will need to keep the Indian batsmen quiet from at least one end, while he could resort to attack from the other.

Spin challenge

Nathan Lyon, the most experienced player in this Australian side, is also the most successful off-spinner in Australian Test history, and trails only Shane Warne and Richie Benaud in career wickets. He has been perennially underrated, and has routinely proved his detractors wrong; since his debut, he has appeared in 63 of the 66 Tests that Australia played. Australia is supposed to he place where finger spinners are not expected to be successful but Lyon has found ways to thrive even there.

With the experience of playing in India in 2013, during which he picked his career-best innings haul at Delhi (7/94), Lyon is far superior to any of the spinners that India have faced this home season. He achieved his second-best figures against India as well – in Adelaide 2014 – and the confidence of having done well against Indian batsmen will hold Lyon in good stead.

The fourth bowling option will be between left-arm spinner Steven O’Keefe (likely) and pacer Jackson Bird (when conditions allow). O’Keefe will be expected to play a role not very dissimilar to that of India’s Jadeja, which is to keep the scoring down by utilising tight lines. Bird is a dependable third seamer, with prior experience and success of opening the bowling for Australia.

If India do however provide playing surfaces that turn form the get go, Australia have Mitchell Swepson, a leg spinner who has shown tremendous promise in his young cricketing career and even received backing from Shane Warne, as well as the left arm spin of Agar.

No Test match is easy. Even as India have rolled over all visitors this season, it hasn’t been entirely easy. However, they will soon find out how much harder it is to win against an opposition that has a well-rounded and experienced bowling attack. If Australian batsmen challenge India as much as their bowlers, we are in for a real treat over the next few weeks.

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How technology is changing the way Indians work

An extensive survey reveals the forces that are shaping our new workforce 

Shreya Srivastav, 28, a sales professional, logs in from a cafe. After catching up on email, she connects with her colleagues to discuss, exchange notes and crunch numbers coming in from across India and the world. Shreya who works out of the café most of the time, is employed with an MNC and is a ‘remote worker’. At her company headquarters, there are many who defy the stereotype of a big company workforce - the marketing professional who by necessity is a ‘meeting-hopper’ on the office campus or those who have no fixed desks and are often found hobnobbing with their colleagues in the corridors for work. There are also the typical deskbound knowledge workers.

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Smart is the way forward

According to the Future Workforce Study conducted by Dell, three in five working Indians surveyed said that they were likely to quit their job if their work technology did not meet their standards. Everyone knows the frustration caused by slow or broken technology – in fact 41% of the working Indians surveyed identified this as the biggest waste of time at work. A ‘Smart workplace’ translates into fast, efficient and anytime-anywhere access to data, applications and other resources. Technology adoption is thus a major factor in an employee’s choice of place of work.

Openness to new technologies

While young professionals want their companies to get the basics right, they are also open to new technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence. The Dell study clearly reflects this trend — 93% of Indians surveyed are willing to use Augmented/Virtual Reality at work and 90% say Artificial Intelligence would make their jobs easier. The use of these technologies is no longer just a novelty project at firms. For example, ThysenKrupp, the elevator manufacturer uses VR to help its maintenance technician visualize an elevator repair job before he reaches the site. In India, startups such as vPhrase and Fluid AI are evolving AI solutions in the field of data processing and predictive analysis.

Desire for flexibility 

A majority of Indians surveyed rate freedom to bring their own devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones etc.) to work very highly. This should not be surprising, personal devices are usually highly customized to an individual’s requirements and help increase their productivity. For example, some may prefer a high-performance system while others may prioritize portability over anything else. Half the working Indians surveyed also feel that the flexibility of work location enhances productivity and enables better work-life balance. Work-life balance is fast emerging as one of the top drivers of workplace happiness for employees and initiatives aimed at it are finding their way to the priority list of business leaders.

Maintaining close collaboration 

While flexible working is here to stay, there is great value in collaborating in person in the office. When people work face to face, they can pick up verbal and body language cues, respond to each other better and build connections. Thus, companies are trying to implement technology that boosts seamless collaboration, even when teams are working remotely. Work place collaboration tools like Slack and Trello help employees keep in touch and manage projects from different locations. The usage of Skype has also become common. Companies like Dell are also working on hi-tech tools such as devices which boost connectivity in the most remote locations and responsive videos screens which make people across geographies feel like they are interacting face to face.

Rise of Data Security 

All these trends involve a massive amount of data being stored and exchanged online. With this comes the inevitable anxiety around data security. Apart from more data being online, security threats have also evolved to become sophisticated cyber-attacks which traditional security systems cannot handle. The Dell study shows that about 74% of those surveyed ranked data security measures as their number one priority. This level of concern about data security has made the new Indian workforce very willing to consider new solutions such as biometric authentication and advanced encryption in work systems.

Technology is at the core of change, whether in the context of an enterprise as a whole, the workforce or the individual employee. Dell, in their study of working professionals, identified five distinct personas — the Remote Workers, the On-The-Go Workers, the Desk-centric Workers, the Corridor Warriors and the Specialized Workers.

Dell has developed a range of laptops in the Dell Latitude series to suit each of these personas and match their requirements in terms of ease, speed and power. To know more about the ‘types of professionals’ and how the Dell Latitude laptops serve each, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Dell and not by the Scroll editorial team.