During the Australian innings, Ishant Sharma couldn’t hold on to a return catch on his bowling off Ricky Ponting’s blade. Later in the day, Peter Siddle plucked a stunner of his first ball of the match to remove Virender Sehwag. That’s been the difference between India and Australia in this series, to sum it up. In test cricket you need to swing luck in your favour, something which India has not managed to do all through these 4 tests. India have not managed to seize the small moments that add up to whole and so often than not, make the difference between victory and defeat. Low intensity on field, lack of aggression in mindset and collective batting failure have been some of India’s major issues this series.
Australia started day 2 confidently, consistently scoring boundaries and ticking the scoreboard with singles and doubles. Australia was maintaining a very healthy run rate and looked set to better their 1st innings total at Sydney. Some pretty ordinary bowling by India was just helping Australia’s cause. Clarke continued his dream run as Aussie skipper notching up his 5th ton in 12 test matches as captain of Australia. Clarke scored his second 200 of the series just on the brink of lunch break. Australia went for lunch without losing any wicket in the opening session, which for a matter of fact is the 6th such instance in this series. Ponting was meanwhile not out on 198, just 2 runs shy of a double century.
The 2nd session of the day was to go India’s way, at least to a certain extent. India had a great start after lunch as Umesh Yadav disturbed Michael Clarke’s stumps as he was beaten by the sheer pace. Clarke departed after a fine innings of 210. Ponting meanwhile brought up his 6th career double century by pulling a short ball of Umesh Yadav. Michael Hussey and Ponting had started to stitch up another partnership just when Gautam Gambhir came up with a fine piece of fielding and caught Michael Hussey short of his ground. It was a perfect example of how India’s approach should have been, how half chances should have been converted into wickets. Shortly later, Ponting ended his marathon innings (221) as he misguided a pull straight to Sachin Tendulkar at mid-wicket. India managed to sneak in another wicket soon as Ashwin’s mysterious carrom ball accounted for Siddle. The ball took a faint age and went straight into the gloves of Saha, who got his 1st test catch after 140 long overs behind the stumps. Haddin (42) and Ryan Harris (35) ensured that India didn’t got any further success as they batted till declaration was announced on 604/7
India came out with a positive mindset as Sehwag struck a couple of sublime cover drives. But once again, the opening stand couldn’t cross the 30 run mark as Sehwag tossed a full toss straight to Siddle. And Siddel completed an amazing reflexive catch as he grabbed the ball out of nowhere with one hand, whilst still in his follow through. Rahul Dravid couldn’t last much time as he was bowled again, yes you red that right, again ! Ben Hilfenhaus was the exploiter as he showcased the technical flaws of Dravid’s batting. Of last 11 test innings, Dravid has been bowled 9 times, 5 of those coming in this very series. Thereafter, Gautam Gambbhir (30) and Sachin Tendulkar (12) carried India towards the end of day’s play.
It was another day that went Australia’s way, hardly any has gone India’s way this series. However, tomorrow should make for an excited day of cricket as Tendulkar would be in pursuit of his 100th century. What better day to get it than the Republic Day of India !
Brief Score :
Australia (1st inn) : 604/7 dec. in 157 overs( Ponting 221, Clarke 210; Ashwin 196/3, Zaheer 94/2 )
India (1st inn) : 61/2 in 21 overs( Gambhir 30*, Tendulkar 12*; Siddle 13/1, Hilfenhaus 21/1 )