Tuesday, January 3, 2012

3rd Jan' 2012 : Day - 1, Sydney

The 2nd test match of this series got underway at Sydney, with dismal batting performance, especially from India. Both teams having retained the same squad from the last match, Dhoni won the toss for India & elected to bat  on a sun drenched morning at the SCG.

What India needed was a solid opening partnership to lay the foundation, & Gambhir, whose miserable form continued, snicked the 3rd ball of the match from Pattinson to Clarke in the slips, without any runs on the board. Dravid in next, looked in good nick, as Sehwag at the other end, though edgy, got to his usual flair of hitting across the line. However, this did not last long enough to cause damage to the Aussie bowling, who continued to maintain the length & line outside the offstump with occasional short stuff. Dravid perished in the 11th over, flicking Siddle to short leg, as the score read 30 for 2. Tendulkar walked in to a thunderous welcome, the crowd expecting nothing less than a century, & he looked & middled the ball with assurance. Sehwag was the next to go, failing to capitalize on a dropped chance, as Pattinson removed him in the 19th over, caught behind for 30 runs. Laxman too failed, snicking Pattinson to Marsh in the slips shortly, as the score card read a miserable 59 for 4......the top order caving in yet again. Lunch certainly tasted bitter, as India was struggling with Sachin & Virat Kohli at the crease....score reading 72 for 4. Just when Kohli looked like settling down with Sachin into a fine partnership, Siddle removed him caught behind for 23, well made runs, & the total at 95 for 5. All the good work of hanging in for around 40 deliveries gone waste, as skipper Dhoni walked in. Tendulkar playing with aplomb, hitting sweetly timed boundaries, was giving the Indian dressing room reasons to cheer, when out of nowhere, he inside edged Pattinson onto his stumps....the score reading 124 for 6, & all hopes of an Indian batting resurgence going up in smoke.... Dhoni & Ashwin tried their best to delay the collapse & pushed the score to 178. But just before tea, Hilfenhaus removed Ashwin & Zaheer off successive deliveries to reduce India to 178 for 8. The tail lasted only enough for Dhoni to get his fifty, as India was bowled out for a miserable 191 in 60 overs.....Dhoni remaining undefeated for 57 fighting runs, amidst ruins. Pattinsson was the pick of the Aussie attack with 4 for 43, getting able support from Siddle with 3 for 55 & Hilfenhaus with 3 for 51.

After a dismal 1st innings batting performance & letting Australia seemingly run away with reins of the match, the only way for India to get back, was to strike early. The onus was on the experienced Zaheer, & he did just that by removing the dangerous David Warner, in the very first over of the innings. Immediately thereafter, he removed Shaun Marsh & then a little later Ed Cowan.....all the three left handers gone for Australia, as the score read 37 for 3....Zaheer was looking menacing & his figures read an extremely impressive 5-0-23-3.
However, thereafter, veteran Ponting along with skipper Clarke, settled down to lay solidity to the brittle top order, & at the end of day's play, Australian scorecard read a comfortable 116 for 3, just 75 runs behind India's total, .....Ponting on 44 & Clarke on 47 respectively....the partnership already having added 79 runs.
13 wickets have tumbled in the day, with bowlers gaining the upper hand on the 1st day's play...though the pitch did not show any demons....it was poor batting display & inspired bowling efforts from a purist point of view.
Tomorrow's 1st session would probably be very crucial for both the teams. If India manages to break the partnership of Ponting & Clarke early, then they can run through the inexperienced Aussie batting line up, with only Hussey & Haddin to follow & make the match competitive. On the other hand, if the Aussie pair settles into a long stay at the crease, the later batsmen will then most certainly flay the Indian attack for a huge total & then buckle the Indian batting 2nd time over....pitch report says, that the next two days would be ideal for batting !!!! The Kangaroos are tails up as of now....

Lets hope for some good absorbing cricket tomorrow.....