Wednesday, January 4, 2012

4th Jan' 2012 : Day 2, Sydney

Yesterday I had mentioned that India needed quick wickets early in the morning to come back into the game, else Aussies would run away with the controls of the match. The match commentators & various day end match evaluations had predicted an Indian resurgence today, hoping for a collapse of the brittle Australian batting. All such speculations & predictions were dusted to ground as the Indian attack was decimated & blown away to smithereens. At the end of play yesterday, the match was still evenly poised, though Australia had their nose in the front. Today, they simply batted India out of the game....die hard Indian optimists may still debate this by giving example of the 2001 test match at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, between these two nations, where India managed victory from the jaws of defeat, but honestly such an encore looks unimaginable & near impossible at this stage!!!!....

Both overnight batsmen, Clarke & Ponting looked confident & comfortable at the crease from the morning, while the Indian bowling looked pedestrian & jaded....as if they had already given up. Dhoni's field placements once again left onlookers confused & the fielders moved around with drooping shoulders, as runs came at a rather fast clip. It was a lethargic, winds-out of sail India on the field, bowlers bowling dollies instead of probing length, with captain Dhoni looking defensive in approach from the beginning, as the Aussies raced ahead, without any trouble.
While Clarke looked in sublime form with superb strokes to remain unbeaten at 251 at the end of the day, his maiden test double hundred, Ponting got to a hard fought 134, his 40th test century, as the partnership added 288 runs. To add misery to the already deflated Indian attack, Hussey, coming in after Ponting's departure scored a quickfire 55 unbeaten runs, adding 157 runs with Clarke, as the innings total reached 482 for 4 in 116 overs......the lead extending to 291 runs, with six wickets intact. India managed to claim only one wicket in the entire day....that of Ricky Ponting, but not before the veteran batsmen had redeemed himself with a well deserved century, his first in almost two years & 33 innings......his anxious wife with their child on her lap, smiling in the pavilion. It must have been really tough for them over the last year or so, as there were questions raised on his ability to perform any further......failure in this series would have certainly meant curtains to his illustrious career.
While Clarke caressed onto his 18th test century, Ponting survived a tentative period in his 90s.....& on 99, he dabbed Ishant Sharma to mid on & scampered for a run, as Zaheer picked up the ball & threw at the wickets...it missed by inches, as Ponting lunged to the crease, a relieved man.....sprawled on the ground, shirt smeared with dirt, a slight smile forming for the champion batsman...finally a century for him !!!

For India now, it looks an uphill task to save the match....a near impossible task, as the Australian batsmen will come back hard tomorrow to add to the total. Clarke, batting beautifully on 251, would be eyeing the first ever individual test 300 runs at this ground & Hussey would surely like to reach his three figure mark.....there is Haddin to follow & then Pattinson & Siddle, both capable to tanking runs. Indian batting card has huge names on paper, but on current form, going through bottomless misery, having failed to go beyond 300 runs even once in the last 11 innings, fails to inspire any confidence......only Sachin looks composed at the crease & is stroking well, but he too is bogged down with the prospect of his 100th century....others have been simply struggling, barring brief patches of brilliance.
The match is just two days old & the lead is already 291 runs, putting the Aussies in the drivers seat to go 2-0 up in the series. It will be a real surprise if they don't.....

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