Thursday, January 5, 2012

5th Jan' 2012 : Day 3, Sydney

The day proceeded almost as expected, with Australia tightening their noose on the match, & India ending the day, still 354 runs behind, having already lost two wickets.....losing the match almost a certainty.

The day started with theme support of the Jane McGrath Foundation( an initiative started by Glen Mcgrath in fond memory of his wife Jane, who died of breast cancer). A large section of the crowd came dressed in colour pink. Ex players like Brett Lee went a step ahead & had also streaked their hair pink along with the dress. The players trooped out, shaking hands with Glen McGrath, handing him pink autographed caps.... it all looked very celebrative.
The first hour of the day saw the overnight batsmen Clarke & Hussey, struggle a bit for runs, as the Indian bowlers were more disciplined in length & line. But then seemingly the grip loosened & the fielders started to appear jaded, as the batsmen started to find the boundaries & runs started to flow. Clarke, in sublime form got to his maiden triple hundred & went on to reach 329, while Hussey got to 150 runs, both unbeaten till the end. At the end of 163 overs, with the score at 659 for 4 & an imposing lead of 468, Clarke called for declaration. Clearly the man was not running for personal milestones, considering he was just 71 runs behind Brian Lara's highest individual score, & batting beautifully till now. He was more keen to give his bowlers enough time to rout the visitors out of the game & series.

India needed a strong opening partnership to create a platform for any possible fightback. But Sehwag got out to a stunning catch by Warner at point off Hilfenhaus, for just 4 runs, bring in Rahul Dravid. Thereafter, both Rahul & Gambhir tried their best to put  up a stiff resistance, adding 82 runs in 23 overs & taking the total to 100 run. Gambhir thankfully was more assertive in this innings & timed quite a few boundaries, reaching his first fifty of the series. Just when, it seemed that the pair was settling down for a long partnership, Dravid fell to Hilfenhaus, bowled once again for a grafting 29 runs. Next man in, Sachin Tendulkar, brought murmurs in the crowd.....once again the anticipation of his 100th hundred !!! However, both batsmen went into some kind of a shell, defending gingerly, & the score stuck at 105 for 2 for almost 45 mins, as the bowlers got maidens after maidens. In the final three overs of the day, there was drama, as both the batsmen survived close calls.....Sachin edged Hilfenhaus just over his stumps & Gambhir was dropped by Haddin behind off Pattinson,...a simple regulation catch, as the Indian camp heaved a sigh of relief. At the end of the day, India were at 114 for 2, with Gambhir batting at 68 & Sachin at 8.....surviving to fight another day.

For India, Gambhir has been able to strike some form in this innings & Sachin has been in good nick in this series. Both have survived close calls today, & therefore do not give enough reasons to build confidence. Beyond this, Laxman has been struggling  uptill now as has Dhoni & Kohli.....which means, India as of now is staring at the wrong end of the barrel....a defeat almost a certainty. The pitch does not hold demons as demonstrated by the Aussie batsmen, but the mountainous climb of another 354 runs for India seems quite improbable, lest miracles happen.......
What can save India now ????? Would it be rains or would it be an encore by Sachin or Laxman or Gambhir..... or a century by one of the tailenders ???? & India managing to bat out two more days against this disciplined & committed Australian attack ????.....pipe dreams or delusions.....either ways, the first session tomorrow will probably bare the reality.
For me, as a cricket enthusiast like millions across the globe, I look forward to a good game of cricket on the field....waking up at 5.00am would then still make sense......