Friday, October 10, 2008
Australia build good total but India come out fighting: First Test day 2
India 0/68 trail Australia 430 (M Hussey 146, R Ponting 123, Zaheer Khan 5/91, I Sharma 4/77) by 362 runs with all first innings wickets intact: First Test day 2 at Bangalore.
Another well contested day of Test cricket in which Australia, by virtue of its first innings 430, gained a measure of ascendancy over India. Had the Indian openers not started so assuredly and made the Australian pace attack look less fearsome than its collective reputation I'd have said that Australia were well on top.
The centrepiece of the day was Mike Hussey's 146/276b, a masterly display of batting against some pretty good bowling on a wicket with a little variable bounce. Today he played many good strokes, especially several classical left-hander's drives on the off. I can recall only one false stroke: the french cut to the boundary which brought up his century. While the scoring rate didn't approach limited overs levels Hussey, in partnerships of 91 with Brad Haddin (33/110b) and 59 with Brett Lee (27/61b), kept rotating the strike, as his 62 singles indicate. (He also scored 6x2, 2x3,15x4, 1x6).
Neither Shane Watson nor Cameron White lasted long against Ishant Sharma (4/77 from 30overs) who, because of his consistent hostility and varied pace (two wickets with slower balls), was IMO the best of the Indian bowlers, though Zaheer Khan (5/91 from one ball less) had the better figures. Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble bowled steadily yet neither looked likely to reap a harvest of wickets. Kumble varied his pace from the mid 80 to the low 100 kphs but conceded yet another century, this time without a wicket. Sehwag, despite being biffed for two 4s by Brett Lee in a single over spell, should have bowled more.
India's assertive batting response, from Virender Sehwag (43/55b, 7x4) and Gautam Gambhir (20/55b, 3x4), made the Australian pace attack, Brett Lee excepted, look below par and the wicket more benign than earlier in the day. A draw is starting to look the likeliest result, but a little less likely than at the end of the Australian innings.
Also noted: the drinks cart which comes onto the ground is festooned with Foster's signage. What refreshments does it dispense, I wonder?