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Monday, October 04, 2010

14 wickets in day, though late Australian revival sets up tight finish : T1 D4


India 405 & 4/55 (17ov) need 161 more runs with 6 wkts in hand to beat Australia 428 & 192 (60.5 ov, S Watson 57): T1/2 D4/5 at Mohali.

Another intriguing day's cricket with some good batting and a lot of good bowling saw India wrest the initiative from Australia before, chasing what looked like an achievable target, they faltered again. Tomorrow should see one side win: a draw (though not a tie) is out of the question.

For a time, as Shane Watson piled on and Simon Katich accumulated runs, it looked as if Australia would build a substantial lead. But when, with the total 87, Watson played on to Ishant Sharma the wheels began to fall off Australia's innings. The captain (another failed pull shot) and vice-captain (bamboozled by Sharma) fell cheaply while Katich held the fort. Mike Hussey contributed to the defence but after Katich fell for 37/118b (2x4) at 137 India's grip tightened as the bowlers made it hard for the middle and lower order to score.

Zaheer Khan delivered the coup de grace with two great balls which accounted for Nathan Hauritz and Ben Hilfenhaus. This left Australia, having lost 10/105, with a disappointing 192 and India a target of 216. Watson's 56/59b (1x6, 7x4) was the highest score of the innings (and the day). The wicket didn't play easily but Watson showed that many of its demons could be, if not cast out, then tamed.

About this time Cricinfo's Facebook page reported
"It's all happening in Mohali ... Australia have lost wickets in a heap and it is India who are on top."
Hubris gave way to a partial nemesis as Australia fought back to have India 4/55 at stumps. Ben Hilfenhaus may have been lucky to get Gautam Gambhir lbw for a duck (one of several questionable umpiring decisions from a pair who hitherto had been pretty good) but he and the other bowlers kept the pressure on. Virender Sehwag (a modest, by his standards 17/23b) , Rahul Dravid and Suresh Raina couldn't reproduce their first innings form.

But Sachin Tendulkar is still there with a watchful 10*/25 (1x4). M S Dhoni and the injured V V S Laxman (beware the injured batsman?) are still to come so India should not be written off.. just yet.

Scorecard .

Fox Sports report and link to video .

Times of India report

Cricinfo Bulletin .
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