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Thursday, December 29, 2011

15/247 - Bowlers' day sets up Test for tight finish T1D3

Australia 333 & 8/179 (60 ov, Hussey 79*, Ponting 60, Yadav 4/49) lead India 282 (94.1ov, Tendulkar 73, Dravid 68, Sehwag 67, Hilfenhaus 5/75, Siddle 3/63) by 230 runs with 2 second innings wickets in hand: T1/4 D3/5 at the MCG.
Today 15 wickets fell for 247 as both India and Australia bowled well and, with some honourable exceptions, batted poorly. The unravelling began when, with the second ball of the day,  Ben Hilfenhaus bowled Rahul Dravid for 68/187b (6x4) and ended with Mike Hussey desperately trying, with mixed success,  to add a few more runs with the Australian tail to set India a challenging fourth innings target.

Hilfenhaus, restored to the Test eleven after his Ashes disappointments, bowled with his heart and head in sync, deservedly finishing the innings with his best Test figures 26-5-75-5.

Then the Indian pace attack, led by Umesh Yadav, an outstanding 15-3-49-4, wiped whatever smiles there may have been off Australian faces by scything through the top order. 4/27 looked like Cape Town redux but the two old (and written off by many - even I was wondering whether it was time for Mr Cricket to be shown the door) stagers Ricky Ponting 60/97b ( only 3x4 on the slow MCG outfield) and Hussey 79*/134 (7x4) gave the home team a modicum of respectability: a lead of 230. Whether that will be enough to squeeze out a victory will depend on the bowling, not to mention the Indian batting. 

No more predictions from me for now, though. I've made too many dud ones lately so will just be happy - well tense - to watch the struggle continue (and a result probably achieved) tomorrow.

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