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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

India move towards lead despite loss of Sachin T1D2

India 214/3 (65.0 ov, Tendulkar 73, Dravid 68*, Sehwag 67) trail Australia 333 (110ov, Cowan 68, Ponting 62, Siddle 41, Zaheer Khan 4/77, Ashwin 3/81, Yadav 3/106)  by 119 runs with 7 first innings wickets in hand; T1/4 D2/5 at the MCG.

Had Sachin Tendulkar held on until stumps instead of playing on to Peter Siddle for a feisty 73/98b (1x6, 8x4) India would hold the whip, rather than the upper, hand . At 3/214 with Rahul Dravid. a solidly elegant  68*/185 (6x4) still at the crease and looking good they are on course to take a first innings lead over Australia.

Dravid took a back seat as Virender Sehwag, who doesn't seem to hang around much beyond 50 these days, raced to 67/83b (7x4) in his typical style before Tendulkar continued in similar, by his standards more short form, vein. The Australian attack persevered and was a little unlucky: a catch or two was almost taken while Siddle bowled Dravid off what the replay showed was - just - a no ball. Siddle, whose 41/99b (4x4) had in the first session led the tailend batting revival which saw Australia post a respectable (albeit at the lower end of the respectability spectrum)  333, persisted and eventually got his man. I wonder whether Sachin was, like some commentators, already looking forward to tomorrow.

Well, after 50,000 today and the great man gone, tomorrow's crowd is likely to be much smaller, even though Dravid's - and perhaps VVS Laxman's - batting should appeal to the connoisseurs. If the Australian attack can rise above steady persistence then there may be something for the connoiseurs of bowling too.
With fine weather forecast for the remaining three days of the Test, a result looks likely.

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