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Friday, January 13, 2012

Warner's quickfire ton leaves India bleeding runs & bereft: T3D1

Australia 0/149 (23 ov Warner 104*, Cowan 40*) trail India 161 (60.2 ov, Kohli 44, Hilfenhaus 4/43, Siddle 3/42) by 12 runs with all first innings wickets intact. T3/4 D1/5 at WACA, Perth.

This would have to be, given the reputations (and records) of the adversaries, one of the most onesided day's play in Test cricket history. Each team looked at the wicket and opted for an all pace frontline attack. Michael Clarke won the toss and despite the high 30s temperature, asked India to bat.

The Australian quicks, notably Ben Hilfenhaus, who swung the ball in a banana like trajectory, removed Virender Sehwag for a duck, then the other yesterday's  (actually last year's) man Peter Siddle bowled Rahul Dravid for 9. When Ryan Harris, back after injury,  snaffled Sachin Tendulkar lbw for 15 and Hilfenhaus had Gautam Gambhir caught behind for 31, India were in trouble at 4/63. VVS Laxman and Virat Kohli effected a modest revival, but both fell to Siddle just as they looked to be settling in: but 31 and 44 respectively were still below par scores. Once they went...5/131, 6/138 .. the rest followed meekly, or so it seemed, but this underrates the quality of the Australian bowling eg Hilfenhaus 18-5-43-4 and Siddle 12-3-42-3 not to mention Harris's miserly 18-6-33-1.

161 didn't look a good score but if the Indian quicks could strike back early there still seemed half (or a quarter) of a chance that they could bring their team  back into the match.

It didn't happen, though few followers of any persuasion would have, bearing in mind the rickety 3/37 Australia struggled to at Sydney before the Clarke- Ponting- Hussey big guns blazed, expected what followed.

David Warner blazed his way to a rapid 69 ball century - at stumps he was 104*/80b (3x6, 13x4) - exposing the shortcomings of the Indian attack and fielding. It was a T20 innings played in a Test match context: small target, good batting conditions and an attack including one debutant the ineffectual medium fast trundler R Vinay Kumar,  which wilted then melted down in the face of his onslaught. Oh, by the way Warner was well supported by Ed Cowan whose 40*/58b (6x4) would in most other situations have earned more than this footnote.

Great as the Australian performance was the Test has been decided after the first day, which is not as most cricket followers would wish.

India are going from bad to worse: can we expect a reversal? It's surely too much to hope for in this match.


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