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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Australia fight back well with ball, less so with bat:T2D2


Australia 4/221 (52ov, Smith 65*/88b/2x6 6x4, Rogers 55/79b/10x4, S Marsh 32, Warner 29, Watson 25, Yadav 3/48) trail India 408 (109.4 ov, Vijay 144/213b/22x4, Rahane 81/132b/8x4, Ashwin 35, Dhoni 33, R Sharma 32, Hazlewood 23.2-6-68-5, Lyon 3/109) by 187 with 6 1st inns wkts in hand. T2/4 D2/5 at Brisbane.
 
Australia's attack  regrouped and, led by Josh Hazlewood (who had to regroup less than his bowling teammates), collectively took 6/97 to limit India to a respectable 408. Steve Smith 65* and Chris Rogers 55 took Australia's reply to 4/221 before bad light stopped play. 

Neither team would have been entirely happy with its day's work, but India still have the upper hand. After Rajinkya Rahane added only 6 to his overnight score before snicking Hazlewood to Brad Haddin, the middle order, strengthened by the return of MS Dhoni and selection of Ravi Ashwin, performed serviceably,with them and Rohit Sharma each notching 30s. A 50 or 70 would have been handy, but Australia's bowling and fielding pegged the total to less than the 444 they'd managed a week ago in the First Test.

The top five Australians also got a start. each reaching 20, but only two went beyond  as Umesh Yadav used the overcast conditions well ( and made many wonder why he wasn't selected at Adelaide). Chris Rogers was freer with his strokes than usual, which did something to compensate for David Warner's early departure, albeit without cementing his place for next year's Ashes tour, but it was Steve Smith who has kept Australia in the game.

Smith, who promoted himself to no4, batted with increasing assurance. he was especially severe on Ashwin, who'd dismissed Shane Watson early in his first spell, making him look more part timer than frontliner. If Australia are to remain competitive, which they still are...just, Smith will obviously have to continue to lead. After his 6 catches behind the stumps it would be great to see Haddin rediscover his batting form, with more than a little help from his lower order friends.

Another intriguing day, weather permitting, is in prospect.

<a href="http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-v-india-2014-15/engine/match/754739.html">Scorecard</a>
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