Besides Zaheer Khan's beauty that got Michael Hussey in the morning session, and an entertaining, but brief knock by Sachin Tendulkar later in the day, it was a very ordinary day for the Indians as their first Test ghost on overseas tours continued to haunt them. In less than 24 hours, Australia went from a side that had its pre-series boot camp, and character, questioned -- to one that was raised a toast to, having crushed India by 122 runs to take a one-nil lead in the four-Test series.
Sure, there are plenty of positives to take out of the Test for India: the potent bowling attack that took 20 wickets, Tendulkar's promise of a great summer, and R Ashwin's all-round ability. But, the inability to dismiss Australia's low-order on two consecutive occasions had a massive bearing on the outcome.
Gritty: Australia's James Pattinson plays through the mid-wicket during
his unbeaten knock of 37 in the second innings yesterday. Pic/Getty
In the first innings, Australia went from 214-6 to 333; in the second, their last-wicket stand of James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus added 43 runs which increased India's victory target from 252 to 292. And of course there was the first innings Indian collapse, losing their last eight wickets for 68 runs.
As the day began yesterday, there wasn't the expected sense of urgency from India. There were two close lbw shouts in the first two overs -- Umesh Yadav against Michael Hussey, and then Zaheer against Pattinson. For some reason, India didn't appeal strongly.
Television replays indicated that both were out. For some reason, the body language wasn't as pumped. Australia perhaps sensed lack of belief.
Virender Sehwag said that India were comfortable chasing anything less than 300. They got 292. He should have been out off Pattinson in just the third over, only if there was a third slip. His aggressive instincts brought about his downfall, Michael Hussey took a sharp catch at gully to send him packing.
Gautam Gambhir hopped around before perishing to Siddle in identical fashion to the first innings. Rahul Dravid looked in fine touch when he executed a perfect on-drive off Hilfenhaus after lunch. But Pattinson bowled him through the gate soon after.
Tendulkar injected some life into the run-chase, taking Siddle on with some glorious drives, both sides of the wicket. When Tendulkar runs an avoidable last-ball single to keep strike, you know he's in a positive mood. Soon after drinks, Pattinson beat VVS Laxman's outside edge on back-to-back occasions, had him caught at square leg immediately after.
Virat Kohli played across the line, was trapped plumb in front for a golden duck. MS Dhoni struggled to find the boundary for 44 balls before being cleaned up by Pattinson. R Ashwin was bounced out on two occasions before edging one to forward short-leg, but scored a valiant 30 that took India to 169. India's batting line-up is under the pump going into the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
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