Day One disaster for India in Perth

Jan 14, 2012, 07:04 IST | Sai Mohan
At one stage, at 32-1, having seen off swing stalwart Ben Hilfenhaus' first spell, India's dressing room must have reflected that it wasn't a bad toss to lose, despite playing four quicks. Bear in mind, India batted first during their win here at Western Australia Cricket Association Ground (WACA) four years ago. That thought must resurfaced at stroke of tea - at 131-4 with a partnership flourishing.

But, they were dealt with a reality check when stumps were drawn. After being shot out for 161, they leaked 149 runs to Australia in just 23 overs. It all happened in a flash. India looked like a side in denial, refusing to accept that disaster had struck, yet again. If Australia had scored 13 more runs, it would have completed a rare instance of a side taking a first innings lead on Day One of a Test match.

For the fourth time since December 2010, a completed Indian innings didn't have a single 50-plus score. In 19 overseas innings since the tour of West Indies, their average opening stand has been 14.31, with a highest of 63. Australia's new ball bowlers swung it around a tad, but "the green monster" surface was nothing compared to conditions that India faced at Melbourne and Sydney.

Six of the Indian batsmen were caught behind the wicket - Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni, Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. That indicated two things - one, they continued to play with uncertainty at balls outside off-stump, and two, they didn't bring out the front-foot stride. Gambhir looked good for his 31 before poking at one outside off. Sehwag got one of the best balls of the series from Hilfenhaus. Rahul Dravid seemed to have problems sighting the ball, losing his off-stump while trying to flick a half-volley - a dismissal he'd want to quickly forget.

Sachin Tendulkar played a little hesitantly before being trapped leg-before off Hilfenhaus. After VVS Laxman and Virat Kohli's 68-run stand was broken, India lost their last five in the space of 10 overs. 

David Warner (104) and Ed Cowan (40) will resume batting for Australia today.

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