Exactly 22 overs into the day, Australia had already amassed 106 runs, with Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting fast approaching their double centuries. Ponting had just presented a straightforward caught-and-bowled attempt to Ishant Sharma, who spilled it, looked to gauge a reaction or two from his teammates, before sprinting back to his run-up for the next ball.
Can do better: An Indian fan encourages Ishant Sharma on Day Two of the fourth Test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval yesterday. Pic/AFP
Another 20 overs later, Ponting, batting on 215, is dropped again, this time by VVS Laxman at midwicket. Once again, there isn't a semblance of disappointment visible in the bowler, R Ashwin's eyes. India went through the motions, with that 'wait till our batsmen get out there on this flat track attitude.'
There was the one stirring moment, even if it came too late: Michael Hussey was run out for 25 after he pushed the ball and took off for a single, but Gautam Gambhir at silly point flicked the ball onto the stumps. A little later, Ashwin produced a carrom ball that took the edge of Peter Siddle and gave Wriddhiman Saha a maiden Test catch. Amidst the muted celebrations, young Saha was ecstatic. It was a refreshing sight.
Australia eventually declared on 604-7 before restricting India to 61-2 when stumps were drawn on Day Two of the fourth and final Test match at the Adelaide Oval here yesterday.
Ishant, who finished with figures of 0-100 from 30 overs, refuted claims that his team had embraced a potential whitewash: "We are trying our level best. Even they (Australians) have a bat, they have come to play. All we can do is just bowl the right areas and be patient.
I think we have been unlucky. We have been bowling in the right areas, and going past the bat. Even if they are getting the edge, (the ball) is not going to the fielder. You can't control all those things. All you can do is bowl in the right areas and be patient. Hopefully luck will favour us."
Positive thinking Ishant said that his team was drawing positives from the 2003-04 Test match -- which India won despite conceding 556 runs to Australia in the first innings. "I think there is a positive (that we can draw from the current situation). Even in 2003, they scored 550 runs and we won the game from there. Everything is possible and (we are) looking forward to three good days," he said.
Skipper Virender Sehwag's (18) disastrous series continued. When on 6, he was dropped by Ed Cowan at midwicket. Soon after that, he was caught-and-bowled by Ben Hilfenahus.
Rahul Dravid was bowled for the seventh time in the series (once off a no-ball). But, Ishant backed the veteran No 3 batsman to come good in the second innings. "I don't think any batsman in the world has a better technique than him. His performance says everything. He is the second-highest run-getter in the world. I don't think he needs to worry about anything," he said.
Gautam Gambhir (30) and Sachin Tendulkar (12) will resume India's innings today.