Ravichandran Ashwin, introduced in the fourth over itself, struck twice before lunch to reduce Australia to 84-3 on Day One of the fourth and final Test here at the Adelaide Oval yesterday. But, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke remained unbeaten at stumps as Australia finished at 335-3.
Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates Shaun Marsh's wicket with teammates
during Day One of the fourth Test at Adelaide yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
The wicket here is a batting beauty. After Australia elected to bat, and the first 27 minutes of the morning session gone by, openers Ed Cowan and David Warner threatened another 200-plus partnership following their efforts at Perth. However, Zaheer Khan trapped Warner lbw and Ashwin pushed one through the big gap left between bat and pad by struggling No 3 Shaun Marsh.
Ponting struck a beautiful straight drive off Umesh Yadav to announce his arrival. Ponting and Cowan added 53 runs until the latter suffered a soft dismissal off Ashwin minutes before lunch.
As the partnership between Ponting and Clarke started to flourish, India missed a few tricks. On 36, Clarke edged one from Ishant Sharma -- the ball travelled to a vacant first slip. A little later, Sehwag removed the slips entirely. It was shocking to see that Sehwag had lost hope when Australia were still 154-3. Shortly before stumps, Clarke, on 133, was dropped by VVS Laxman at second slip.
Ashwin felt that India had the needed experience to bounce back. "There are a few seniors in the team who have already told us about how the first innings pans out at the Adelaide Oval, and how good it is to bat on the first three days of the game, and then it really changes. We are confident, and we are going to try to pick up two early wickets tomorrow," the optimistic off-spinner said.
According to Ashwin, the series scoreline could work in India's favour. "I think we have nothing to lose at this point of time. We are 3-0 down. I think it gives us a bit of license to be very carefree about it, and go out and play our natural game, which can be a real blessing in disguise for us. All that is important is to get those first 20-30 runs, and really stick it out. "I think we'll have to try and look at those initial starts and capitalise on that," he said.
No luck for Ishant
Ashwin sympathised with teammate Ishant -- who conceded only 52 runs from 20 overs, but couldn't snare a wicket. "I have repeated this many times (during the series) that the rub of the green hasn't gone our way. I feel awkward saying that again and again, but you can't really help (it). "He (Ishant) is not really having the rub of the green. The nicks are not going to hand. He is beating the bat so many times. It's that kind of day," said Ashwin.
Experts on the day...
It's a real good move that India skipper Virender Sehwag used R Ashwin from over No 4 and Ashwin delivered but most credit goes to Sehwag for the guts he has shown for taking such an initiative.
The difference has been made by the Aussie batsmen. so far five centuries have been scored by Australia and none from the Indian camp. The story lies here itself.
Yes, it's a good move (to bring in Ashwin early) but when the team was 335 for 3 at the end of the first day, it becomes meaningless. As if our boys have forgotten to play cricket.
The bottomline is India is not playing good cricket here. We also lost 3-0 but the matches were well-fought and the matches would not finish in two and a half days time.
It happens when the team doesn't do well over a period of time the ideas get lost.
- Debasish Datta