End of Day 1 : 296/3 (Gautam Gambhir 147*)
Winning the toss is always very important in India. Anil Kumble did exactly that on the Kotla featherbed that looked like any other Indian track dry, flat on day one and it might crumble and give slow turn after a few days. Batting first you have to make sure you bat big so that you can take the pressure of you and put it squarely on the opposition.
Gambhir did exactly that scoring his career best and being unbeaten at the end of the day. India reached a dominating position at the end of days play and for the first time I must say in my living memory have I seen such a helpless Australian team. Neither do they seem to have no firepower in their bowling neither are they able to outsledge the Indians.
The day started well for the Australians as they picked Sehwag in the third over, thereafter Dravid once again chased a wide one against Mitchell Johnson. India at a precarious 27/2 and it seemed the fight was on. For a change the fielding was not defensive first up and they were trying to pick up wickets. In walked Sachin Tendulkar to accompany Gauti, the master looked in sublime touch. His feet moving well and most importantly he was looking to score runs at all times. He was not over attacking but he was not letting any loose balls go and was putting pressure on the bowler. Sachin in this mood seemed so positive and so solid within the next 30 minutes it started seeming like the two would bat on. Gambhir in the past has been guilty of getting out at 30’s 40’s but the prescense of Sachin Tendulkar ensured the kid kept his concerntration going.
The knock of Gautam Gambhir was particularly pleasing because it was chanceless, very few loose shots, lots of concerntration and he played a perfect foil while Sachin was going for the runs. He would drop and run, normally even Gambhir is pretty aggressive, but for the major part of his first 100 runs he was only waiting for loose balls. The way he got to the century was spectacular, he charged down the track to Shane Watson and put him over long on for 6 when he was on 99.
Sachin’s wicket fell just at the stroke of tea when he nicked one off Johnson, but that was only a one off thing. Laxman helped himself to a tired bowling attack and a captain who lacked any imagination. The attack looks steady at best so it seems that the captain really cant do much with such a attack. The lack of a spinner is really hurting Australia.
I am sure the pride of Australia must be hurting, the fact that they are being outplayed again in another test match again. Looks as if there has to be a miracle to change things from the way they seem and look. In fact now at times it starts seeming rather boring that only one side has the boot on the foot all the time.
The new ball is only a few overs old so Australia would be looking to pick up early wickets and try and control the damage. However one cant help thinking that India will be the one team who will be scoring again on day two and calling the shots. For pained Indian eyes its time to just sit back and just watch some real Aussie bashing.
The icing on the cake was whenever the Aussie sledged Gauti, they got probably more than what they gave. Infact maybe at one instance Gauti got out of hand when he elbowed Shane Watson. However it seems the Aussies are rattled. They were never out sledged. There were instances when they were out played but never out sledged. It was good to see that the Champs getting back what they were dishing out for years to all teams.
However we as a team must also try and stay away from this, we need to focus on the game, this is the time the team has to be greedy and not think that they are in the driver seat. We have a great chance to make it 3-0 and we must give it back to Australia. I at the start of the series told that this is the best chance we had to whitewash this series. The first test was drawn but we cannot allow the Aussies to get away now. Its time to remember Sydney and make sure that when they go back from here they should be left high and dry and beaten fair and square.
(P.S at a recent awards function Micheal Clarke was asked if he had a choice to pick the one Indian player he would like to have on his side. Clarke, “ Its difficult to say that at the moment but if I had to pick one it would be Sachin Tendulkar.” The same question was put to Dhoni, and tongue in cheek he said it with great laughter and also total honesty that at the moment it would be difficult for any Australian to find a place in the Indian team. Ah times have changed.)