End of Day two :
Scores : Australia 430 all out (Hussey 146, Ponting 123,Zaheer 5/91, Ishant 4/77)
India 68 / 0.
Reading the above is something new, 9 wickets to Indian pacers in a test match innings in India. I cannot remember when this happened last. As much as this is a joyous thing to see Indian pacers pulling their weight, there is real worry about the fact that Anil and Bhajji could only must 1 wicket for 232 runs.
However the two spinners are too good to be out of the wickets for long. The slowness of the pitch and low bounce wasn’t helping them a lot. I expect them to perform much better in the remaining innings in the test series. Coming to the pace bowlers Ishant just showed why every one calls him a very good learner and how he is getting better with each game. The kid just picked up 2 wickets with a slower bowl today. Zaheer got 5 wickets and the reverse swing at the end of the innings looked deadly. India would be hoping the Aussies do not get that kind of swing. However the ease with which Brett Lee batted over 50 deliveries reinstates the fact that the pitch is not too bad for batting still. If the batsman can keep the odd delivery stays low out, batting should not be very difficult.
Micheal Hussey or ‘Mr Cricket’ as they call him just showed why he averages over 70 in test match cricket. He is second to only Sir Don at the moment. He goes about his work unnoticed. Keeps turning the strike over, is meticulous and a brilliant timer and runner between the wickets. No he doesn’t scowl, he doesn’t indulge in sledging or is in the limelight making statements. But as humble the man is he is the batsman to watch out for. Without being noticed he notched up the fifty, and Kumble would do well to not allow him easy singles in the effort to try and get him off strike. It is very important that he is not allowed to rotate the strike and forced to hit the boundaries.
In reply to the Aussie innings India started well with Sehwag making a strokeful 40 and how this match now shapes on the third day would largely rests on how much Sehwag bats. If he can bat atleast two more sessions he would have notched up atleast over 150 and that would mean India would be past 250. The two openers run very well between the wickets and Ponting’s strategy of giving singles will be taken too gladly by these two.
Strangely enough it seems both captains are prepared to wait and be patient. Instead of taking the initiative and attacking both the captains are rather defensive. This is in start contrast to the past. May be the Aussies have a case in point that they won in 2004 with this strategy. However I don’t think India will fall for it again.
Will be interesting to see how the 3rd days play goes, Sehwag knows only one way to bat and that is attack and no matter how defensive fields Ponting sets trust him to score quickly. That is the one reason why he is crucial. Once Sehwag goes Ponting can control the run flow a lot easily and squeeze the runs and apply pressure. Another case in point that Laxman should be coming in at number 3 and not Rahul Dravid. However lets see how the 3rd days play unfolds.