in deep existential crisis..

A Journal by Sara

Ind Vs Aus – I Test – Day 4

Zaheer did well for his patient half century withstanding the fiery spell of Brett Lee in the morning. India reduced the deficit to 70 runs which at one time threatened to be bigger. It was a heroic performance by Zaheer to take a 5 wicket haul and top score for his team in the first innings.

Australia started its second innings cautiously, with Zaheer bowling beautifully keeping the openers in check. It was a beauty of delivery to dismiss Hayden, a touch late swing crashing into batsman’s pads. Zaheer was delighted and the dangerous batsman walked back to the pavilion. With Kumble not taking the field, Dhoni sensed the tension about the pitch in the Australian camp perfectly. He had an excellent field set for the new batsman, Ricky Ponting. Harbhajan had a silly mid-off, silly mid-on, a first slip and a leg slip in place for the tentative Ponting. The crowd broke in rapture when Ponting worked the first ball to Sehwag at leg slip. Rudi Koertzen was right turning down the appeal as the ball brushed only pads on its way to fielder’s hands. It became a daunting task for the first innings centurion to survive either lunging forward or going back foot negotiating the turbanator’s fiery spell. Dhoni commented from behind the stumps, ‘Bhajju, He can’t play you today’. The bowling team showed lot of aggression in the field which was missing on the first day. Dhoni quickly brought Ishant at the other end to tie down Ponting.

Ponting sensing the attack broke loose lofting Harbhajan over midwicket in the air and played one behind the legs for boundaries. Ishant came back, beating Ponting with the balls which occasionally jagged in and found plenty of reverse swing. The abrasive pitch has got the ball reverse even before 15 overs were bowled. With variable bounce playing the part too, coupled with reverse swinging ball, Ponting shed all his plans and decided to survive the least. Ishant dished a slower ball as in first innings, but Ponting dropped his right hand promptly, sending the ball one bounce to Tendulkar at the gully.

It was beauty of Test cricket, when Ishant with character beyond his age, bowled a semi-slower ball in early 120ks to get one cutting into the mid and leg stump. Ponting was forced to play that into the waiting hands of Laxman, stationed at mid-wicket exactly for that same purpose. The ploy worked and Ponting fell yet another time to his old nemesis.

India was charged up and attacked even more vigorously, tying Katich to the ground and tormenting him. He played 78 balls for his 10 compared to new batsman at the crease Hussey’s 18 ball 10. Indian bowler’s looked threatening every ball in the two-paced and cracked pitch. It was also heartening to see Harbhajan go around the wicket to left handers to which he was often reluctant earlier. Harbhajan varied his flight getting the ball to drift, loop and employed top spin to its effect challenging the batsman. Still, I felt he should have given more spin to the ball, exploiting the cracks in the pitch better and make batsmen play in the back foot. Hussey and Katich were negotiating tough times and were slowly building a partnership.

I was off to sleep, to find morning that Watson and Haddin had played aggressively for an invaluable 60-odd partnership and still threatening for more. Now, going into final day’s play tomorrow, we have every possible result, either an Australian win or an Indian win, could even be an exciting close draw.

Ponting often talked before the start of the series about the new age cricket that Australia has planned for the future. Doubts surfaced today, when they crawled at a run rate below 2 for most part of their innings.

Expecting an exciting final day’s play tomorrow!

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October 12, 2008 - Posted by | Aus Tour Ind '08-'09, Cricket, Sports

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