Thursday, January 17, 2008

Of Perth and the second day

We have spirit. No one can deny that. We sure have spirit.

As predicted we were bowled out early in the morning session having added only around 40 runs to the overnight total of 297. We were a tad bit unlucky as Dhoni was given out LBW under very similar circunstances of Tendukar's decision. Pathan went out to a low full toss striking him on the pads plumb in front of middle and the tail just came and went. We lost our last 4 wickets for only three runs.

But we bowled our heart out. Again I am amazed to see the youngsters brewing with energy and aggression. A few years ago had we been bowled out for such a score we would have let the Aussies take a huge lead of around 350 to 400 and bowled ourselves out giving them an innings victory. But not now. Not in this generation.

Pathan scalped the first wicket trapping Rogers in front although the ball might have been missing leg. Two balls later though he gets Jaques with some great swing bowling. Now these were two batsmen new to Test cricket and I have to confess; I didnt think the Aussies would crumble after this blow.

But crumble they did and how ! Hussey went for his first duck in Test cricket after an amazing outswinger from RP Singh. Ishanth Sharma, the tall long haired pace bowler then took the prize wickets of Ponting and Clarke with some good line, length and bounce. Gilchrist and Symonds tried to recover from the collapse with some quick scoring (both reached their fifties with a strike rate of 100) but after Kumble took Symonds as his 600th victim it was only a matter of time.

Singh tore through the Aussie tail as well as the dangerous Gilchrist and Kumble took the last wicket putting India comfortably 118 runs ahead at the start of the 2nd Innings with three more days to go.

OK now, predictions. We are in a very good position and the opening Jaffar and Sehwag gave us has put us across with a lead of 170 runs. But we have lost a wicket. Jaffar succumbed to his inexperience by trying to cut Clarke and gifting his wicket to him in the penultimate over of the day. Sehwag looks in good touch and Pathan was very good this morning. So if we can bat through the entire third day ... post a lead of around 350 to 400 ... we can win. Not just have a chance, but actually win.

The Aussies wont give up without a fight though. They know we havent done well in the second innings as of late. And they've seen how well we utilized the bounce on this pitch. They'll come out tomorrow, guns blazing, and try to bowl us out within a lead of 300.

The third day is decisive. We are in the drivers seat now, but I wont say we're on our way to victory unless the third day is over.

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