Vineet Sharma/Zeenews Sports
Melbourne: It was heartbreak for fans around the world as Sachin Tendulkar was clean bowled at a score of 73 runs, thereby prolonging the wait for his elusive 100th international ton.
The Little Maestro fell just before the end of the day’s play and India were finally 214/3 at stumps on Day 2, trailing Australia by 119 runs.
Rahul Dravid (68*) was however unbeaten and would look to become the first Indian to score a ton in the series.
Overall, the day belonged to the Indian camp as they complemented the morning’s bowling effort with a strong top order performance by the batsmen. Virender Sehwag (67), Rahul Dravid (68*) and Sachin Tendulkar (73) set the tone of the summers, not giving away their wicket cheaply and making the bowlers toil endlessly for every opportunity.
The Australians however, lost some ground due to poor fielding that saw catches dropped. Dravid was also clean bowled shortly after he scored his fifty but got lucky as it was a no ball. Tempers also flew on the ground with an altercation here and there being the order of the day.
The centurion partnership between Dravid and Tendulkar took the total past the 200-run mark with both the class batsmen scoring runs aplenty. The two hit elegant drives and hooks to treat the audience to some sublime cricket.
India had gone into tea time with the scorecard reading 99/2 as Dravid and Tendulkar held fort.
Prior to this, Virender Sehwag’s (67) dangerous stint at the crease ended with an inside edge onto the stumps. The fall brought out Sachin Tendulkar onto the crease, who received a loud ovation from the crowd as he walked out to bat.
Sehwag had started the Oz tour with a bang, slamming a quick fifty that was besotted with boundaries, much to the thrill of the packed MCG. He also became one of the rare cricketers to have scored over 8,000 runs in Test cricket.
At the start of the session, India lost the first wicket in the run chase as Gautam Gambhir (3) edged one behind the stumps. The batsman fished outside the off stump and paid the prize, giving Ben Hilfenhaus his first scalp of the summer.
The scorecard read 22/1 at the fall as Rahul ‘The Wall’ Dravid walked out to bat in a volatile environment on the field where a couple of verbal altercations between the batsmen and the Aussie outfit had already taken place.
The Indian scorecard read 6/0 at lunch on the second day of the first Test, trailing Australia by 327 runs.
Australia were wrapped-up for a total of 333 runs with Ravichandran Ashwin rattling the middle stump of Nathan Lyon (6). The Oz lower order could not offer any resistance to the disciplined effort of the Indians and was cleaned up in less than two hours of the second day’s play.
The Indian bowlers came good in their first outing against the home side and all eyes were on the fabled Indian batting line-up, Sachin Tendulkar being the one name in particular as the world hoped to see his historic 100th international ton.
Ashwin had also got the penultimate Australian wicket on being introduced into the attack, claiming Hilfenhaus as the scorecard read 318/9.
Prior to this, Zaheer Khan made his presence felt at the MCG, claiming Peter Siddle (41) to get the tailenders on the turf. His second wicket of the morning and fourth in the opening Test sent a surge of energy in the Indian camp as they looked to wrap up the Oz attack in the first session of play itself.
With the balance of power tilted slightly towards the Indian batsmen, the likes of Dravid, VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli would like to pile runs and hope to not bat in the last innings. The Australians on the other hand, would heave a sigh of relief as the formidable Tendulkar was claimed and they would hope for some early inroads on the third day of the first Test.