Perth Test, Day 1: As it happened ...
Vineet Ramakrishnan/Zeenews Sports Bureau
Perth: Over 19: Warner runs riot- Two massive hits to long-on off Vinay Kumar ensured that David Warner reached his career’s second century and the fastest by an opener in Test history in just 69 balls.
Over 17: Umesh Yadav was the only bowler steaming in and he had Warner on his knees with a sharp bouncer but the ‘pitbull’ retaliated back with two brutal hits to fence.
Over 12 : Warner gets better of Ishant- Ishant was introduced into the attack; if the Indian bowling qualifies to be an attack against Warner’s own version of onslaught that is, and Warner remembered the spat he had with the lanky pacer and hoisted him to a massive six over long-on. We have only seen Sehwag do this, but the world is certainly changing with Warner.
Over 10: Warner warming-up- First ball of the 10 over, he slashed hard at a wide ball and the ball raced to the boundary for his sixth four of the innings. It took him to 46 and in the third ball of the same over, Warner slapped one past point and there was his fifty. It took him a mere 36 balls to reach the milestone thus displaying the absolute beauty of a batting pitch that WACA is and what Team India have missed out on.
Over 6 : Warner-Cowan coast - Right from the onset David Warner and Ed Cowan looked relaxed as they strode out in the WACA pitch and the way Warner hoisted Vinay Kumar straight over his head for a 76 m long six in the 6th over, it was very much evident that Australia will be dominating this session as well thus the entire day. That six from Warner showed his intentions, it showed Australia’s confidence and well, it showed the abject conditions of team India as well.
And the inevitable happened once again. India got shot out for 161 and if you are thinking this was the WACA effect, well it was not; it was the ‘cannot exactly pinpoint’ effect often mentioned by Dhoni in press conferences. The Indians were not at all caught hopping on the WACA track rather the demons of WACA got the better off the batsmen’s skill. Australia played the game of cricket according to the script and India got pummelled with the mind games.
The problem as usual started from the top. First wicket falling for just 4 runs and the opening partnership failed again for the umpteenth time. The real partnership of any substance came between Gambir and VVS Laxman and even they could not stay long on the pitch. Like a well-oiled machine, the pacers worked in tandem and they knew the conditions well. Michael Clarke with his rotation of bowlers was ultra proactive and the results yielded rather quickly.
India once again are behind the 8-ball and with a lead of just 161, the bowlers need to step up a notch better than their Aus counterparts to bring back some life into the game from here on.
Over 60 Bundled out- Starc completed the rout with a short delivery to Ishant to finish off with 2 wickets and end the Indian innings for 161.
Over 57: Aus activate the kill switch - Ian Chappell, in the pre-match analysis had said that 5 not out from Dhoni would mean he is in good nick and by that logic 12 out of 22 balls should mean that he is in terrific form(no pun intended). But again, Australia activated the kill switch and like a well organized battery of missiles, Australian pacers started the demolition job. Perfect in swinging delivery from Starc got the better of Vinay Kumar and a Hilfenhaus nagging delivery sent Dhoni packing.
Virat Kohli and VVS Laxman were in the middle at the start of the session and both were still in the middle ten minutes before the end of Post lunch session and it was a familiar site thereafter. Peter Siddle persisted and got the breakthrough in the form of Virat Kohli and VVS Laxman back to back. Handing the advantage might seem redundant and gifting would be more appropriate. For young Kohli, he curbed the greed of hitting the outside off-stump deliveries throughout his innings of 44. Only once before he ventured into the dangerous territory and scooped it to mid-on; he had survived. Second time around again he was a bit too early to the shot and with Warner patrolling the point region Kohli was sent packing.
Laxman, after playing in a shell came out with brilliant shots only to be undone by a spirited Peter Siddle. Clarke did not seen to have any problem rotating his pacers in the intensive heat, the pacers making Clark’s job a lot easier.
Over 52: Laxman follows suit -Fast bowlers generally hunt in pairs but against India they do get a pair of wickets as well. After Sachin-Gambhir dismissal in a gap of one over, Kohli-Laxman followed suit giving Siddle his wicket of the match.
If persistence was the name of the game, Peter Siddle would know it. The quickie was rewarded for being consistent with the good length delivery. Laxman got stuck in his crease and was undecided whether to come forward or move back ending up edging the ball to second slip. And again, Australia got back into the session and have clearly won the post lunch period as well.
Over 50: Hard work in vain - It’s tough to get a start and even tougher to make it big and that is what Kohli would have thought after gifting his wicket away to Peter Siddle on 44. It was a wide delivery inviting to drive and Kohli went with the shot a tad early to spoon it up at short cover were an ever alert Warner held on to a low catch.
Over 46: VVS getting in the groove- A cross batted pull and a cheeky outside edge played with soft hands earned Laxman two boundaries in a over shooting his strike rate to 33 from 20. More importantly, Laxman made the bowler bowl at him rather than going after the ball.
Over 45 : Laxman’s breaks the shackle - After poking and nudging for a long time Laxman finally broke the shackle with a n immaculate cut shot.
Over 33 : Kohli’s Top edge- Peter Siddle has not been his usual self in the morning session and he was just bowling too wide to make the batsmen play. But after three wide balls which were well left by Virat Kohli, Siddle got one to climb up and hurried on to the Delhi lad. Kohli managed to get a lucky edge away to the fine leg boundary.
It was like waking up to your worst nightmare and finding out that it is actually happening. India going into Perth 0-2 down in the series were not even given the tag of an underdog by the media and by batting first Dhoni ad Co. might as well prove the scribes right.
The Aussies 4-pronged pace attack delivered late in the first session, and with four wickets down India are in a spot of bother at lunch with 73/4. This would be young Kohli’s another chance to impress and VVS Laxman’s big innings against Australia is a long overdue now.
Michael Clarke on the other hand, manoeuvred his fast bowlers skilfully giving them short spells and not allowing the batsmen to settle down. Hilfenhaus again was the unlikely wicket-taker with two wickets. Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle contributed one each to the tally.
Over 27: Last over before lunch - Kohli looked ominous and scored two boundaries off Hilfenhaus before ending the session with a solid defense.
Over 25: Gambhir follows suit - As if it was waiting to happen, Sachin’s departure led to Gauti’s lapse in concentration and within a span of one over Aus got two wickets and the advantage going into lunch. Gauti was leaving the ball well and he was getting good at it, but the first ball of 25th over from Hilfenhaus saw Gambhir nudging one to Haddin. He went for a well made 31.
Over 24: Sachin flatters to deceive again - Well, once again, using the cliché, Sachin was playing so well and against the run of play was dismissed by Ryan Harris. But again, it was an attacking Sachin who got out this time around instead of an ultra defensive one. Playing on 15 on the back of three exquisite boundaries, the Master tried playing a middle stump delivery to the leg-side rather than defending it and the ball nipped back enough to hit his pads right in front of leg-stump.
Over 22: Gambhir’s outside edge- Gambhir got an outside edge trying to play the ball to the leg-side similar to what he did at Sydney; it was identical frame to frame but this time around the ball flew past a vacant slip cordon for a boundary.
Over 15 : Sachin gets off the mark with a beauty - Perfect seam position from Siddle was greeted by an even perfect trademark straight drive from Sachin Tendulkar as the Indian opened his accounted in style. The same over saw another well timed on-drive.
Over 13: Dravid yorks himself - Siddle’s first over nearly yielded a wicket of Dravid and three balls later Dravid yorked himself to leave India reeling 32/2. Dravid earlier had tried chasing a wide one only to play it uppishly close to the point fielder for four but Dravid failed to negotiate a full delivery only to see his stumps disturbed.
Over 11 First Boundary- Mitchell Starc was introduced into the attack and the lanky pacer did pose problems to Gambhir outside off-stump couple of times, but a short one from Starc gave Gauti the room and he played an uppish cut over the slips for the first boundary of the match
Over 3: Openers are generally tentative at the start with their feet not moving and a gentle prod giving away their tentativeness and eventually leading to an early walk to the pavilion. A bang on good length delivery from Ben Hilfenhaus in the 4th over curving away from the batsman led Sehwag to reveal his tentativeness and thus his wicket as well. Viru was a bit late in judging the ball and a gentle prod is the only thing Viru could muster. Ponting taking a simple catch at second slip.
Toss: Australia won the all important toss at the WACA choosing to bowl first. Starc is in for Lyon and Vinay Kumar in for Ashwin.
Australia, as was the expectation have gone in with an all pace attack with 6’5’’ Mitchell Starc replacing the offie Nathan Lyon. India would be in for a hard time and Clarke would have a tough time dealing with the over rate.
For India, their best batsman on show Ravichandran Ashwin so far misses out a place in the XI with the Karnataka pacer Vinay Kumar completing the quarter of pacers. Now that was unexpected.
The last time India played a 4-pronged pace attack was way back in 1991 at Sydney with Kapil Dev leading the attack along with Manoj Prabhakar and two rookies Javagal Srinath and Subroto Banerjee.