26 December 2011

1st Test, Day 2: Need to take those chances

Scorecard via ESPN Cricinfo.

Australia: 333 all out
Ed Cowan 68, Ricky Ponting 62, Peter Siddle 41

India: 3-214 from 65 overs.
Trail by 119 runs with 7 wickets in hand
James Pattinson 1-35, Ben Hilfenhaus 1-50, Peter Siddle 1-53

Resuming the innings with Brad Haddin and Peter Siddle as the batsmen who were unbeaten at the end of day 1, Hads didn't hang around too long. After being troubled a bit by Zaheer Khan he was dismissed trying to flash at a ball swing away from him which found the edge and flew to Sehwag in the gully. Hads had been so patient but couldn't resist the half-volley making his effort seem in vain.

Peter Siddle departed soon after unable to get his maiden half-century.
It was an excellent effort by Pedro under the circumstances and full credit to him for backing himself.
Ben Hilfenhaus provided some entertainment putting away a wide full toss for four first up and continued to attack during his innings of 19. Some of the shots weren't great to watch but he contributed runs and momentum. James Pattinson played a fairly cautious lower order knock of 18*.

333 was a competitive enough total. Ideally we all knew we needed a total of over 350 runs but 333 was good enough to give our bowlers something to work with.
Unfortunately a few chances went by during our attack and these minor hiccups may prove to be costly against a side like India who aren't too far behind now.

The bowling:

The bowlers did a decent job in my opinion.
How many deliveries just missed the outside edge, how many inside edges occurred and there were those dreaded dropped chances? We need to take those chances which will make this attack look worse on paper.

The opening spells from Ben Hilfenhaus and James Pattinson were great to watch.
They built excellent pressure and both of them managed to swing the ball enough to create doubt in the settled Indian opening duo's minds.
Hilfy removed Gambhir for 3 with with some excellent opening spell bowling and he should have been rewarded better after his output. He looked a far more confident bowler but struggled a bit in the later sessions.
Hopefully on day3 he can get the rewards along with Pattinson.

Yes, India are in a strong position but it wasn't without some chances.
James Pattinson was impressive, he really was and he was finally rewarded with the wicket of Sehwag after some really hostile, hard fought bowling. He was also unfortunate with two grassed catches coming off his bowling.

The two drop catches occurred with the first being a drop by Huss in the gully off the bowling of Pattinson in just the 5th over of the game. The man dropped? Sehwag who went on to score 67.

The other drop catch was by Hads in the 21st over who put down a chance he'd normally gobble.
It was also off the bowling of Pattinson.

Rahul Dravid has been in solid form but he was certainly not the most settled man out there.
Hilfy and Pattinson brought his shot selection out which resulted in quite a few deliveries that beat the outside edge but Dravid still managed a half-century.
Dravid was also bowled in 59th over by Pedro but it was a no-ball which was just devastating for Pedro after the slight drama between him Sehwag had really raised tempers.

Sachin Tendulkar was the best of the lot. He offered very few chances and had one or two streaky boundaries but that's always a given even from the best of the best.
Pedro Siddle bowled him in perfect timing to ensure we had one of the danger men back in the hut. He still chases that 100th century, which you sense he will get soon enough, but it was good to see some reward for Pedro after being punished early on but he kept fighting.
He is also nearing in on his 100th Test wicket which he should get this series.

The Verdict?
I'd say India take day 2.
Dismissing Tendulkar was massive at the close of the play but Dravid still stands unbeaten which could have been otherwise had Pedro just had a fraction of that heel behind the line when he bowled him.
These no-ball checks are becoming mandatory but the DRS must still become an implementation for everyone! We could have an ever so slightly different game on our hands.

I honestly feel our bowling attack were made to look ordinary on paper. Our batsmen just didn't stand up collectively enough giving them a slightly tough task especially considering 119 runs came after Cowan's dismissal.
They pitched the ball up better, collectively created pressure and considering it was this trios first Test match operating together I think they did a good job.
When chances were created they weren't taken and that is the bottom line of what can cost you against a quality side and what will make a bowler who put in the effort look ordinary rather than what could have been an accomplished spell.

It is still game on but the first session tomorrow will determine in many ways the potential map out of this game. Get rid of Ishant Sharma quickly and the get stuck into working over their middle order. Seems to be enough runs to still play with.

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Sylvester said...

Siddle and Hilf were too short at times, Siddle did comeback nicely with his last spell he was our Zaheer.

Pattinson was a class above, was killing it with the new and old ball. Too bad he didn't get a good go with the older ball which Siddle was using, wouldn't have minded seeing if he can reverse it.

Big Nose Stu said...

Gee I reckon we were unlucky today. I also think the quicks were a little bit short all day. Lyon toiled hard but with the pitch offering little and bowling to the best players of spin in the world it is a tough ask for him. We really need a quality 5th bowling option IMO. Big day tomorrow.

Sid the Gnome said...

I'm with Stu - I thought they would bring in Christian as an all rounder. The Indian bowlers might be partly untried, but the batters are old school and seriously experienced - we knew that long before the side was picked. Another bowler would've given our attack that little bit more.

Oh well, what's done is done. This was always going to be a tough series, I guess. You think India took day two? I'd say India stormed day 2 and no doubt about it. Let's hope we can get it together tomorrow. We have some decent bowlers there, but we need them to step up.