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Border-Gavaskar Trophy: 3rd Test, Day 4 - The Quick Flicks

Australia v Sri Lanka - Third Test: Day 1

Peter Siddle

If Day three of the third Test between India and Australia was all about Shikhar Dhawan’s twirling – of his moustache and his willow, Day four was all about continuing the Indian onslaught, a wee bit of Aussie retaliation then some quick-fire effective bowling action from the Indian seamers.

Partnerships, or maybe not

They might have created an opening wicket partnership record on their debut together, but Dhawan and Vijay weren’t able to extend their rapid-fire start to the next day. Dhawan was the first man to go, and after Tendulkar departed at the stroke of lunch, wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals which prevented partnerships from developing and if at all one did, from thriving. Resultantly, the Indian batting score-card which seemed so promising yesterday folded up for 499 runs, a far cry from what it promised at the end of Day 3, leaving Australia to try and recover from the 91-run deficit.

Same old sob story peculiar to Indian cricket.

The Siddle-riddle

Most of the Australian squad has faced flak in some manner or the other in this Test series. Four of them have even been banished as a result of their so-called juvenile and irresponsible behaviour. With no credible bowling figures in this Test series Peter Siddle was said to be ‘disappointed with his performances.’ Well, after picking up five wickets for 71 runs and literally dismantling the Indian batting line-up, disappointments may as well be a thing of the past for the fiery Aussie.

Bhuvaneshwar Kumar strikes back

Though Dhoni would have a lot of reasons to complain about how his batsmen – himself included – didn’t deliver with their bat, Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave plenty of reasons for his weary captain to be cheery about. Three quick wickets, only when Australia thought their way through was clear and Australia was reduced to playing yet again on the backfoot. Nathan Lyon was introduced as the nightwatchman as captain Michael Clarke and coach Mickey Arthur were left pondering about the sudden lack of wherewithal that seemed to loom again.

‘First-slip’ woes

The fielding position is nothing short of an irony. Right next to the wicketkeeper, waiting patiently for the batsman to be lured in by a deceptive delivery and wham, the slip fielder pounces on the ball, taking a comfortable or in some cases, a not-so comfortable catch. Virender Sehwag‘s absence which hasn’t yet rankled in the batting line-up however is grating on the Indians’ nerves when they come out to field. Virat Kohli may be an amazing fielder otherwise, but at the slips – Dhoni has to do with butter-fingers. Not that it’s Kohli’s fault. He seems to be as awkward there as the fielding position seems to have been named.

Commentators, or are they?

VVS Laxman may have been a Godsend to the Indian middle-order but he definitely isn’t a Godsend in the commentary box. Add Sanjay Manjrekar and Ravi Shastri to the mix, the combination goes way beyond volatile. Listening to them, one has no choice but to ask out loud, “Will the Real Commentators please Stand Up!”

Michael Clarke’s injury, Virat Kohli’s patiently constructed half-century form the other quick flicks of the day. Even though just four days of actual cricket have been played thanks to the non-seasonal rain, the third Test still remains open-ended. For Australia however, there’s just one way to go. A draw may salvage some pride for the Australians, if not giving them an outright advantage going into the fourth Test.

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