Border-Gavaskar Trophy: 4th Test, Day 2 - Flops of the Day
Day 2 at Feroz Shah Kotla witnessed a riveting day of Test cricket. Fortunes swung every hour as both teams held their own in a battle of attrition. If India dominated the first two hours, Australia, finally, shed their cloak of “good boys” to heat up the last two sessions of the day. Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara were the batting heroes for India while Australia found their star performers in Nathan Lyon and Peter Siddle. However, there were a few who weren’t up for the challenge and failed to show up.
The Delhi dasher came into bat at number three after a superb opening partnership from the makeshift Indian opening pair. After keeping the Australians at bay for 25 overs, Pujara was castled by Lyon and in walked Kohli with the intent to pile up the misery for the Aussies. The bowling lacked sting and India was all set to bat Australia out of the game. However, Kohli, strangely, seemed out of his zone and failed to cash in. The stylish right-hander looked all at sea in front of an inspired Nathan Lyon before missing a straight one. He tried to flick the ball through mid-wicket, missed the line and was caught plumb in front. However, he looked unhappy with the decision when the replays clearly showed that the umpire had made the right call. And while on his way out, he got into a verbal confrontation with a chirpy David Warner. Definitely not a happy day for the home boy!
After the first Test at Chennai, runs have been hard to come by for the Little Master. Today, he walked into a roaring ovation from the Kotla crowd after Kohli was dismissed. The stage was set. India needed a partnership and Tendulkar needed a big one. However, it didn’t work out that way. After surviving a couple of LBW scares (pretty close ones), Tendulkar failed to capitalise on the start he got before succumbing to Nathan Lyon. His 53 ball foray at the crease was one of his most uncomfortable stays with the Master struggling to pick up the Australian offie. Siddle and Pattinson too had a go at Tendulkar with their share of short stuff. Tendulkar played a couple of delightful boundaries but never looked settled on the wearing Kotla pitch. His laborious innings of 32 finally ended when he misjudged the length (again!) from Lyon, handing the New South Wales lad his third wicket.
The Indian captain came out firing on all cylinders. He signalled his intentions loud and clear as he drove Lyon to the cover fence on the first ball he faced. With the Australians turning on the heat, MS Dhoni was the perfect man to soak in the pressure. After the dismissal of Tendulkar, he pulled Siddle, drove Lyon, ran on the wicket and made Dave Warner angry. The Indian captain received a warning from Aleem Dar for running on the pitch before getting into an ugly confrontation with David Warner. Warner gave a piece of his mind to Dhoni, who preferred to reply with a smile. However, the heroics of the Indian captain were cut short by James Pattinson who forced him to play a short arm jab that nested safely in the hands of Shane Watson. It was an innings that promised but couldn’t blossom.
The Australian all-rounder has had a forgettable match till now. If Ashwin got the better of him yesterday, today he had only himself to blame. The tattooed pace man from Australia sprayed the ball all over the pitch and had a horrible day while fielding. Though the Indian batsmen were tested by his short balls, the bearded left-hander couldn’t do justice to the help he received from the Kotla track. He was largely erratic with his lines and gave away valuable runs through overthrows. Even while backing up, he cut a sorry figure as he missed a throw from the deep that almost hit his abdomen.
If Aleem Dar made a few iffy decisions yesterday, Kettleborough came up with a couple of howlers today. First he declared Sachin Tendulkar not out, twice, when the Indian maestro was caught plumb in front by Nathan Lyon. Tendulkar premeditated the sweep, went down on one knee and missed a straight one from Lyon. The ball would have gone on to crashed into the middle stump but Kettleborough didn’t move, much to the shock of the Aussies. In the same over, Tendulkar went on the back foot and missed another one from Lyon. Though it wasn’t as close as the first one, it would have definitely clipped the leg stump. However, Kettleborough compensated his faux pas by raising his finger against Ravindra Jadeja, who padded up against Glenn Maxwell. Though the batsman didn’t offer a shot, the ball didn’t do enough and wasn’t going to hit the stumps. A bad day at the office for the man from England that made the case for DRS even stronger!