Border-Gavaskar Trophy: 4th Test, Day 2 - The Quick Flicks
When India were 59 without any loss at lunch time, the wicket looked a beauty to bat on. Sanjay Manjrekar, in the post-session discussion called the wicket as “a nice Sitaram surface (a metaphor to indicate a flat batting surface named after Ponnuswami Sitaram – the former curator of the Feroz Shah Kotla). Gavaskar concurred with Manjrekar, stating that Sitaram had made national highway-like wickets during his playing days as well. Allan Border, the other expert in the studio was probably was a worried man after listening to such stories, but probably heaved a sigh of relief when Aussies fought back and the pitch responded in kind.
The ball that hit Pujara’s hand:
Cheteshwar Pujara looked positive right from the outset. When he was batting well, he was hit on the hand when James Pattinson banged one short of a length. The ball just took off from the surface and Pujara failed to gauge the bounce. He was in a lot of pain and was attended to by a physio. After ten minutes, he asked the physio to come back again, which made Australian skipper Shane Watson upset.
Dessert for Mrs. Pujara:
After Cheteshwar Pujara reached yet another half-century, Sunil Gavaskar in the commentary box said that seeing her husband getting a 50 must be like a dessert for Mrs. Pujara. It was an apt comment since Mrs. Pujara was sitting in the lunch room.
Welcome to Test cricket, Rahane!
Peter Siddle was in a middle of a very good spell and had bounced out Murali Vijay. He had his tail up when Ajinkya Rahane arrived in the middle for the first time in Test cricket. Nerves still not settled, Siddle bowled a vicious bouncer to the debutant that thudded onto his helmet. Rahane garnered a leg bye off it. It was a kind of welcome given to him by the Australians, which was typical and Rahane is not likely to forget it ever in his life.
The Christmas presents from the generous Australians:
At 98 for no loss, James Pattinson bowled a length ball to Murali Vijay which he defended solidly to mid-off. Mitchell Johnson picked up the ball and out of nowhere, fired a high return to ‘keeper Matthew Wade. The ball went over Wade’s head for a boundary. The next delivery from Pattinson was a shocking wide ball that went down the leg side and even beat Wade for four byes. Those were bonus runs for India.
Later on in the innings, Peter Siddle threw the ball from fine-leg towards the non-striker’s end with a chance to catch Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni out of his crease. It was Johnson again who was supposed to back up, but hadn’t expected such a throw from Siddle. The ball went between his legs for yet another four overthrows.
With the pitch deteriorating fast, every run is crucial and these philanthropic gestures from Australia may well cost them the game!
‘Lyon-hearted’ spell and the leg-before that was not given:
Nathan Lyon was on a roll today. He dismissed Pujara and one-down batsman Kohli in quick successions. Lyon was spinning the ball and getting vicious bounce to add to the batsmen’s headaches. Tendulkar, batting on 1 and having faced 10 deliveries, looked at the sweep shot as a bail-out option but the ball hit his pads and looked to be hitting middle or leg stump. But he was not given out, Richard Kettleborough being the umpire on that occasion.
Lyon had Tendulkar leg-before eventually but not before Tendulkar had added 31 runs more to his name.
Lyon bowled his heart out and the five wickets he took on Day 2 were an apt reward for his disciplined bowling.
The drama of the day:
The match was in the balance and the Australian fielders were vociferous in their appeals and ‘chat’ around the batsmen. They had sledged debutant Rahane earlier and were successful in causing ‘mental disintegration’. In the 51st over of India’s innings, umpire Aleem Dar warned MS Dhoni for running on the pitch. Australian opening batsman, David Warner had a lot to say to the Indian captain. The situation came to such a point where Shane Watson had to intervene. He pulled Warner away from Dhoni and took control of the situation, but by that time the Kotla crowd had gotten involved as well.
The eventful over didn’t end before Peter Siddle gave away four overthrows, suggesting that Australia had lost the plot. A huge lbw appeal against Ravindra Jadeja followed in the same over which saw every Australian appealing at the top of his voice, despite the ball clearly going down the leg. A very timely drinks break calmed down the nerves when the over finally came to an end.
Maxwell’s Midas touch and the art of leaving from Jadeja:
Glenn Maxwell was handed the ball when 10 overs were left in the day. On his second ball of the match, he had Ravindra Jadeja’s scalp. Having made a valuable 43 off 49 balls, Jadeja did not offer any shot to the ball that did not spin much and though he was unlucky to be adjudged leg before when the ball was going away from the stumps, the decision brought the game back in balance.
Shot of the day:
Lyon had kept the fielders around the bat interested all day. Ravichandran Ashwin had his own way to deal with the spinning ball. He went on one knee and reverse swept Lyon for a boundary. The shot caught the Australians off-guard.