India dominated the first session and then lost quick wickets in the second session to collapse to 503 all out at tea time on day three of the Hyderabad Test against Australia. They were 387-1 at one point but then crumbled inexplicably.
Glenn Maxwell (4-127) and Xavier Doherty (3-131) bowled well but India’s batsmen only had themselves to blame for the collapse. Going into Day 4, Australia still trail by a massive margin of 192 runs but India would be left feeling that they’ve missed a trick.
At close of play on day three, Australia had reached 74-2, having lost David Warner and Phil Hughes — both trying to sweep. Ed Cowan (26*) and Shane Watson (9*) are at the crease.
The ease with which the Indian batsmen batted and the ineffectiveness of the Australian bowlers welded in the most unfortunate of manners for Michael Clarke’s team.
Australia came out in the morning session and looked lost. Coach Mickey Arthur asked his batsmen to bat big yesterday but he obviously forgot to have a talk to his bowlers. They were without inspiration or a plan for most part. But credit has to be given to the Indian batsmen as well.
Both Pujara and Vijay looked to settle down once again. They did not believe that they had the Aussies on the mat for even one moment. Vijay is normally a very aggressive batsman; one who likes to play his shots but his restraint was remarkable.
There was an understanding of what this knock meant to him, on a personal level, and to the country as a whole. If Australia didn’t know misery before the start of this Test, they know it well now.
Pujara, on the other hand, made light work of his hamstring strain, continuing to concentrate and make the Aussies look very ordinary indeed. It would have been easy for both the batsmen to attack but the fact that they were keenly aware of the match situation would have pleased skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni immensely.
The duo put on a record 370 runs in 109.4 overs before Vijay (167) was beaten by the turn and bounce from a delivery bowled by Glenn Maxwell, who looked much more effective from around the wicket. The openers fended at it and got an edge to leg-slip. (2-387)
A few runs later, Pujara’s instinctive hook shot went straight down the throat of the fielder at fine leg. Pattinson bowled a short ball and the right-hander, who had just reached his second Test double ton just couldn’t resist going for the shot. He made 204 off 341 balls including 30 fours and 1 six. (3-393)
The 370-run partnership, though, ensured that a ton of records were broken.
- When it reached 345, it became India’s highest second wicket partnership in Tests, beating 344* between Gavaskar & Vengsarkar vs West Indies in 1978-79. To put things in perspective, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman had put on 376 during the famous Kolkata Test.
- R Vijay (167) now has the highest score by a Tamil Nadu batsman in Tests. The previous best was 143 by S Ramesh vs Sri Lanka at Colombo in 1998.
- Pujara also reached 1000 Test runs, (1017 runs, avg of 67.80, 4 centuries, 11 matches, 18 innings). He is the second fastest Indian to reach the landmark in terms of innings. Only Vinod Kambli, who did it in 14 innings, was faster. In terms of Tests, he is equal fastest to the mark with Sunil Gavaskar (11 Tests).
- Sachin Tendulkar had to wait for 109.4 overs – the most overs he had to wait with his pads on (via @mohanstatsman)
At lunch on Day 3, India had made their way to 400-3, a massive lead of 163 runs. Sachin Tendulkar (3*) and Virat Kohli (4*) were in the middle.
Post-lunch session – 31.1 overs, 103 runs, 7 wickets
Things didn’t quite go to plan for India in the session and it all began with Sachin Tendulkar. The right-hander began the session on 3 but didn’t last too long before he was given out by the weird quirk of the ICC’s third umpire system.
Tendulkar edged a ball down the leg-side to the keeper off Pattinson. The umpires, it seemed, were initially unsure whether the ball had gone straight into the keeper’s gloves. So after a brief discussion, they decided to go to the third umpire.
The third umpire quickly ran threw his routine — checked for the no-ball, saw the ball go past the bat and then go straight into the gloves. If he was really concerned about whether the ball went straight into the gloves, the first replay was enough to dispel the doubts.
But then — there was replay after replay as the third umpire tried to ascertain whether there was a catch or not. It was like having DRS without the benefit of Hot Spot, Hawkeye and the snickometer. In the end, Tendulkar was given out and indeed, he was. But the point is, what is the logic of not having DRS when the umpires can do this too?
The BCCI will very likely protest against third umpires too now.
Tendulkar’s dismissal saw Mahendra Singh Dhoni walk into the middle and he didn’t miss a beat. He was quickly into his stride hitting fours, using the crease, guiding the ball to third-man and forcing the bowlers into his pace straight away. He made 44 off 43 balls including 8 fours.
While the Indian captain was going absolutely nuts, Virat Kohli was biding his time. There was a period when he played 23 dot balls but he didn’t give it away. He slowly started taking singles and looked pretty good.
However, at the other end, India kept losing wicket after wicket. From 387-1 to 503 all out — India’s collapse was stunning. And for no real apparent reason other than the carefree strokeplay.
India don’t quite know how to crush the opponent’s morale completely. The lead is still substantial but India have given Australia a glimmer of hope. Maxwell has ended up with four wickets and was a changed bowler once he decided to around the wicket. He got more turn and bounce and grew in confidence.
The 370-run partnership between Pujara and Vijay was the highest of the innings but the next best was 56 runs between Dhoni and Kohli.
The Indian spinners will know that they too will be able to have an impact after watching the Aussies extract spin and bounce from the wicket.
Post-tea session – 32 overs, 74 runs, 2 wickets
Australia came out and tried to be aggressive but they really are under the gun here. David Warner tried to play a few shots, was lucky to be dropped at gully by Virat Kohli. But that attitude only works against the pacemen in India.
As soon as the spinners came in — the openers were forced to re-evaluate their approach. They first tried to defend, they they tried to use their feet and then they tried to sweep. All three approaches didn’t work because they obviously hadn’t practiced them enough.
Many talk about how effectively Matthew Hayden used the sweep shot against the spinners. But they often forget about the kind of preparation he put in. The left-hander famous dusted up of Brisbane practice pitches to prepare for the spin assault in India and then he practiced the sweep shot for months at end.
However, the current breed of Australian batsmen look to sweep without really knowing how to go about it. R Ashwin dismissed Warner (1-56) and Hughes (2-56), around the the legs, with both batsmen trying to play the sweep shot.
You have to have invested the time to come up with a few scoring options but most of the Aussie batsmen are trying to be aggressive without having any real plan in mind. And in India that just won’t work.
By the end of the session, the ball was jumping and bouncing alarmingly off a good length and unless Australia produce a really special effort, the second Test will end on Tuesday.