December 29, 2011 by dixwah
Day Three: Australia are 8/179 in their second innings, an overall lead of 230 runs.
Australia may have come back to the pack as a Test cricket side but their inability to put sides away certainly creates some compelling contests.
The third day at the MCG was the same old story; an exceptional bowling performance from the pace trio of Pattinson, Siddle and a rejuvenated Hilfenhaus gave Australia an unlikely lead. The lead was then pretty much washed away in a few hours (the ghosts of Cape Town, Hobart etc.) by an ill-disciplined batting display that has brought India back into the contest.
Australia’s batsmen find it hard to put together one good innings in a Test, India are unlikely to miss out twice.
The Indians deserved what the got after inserting nightwatchman Sharma with less than an over remaining on day two. It was a soft decision to protect Laxman, which backfired with the early removal of Dravid and then VVS himself, leaving a tail-ender with the responsibility of trying to get his side to parity.
But as we are becoming accustomed, Australia missed their chance to put the game out of reach. Warner, Marsh and Clarke all played on, Cowan left one that tailed back, before the old guard of Ponting and Hussey consolidated without delivering the killer punch. The Ponting-brigade will sing from the rooftops about four 50s in his last six innings, but it was 13 innings since a half-century before then (making it four from his last 19 in essence), and it’s now 33 innings since he reached three figures.
Cricket karma turned around for Mike Hussey, however, who was dropped just before stumps and now has a chance to push Australia towards a great win and consolidate his position in the side. Maybe even at his old mate’s expense.
Have a look at the dismissals of the Australian batsmen yesterday below. The broken record of shot selection and patience is about to be played again. Time was on Australia’s side, but everyone was in a rush to play at balls unnecessarily.
Maybe Warner goes into the Jesse Ryder ugly dismissal category (that’s the way he plays – Haddin is seeking membership desperately). The ironic dismissal of Cowan is also included, whereas the hitters were all out where they should have been leaving, the stodger was out leaving when he should have been playing.
What are your thoughts on Australia’s batting dilemma? Is it a philosophical or mental thing? Are the pitches more juiced up as some media would have you believe?
Looking forward to day four.