January 4, 2012 by dixwah
Day One: India (191) lead Australia (3/116) by 75 runs
In the blur that generally is the first day of Test cricket for the calendar year, Australia’s pace attack again took the honours leaving India on their knees after the first day at the SCG.
India’s star-studded batting line-up faltered on the back of constant pressure from Pattinson, Siddle and Hilfenhaus, with 191 looking far too little in good batting conditions.
James Pattinson was again the pick. Four wickets through aggressive, relentless quick bowling that again marks him as a bowler of immense potential.
There are talks our bowlers are world-class, I want to see them take on England or even South Africa (our attack looked remarkably different a few months back) but on current form they look an excellent combination.
The ageing middle-order trio of Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman were again exposed after underproducing in Melbourne, with Dravid looking rushed on the bouncier decks and Laxman failing miserably at a ground where he’s normally pencilled into the honour board when the team names are announced.
Tendulkar is another monster all together. Again he played majestically for a period but an inevitable mistake saw him removed on 41.
The Little Master and Ricky Ponting seem in similar spaces at the moment. Both the dominant batsmen in their team for the last generation, they sometimes resemble the batsmen they were in their prime, before errors of concentration that didn’t shadow them in their younger days surface and send them packing.
The overnight break could be a blessing for Ponting, who looked excellent in wrestling the momentum back Australia’s way with 44 assured runs. With four half-centuries in his last six innings, Ponting’s undoing has been the technical lapse when settled, something he may overcome here with the need to start his innings again on day two.
After the demise of Australia’s top-order gave India a hope of producing a Cape Town-esque annihilation, it was Ponting and Clarke who restored order with polished and mature performances.
Clarke (47 n.o) again showed his class with three consecutive boundaries off Yadav – the first an exquisite cover-drive forward of point, next a beautifully-timed pull shot in front of square before a punishing on-drive between the bowler and mid-on to leave poor Umesh scratching his head.
Ponting is again looking in good touch on 44 not out overnight, and perhaps the chance to come back refreshed and start again will see him notch his first Test hundred in 34 attempts. After the cheap demise of the inexperienced top-order gave India a sniff of a Cape Town-esque annihilation of Australia, Ponting and Michael Clarke did more than settle the ship, the momentum and impetus is the match is now back with the home side.
Australia has recently struggled to turn the knife when in control of matches, this seems the perfect opportunity to put India away.