February 23, 2013 by dixwah
It’s been said before, and with seven innings in front of him, we’ll likely say it again. For Australia to have any hope in this series, Michael Clarke needs to score a hatful. He’s well on his way.
On day one in Chennai, in the midst of the not unexpected middle-order tremor, Clarke was done. Ravi Ashwin drew a double-noise, Pujara did the rest, and Pup, on 39, was under par. Umpire Dharamasena, a risk who we’ll likely hear more about, was unmoved. Clarke didn’t need another chance.
Of course with every umpiring error in this series (doubly so if India loses out), the home nation’s refusal to allow DRS will come to the fore. Whatever the reason, King Sachin not liking it, BCCI flexing its muscles, if the review system was in place (or it must be said, if the umpire was of Test standard), Australia would have struggled for 250, and Pujara would likely be 60 not out right now. As it stands, Australia is 7/316. We’d take that in a heartbeat.
Winning the toss on a pitch brilliantly labelled a dodgy access road compared with the Adelaide Oval Highway, Clarke chose correctly and padded up.
Cowan and Warner followed the script, cashing on with conditions at their best – pace on, ball new, pitch okay – before both fell after significant starts. If you’re not already, get used to it.
Phil Hughes’ dismissal is a top 10 contender for ‘ugliest dismissal in Test history’, where he already has several nominations (remember that swish on debut in South Africa?), playing on here cutting an Ashwin pie a foot and a half wide of off stump.
The rest meekly followed, Watson looking century-bound for the 40th time in his career only to be undone without getting there for the 38th time. Just to remind you, he doesn’t have his bowling to save him anymore. Wade at six? Question mark indeed.
And then there’s Moises. Whether he deserves his spot is debatable, but his ability is undeniable. The selectors are doing that a bit these days, except for Cowan, whose ability is questionable. When did we become New Zealand? A debate for another time.
Anyway, Australia needed the St. George Moises here, and thankfully, Hurstville Henriques turned up. They talk about him with reverence there, defending his paltry returns for NSW and continued selections despite constant underperformance.
I now see what they’re on about. The man did the job.
The other great thing to see was MS Dhoni dutifully putting the field back when Clarke and Henriques got the tiniest bit of momentum. From 5/220 Australia breezed to 300.
Dhoni put the heat back on presumably when Clarke reached 99, forcing him to go over the top to reach his ton. Pressure. How about that.
This was a good start to the series for Australia. Runs came from the most likely of sources, and Moises Henriques.
I’m still petrified of Pujara. Looking forward to day two.