Thursday, November 4

T4 D2

10:00, IST
I did not realise there was an early start today, and consequently woke to find 9 balls already bowled for the day. Bleary eyed and sullen, I figured Sachin had added 3 to his overnight score. Rubbing the sleep put of my eyes was replaced soon enough by rubbing disbelief out. Sachin was gone.
Nature called, briefly, and Laxman answered the seemingly irresistible call of the pavilion. 4 down. Making coffee for the missus, and Kaif took an extended coffee break himself.

37 for 5. Heck, I hadn’t even brushed yet.

There are a few things you can infer from this:
1. The loyal double barrel of the Australian shotgun reminds us it is forever present. We, obligingly, stare right down at it.
2. Laxman should not play against South Africa. (You are welcome to prove me wrong in the 2nd innings, VVS)
3. I am not an early riser.

10:25, and it is 59 for 6 courtesy a few boundaries from Kumble. Dravid stolidly and runlessly hangs on. What is this?
-And what about Mr Hauritz? He won’t believe his luck, getting ready to bowl on a turner, and at a side that is 6 down.

There you are. 33rd over of the match. 1st over in test cricket for Nathan Hauritz, and he gets his first wicket.
Now it is 80 for 7, but the ball is spinning like a top from one end and reversing from McGrath the other. India will be cursing themselves, wasting a pitch that is tailor made for them. 80? That’s the bloody opening partnership for the Aussies. Yikes.

11:35 LUNCH
104 all out. The pitch is looking vicious and full of turn and bounce. Bhajji, Kumble and Karthik will be licking their lips…. Until they see the number of runs they are defending. This is way too little to give them a realistic chance of skittling the Aussies out for a small lead. Baby faced Hauritz was getting so much grip and turn on what is effectively a first day pitch, the heart burns at what might have been had we batted with a little more purpose.If the Aussies ignore convention when they bat, and step on the pedal a little, they would have overhauled our score before the spinners can sink their teeth into the pitch. Even a 250 total would mean Indian will have to score upwards of 350 in the third innings of the match. Doesn’t look good.

4th over of the innings. What an over. Bhajji to Langer, this time over the wicket. 3 absolute snorters, then Langer tries to sweep and skies it toward the square leg boundary. Sehwag dived and in the end made it look tougher and more spectacular than it was or needed to be, I suspect. He should have caught it. With 104 backing us up, he should have caught it. Damn.

About to approach the computer for a couple of lines about Hayden looking good. He had played himself in, eschewing his big shots early on, even the sweep. 3 sixes had seen him up the tempo and reach 35. As I was about to turn, he’s OUT! Bat pad to Murali Karthik, who he had smashed for a six a couple of balls ago. Sharp catch from Kaif (who replaced Gambhir at short leg after the latter had dropped Martyn on 11), and as Slater pointed out- Hayden “looked guilty”.
Fight, boys.

5 runs short of our appalling total, and 7 wickets in hand. The 2 best players of spin this tour are at the crease, and the considerable attacking talents of Clarke and Gilly to follow. It doesn’t look good, but that’s how it is.

Boria Majumdar has been talking to Sanjay Manjrekar in the breaks yesterday and will contunue for the rest of the test. 28 years old, he has "wed his passion (cricket) and profession (history)" by doing a PhD in Indian cricket history, at Oxford. Now here he is, sharp voice and excited articulation all in place. Some interesting stories yesterday. Let's see what today has to offer.

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