Its been a tour of expectation, where it was anticipated the previous good form of the senior players in Australia would hold them in good stead. It was a hope that ignored the treatment they had received from England and despite a numerical advantage, the closeness of away and home series against the improving West Indies. It was also the last look for Australians at the game's greatest batsman, now and then, Sachin Tendulkar and the hope that the elusive 100th hundred would come on our grounds where Tendulkar had been so dominant. World cricket hoped that India would learn the error of their ways in regard to refusal of the DRS.
Three out of three unrealised.
|Kohli one of the bright lights|
Most of Australia's runs in the morning came from the old firm of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke. The Australian captain dominated early, moving to 37 of just 43 balls before he was mysteriously caught behind of Yadav. Replays showed clearly he didn't hit it but didn't determine where the noise came from that condemned him. Ponting took over from there and remained not out when the declaration came. Ponting finished with two centuries and three fifties in his six innings and an average of 108. Only Clarke superseded him in aggregate and average.
India began an impossible task twenty minutes after lunch. Gautum Gambhir was gone in the fifth over, forced into playing at a ball slanted across him and edging to Brad Haddin. At the other end, Virendar Sehwag finally ignited his rocket and blasted a half century in 36 balls and removed Siddle from the attack quickly. Sehwag and Dravid got to 80 at four an over, when Sehwag danced down the track to Lyon, took the ball on the full but closed the face as he tried to take it over the mid wicket fence and instead skied it to Ponting at extra cover. His 12 fours punished the boundary from third man to wide mid off - an unusually one-sided boundary chart but typical of Sehwag.
Tendulkar couldn't relief his burden, out soon after when batting from inside his shell ... usually a recipe for his personal disasters. The ball from Nathan Lyon when to glove, pad and then into the waiting hands of Ed Cowan at short leg. He was given the obligatory but heart felt standing ovation and disappointed somewhat by leaving with his head down and doing nothing in recognition of the generous accolades here and everywhere around the country on this and previous tours. It was churlish at least.
VVS Laxman and Kohli batted sensibly for more than twenty overs and looked to be taking the side safely to stumps with no further loses and the hopes that a new day bring but in the course of the last three overs, both were gone. Laxman got an ordinary delivery on off stump from Lyon and whipped it straight to Marsh at mid wicket. If it was an ordinary ball it was an even more ordinary shot. Then, on the last ball of the penultimate over, Kohli took of for a single to keep the night watchman off the strike for the last over. Ben Hilfenhaus moved quickly (unusual), picked up cleanly (strange) and through the stumps down at the bowlers end (unbelievable). Kohli shouted anger with himself as he left wouldn't have been helped by the verbal exchange with the same player in the first innings.
With four wickets to fall and India's tail, drinks won't be required in the first session when Australia clean sweeps the series and moves up to 3rd place on the ICC Test table.