Millennium Post

Crumbling Oz spun & dusted

Neither the change of guard, nor yet another correct toss could distract Australia from it’s resoluteness to crumble under pressure, something they have been doing with uncharacteristic consistency since landing in India. The way the dry strip at Feroz Shah Kotla is throwing up puffs of dust right from the first session, only a miracle can prevent India from scripting a historic 4-0 clean sweep. The visitors were staring down the barrel after being reduced to 136 for 7 just before tea.

However, like on earlier occasions in the series, the tail refused to wag as Peter Siddle took the total to a decent 231/8 with a dogged 125-ball 47 while James Pattinson (11*, 57b)  1x4) proved his perfect foil. R Ashwin once again led India’s charge scalping 4/40/. Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma picked up two wickets apiece.

The initial blow was dealth by Sharma, who bowled at a good pace to extract considerable bounce to trouble the Australian top order. He struck with his fourth delivery, the 10th of the match when David Warner played too much away from his body  and the edge flew straight to Virat Kohli at second slip. New man Phillip Hughes walked in and straight away took the attack to the opposition, something which the Australian batsmen failed to do so far despite lacking the required technique and temperament to handle quality spin on a helpful track. Hughes raced to 47 before being hit by a vicious Sahrma bouncer which crashed into the grill of the helmet. Hughes couldn’t come out of the shock and two balls later, the southpaw dragged one into the stumps to send the sparse crowd on their feet.

Cowan (37) did all the hard work surviving the dangerous first session playing and missing on a number of occasions. Just when he looked set, Cowan went for a sweep shot and was bowled round his legs.Leading the side, Shane Watson didn’t impress on his Test captaincy debut. Having survived a stumping appeal in the first session, the all-rounder was removed by a typical left-arm spinner’s delivery from Ravindra Jadeja. The delivery pitched on the leg-middle as he drew Watson forward and the stand-in captain was beaten comprehensively while trying to whip the delivery through mid-wicket. MS Dhoni whipped off the bails in a flash. Watson made 17.

Matthew Wade (2) was caught by the silly point fielder to give Ashwin his second wicket while IPL’s newest ‘million dollar’ man Glenn Maxwell gave Jadeja the charge to offer a simple catch to Ishant at mid-on. Mitchell Johnson had no clue about Ashwin’s carrom ball, failing to offer a stroke thinking that the ball would spin away. To his utter surprise, it spun back sharply to hit the off-stump.

From a relatively decent 106 for two, the Aussies were left gasping for breath at 136 for seven, and the writing was on the wall. However, Smith and Siddle added 53 runs for the eighth wicket to stem the rot. Smith hit two huge sixes off Pragyan Ojha during his 145-ball innings.


Former captain Sunil Gavaskar on Friday said that he can't predict whether Sachin Tendulkar has played his last Test on Indian soil in the ongoing fourth and final match against Australia. ‘You never know. From 2006-07, there has been this talk of Tendulkar's retirement going on. But he has been playing the same way. only he (Tendulkar) would know this,’ he said when asked if Tendulkar has played his last Test on Indian soil at the Feroze Shah Kotla, considering that the team would mainly play outside the country in the next 12 months. Gavaskar said MS Dhoni would not be unhappy for losing the toss again. ‘At hindsight, Dhoni would not be complaining. He lost the toss everytime in the series. But India won all the three matches and so he would not be complaining,’ Gavaskar said.
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