Delhi Test Evenly Poised After Two Days
The fourth Test between India and Australia see-sawed from one side to other on day two at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. After ending the visitors’ innings at 262, the hosts themselves were treading on thin ice, with the score at 266 for eight at stumps.
Australia began their day at 231 for eight with Peter Siddle and James Pattinson the overnight batsmen. Siddle went on to score his maiden Test fifty, scoring 51 runs off 136 balls, before being bowled by R Ashwin. It was the fifth wicket for the off-spinner who finished the innings with figures of five for 57. Pragyan Ojha on the other end finally got a wicket for his hard-work and toil, dismissing Pattinson for a well-made 30 runs off 112 balls. It was Ojha’s 100th wicket in Test cricket. Nathan Lyon stayed unbeaten on 8, while Ravindra Jadeja finished with two for 40. Ishant Sharma (2-35) wasn’t required to bowl.
Their stand pushed Australia to 262 runs in the first innings, a score that looked unlikely when they had been reduced to 136 for seven at one stage on day one. It seemed a more than decent score on a pitch that was continuously degrading for batting.
But when the Indian openers came out to bat, for nearly an hour before lunch, it seemed the wicket had improved. Cheteshwar Pujara opened the innings with Murali Vijay and the duo batted as if the demons in the pitch had vanished on seeing them pad up. They were patient and watchful, pouncing on loose balls. They took lunch at 59 for none and then, completed their half-centuries, en-route putting a hundred-run stand for the first wicket, pushing the visitors firmly on the back-foot.
Perhaps for the first time in the series then, the real Australian team turned up. Nathan Lyon bowled Pujara (52) and then went on to remove Virat Kohli (1) with a nagging line from around the wicket. Sachin Tendulkar and Vijay were panicking at the crease, but managed to hold on until tea.
Afterwards though, despite a decent start by Sachin, a mini-collapse was triggered. Vijay was out ducking to a bouncer, taking his eyes off the ball completely, and holing out when he should have just carried on. He scored 57 runs, inclusive of 8 fours. At the other end, Ajinkya Rahane arrived for the first time at the crease in his Test career, but hastily left, as Lyon had him caught at leg slip for a paltry seven runs. Lyon was also troubling Sachin again, and after two near dismissals, finally trapped him LBW, plumb. Sachin was gone for 32 runs off 53 balls, with five fours.
India had collapsed to 180 for five and matters got worse when MS Dhoni was dismissed off Pattinson for 24 runs. India were looking down the barrel and the visitors for the first time had managed to put them under pressure in this series. Ravindra Jadeja then proved to be an unlikely hero, scoring 43 runs off 49 balls, and more importantly putting up a 44-run partnership with Ashwin (12).
Just when it looked that the two batsmen had shut shop, Glenn Maxwell was handed the ball for the first time in the day and he trapped Jadeja in front of off-stump. Ashwin was then similarly dismissed with Lyon as India ended their day with a wicket, with the off-spinner completing his third five-wicket haul in his Test career. Lyon finished with five for 94, while Maxwell, Siddle and Pattinson took a wicket apiece, as Australia trailed by four runs at stumps.
© Cricket World 2013
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