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by Chetan Narula Thursday 18 December 2014
Three sessions of play on day two at Brisbane saw plenty of action and the match hangs in balance as Australia replied with to India’s 408 with 221 for four.
It was a day where Josh Hazlewood took five for 68 on debut and Umesh Yadav struck back with three for 48. A day where Ravichandran Ashwin scored 35 valuable runs in the lower order and Steve Smith counter-attacked with 65 not out.
"I personally started the summer well in limited overs cricket and always dreamt of doing it in Tests. It was great to have my family here, to have them see me get the Baggy Green yesterday and perform today for the team. It was a very proud moment," said Hazlewood.
The young bowler became the 33rd Australian to take a five-wicket haul on Test debut. He was also the third bowler after Brett Lee (5-47 at Melbourne in 1999) and Jason Krezja (8-215 at Nagpur in 2008) to do so against India.
"It gives me massive confidence going forward," he said. "I thought I was bowling well even though with the white ball.
"I just played one Shield game this year coming into this game. But it felt like the ball was coming out of my hand very well, the best it ever has in fact.
"Taking five wickets in this first Test is very good for my confidence, an added bonus."
Talking about the cramps suffered yesterday, he said, "I had never experienced cramps like that before and took a lot of fluids overnight. It was like a casualty ward yesterday.
"We knew what we had to do to recover to perform today and all credit to the support staff for helping us.
"It was hot yesterday and today, but that is part of Test cricket. We have to adapt to the conditions and do as best as you can when playing Test cricket."
It was a good outing for off-spinner Ashwin on day two in Brisbane, after sitting out in Adelaide. He first batted in the morning session, scoring 35 valuable runs as India crossed the 400-run mark despite Hazlewood's efforts. Then he held a couple catches at first slip as also dismissing Shane Watson along the way.
"I think we could have scored a few more runs. I am disappointed how I got out," he said.
"I think I batted to the best of my ability. After a long time I got a chance to bat in the middle, but felt disappointed to give my wicket away.
"We still got 400 runs but if we got a few more runs then it would have been better."
Talking about leg-spinner Karn Sharma being picked ahead of him in the first Test, he said, "These things are going to happen and not just with me. It has happened to many cricketers in the past and it will happen to many others in the future as well.
"It was a horses-for-courses policy and sometimes you need to be appreciative that the team needs someone else more than you. I try and learn from it and if I become a better cricketer learning from it, then it is good."
The match hangs in balance going into the third day with Steve Smith holding the key as he hasn’t been dismissed in three innings of the series as yet.
"We are not concentrating on any one particular name. We are targeting all batsmen, top or lower order.
"On this sort of pitch it is easier to use your feet against the spinners, which Steve Smith did well. If it was a slightly difficult wicket with more footmarks, maybe I would have fancied myself more against him today.
"Having said that, I will still fancy my chances against him, when play resumes tomorrow. We are ahead in the game at this point of time. If we can have a good morning session tomorrow then we will be ahead in the game overall," Ashwin signed off.
© Cricket World 2014