Friday, October 10, 2008

Aussies Hussey, Hussey

By John Cheeran
By posting 430 in the first innings, Australia has achieved their immediate objective. Of course, skipper Ricky Ponting would have liked to see another 70 runs on board to his side’s first innings total, but by giving the hosts only less than a session on the second day to bat, he should be extremely happy. Now, Australia has enjoyed batting without hurry during the major part of the first two days, but India must bat with a sense of urgency to have a real chance to win this Test, where spinners will have an increasingly important role to play as the days go by.
Australia did not set out to dominate Indian bowling on the second day too. They were, in fact, playing it neat and straight. Michael Hussey was willing to be the anchor instead of the aggressor, and he held the latter half of Aussie innings with aplomb and authority. Despite losing Shane Waston early in the day, Hussey held on and gathered runs with the clean conscience of a solitary reaper. May be Hussey could have taken a little more freedom against Kumble and Harbhajan. With pitch playing true and fast, Indian spinners were wheeling away, more in hope than with a real sense of wickedness.
The kind of percentage cricket that Australians played during the first two days should be a pointer for Indian batsmen. Patience pays off eventually. Hussey showed everyone how much he prizes his wicket and the way he anchored the second half of the Aussie innings should be a lesson, in case any aspiring cricketers were watching at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
In fact, most were surprised, in the end, the sudden fall of wickets that sealed the Australian innings at 430. Zaheer Khan, ignored throughout the day by skipper Kumble after the pacer failed to control his line and length, finally redeemed himself by capturing three wickets in the space of seven balls sent down by the bowler.
Zaheer bowled Hussey (146) to end a huge innings and complete an enticing haul of five wickets, but if one should pick an Indian bowler for his qualitative contribution, I would vote for Ishant Sharma. For much of the second day, it was Ishant who ran in with a sense of purpose, and put a few breaks, when Aussies were walking on.

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