India emphatically won day 2 of the Boxing Day Test but Australia will be enthused by the late wicket of Sachin Tendulkar and the heroics of Peter Siddle.
India have the upper hand and will look to build a substantial lead as it looks a fine day for batting at the MCG.
And Australia need wickets fast. Follow the day unfold here as we share with you the major plays of the day.
10.20 am Healy Segway Accident this Time
Fresh from the Segway hilarity from the plays of the day on day 2, Ian Healy tried his luck on the cricket equivalent of the unsinkable ship grinning from ear to ear proclaiming how easy it was to drive. Moments later he too went arse over tit in the process making himself look a right tit. When will they ever learn!
image: (c) stuff.co.nz
10.31 Ben Hilfenhaus bowls Rahul Dravid second ball of the day
How things have changed in a matter of moments! India went from 2-214 to 4-214 in a matter of minutes, albeit over two days.
Hilfenhaus, despite striking early on to dismiss Gambhir on day 2, was inconsistent and ineffective for much of the day. On day 3 he bowls an absolute jaffer to dismiss Rahul Dravid for 68 the second ball of the day. It came from absolutely nowhere and suddenly Australia are almost even-stevens in the match.
10:55 Cowan takes one to the face
Hilfenhaus bowls to Ishant Sharma who gets a thickish inside edge which should have been snaffled at short leg. Cowan, whose been in the wars with a sore back after his stoic batting on day 1, did not pick it up and it smacked him flush on the helmet.
Hilfenhaus is showing us he can be effective with the old ball as well as the new.
11:01pm Peter Siddle gets VVS Laxman caught behind in his first over of the day
Angry Peter Siddle bowls a ripper to VVS Laxman who is stranded on the crease and can only edge the ball to Brad Haddin. Laxman seems to get edgy if he takes a while to get off the mark and the pressure gets to him. That makes two wickets in two overs for Siddle and two wickets in Australian bowlers’ first overs for on day 3.
India are 5-221. Things have changed fast.
11.30 Hilfenhaus gets Virat kohli caught behind in his first over
After a brief interlude involving Nathan Lyon, Hilfenhaus comes back into the attack and finds Virat Kohli playing slightly loosely outside off stump who is caught behind once more. Three catches for Brad Haddin and three quick wickets for Australia have changed the whole complexion of this game.
Geoff Lawson on ABC Grandstand commentary slated Michael Clarke for bringing Lyon into the attack only minutes after Hilfenhaus took his first for the day and released the pressure momentarily for India.
India are 6/236 and nightwatchman Ishant Sharma looks like being stranded at this rate. Maybe India’s captain and talisman can reverse India’s fortunes.
11.35 Shoaib Naveed for Pak Passion shares an interesting video in the press box of Kamran Akmal producing quite a shady piece of keeping in the infamous Sydney Test
11.44pm Hilfenhaus strikes again as Dhoni plays loosely to the freshly taken new ball
That was a really loose shot from Dhoni. He played with hard hands, away from his body and the ball flew to Mike Hussey in the gully. Are India Australia in disguise? That is some collapse. They’ve now lost five wickets for 31 runs.
India are 7/245. 333 is looking a pretty rosy score for Australia. And Ishant Sharma is still deserted at the non-striker’s end.
12:07 James Pattinson has Ashwin plumb lbw but Umpire Erasmus has other ideas
This one is missing off, missing leg and cleaning up middle stump . Replays show it is a howler. That is another one for DRS watch.
The appeal was emphatic and it just looked out. But the decision goes in India’s favour once more.
12:10pm Hilfenhaus Ends Sharma’s Resistance and Claims five for
Ishant Sharma’s 103 minutes of resistance come to an end as Ben Hilfenhaus claims his first ever five wicket haaul in Test cricket. If yesterday he was struggling, today he has been nothing more than sensational.
Zaheer Khan comes to the crease as India are 8/254.
12:18 Erasmus gets it right
There is a huge appeal as Zaheer Khan is caught at short leg. But replays show it was flush off the thing pad. ABC Grandstand proclaim that DRS would have been on overdrive this Test match.
12:19 Pattinson bowls Zaheer Khan the very next ball
Khan is clearly unnerved by the previous delivery and attempts an audacious slog across the line only for James Pattinson to clean him up. India are now 9 down and have lost 7 wickets for 45 runs. That was a terrible shot. He shows no faith in Ashwin despite him getting a century vs the West Indies.
India’s partnerships from the 4th to 9th wkts yielded 45 runs, their poorest effort in almost 20 years.
This is incredible!
12:29 Ashwin Top edges Pattinson for Six
Vital runs for India as Ashwin top edges a sharp bouncer from Pattinson which flies over the keeper and goes for the maximum.
12:42 Peter Siddle wraps up the innings as Brad Haddin claims five for
7 wickets so far today for 60 runs as Peter Siddle draws the edge from Ashwin (an impressive 31) and the catch carries through to Brad Haddin who has five caught behinds for the innings.
That’s lunch. India are dismissed for 282 and trail Australia by 51.
1:20pm Australia Start the afternoon session leading by an unlikely 51 runs
Zaheer Khan is to bowl the first over. Can David Warner and Ed Cowan will be looking to put Australia even further in the box seat.
1;41pm Huge Shout as Khan Cannons into Cowan’s Pads
That was a massive shout. It looked pretty adjacent and only an inside edge would save him. Ian Gould says he hit it and replays and hawkeye prove Gould to be right. DRS Watch remains at 3:1 in favour of India as we speak.
1:50pm Dave Warner Chops on as Umesh Yadav Picks up where he left off
There are a lot of bowled wickets and a lot of chop on in this game so far. Dave warner is the latest to be dismissed in this way. The back of his bat has the sticker ‘Kaboom’ and that’s exactly what the ball does smashing into the timber.
Shaun Marsh comes to the crease on a pair with Australia 64 runs ahead. Australia 1-13.
1:54pm Ed Cowan Shoulders Arms and Yadav Traps him Plumb LBW
Now Cowan is gone. This is crazy. He shoulders arms to a Yadav thunderbolt that swung in late. There have now been 9 wickets for 84 runs in the day. The batsman’s paradise of the MCG is rapidly turning into a batsman’s graveyard.
This should have been the best batting day of the Test match but chaos is reigning.
Ricky Ponting comes to the crease and receives a standing ovation.
2:09pm Ponting produces the Shot of the Day as Ishant Comes into the Attack
He overtakes Steve Waugh for runs at the MCG with 1,285 and is now only second to Bradman himself. It was a majestic stroke played on his tip toes off the back foot, riding the bounce and stroking it to the point boundary.
The Sharma-Ponting dual is always an intriguing one. Sharma was arguably India’s most unlucky bowler in the first innings whose figures don’t reflect how well he bowled.
2:16pm Now Shaun Marsh Chops On
Shaun Marsh is the latest to chop on to a full pitched delivery from Yadav once more who now has 3-12. He’s been an absolute revelation and is proving to be India’s trump card as predicted in the Australia vs India Test series Preview. He currently has matched figures of 6-118 right now.
That’s now three of the Australia batsman who have played on in the match – Warner and Marsh this innings and Clarke in the first innings.
Speaking of Clarke, he comes to the middle with Australia 3-24.
2:23 Michael Clarke gets a Pair of Chopped on Dismissals as Ishant Strikes.
Welcome to crazy town. This is ridiculous. It’s 11-95 for the day and we are only half way through the afternoon session. Ishant bowls a full delivery and Clarke drives only to get the inside edge which cannons into his stumps.
You have to take your hat off to the Indian bowlers for pitching it fuller and attacking the stumps.
Mike Hussey comes into the crease on a pair and whips Sharma’s first ball through mid wicket for a couple and some momentary rest bite. Australia are 4-27.
This time yesterday Tendulkar and Dravid were giving a batting masterclass scoring runs for fun.
2:45 pm Mike Hussey Produces Exquisite Drive to bring up the Australian 50
The Mike Hussey leave appears to be back. But when he is offered a half volley from Ishant Sharma he crunches it to the cover boundary and produces another contender for shot of the day.
Australia desperately need a partnership and it’s the two oldies who need to fight for their and Australia’s lives.
2:47 Khan Traps Ponting Plumb LBW but is denied by Umpire Erasmus
That is another one for DRS Watch but this time it is most definitely in the favour of Australia. Khan comes on and wraps the pads of Ponting who gets a big stride in. Hawkeye shows that that is hitting the top of middle stump. That is a vital lifeline for Australia and this time India will be pissed off.
Meanwhile Mike Hussey cuts for four and moves onto 18 from 15 deliveries.
3:08 Ponting Shoulders Arms to Ashwin who has a huge appeal
There is a massive appeal as Ponting doesn’t play a shot. That one turned enough to hit the stumps but bounced that bit too much. Erasmus on this occasion makes the correct decision as the Hawkeye replay shows. A dangerous game for Ponting but he got away with it and is batting pretty well since his lifeline.
Hussey and Ponting are batting well in tandem as they look to get Australia out of a whole.
Here is a Hussey stat for you: once he reaches 20, he averages 77 from there on in. He’s currently on 24.
3:27pm And that’s tea, a fascinating session as Ponting and Hussey steady the ship
Cucumber sandwiches all round!
4:06pm Australia bring up their century after tea
The evening session is now in full swing as Australia bring up their century. It seems like it’s only those people over the age of 36 who know how to bat on this surface. Hussey and Ponting have taking the momentum out of India for now and a huge partnership is required for them to come out of this day in a commanding position.
Australia are currently 4-80.
4:22 Ricky Ponting Records back to back half-centuries
Punter times it beautifully off the back foot but the ball doesn’t quite make it to the boundary. They run four and Ricky Ponting records yet another half century.
He gets a standing ovation from the crowd and has batted wonderfully.
Now it is Mike Hussey’s turn to try his luck being only a boundary away. He drives down the ground against Ashwin and can only get three as a misfield took the pace off the ball. Runs starting to flow freely here…
4:25pm Hussey Records a 50
This is vintage cricket from the old-timers. He brings up his fifty in 73 balls as he moves his feet to Ashwin and times it through mid wicket. They run three and Australia, you’d have to say, are now again in the driving seat.
The ovation he got was incredible. As big as Ricky Ponting’s!
4:30pm Hussey and Ponting share a 100 Run Stand
They record their 100 run partnership off 144 balls.
Our colleague called it pretty well after Mike Hussey’s third ball at the crease. Hats off!
This pitch is flattening out and is starting to look like the road we once thought.
4:46 Zaheer Khan Strikes!
Just as it looked like this partnership was turning into a match-winning one, Zaheer Khan strikes in his first over back into the attack and gets Ponting caught in the gully by Sehwag. Ponting fails to convert either of his back to back fifties but still a vital knock there.
Half of the MCG are on their feet to clap him off the G for possibly the last time.
Brad Haddin comes to the crease. You wonder if he’ll play his natural game. He’s got five for today. Can he go on to make amends for yesterday’s errors. This is a seriously riveting Test.
Australia 5/142 lead by 193 runs.
He starts with a Haddinesque shot chipping to mid on for a rather fortunate two. Geoff Lawson is not impressed on the ABC Gradnstand who does not like “dumb cricket”. He then goes on to say the word ‘dumb’ ten times in as many seconds.
“It’s a thin line between being bold and stupid”.
4:58 Haddin is Gone!
Brad Haddin does not last long. To a ball he could leave quite easily, he opens the face and guides the ball straight to VVS Laxman at second slip off the bowling of Khan. Now Australia are in deep shit…
But don’t fear. Into the middle comes Australia’s finest all-rounder of the moment – Peter Siddle. Australia need him to provide the same resilience he showed in the first innings so that Hussey can build a decent lead.
Australia are 6/149.
They need a repeat of that partnership vs Pakistan in Sydney. You can’t help but think that India won’t be offering them much though.
5:25pm Dravid drops a clanger at first slip, Hussey survives
That could be so costly. Dravid usually snaffles them at slip and this one was regulation. He seemed to have it but it popped out. Ashwin who hasn’t troubled Hussey all day did him there but can count himself extremly unlucky.
That’s pretty much the first real chance that Indian has dropped in this match.
Australia’s lead stands at 214.
5:29 Now Siddle Goes too! Yadav gets his man
Yadav steams in and gets some away movement off the pitch. Peter Siddle fences at it and MS Dhoni takes a great catch diving to his right with two hands (unlike Brad Haddin’s failed one-handed effort yesterday).
Nathan Lyon is promoted up the order ahead of Pattinson and Hilfenhaus. Michael Clarke is probably looking for a batsman to occupy the crease as opposed to the hitters.
Eight overs left in the day. Australia are 7/163. 40,556 people at the G today officially confirmed.
5:34pm A Direct hit and Lyon is gone!
Hussey cuts to point and immediately goes for two. Lyon is slow to react but luckily Zaheer misses the stumps and there is no one there to collect. Lucky escape there for Australia. Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! rings round the stadium.
5:39pm The Plan Fails as Ashwin gets Lyon with the Carrom Ball
Ashwin set Lyon up there. He bowled offie after offie and then finally followed it up with the one that goes the other way. Lyon attempts to play it to the leg side but is trapped in front. Shane Warne would have been proud of executing a plan as cunning as that.
Pattinson comes to the increase with Australia eight down for 166.
6:01pm And that’s Stumps. Australia finish on 8/179 with a lead of 230.
Who does this day belong to? Well, it was another batting masterclass from some wily veterans, sandwiched between more batting collapses.
Australia having knocked over India cheaply in the morning would have envisaged being in a better spot come the close of play.
They’ll look to build a lead of 275+ to be overwhelming favourites tomorrow. You’d think they’ll need a lead of at least 250 to be competitive. There are no demons in this pitch. There are no demons in this pitch.
Day four is set to be a cracker.
Join me for more action as it happens on day four!
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