By BV Swagath
A dramatic final session saw Australia losing as many as five wickets in a heap to put India on top in the Hyderabad Test. At 237 for 9, Michael Clarke took a gamble and declared his team’s first innings hoping to get a wicket or two before close but the Indian openers survived three overs easily.
The first wicket to fall in the final session was that of Matthew Wade (62 from 144 balls with 8 fours) whose uppish cut off Harbhajan Singh was nicely caught by a forward diving Bhuvneshwar at backward point to end a 145-run stand for the 5th wicket. Next man Moises Henriques (5) was comprehensively beaten by the turn around middle by Jadeja to get clean bowled. Debutant Glenn Maxwell (13) was dismissed by the same bowler with an arm ball that had him nicking a backfoot drive to MS Dhoni.
Peter Siddle was out lbw for a duck going back to a Harbhajan delivery which turned in and stayed low. Michael Clarke who was fast running out of partners also lost his wicket to leave the Aussies at 236 for 9. Clarke (91 from 186 balls with 9 fours and a six) was bowled after missing a slog sweep to a quicker full ball from Jadeja. Australia lost five wickets for just 28 runs in the space of around 15 overs! By the close of play, India got to 5 for no loss in 3 overs.
Update at Tea: A superb afternoon session saw Australia recover from a shaky 83 for 4 to 187 for 4. India failed to take a single wicket in the second session in 32 overs as Skipper Michael Clarke (68*) got a rescue act going along with Wicket Keeper Matthew Wade (55*). India’s only chance came when Clarke advanced down the track off Ashwin and got a bat pad edge which was put down by the forward diving Pujara at shortleg.
Update at Lunch: Bhuvneshwar Kumar produced his best international performance to help India dominate Australia in the morning session of the first day’s play at Hyderabad. Kumar picked up three wickets while R Ashwin got one to leave Australia in trouble at 83 for 4 in 28 overs.
Kumar swung the ball and nipped it back off the surface to get rid of the two Aussie openers cheaply. David Warner was the first to go, in the 3rd over when he was caught in the crease and was bowled off an inside edge by one that swung back late. The left-hander was neither forward nor back to a delivery that also stayed low. Ed Cowan was trapped lbw by a late inswinger which had him playing along the wrong line to a delivery that had marginally pitched outside leg in the 5th over.
Shane Watson walking in at 15 for 2 got the Aussies to bounce back along with Phil Hughes with some positive shots. However, Watson (23) got carried with his attacking shots and was out lbw trying to pull one right across the line. It was a short delivery from Bhuvneshwar which kept very low to hit the batsman on his bent backthigh plumb infront.
R Ashwin gave a perfect finish to the session by inducing a top edge in Phil Hughes’ square cut which was caught in the second attempt by MS Dhoni. Australia have Skipper Michael Clarke (20*) batting along with the nervous looking Matthew Wade.
Toss and Teams: Australia have won the toss and elected to bat first in the Second Test at Hyderabad. The visitors have made two changes with Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc missing out. In their place come debutant off-spinning all-rounder Glenn Maxwell and left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty. For India, Pragyan Ojha will be sitting out again as MS Dhoni has gone in with an unchanged XI.
The pitch already has plenty of cracks and batting will be tougher as the game progresses. The pace bowlers will have something on offer with reverse swing likely to be effective as the dry pitch here will be a lot quicker and bouncy than the Chennai track. And of course, the spinners will once again have plenty to extract from the pitch which should have variable bounce.
Australia: Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (Captain), Matthew Wade (Wicket Keeper), Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Xavier Doherty
India: Murali Vijay, Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Captain and Wicket Keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma