Posted by: nestaquin | October 9, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy: First Test. Day One. Morning Session Musings

Australia 75/1(27) (Ponting 41*, Katich 28*, Zaheer Khan 1/16)

As expected the first session of the opening Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy was a tight, controlled affair with neither team dominating after Ponting called true at the toss and naturally batted on a hard, true surface.

There were are few jitters in the Australian dressing room after Matthew Hayden was caught behind from a late Zaheer Khan outswinger from the fourth ball of the morning. It was, however, a blessing in disguise.

Hayden’s dismissal allowed Ricky Ponting the luxury of playing himself in before his nemesis Harbhajan Singh was brought to the crease a few minutes before drinks. With the ball still new, Ponting had little trouble handling Harbhajan and it looked as though he had changed his technique when facing him.

Gone was the giant lunge forward with hard hands and instead Ponting played him mostly off the back foot working him with the spin behind square to keep the strike turning. This caused Harbhajan to throw it up further trying to draw the Australian captain onto the front foot but Ponting countered by reading the flight well, driving with precision through cover and mid-on. The battle will continue after lunch with the first round going to Ponting on points.

Katich played a perfect opener’s knock on a first morning, leaving the wide balls and playing mostly in the area between cover and mid-wicket. He presented the full face of the bat at every opportunity and his quiet efficiency was a perfect foil to Ponting’s controlled aggression. His running between the wickets was also top notch and despite one direct hit from Sehwag, the Indian fielders were caught on their heels far too often upsetting their bowlers and allowing the Australian pair to share the strike.

Ishant Sharma, looking more and more like a Led Zeppelin groupie every day, improved each over bowled and his extra bounce, on occasion, caused both batsmen to alter their shots. Some would say he bowled without luck but as we all know, you create your own fortune at the highest level.

Kumble introduced himself in the 18th over but with the ball still relatively new and the pitch hard and flat there was little he could do but try to restrict the scoring. This doesn’t bode well for India as without a turning wicket and with no swing, their only real attacking option is the youngest most inexperienced member of their team, Ishant Sharma.

If Ponting and Katich can get themselves set again after lunch the Indians may find themselves chasing leather all afternoon. Of course, if they can remove one of them, anything could happen. That’s why cricket is the greatest sport ever invented.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the informative session wrap, a much better idea of what went on than the CricInfo blurb.

    Looking forward to getting home from work and watching the rest of the day’s play ;)

  2. No worries Moses. My pleasure.

  3. I felt India’s line was just a bit too wide with the new ball, but Katich and Punter batted with discipline (except that heave Punter inexpicably took at Sharma). Katich might be following Neil McKenzie’s route from middle order dasher to obdurate opener.

    The ball is already squatting a bit and I suspect Clarke and White will have to bowl a lot of overs. Aus might need a couple of run outs to take 20 wickets and I fancy they’ll get them.

  4. As I write Toots, Ponting is looking flighty and seems to be losing concentration. Hopefully, he’ll settle soon and push on after he brings up his 50. (48 now).

    Kumble has found his length and asking plenty of questions. A tough little period for the bats just after lunch.

    If Lee and Johnson can get a bit of reverse swing like they did last match it might be the difference between a draw and a win. Still, a long way to go and plenty of twists and turns to come no doubt!


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