Posted by: nestaquin | October 13, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy: First Test Day Five Preview

It is as clear as the Tasmanian sky on a crisp spring morning what will happen in the first session of the fifth day’s play. Australia will bat aggressively for around a half hour pushing their lead as close to 300 as possible and then attack India with a fury in the expectation of snaring the ten wickets required for a series leading win.

Ponting would probably enjoy the luxury of a few overs late in the day with a second new ball so Australia’s window this morning will be tight if that is to eventuate.

To achieve this the visitors probably only have six overs to play with before declaring so expect some exciting shots and a clatter of wickets to start what promises to be an exciting and jittery final day’s play.

India’s hopes of saving the match will fall squarely on their much vaunted top six and they will need to be in better fettle, physically and mentally, than they were in the first innings.

There is little doubt that Australia will attack from go to woe and with the pitch bound to play a few tricks and the ball expected to swing, it will be a tough day at the crease for all of them. There will be some easy runs on offer but with the Australian fielding dangerous and committed even the slightest mistake could bring about their downfall.

Australia could conceivably be lamenting their lack of spin options at stumps but there is little point crying over what you do not have. They will make the best use of the resources on offer and it should be apparent to everybody by now that for the rest of this tour at least, Australia will use a four pronged pace attack with some part time spin from Clarke and White.

Big Stu Clark has a reported elbow injury and that further erodes the visitors’ chance of victory. On the bright side, Clark’s reduced capacity will probably force Ponting to bowl his vice captain more than planned and that eventuality may be to Australia’s advantage.

Michael Clarke has shown in his Test career that he is a very capable left-arm orthodox spinner and his 17 overs in the first innings were thoughtful, tight and profitable.

It may not please Pup but with Australia’s lack of slow bowlers he may well have to forgo working solely on his batting for a time and concentrate on his bowling. I’d like to see him working with Ashley Mallet for a period and if so, I believe he could blossom into a bowler that could trouble many a team on the fifth day.

All the pressure is on India and after failing to bat out the fifth day twice this year, Ponting and his men will be confident of knocking them over before stumps. India have looked shaky, in the field and with the bat, for the majority of this match and Australia will be hoping that trend continues.



  1. Nesta: I don’t think Ponting will declare early enough to get a second new ball but yes, Watson and Haddin will attack from the get go. Sehwag, as always, wil be the danger man, but Oz I think will back themselves to get him and then concentrate on the rest.

  2. It won’t be an easy task getting all ten wickets but if India blink like they did yesterday afternoon then it is a possibility.

    After all, at the top level, cricket is mainly played between the ears!

  3. visitor’s chance of victory

    Good God, Nesta, an apostrophe mistake!

  4. I’ll need a second opinion Dave. The ‘chance’ is possessive but it would read fine without.
    What does Toots reckon?

  5. I was hoping for Haddin to get out early so Big Bear can smoke a few, alas Kumble dropped him first ball and cut himself in the process.

    Not quite sure why Kumble has opened the bowling, presumably trying to slow down the scoring rate.

    My concern with Clarke bowling more is he tends to pick up back injuries from too many overs. Lets hope he stays fit…

  6. An injury to Clarke doesn’t bear thinking about Mo.

    And speaking of bears here comes Cam after Watson was bowled tonking.

  7. Today will be the day of the bear. 40 runs and 4 wickets, you heard it here first :)

  8. Australia are the visitors, not the visitor. So, visitors’ chance of victory.

    Attacking batting this morning. It’s making me wonder what went on with the blocking that went on in the last few overs yesterday.

  9. Thanks Dave. No need for Toots’ input.

    Should I fix it or leave it to prove that I am human and not a robot like Hussey?

    Great cricket this morning. Best enjoy the shots while we can. I don’t expect India will be flashing the blade.

  10. Indeed, those Kumble maidens last night are making less sense considering the wake up we’ve had this morning.

    Perhaps Rick should work on some sort of signals from the dressing room to his players in the middle. I’d suggest grabbing a bat and madly swinging it around in the air could convey some intent.

  11. Earlier declaration than I had expected – I think it’s 83 overs for a target of 299. Possibility of a second new ball if it gets that close, but you’d think that it’d be too dark for the quicks by then.

  12. Must get Sehwag early. Is it Tendulkar who has a terrible 2nd innings record?

  13. Hopefully the second new ball won’t be required. Especially if Moses’ confidence in White is repaid.

    3.60 an over is required which is a big ask I’d suggest.

  14. Sehwag’s second digs aren’t great reading. Johnson will trouble him and the pressure will be HOT!

  15. 5 balls for Sehwag to get off the mark, is that some kind of record for him?

    Good to see Stu Clark opening the bowling, hopefully his elbow is alright.

    I don’t put my faith in a Victorian lightly, though it does seem to be easier in the case of blond leg spinners…

  16. If Cam can turn one to leg I’ll be happy!

    Lee looks sharp and hopefully he’ll get some reward for his effort.

    I’m anticipating another good spell from Mitch before lunch.

  17. Does seem a bit harsh on Johnno that Clark got the opening gig after his 4 in the first dig..

    How’s Stu looking?

  18. Oh Noes…

    Lee to Sehwag, 1 run, edged and dropped! by Haddin! Lee cannot believe it! Bowls a lovely length delivery and gets an unsure Sehwag feeling at the ball away from his body, takes the thick outside edge and flies in the air but Haddin, diving to his right, cannot hold on, in and out and a run to boot

  19. But he’s gone a few balls later.

  20. Hayden dropped it too. It ricocheted off Haddin’s glove into the first slips thigh. Hayden’s arms were reaching skywards to celebrate! Ouch!

  21. Oh Yes

    Clark to Sehwag, OUT, good catch from Hayden at slip and Sehwag walks! Clark strikes for Australia and the drop from Haddin costs only a single, as Sehwag gets one sliding into leg stump and shapes to work it away, but he closes the face so early that the ball takes the back of the bat and flies low to Hayden at first slip, who pockets it very low to the ground

  22. Haddin will be relieved and it was a superb catch by Hayden. He has great slips technique for a big lumbering giant.

  23. Great descriptions there Mo. Keep up the good work mate. You should be over there with Jim. Anyone would be better than Mike Coward!

  24. I thought Cam White might have slotted into 1st slip and Hayden to 2nd…

  25. It does seem that India might be going for the runs, I mean Dravid hitting a 4 off a ball he could have left is unheard of..

  26. The descriptions are unfortunately copy/pasted direct from cricinfo! I’m at work with no TV unfortunately…

  27. You Beauty. Tell ’em Mo.

  28. Lee to Dravid, OUT, what a catch by Ponting! But that’s soft from Dravid. It was overpitched, on the pads, and Dravid went for an instinctive flick. There was a short midwicket in place, it went to right of Ponting, and fast. Ponting went horizontal, and caught it while parallel to the ground. Superb reaction

  29. Ok now I’m a little bit excited, the wall has come down to the other NSW bowler.

  30. It was a super catch to his right at short midwicket. Another poor shot from an Indian bat. It was a half volley on leg stump. As I wrote somewhere above; it’s all between the ears at this level.

    24/2 (8.3)

  31. Sounds like India could now be playing for a draw.. just 2 runs in 4 overs…

  32. Watson on before Johnno too, now that’s a kick in the ribs! Maybe Rick(y) is just trying to make him angry…

  33. Might be a good tactic. He’ll surely bowl before lunch you’d think. Great spell so far by Big Stu.

  34. Does lunch get pushed out 10 mins for the change in innings? Would be good to get Mitch in to clean up the tail…

  35. No it doesn’t Mo, and I think Jonno will be on next over. Stu looks like he has had enough for the time being.

  36. I tend to agree, Tendulkar’s 4 really blew out his figures to 7 overs 1/11. Johnno time for sure, or maybe M Clarke before lunch.

    Will be interested to see if Katto gets a bowl later today, the Indians wouldn’t have faced him before…

  37. We won’t need the Kat if Cam gets his four. I presume you’d be finishing work soon. Better find a telly and plonk yourself in front of it. There’ll be plenty to cheer in the next two sessions.

  38. Indeed, probably another hour here.. will time the drive home for 5.40 so I can listen to ABC on the way..

  39. Lunch 41/2 (17)

    Fantastic session for Australia. Still 66 overs to bat and another breakthrough soon after lunch and they’ll be a fair to chance to go one-nil up.

    Australia bowled full inviting the drive and it paid dividends. Two hot catches taken and the onus is well and truly on India to buckle down and weather the storm.

  40. Great stuff below the line gentlemen.

    I have to go to work now, and I expect a couple more wickets to go. Aus should win it, but will need to take their catches and hope the umpires aren’t dozing.

  41. Safe journey Toots and I hope your predictions are correct. India have started positively after the break which is the best way to avoid defeat in my opinion.

    60/2 (20)

  42. 21.4 Clarke to Tendulkar, no run, loud appeal from Clarke as this one slides in off a length and hits the front pad as Tendulkar defends, Asad Rauf unmoved and replays show the ball hit him outside the line of leg stump

  43. It looked to be sliding down leg but if it had straightened a bit the ump would have been interested.

    Clarke has his length about right now however Johnson still looks a bit rusty.

    I’d be thinking about giving Lee three overs at Tendulkar and rough him up a touch.

  44. Johnson bowls Ghambir with a pearler! He has bowled poorly and it literally came from nowhere.

    On the replay it looks like a slower cutter that went straight through a yawning gap between bat and pad.

    Nathan Bracken would have been proud of that one!

    77/3 (27)

  45. Nathan Bracken should be there!

    Looks very tight from this distance – that lack of an authentic wicket-taking fourth bowler is beginning to look crucial.

  46. Wow. Thats quite some coverage of the series u’ve got going here Nesta. Should have come here earlier. Great work!

  47. Don’t take anything away from Tendulkar he has batted very well in the situation.

    The pitch isn’t playing tricks and at tea with 35 overs to bowl India should save the match.

    That said, Australia won’t stop trying. The memory of three wickets in the second last over at Sydney is still fresh in the consciousness.

    For people who are excited by an accumulative record, the third session highlight should be Sachin passing Brian Lara as all time Test runscorer. He needs 17 more I think.

    Tea 130/3 (48)

  48. WHITEY!

    The little master becomes 1 of 4.

    Now for some sunshine…

  49. That puts the celebration for the record off to the next Test.

    If India lose a wicket in the next five overs it’s going to be a very interesting finish.

  50. Two spinners bowling and there going off for bad light at quarter past three in the afternoon.

    That decision will spoil any sort of exciting finish.

  51. Bad Light! That’s a disgrace.

    Unless somebody is going to get hurt, they should play.

  52. Toots, its especially difficult for Australians to understand because it rarely happens in matches on our continent. And if it does it’s at quarter to six not quarter past three!

  53. and when it does start to get gloomy here we turn the lights on…..

  54. Thats the Indian cricket season is the winter, not the summer like Australia.

  55. I mean that in general, yesterday it was more a case of clouds causing gloomy conditions. In the old days, test days were 5 1/2 hours long. This undoubtedly contributed to a slightly lower result rate in the subcontinent. Starting play half-an-hour earlier only started in the mid-90s (turns out the morning dew wasn’t as bad as folks thought it was going to be).

  56. but why not turn the lights on if it’s a bit dark?

  57. Moses: the light business in tests desperately needs a solution, and not just in India but in every test-playing country. Both the teams have to agree on lights being on and this agreement has not been reached between any pair of test-playing countries (at least consistently). And the business of cloth and ball color for tests will have to be tackled as well. The most radical solution is to play test cricket in colored clothes, white ball and switch on the lights whenever needed.

  58. Samir

    Australia have been lobbying the ICC for a number of years now with the idea of Day/Night Test cricket, however they keep hitting a brick wall.

    I could live with pyjamas but the white ball does turn grey quickly and therein lies the problem.

    The English have trialled fluorescent pink ones and Australia bright orange but neither were deemed suitable.

    Eventually someone will discover a brightly coloured ball that behaves like a cherry red one and then the ICC will have no more excuses to refuse the change.

    They played five day matches under lights nearly 30 years ago during World Series Cricket and those matches produced thrilling cricket. It should go without saying that floodlight technology has improved markedly since.

    Perhaps we will see it again during our lifetimes but I wouldn’t bet on it. The ICC is as hard to move as a dead elephant!

  59. Nesta: The ICC definitely needs to ensure that the paying public gets to see 450 overs of cricket in a test – whether its by lights, improved drainage at all grounds, flexible start and end times or whatever. Test cricket needs all the help it can get in order to be a viable entertainment. I am a traditionalist but I wouldn’t object to colored clothes and different colored balls if it meant getting more test cricket and fewer interruptions.

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