The final over of the day.
Ball One – Ben Hilfenhaus, much the best of Australia’s bowlers, brings one back into Murali Vijay and traps him plumb in front, but his appeal is turned down by Gunner Gould. It looked out at first view, on replay and on Hawkeye. This is Gunner and Billy’s eighth day in the middle in the last eleven. Back to back Tests are demanding for players, but it’s only the umpires who are in the sun (and the spotlight) all day, every day.
Ball Two – Less than half way through the Test, the bookies have written it off as a draw. Although the strip looks flat and both teams’ batting is significantly more talented than their bowling, a few poor decisions, a bit of inexperience in India’s line-up and worry over form in the Australian line-up and we could see a result yet.
Ball Three – With Tendulkar and Vijay pushing their partnership towards 300 and Katich bowling, the match may have reached the point when a bad ball is more likely to take a wicket than a good ball. With batsmen so set, serving up a mix of half-volleys, full tosses and long hops may well be the best option – having faced line and length (well. not from MJ) for hours, something is needed to knock the batsmen out of their rhythm.
Ball Four – With over two hundred overs still left in the match and India behind by 140 or so, MS Dhoni has a decision to make. Does he ask his batsmen to play in an orthodox fashion until Australia’s total is reached some time on the fourth morning and then attack seeking a declaration 150 or so ahead? Or does he simply grind away knowing that a draw would secure the series 1-0? I feel that every match should be played to win and that Australia won’t enjoy batting 150 behind on a fifth day wicket.
Ball Five – One has to feel for Cheteshwar Pujara. He watched for 90 overs with the pads on, before walking out for his debut Test innings. A lovely cover drive brought a boundary, but next ball he got a rare shooter and a less than rare marginal LBW appeal upheld by Billy Bowden. Cricket, even for a man who at 22 has six double centuries and four triples, can be a cruel game.
Ball Six – With India 411-4, Nathan Hauritz has just completed the double of averaging over 100 runs per wicket at an economy rate over 4. Tours of India have broken better bowlers than Hauritz, but it’s hard to believe that the finger spinner, for all of his persistence, is the best option for Australia.
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