The final over of the day.
Ball One – After three Indian innings in the series, Sachin Tendulkar has scored one more run than Gambhir, Sehwag, Dravid, Zaheer, Sreesanth, Dhoni, Harbhajan, Ojha, Sharma and Pujara combined. Still the key wicket after all these years.
Ball Two – What is wrong with Michael Clarke? Looking to defend and consolidate, he was beaten by a good ball from Ojha – no shame in that. But his foot had slid some distance over the crease and he was clearly stumped. Why would a man of his experience make such a schoolboy error? There may be many reasons, but I suggest that Michael Clarke’s mind is not entirely focused on the matter at hand.
Ball Three – 85-3 and a huge LBW shout from Harbhajan bowling round the wicket to Ponting. At first viewing (and on second viewing) it looked as plumb as plumb gets. Hawkeye predicted that the ball would go on to hit middle two-thirds of the way up. This series has been the best PR for the UDRS one could wish to see. The job was always tough, but it’s too tough with technology available to everyone but the men that matter.
Ball Four – 107-3 and Ponting is hit on the pad. The ball then loops off the back of the bat to where Silly Point should have been. On the fourth and fifth days of Tests on the sub-continent, crazy stuff like that happens, but it doesn’t matter if the close field is absent.
Ball Five – Mike Hussey is out of sorts and when you’re out of sorts, you’re out of luck too. Against a turning ball, he was very fully forward to smother the spin with bat or pad since either will do once the ball turns sharply and there’s so much distance for it to travel between pad and stumps. Unfortunately for him, Gunner Gould had a bit of a guess and gave him out to a ball that turned enough to beat the bat and enough to miss the leg stump. Hussey is no walker, but paused for not a second in getting off the ground once the finger was raised – classy, from a man who must have been crushed with his place under threat.
Ball Six – Ponting, like Tendulkar, is still the key wicket in the Australian line-up. Both these champion batsmen played a lot of Test cricket in the 90s when pitches were more lively and there were many more top class bowlers on the circuit (who weren’t ground down by the treadmill of the current international calendar). There’s much to be said for a harsh upbringing building skills and character – in many walks of life.
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