Australia v India, 1st Test, Melbourne, 1st day December 26, 2011

The lethal drizzle and Cowan's distinction

ESPNcricinfo presents Plays of the Day from the first day of the first Test between Australia and India in Melbourne

The break
David Warner had just shaken off a nervous start, hitting Umesh Yadav for a four and an emphatically pulled six in the 12th over when a fine drizzle arrived for the second time in the morning. This time it was deemed heavy enough to walk off. Scarcely had the teams made the change-rooms than the covers came off, and out walked Warner and Ed Cowan. Yadav bowled another bouncer immediately after the break. This one was sharper, beat Warner for pace on the pull, lobbed off Warner's glove, and settled in MS Dhoni's hands.

The start
Ricky Ponting walked out to a rousing reception from the 60,000-plus that had made their way in by the time Australia lost their first two wickets. At the start of the innings he felt his way through on the most familiar of turfs. He slipped, he stumbled, but the most unexpected of the sights came when he faced his second ball. He began with a trademark stride forward and a leave. The second was a bouncer, and he was not going to shy away. He went for the hook, took his eyes off, and was hit on the head - the picture tells the story. However, he was alert enough to kick the ricochet away from the stumps.

The landmark
When debutant Cowan, watchful, leaving everything outside off alone, reached six, he had registered the highest score for an Australian opener in his first innings in 18 years. That was only the start, though. He went on and on and on, patiently picking balls to play like he would words to write, and ended on 68, the best maiden effort for an Australian opener since Wayne Philips scored 159 back in November 1983.

The debate
It was only a matter of time before this series would see raging debates over DRS. It arrived soon enough, in the final session of the first day. Zaheer Khan had just got Michael Clarke out when he bowled a peach that Michael Hussey fended at. A huge appeal for a catch behind the wicket followed, which was upheld by umpire Marais Erasmus. Hussey looked miffed, and didn't make an attempt to hide his disappointment at the decision. Which was just as well, because the replays showed the ball had flicked only his shirtsleeve. Minutes later, Cowan fell to a dodgy decision too, when the Hot Spot and Snicko didn't show an edge. Cue in heated debate. As fans we would love a wise solution to this debate, but as newspapers, TV channels and websites, we are loving it.

The modern-captainitis
Zaheer had just taken two in two, the new man Brad Haddin had just walked in, but when he faced R Ashwin in the next over, this was the field: long-on, deep midwicket, fine leg and just one slip. Need more be said?

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2011, 1:55 GMT

    @Shanmuganathan Patchakany.. Why drag Sachin into this..?? He has already got a quite number of wrong decisions against him.. esp in Aus.. rem '99 Tour..?? Well.. To answer ur question.. Yes.. I wud still say that DRS is flawed even after such Instance.. And, y he shud be on 99 for such a decision..?? To maximize my response.?? hmm.. I say u.. I am a big fan of Sachin.. I don't mind him getting OUT to 0 r 99 r 100+.. Wtever he scores, he is best among the lot available.. That extra 100 has nothing left to prove abt himself..

  • Thomas on December 27, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    The comments about the Siddle decision are illogical as if DRS was in use then he wouldn't have needed to bat as Hussey wouldn't have been out and (debatable) Cowan. I accept the technology isn't 100% accurate, but it is a supplement to the umpires, not a replacement and anything which improves accuracy must be embraced.

  • P on December 26, 2011, 21:56 GMT

    Yes, India should agree to use DRS, provided it is consistent and reliable and the concerns BCCI has in this regard are addressed. Aussies did have a bad decision - a howler - that amounted to Hussy's dismissal but so was Haddin's not out, a clear LBW. The series is on day one and this debate is already hot and heavy and it takes away from the pure cricketing fun.

  • Nimal on December 26, 2011, 20:41 GMT

    Let us have one way or the other. Technology or no technology! If no technology then we should not have it for runouts, stumping, no balls etc. Giving a batsman out using technology when his bat is 5 mm short of the crease or 5mm above ground is also very very unfair. Nimper

  • Truter on December 26, 2011, 20:24 GMT

    I just have a strange feeling that the non-DRS will backfire and eventually cost India the series. If this happens, they won't be able to blame the umpiring like in the 2007-08 series, they will just have to blame themselves. It's just ironic, the umpiring was dreadful in that series (towards India mainly), but now that the technology is there, they refuse to use it. As for Sehwag, I hope he proves me wrong and bashes a century tomorrow, but he hasn't had any major success in England or SA, I just can't see this being any different. Nevertheless, I'm hoping for a cracker of a contest tomorrow around 1:20am South African time ;)

  • Siva on December 26, 2011, 20:05 GMT

    Ed Cowans decision was not a howler. Hussey's was. DRS should be used to eliminat howlers and not 50-50 decisions. We cannot blame DRS for Dravid not appealing(shoelace). Had Dravid appealed, the decision would have been reversed. DRS is good for the game and i wish ICC makes it mandatory. Do not blame the BCCI, if ICC does not have the balls.

  • Rahul on December 26, 2011, 19:56 GMT

    I just shudder to think if Sachin gets a marginal decision against him in his 90s. Personely I am still not convinced with Hot Spot and Hawk eye. Snicko seems to be reliable one.

  • Srinivas on December 26, 2011, 19:41 GMT

    Here comes the DRS bandwagon. They just need an excuse as usual to press forward without letting us understand 1) how good the technology is and 2) what do you plan to do after the 2 reviews are exhausted. The UDRS in the present form and technology is loads of tosh. The dismissals of Huss and Ed are not howlers. They are marginal and could go either way on any given day. In fact not giving out for plumb lbw of Haddin was a howler. Once again howlers are going against India as it happened in England even with the help of cold-spot and cataract. Australia should have been all out by now. Thanks to the howler of Haddin that they are still surviving at 277/6 instead of being bowled out for under 250. @Karthik Raja, agree with you about Haddin and the thing about video games and the matured stand of BCCI. Very well said...

  • Dummy4 on December 26, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    DRS is a fail because there is no standardization. Hot spot is useless as seen many times in India Vs England series, I feel slo-mo is much better since you can actually notice the change in revolution on the ball if bat touches it. However, I feel that best technology would be polygraph test on batsman. Since it is he who knows whether he has edged the ball or not. Indians don't trust DRS and the hype around it makes us even more skeptical.

  • Dummy4 on December 26, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    Enough said and done about DRS.. I agree it should be used but if it's not people should move on and accept that reality.. Just 2-3 years back DRS wasn't used and I still enjoyed the game - besides if DRS isn't part of the game then it affects both the teams similarly, right.. so what's the fuss about "we will see when Indian batter gets a bad decision" I am sure BCCI/Indian Team is well aware of that and it will be cricket same as old days (till early part of 2009's) when at the end of the game it all EVENS OUT..

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