Australia v India, 1st Test, MCG, 2nd day December 27, 2011

Cowan treated for sore back

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Australia are hopeful that their best batsman from the first innings, Ed Cowan, will be fit on the third day in Melbourne after he spent much of the second day in the rooms receiving treatment for a sore back. The debutant Cowan, who made 68 on Boxing Day, was on and off the field on Tuesday. His place was taken by the substitute Daniel Christian while the physio Alex Kountouris worked on Cowan.

Cowan batted for nearly three hours in his first Test innings but that wasn't the cause of his problem, according to Brad Haddin, the vice-captain. Haddin said Cowan had been a little over-enthusiastic in his warm-ups on the second morning.

"Ed got a bit excited in the warm-up in his first Test, he was diving around too much," Haddin said. "He twinged his back. Alex worked on him through the day and he came back all right."

That Cowan did return to the field during the day was encouraging for Australia, who conceded the advantage to India on a sunny afternoon that offered little assistance for the fast bowlers, after Australia pushed their way to 333 in the morning. India closed the afternoon at 3 for 214, with Rahul Dravid well set, and they could see the potential for a big first-innings lead.

"If the sun is going to belt down like this and the wicket eases more and more, I think we'll have to look at batting out as much time as possible and trying to get as much ahead in the game as possible," the India offspinner R Ashwin said. "That is very important. I think it's all about the first-innings lead, or the first-innings situation that both teams find themselves in."

Haddin said the focus for the Australians on the third morning would be to build on the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, which was collected by Peter Siddle in the final over of the day. That was a major fillip for Australia, who spent much of the afternoon working hard for no reward, although VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni still loom large.

"I think it's important tomorrow we shut that scoreboard down a bit," Haddin said. "If we can do that we'll create chances and give ourselves the best opportunity to get into that middle order. I think we're about 15 overs to the new ball but if we can create some opportunities, building pressure with a few dots and putting some overs together, I think we can get into that middle order.

"At the moment I think India might be a little bit in front of us in the game. But it's evenly poised tomorrow if we start the first session well."

Haddin said he was especially impressed with the way Siddle responded after bowling Dravid off a no-ball, the decision only confirmed when the umpire Marais Erasmus asked for the third umpire to check the footage. Siddle did not let the incident faze him, and he hit the 150kph mark in the last over of the day.

"It felt like he did come through 5ks quicker after that, which was good," Haddin said. "I thought he showed a bit of character coming back after what happened, to get Tendulkar late in the day. He looked pretty good today, so that was a good effort to get him."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on December 29, 2011, 7:46 GMT

    haha.. he sub title of this article says opener had bated for 3hrs... did i just hear 3 hrs??

  • zenboomerang on December 29, 2011, 1:37 GMT

    @TYJAY... @Prasant_NSW :- Try actually reading the article first before commenting... Cowan makes no comment at all in this article... It is Haddin & 3 match player Ashwin who are quoted... But that is why I come to this website - player stories & thoughts... It gives the games more texture...

  • Prasant_NSW on December 28, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    All who were impressed with Cowan's performance will think twice to support him back. It was awful the way he was out in 2nd innings. He must concentrate on his batting and do less talk. Yadav again shown lot of mettle. Great find from India. - Prasant UNSW

  • TYJAY on December 28, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    This chap is on media after a first innings of his test career!! I was surprised to see that. What he should be doing that to cement his place in the team rather than criticizing the system!! He is paying in others hand. He needs more experience.

    I think Australia needs Simon Katich to Open batting. One reason why Australia cannot score big scroes these days is the poor opening batsmans.

  • johnathonjosephs on December 28, 2011, 2:13 GMT

    What a joke this no UDRS rule is making. Ashwin scored a handy 25-30 runs by surviving a plumb lbw shout and Hussey and Cowan could not score much. If there was UDRS, i would suspect the lead to be around 150. When umpiring goes against INdia, they complain about it and replay all over the media

  • RandyOZ on December 28, 2011, 2:01 GMT

    @landl47 once again, you show your lack of cricketing knowledge. Pretty much everything you predict doesn't come true. Don't give up your day job mate :)

  • taemoorkhan on December 27, 2011, 23:17 GMT

    I think Australia need a new good physio. They are losing their key players and matches at an alarming rate for last few years..

  • anilkp on December 27, 2011, 21:25 GMT

    What is happening to Aussie bench strength? Cummins collapsed after one game, so does Cowan; Marsh did the same. It was unusual that Watto went well for sometime after his fragile initiations. Who next, Jim Patto? Top that with Harris, and it is a staggering truth that the new lads cannot sustain hard work, that they are built fragile, that they are meant for a day's flash, like a butterfly. Look at young debutants from other countries: Ishant, Kohli, Ashwin keep going, so do Saf, Pak youngsters. I guess John Invers has to save a quarter of his efforts to understand what is ailing the bench strength. Big Bash is certainly not the way to treat that! Or, are Aussie youngsters inherently fragile, and they become strong only in the 30s? May be that's why Huss and his likes maintain the strength. Invers may have to rethink the youth policy.

  • Kavum on December 27, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    What is with these physios and sports medics? Surely their job is not merely therapeutic and curative but also preventative. Why are they not advising players what risks to take or not to take and what not to try/do in practice or on the field? What is the point in having these people in the setup if they cannot foresee and prevent injuries by giving sound advice? If a coaching drill is too risky or strenuous, the physio must warn the coaches and players that it will compromise performance (or even participation). Some players are naturally athletic but others are not. A champion batter need not over-exert himself in a fielding drill. All he needs to be is competent - not a Jonty, Herschelle, Randall, Bland, Dilshan or AB. The modern predilection with being a man of many parts (all-rounderi in cricket) is absolute nonsense.

  • landl47 on December 27, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    It's going to be a draw. India will get about 400 but will bat till midway through the last session on day 3. Australia will get 350 and will bat till after lunch on day 5. India will need about 280 but won't go for them once Sehwag is out. They'll finish on about 130-4. Haha- wouldn't it be funny if that's what happens? @katsunn: what possible motive would the Australians have for lying about the cause of Cowan's injury? How would it benefit them? You seem to be obsessed with conspiracies, even when they involve nothing of any importance.

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