Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 1st day January 13, 2012

The WACA welcome, and a replay after 20 years

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

The welcome

The WACA bounce is the stuff of legends. People have usually heard thousands of stories before actually coming to the ground. How exactly is the WACA? Gautam Gambhir found out first ball. It was just back of a length and straight. He thought he could trust the WACA bounce, and leave it on length. The ball, though, reared up and hit him in the chest. Morning everyone.

The selection

The legend of the WACA, and the colour of the pitch, made both captains venture out of their comfort zone. On the match eve, Michael Clarke did say that he felt uncomfortable going into a Test without a specialist spinner, or bowling first. The pitch and India's trouble against fast bowlers so far proved temptation enough, and Clarke gave in. Not only did he pick four pacers, he also inserted India.

The bigger surprise, perhaps, was that India went in with four seamers as well, for the first time since the SCG Test of 1991-92. That also meant they dropped R Ashwin, who might not have been impressive with the ball but was India's second-highest run-getter in the first two Tests.

The shot

Sachin Tendulkar began his innings with a straight drive for four. On air, Ian Chappell was put in the mind of the straight drive he played to bring up his hundred at the same venue in 1991-92. Chappell remembered the bowler too, Craig McDermott. Channel 9 dug into the archives, and Chappell was correct. The only difference was that the 1991-92 drive was slightly to the leg side of the stumps.

The miss

It might even have been a leg-stump half-volley, but an uncertain Rahul Dravid turned it into a yorker, fell over while trying to play it, and watched it dribble off his pad, from outside leg, onto the stumps. Peter Siddle didn't mind it.

The innings

When Zaheer Khan's turn to bat arrived, we got a proper old-fashioned tailender's innings. He never wanted to get in line, and just kept swinging vaguely at what he thought was the line of the ball. Such innings can be fun. This one wasn't. It lasted only 11 balls.

The 12th man

David Warner was blazing hotter than a hot Perth day when he got hit in the helmet by an Umesh Yadav bouncer. It needs mentioning here that he was through his shot already when the ball hit him. Anyway, that encouraged Yadav to bowl more short deliveries. The first was upper-cut for four, and then second pulled wide of midwicket. When he cut the third one in front of square, India found extra help as the ball hit a bird around the extra-cover area, and went for only two. What India wouldn't do for a hawk to catch one for them?

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    Someone said AGE is catching up, With the Team of the world. The Aussies, unlike the West Indians have shown their cricketing infra is future proof.

    The utter contempt the home team has, for the Aging mediocrity is too visible. unless the ICONS in Indian team are replaced by more hardworking talent, i am afraid we have to invent worse forms of Cricket - T20 for instance, where the distinction between High Talent and low mediocrity is seldom brought to the fore!

  • disco on January 14, 2012, 2:15 GMT

    Technically, it's as if India were all out for 12 runs in the first innings on day one, and Australia are about to begin their first innings on day two. Warner's display at the end of day one was merely some T20 entertainment for the crowd in order to pad the day out not part of the match.

  • disco on January 14, 2012, 2:05 GMT

    Yadav's bowling after Warner got hit epitomises how clueless India have been. It's not as if the bouncers were working and just because Warner got hit it should have served as a warning not as a weakness because he was over enthusiastic not frightened. He got hit hard and square but the helmet did its job. The question was, were India going to see this as some sort of a weakness against their mighty fast bowling. Did Yadav flatter to deceive himself that he was indeed the one who proved he could strike terror into the very souls of the Aussies. Could he be that vain? Yes to all three, and the next three bouncers were to be sent for 12, (disregarding the avian interference). This I think sums up India's mindset.

  • Rtn on January 13, 2012, 23:24 GMT

    So many people bashing the IPL. Seems to affect only the Indian team, though. The Aus players play both the IPL and BBL, yet turn up for proper Test cricket too. And what about the bowling? Blame the IPL for getting one wicket in 800 runs?

  • Dummy4 on January 13, 2012, 21:23 GMT

    The longest rope! Let Dravid play the fourth test as well and so would Lax. But Gambhir needs to go. He is struggling and needs to injure his hamstring or something now if he wants to play in the future. It is time for someone else to step in and arrest this gap at the top.

  • Dummy4 on January 13, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    If someone wants to say sth about this indian team they should say"this team cannot bat, cannot bowl and cannot even field".THEN, What else can they do? well, they can only talk ..ICC should not allow this indian team to visit aus, sa, eng simply because they can't even put up a fight.

  • Nikhil on January 13, 2012, 18:02 GMT

    Painful... that's all I can say. Before the match began, I was hoping India to put up a good fight as we have good memories at WACA... but this is just painful! This series seems to be heading the same direction the English tour went... If anyone can save India soon... it's the Big Three and that would be by retiring. Agree with JustOUT on this.

  • Dummy4 on January 13, 2012, 17:01 GMT

    Sehwag is a bully of flat pitches, Sachin is good but for short time only and is only playing for himself. Laxman is classy but he is getting a bit old to keep his timing on overseas pitches. India needs to make some tough decisions in the best interest of the team but the board would be very reluctant to do that as these would not be liked by the general public. My guess is that Laxman will be made the escape goat after this series, as that would be an easier decision, and the life will go on. Hang on, what about the bowling? How can Australia score so freely? Hmm!!!!

  • Bryn on January 13, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    Australia are back baby doll

  • abdul basit on January 13, 2012, 15:40 GMT

    waka waka indeed... but still there is cricket to b played.

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