Border-Gavaskar Trophy - 1st Test

Australia v India

Australia won by 122 runs

Overs 1-50  | Overs 51-100  | Overs 101-150

Bill Lawry is on air. It is all go! Cowan and Warner are out there. Three slips and a gully. Zaheer to bowl at Cowan over the stumps.

"Nitin, how many comments about Sehwag scoring a hundred before lunch have you got so far?" Shashank, Australia are batting first. Not that that should stop Sehwag.

The XIs, in case you're still wondering:

India: 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Rahul Dravid, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Virat Kohli, 6 VVS Laxman, 7 MS Dhoni (capt, wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Umesh Yadav

Australia: 1 David Warner, 2 Ed Cowan, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 Ricky Ponting, 5 Michael Clarke (capt), 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Peter Siddle, 9 James Pattinson, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Ben Hilfenhaus

"This is gonna be a wonderful series, hope it's well fought and not one sided like England vs India was. I'm offering odds of 1/200 on Zaheer breaking down before lunch if anyone fancies it. " I'm taking you on, Chris.

"Michael Clarke is a goose. Has handed India a dream no pressure start. Had the chance to set the tone for the series with an aggressive attack with superb bowling conditions." reckons Sticks.

Pitch report from Shaz and Waz: Live grass on the pitch, rolled in a touch, but the ball is going to zip off this one.

"As a NZer I am disgustingly excited about this series. Enjoy competitive cricket while it lasts, as South Africa tours our shores soon, and that will in all likelihood end in a 3-0 (all by an innings) humiliation." Matthew, welcome to the coverage, and have some hope for the Black Caps.

Toss: Australia win a tricky toss and bat first on a green wicket. India are playing Kohli, Ashwin and Umesh Yadav, as expected. If you didn't know the Australia XI already, its time to come out from under that rock. People are still streaming in, and it won't be long before MCG is packed.

9.55 am The best news of the morning comes from Sid Monga at the G. He reckons we are in for a timely start. It is brightening all the time in Melbourne, the outfield seems ready and the players have been warming up for more than 30 minutes. Bring it on! Tony Greig has slipped the key into the pitch, and it slipped right in we hear. Moisture on the pitch.

The toss isn't too far away. Meanwhile, here's all the preview stuff you need to get up to speed. India are known for notoriously slow starts to away series - West Indies earlier this year was an aberration. We all know Australia were in freefall, but this series will tell us if the slide has been arrested. The jury awaits.

"Nitin! We need a prediction!" Matt Williams - this is what I'd love to see: India 2 - Australia 2. Ed Cowan to make a heap of runs (because I already love the bloke despite not seeing him bat) and Kohli even more. Here's to the future!

9.35 am I hate to spoil the cheer, but weather updates from Melbourne indicate there's a bit of rain in the air. Nothing much, mind you, and we could still have a timely start. Considering we had hail yesterday, that might be construed as good news. Meanwhile, here's something from Brydon Coverdale on the state of the pitch: "MCG curator Cam Hodgkins told MCC breakfast they've left some grass on the pitch & first session will be tough for batting." I am not sure which of the two teams a spicy wicket will favour. Australia's opening pair is greener than the pitch, and their new-ball attack even greener. India have historically hated batting in such conditions as well.

A bittersweet tweet from @AltCricket sets the tone for what I hope will be a spirited, chirpy series, off the field at the very least: "Phil Hughes has finally found his place in Australian cricket - as far away from it as possible."

9.15 am Hola there! Welcome to Boxing Day! In the interest of maintaining sanity and keeping everyone's feet firmly on the ground, we shall refrain from hyping this up any more than it already has been. Let's just say it scarcely gets bigger than this.

Our preview to this Boxing Day blockbuster terms this as a battle between two flawed teams - flaws that were ruthlessly exposed by an ascendant England over the last 12 months. If I ever wanted two flawed teams to play for my life, these two would be it. The last time they met on these shores, Australia were undisputed No. 1, India were pretenders to the throne, and sparks flew. A lot has happened since - Australia have been proven mortal after all, India ephemerally became World No. 1.. And Harbhajan and Symonds (both of whom are out of the action this time) are now the best of friends.

Some things don't change, though. The Indian middle order for instance, which is back "like a few, creaking Terminators". Ponting is around too, the last of the Invincibles, unflappably and tirelessly fighting time itself. Zaheer is back too - his creaky joints and unpredictable sinews could decide which way the series goes - in two prior tours of this country, he's broken down twice after supreme spells in the first Test. Do India have the might to combat another breakdown?

0.1

Khan to Cowan, no run, not much pace, but interesting wobble in the air away from Cowan who leans out and leaves.

0.2

Khan to Cowan, no run, gently moves away from Cowan again, he leaves again.

Boy, what's Zaheer done to his hair?! Looks like a 60s Bollywood hero!

0.3

Khan to Cowan, no run, snaps in off the seam at 132 kph, and extra bounce too, Cowan's cut in half as he looks to fend to the leg side.

0.4

Khan to Cowan, no run, goes wider outside off, Cowan gets the front foot nicely across and has a look before letting it go.

0.5

Khan to Cowan, no run, too wide now, Zaheer is getting very lively seam away from the left hander, but he's not made Cowan play at all in this over.

0.6

Khan to Cowan, no run, starts with a maiden, the G roars in anticipation. Length ball on the pads, Cowan quietly works it to mid-on.

End of over 1 (maiden) Australia 0/0
EJM Cowan    0* (6b)      Z Khan    1-1-0-0
DA Warner    0* (0b)     

"Wow, the initial commentary by Richie Benaut sounded like the EA games cricket commentary... creepy." It is supposed to be the other way, Harsh. Ishant to Warner over the stumps.

1.1

Sharma to Warner, 1 leg bye, on the pads, Warner can't get it away square. Leg bye for Warner. Aus are away.

Dravid is not at first slip. He's clanged a few in recent times.

1.2

Sharma to Cowan, no run, back of a length on the stumps, defended from the crease. Bit of bounce for Ishant.

1.3

Sharma to Cowan, no run, ah ha, daring leave from Cowan as Ishant angles this one across. The ball didn't come back in, though, and skimmed the front pad on its way to MSD.

1.4

Sharma to Cowan, 1 run, welcome to Test cricket, Ed Cowan! Length ball on the pads, tucked to the leg side for one.

1.5

Sharma to Warner, FOUR, edged, safe! Ishant got that to straighten sharply, Warner was initially shaping to cut or steer, but had to quickly cover the line. He wasn't fast enough, the ball hit the inside edge and roared away past off stump and went to fine leg. Dhoni didn't have a chance, and the carry wasn't spectacular.

1.6

Sharma to Warner, 1 run, Warner looks edgy. Stays back in the crease and nurdles a ball on the stumps to the leg side. Interesting first over from Ishant.

End of over 2 (7 runs) Australia 7/0
DA Warner    5* (3b 1x4)      I Sharma    1-0-6-0
EJM Cowan    1* (9b)      Z Khan    1-1-0-0

2.1

Khan to Warner, no run, beaten by a country mile, and a little more. Zaheer angles it in and zips it away from Warner who stays in the crease and feels for it. His bat wasn't in the same ballpark.

2.2

Khan to Warner, no run, appeal for caught behind, not given. Zaheer once again pounds it in and gets it to shape away from Warner who falls over as he looks to play it down the ground without much conviction. Definite noise as that went through, the appeal wasn't convincing. HotSpot says all - the bat hit the pad. Great call from umpire Erasmus.

2.3

Khan to Warner, no run, he's attacking the pads again, Warner gets into better position and works towards midwicket.

2.4

Khan to Warner, FOUR, cracking from Warner. Give him width and he'll go after it with a vengeance. Full ball just outside off, Warner trots forward and smokes it square. Kohli gives chase, but the ball had too much pace on it.

2.5

Khan to Warner, no run, shortens the length and beats him immediately. Warner again looks to get forward, but realises the length isn't there and has a fish for it as Zaheer moves it away deliciously.

2.6

Khan to Warner, no run, beaten again to end the over. Zaheer curls it away from a length, more exaggerated than so far today, and Warner didn't have a chance as he tried to cover the line from the crease.

End of over 3 (4 runs) Australia 11/0
DA Warner    9* (9b 2x4)      Z Khan    2-1-4-0
EJM Cowan    1* (9b)      I Sharma    1-0-6-0

Some sawdust going down on the side wickets. "Hype!!! Hype!! Hurray!!!" Succint, Supreeth.

3.1

Sharma to Cowan, 1 run, on the pads again from Ishant, Cowan nurdles it round the corner for a single.

3.2

Sharma to Warner, no run, short of a length and on off stump, Warner defends.

If you had images of Zaheer (Lord's version) and Zaheer (MCG version) next to each other, you could easily spot more than six differences. The man looks leaner, meaner, and his hairdo is quite extraordinary.

3.3

Sharma to Warner, 3 runs, shot Warner. Length from Ishant, tester on off stump, and Warner is up to the challenge as he plants it past the bowler down the ground. Super solid punch, that.

3.4

Sharma to Cowan, no run, Cowan gets across and tucks the bat inside the line as Ishant angles across.

3.5

Sharma to Cowan, no run, full length, there for the drive and Cowan punches it back to Ishant who fields on his follow through.

3.6

Sharma to Cowan, no run, wasted ball down the leg side, Cowan doesn't bother fiddling with it.

End of over 4 (4 runs) Australia 15/0
EJM Cowan    2* (13b)      I Sharma    2-0-10-0
DA Warner    12* (11b 2x4)      Z Khan    2-1-4-0

"@Nitin: Say whatever you want about this hairdo... but I prefer it to his Naruto version in the World Cup" So do I, Manoj.

4.1

Khan to Warner, 2 runs, boy, Warner's bat is all middle when he drives down the ground. This was barely a check-drive to a full length ball outside off. Beats mid-off easy.

4.2

Khan to Warner, no run, holds the length back and gets the ball to straighten outside off. Warner resists.

4.3

Khan to Warner, no run, it's amazing how Zaheer gets the ball to dangle in without changing his action. This one comes in sharply and Warner defends well to the leg side.

4.4

Khan to Warner, no run, that jagged in from wider of off stump. Warner leaves, and in the end a pretty good leave too. But he will be concerned by how close to off stump it got.

4.5

Khan to Warner, no run, pitched up, and crammed through the line, he can't beat wide mid-off though.

4.6

Khan to Warner, no run, short of a length and wide of off stump, Warner lets it go - he looks much more settled than he did in the first 10 minutes.

End of over 5 (2 runs) Australia 17/0
DA Warner    14* (17b 2x4)      Z Khan    3-1-6-0
EJM Cowan    2* (13b)      I Sharma    2-0-10-0

"Two teams fighting for the No. 3 test ranking. "Scarcely gets bigger than this"? Andrew Strauss won't be staying up for this one, I think." Well, Edmund, the number of England scribes inundating my Twitter timeline seems to suggest the World's No. 1 Test side is quite interested in this. And rightly so. As both these teams would vouch, the No. 1 ranking doesn't last for ever.

5.1

Sharma to Cowan, no run, pitched up to Cowan and angling across, this man's living up to his reputation as one of the best leavers in Australia.

5.2

Sharma to Cowan, no run, another leave outside off, Ishant probes away without getting it to bend back in.

5.3

Sharma to Cowan, no run, gets closer to off stump, and to the short-of-good-length, Cowan doesn't have a fiddle.

5.4

Sharma to Cowan, no run, ah, Ishant seams this one in, and it whistles past off stump at pace as Cowan lets go again.

5.5

Sharma to Cowan, no run, pitched right up, Cowan gets into a very good position for the drive, but doesn't time it too well. Mid-off is in the way.

5.6

Sharma to Cowan, no run, short of a length on middle and leg, Cowan defends solidly.

End of over 6 (maiden) Australia 17/0
EJM Cowan    2* (19b)      I Sharma    3-1-10-0
DA Warner    14* (17b 2x4)      Z Khan    3-1-6-0

6.1

Khan to Warner, FOUR, smashed! Brutalised in the air. Zaheer pitches it up outside off, Warner is already a yard outside the crease and lunges forward into position. The biceps then take over, cfracking the ball on the up through covers. Sehwag must have a wry smiling seeing this sort of batting!

6.2

Khan to Warner, no run, holds the length back and goes wider, Warner lets it go.

6.3

Khan to Warner, 2 runs, back of a length, that stopped on Warner, but he adjusted well and dabbed it softly into the covers with a flat bat for a couple.

6.4

Khan to Warner, no run, on a length around off stump and straightening, Warner meets it with a proud forward press and defends down the pitch.

6.5

Khan to Warner, 2 runs, short of a length, Warner promptly falls back in the crease and steers through point.

"Richie Benaud on 9 mentions that the Indian slip'ers are too close. I have heard this comment from foreign commentators since the time I started watching cricket. Why don't we correct that or is it just that we like our slips close?" Interesting question, Anand. I think the bounce is spongy, the ball isn't taking off from this track. That could be the reason?

6.6

Khan to Warner, no run, finishes with a full ball on the stumps, and Warner defends down the track.

End of over 7 (8 runs) Australia 25/0
DA Warner    22* (23b 3x4)      Z Khan    4-1-14-0
EJM Cowan    2* (19b)      I Sharma    3-1-10-0

Umesh Yadav comes on quite early. Dhoni could be on to something here.

7.1

Yadav to Cowan, no run, whanged down from over the stumps across Cowan, who watches it through to MSD.

7.2

Yadav to Cowan, no run, another leave from Cowan, Umesh gets this to straighten marginally from short of a length.

7.3

Yadav to Cowan, no run, angled across, Cowan gets the front foot across and shoulders arms.

7.4

Yadav to Cowan, no run, good probing stuff this. Holds the length back, gets the ball to come back in subtly. Not that Cowan's tempted into playing at it.

7.5

Yadav to Cowan, no run, fuller and a touch wider, Cowan knows this isn't heading to the stumps and lets it go.

7.6

Yadav to Cowan, no run, wastes the last ball, over-pitched miles outside off. Cowan doesn't bother about it. The first half hour has gone to Australia after a couple of nervy moments.

End of over 8 (maiden) Australia 25/0
EJM Cowan    2* (25b)      UT Yadav    1-1-0-0
DA Warner    22* (23b 3x4)      Z Khan    4-1-14-0

8.1

Khan to Warner, no run, beaten by a Zak jaffa. The ball's on a thread, and yo-yos away from a length. Warner pokes at it and isn't good enough to nick it.

The CA media manager Lachy Patterson's wife has lost twin kids. This is horrible news, and explains the arm bands. Our commiserations, Lachy.

8.2

Khan to Warner, no run, Warner covers the line this time, stays back in the crease and defends backward of point.

8.3

Khan to Warner, no run, back of a length, defended from the crease as it angles in.

8.4

Khan to Warner, no run, fuller length, Warner gets forward and defends solidly to the off side.

8.5

Khan to Warner, no run, short of a length outside off and seaming away, he lets it go.

There. I got it. Zaheer's new hairdo reminds me of Rajnikanth in 'Sivaji'.

8.6

Khan to Warner, 1 leg bye, bit of extra lift on a length ball that shaped in towards the hips. Warner skips inside the line and fends it off the hips behind square for one legbye.

End of over 9 (1 run, maiden) Australia 26/0
DA Warner    22* (29b 3x4)      Z Khan    5-2-14-0
EJM Cowan    2* (25b)      UT Yadav    1-1-0-0

There's some sun, and a faint dusty drizzle in the air. Not strong enough to stop play.

9.1

Yadav to Warner, no run, Umesh lands a pacy length ball on leg stump and seams it in. Perfect ball for Ricky Ponting, who isn't out there yet, though. Ends up outside leg as Warner looks to tuck it square, and gets hit on the pad.

9.2

Yadav to Warner, 2 runs, short of a length, and Warner's muscled wrists comes into play. The ball doesn't come on, and Warner slaps it through midwicket for a couple.

9.3

Yadav to Warner, no run, back of a length, hits the bat hard this time as Warner stays on the crease and defends.

9.4

Yadav to Warner, 1 run, Umesh isn't getting much seam movement out of the Kookaburra. Yet. Back of a length outside off, and Warner punches wide of mid-off for a single.

9.5

Yadav to Cowan, no run, good ball to Cowan, probably more daring to pitch it up to Cowan. It seamed across from middle and leg, and Cowan defended to the off side.

Warner and Umesh play for the same IPL team, by the way.

9.6

Yadav to Cowan, no run, interesting end to the over, Umesh jags this in marginally from short of a length and gets impressive lift. Cowan does what he does best - shoulders arms - and is hit on the thigh.

End of over 10 (3 runs) Australia 29/0
EJM Cowan    2* (27b)      UT Yadav    2-1-3-0
DA Warner    25* (33b 3x4)      Z Khan    5-2-14-0

10.1

Khan to Warner, no run, Zaheer continues to get the ball to hoop away from a length. Warner isn't bothered with leaving much, though. Jabs it away to the off side from the crease.

10.2

Khan to Warner, no run, lets this one go, though. Wider of off stump and seaming away.

10.3

Khan to Warner, no run, angled down the leg side, Warner is inside the line and lets it go.

10.4

Khan to Warner, no run, back of a length on the pads, nudged to the leg side on the hop. More pace on that than normal, from Zaheer.

10.5

Khan to Warner, no run, big inward seam but too short and a touch too wide to concern Warner, who swings the bat out of the way and lets it go.

10.6

Khan to Warner, no run, appeal for lbw but not the most convincing. Zaheer slips one in with the angle and catches Warner on the way, but I reckon he was outside off.

End of over 11 (maiden) Australia 29/0
DA Warner    25* (39b 3x4)      Z Khan    6-3-14-0
EJM Cowan    2* (27b)      UT Yadav    2-1-3-0

"Cmon Ed! Right now, Chris Martin has a better strike rate than you!" Uncle Bob, that's nasty.

11.1

Yadav to Cowan, FOUR, and Cowan gets the hint. No one surpasses The Phantom. Yadav pitches this up on off stump, and Cowan laces it down the ground. Supreme stroke.

11.2

Yadav to Cowan, 1 run, shortens the length, Cowan defends to the off side for one.

I am sure Rajesh was waiting to tweet this from the start of play. "Well done Ed! Cowan on 6, the highest score by an Aus debutant opener in 1st innings in almost 18 years. Next target:15

11.3

Yadav to Warner, FOUR, that's the sort of carving that would come handy during Thanksgiving! Pitched up in the slot, Warner lunges across and bashes it with a vengeance through the covers. Straight bat? What's that?

Yadav goes round the wicket now.

11.4

Yadav to Warner, no run, shortens the length and cuts out the angle, Warner defends.

11.5

Yadav to Warner, SIX, and the first six of the series! What a statement from Warner, he's carted Umesh Yadav into the midwicket stands. Short ball angling in at pace, Warner is ready in a trice and slams the pull without any intention of keeping it down. Hayden would approve of this sort of opening.

11.6

Yadav to Warner, 1 run, superb comeback from Yadav. Slips this one much fuller, Warner didn't expect that length and was stuck on the crease. He played all over it and inside edged to the leg side for one.

End of over 12 (16 runs) Australia 45/0
DA Warner    36* (43b 4x4 1x6)      UT Yadav    3-1-19-0
EJM Cowan    7* (29b 1x4)      Z Khan    6-3-14-0

Ishant replaces Zaheer. Australia have done everything right so far, this morning.

12.1

Sharma to Warner, no run, peach of the morning from Ishant. Not a bad loosener. A horror offcutter that lands short of a length around leg and middle and snaps across. Warner is left fumbling in its wake. Squared up, but no edge.

12.2

Sharma to Warner, no run, back of a length, this one straightens, and Warner dabs to the leg side. He doesn't look good when he defends, does he? But when he isn't....

12.3

Sharma to Warner, no run, too wide of off to trouble anyone, except Dhoni who skips across to collect.

12.4

Sharma to Warner, no run, fuller length on the middle and leg line, Warner gets forward and defends to mid-on.

12.5

Sharma to Warner, 1 run, on the pads, Warner nudges with hard hands to the leg side for a single.

12.6

Sharma to Cowan, no run, back of a length and angling in to middle and leg. Makes Cowan defend.

11.28 am Ah well, rain stops play. It was spitting about for a bit, and suddenly became heavy enough for the players to disappear. Not heavy at all, really. The covers are coming on. Some Indian fielders have not even gone away. We should be back on soon.

End of over 13 (1 run) Australia 46/0
EJM Cowan    7* (30b 1x4)      I Sharma    4-1-11-0
DA Warner    37* (48b 4x4 1x6)      UT Yadav    3-1-19-0

Right, after a couple of minutes off, the covers slither out of the playing area and the fielders troop back in. India need a breakthrough, and that interruption might help them sneak one in.

13.1

Yadav to Warner, OUT, didn't take long coming, that wicket, after the break. Yadav's sent Warner on his way. This was a set-up, and Warner couldn't resist. Square leg went back, suggesting there could be a bumper round the corner. It came immediately, it was quite pacy, it wasn't outside off like the last time, and Warner couldn't quite slot the hook away. He was cramped for room, but still went for it with hard hands. It lobbed off the glove to the leg side, and Dhoni took it easy.

DA Warner c †Dhoni b Yadav 37 (59m 49b 4x4 1x6) SR: 75.51

That interruption did the trick. Got to feel for Warner, but India won't mind. Here's Marsh, for my money, the best young batting talent in this country.

13.2

Yadav to Marsh, no run, good ball, zips in from round the stumps as Marsh wanders across. That saved him, he was hit on the pad, but outside off.

13.3

Yadav to Marsh, no run, shortens the length, gets the ball to seam in sharply and Marsh is caught on the crease. Fended uncomfortably to the off side.

Gambhir gets the helmet and settles at short leg. Three slips remain.

13.4

Yadav to Marsh, no run, offcutter at pace outside off, Marsh negotiates it better this time.

13.5

Yadav to Marsh, no run, back of a length outside off, Marsh stays on the crease and lets it go.

"Marsh replaces Warner.. This Oz test team is full of IPL players. Proud moment for Indians this." Not sure how that logic works, Gireesh. These guys aren't playing Test cricket on the back of their IPL exploits.

13.6

Yadav to Marsh, no run, goes full and gets the ball to bend in to end a very impressive over. Marsh leans well outside the line and lets it go.

End of over 14 (wicket maiden) Australia 46/1
SE Marsh    0* (5b)      UT Yadav    4-2-19-1
EJM Cowan    7* (30b 1x4)      I Sharma    4-1-11-0

Ishant continues.

14.1

Sharma to Cowan, no run, short of a length on the stumps, Cowan hangs behind the crease and defends.

"9 more rain breaks will do the trick for Indians." Ashfaq has done the math for us.

14.2

Sharma to Cowan, no run, angled across Cowan, impressive carry from Ishant, and Cowan lets go.

Round the stumps is Ishant, for the first time today.

14.3

Sharma to Cowan, no run, full and just wide of off stump, even Cowan is cowed into playing at this one, thanks to the change in angle. Defends to the off side.

14.4

Sharma to Cowan, no run, length ball, hits the deck and holds its line. Normal service for Cowan - he leaves.

14.5

Sharma to Cowan, no run, zippy from Ishant. Whanged back of a length, and down the leg side. Cowan managed to get inside the line and keep the bat, and his chest, out of the way. Good ball, well handled.

14.6

Sharma to Cowan, no run, another one, Ishant slants it down the leg side and Cowan stays put inside the line.

End of over 15 (maiden) Australia 46/1
EJM Cowan    7* (36b 1x4)      I Sharma    5-2-11-0
SE Marsh    0* (5b)      UT Yadav    4-2-19-1

15.1

Yadav to Marsh, OUT, Yadav's got another! Wickets are coming like London buses suddenly. What a soft dismissal, that. Yadav put it up on a really good length. Full and just wide of off stump, no movement, Marsh walks into a feeble drive without bothering to keep it down. Did it come on slower than he thought? His feet were nowhere as he went for it. Simple catch straight into Kohli's hands at gully.

SE Marsh c Kohli b Yadav 0 (11m 6b 0x4 0x6) SR: 0.00

Stand up for the legend, and applaud! Ricky Ponting is in the house. The G is buzzing. Shastri gets a little carried away and calls him Australia's best batsman. Bradman does a twist in his grave. Yadav steams in.

15.2

Yadav to Ponting, no run, too wide of off stump, seams away from a length. Ponting leaves.

15.3

Yadav to Ponting, no run, good morning Mr. Ponting! And hallelujah to helmet manufacturers! Yadav sends down a super fast bouncer, Ponting goes for the pull.. Some years ago, he might have carted that into the stands, but he wasn't quick enough on this one. It rolls off the forearm and jabs him on the grill, and drops close to the stumps. Ponting is rattled, but has the presence of mind to kick it away. Ts'all happenin'!

15.4

Yadav to Ponting, 2 runs, fuller length on the pads, Ponting is away. Skips into line and works it away square for a couple.

15.5

Yadav to Ponting, no run, play or leave? Ponting doesn't make his mind in time and steers it off the face of the bat as he was dragging it away. The ball rolls to MSD>

Square leg goes back... Another bouncer?

15.6

Yadav to Ponting, 1 run, stupendous stuff from Umesh. He slips in a quick yorker, and Ponting falls over and tumbles in the crease as he jams down on it. Well played in the end, but the bouncer was clearly on the back of his mind.

End of over 16 (3 runs) Australia 49/2
RT Ponting    3* (5b)      UT Yadav    5-2-22-2
EJM Cowan    7* (36b 1x4)      I Sharma    5-2-11-0

Ponting to face his old friend, Ishant Sharma. This could be immense fun. Remember Perth...? You should.

16.1

Sharma to Ponting, no run, and he's through him immediately. Back of a length outside off and seaming in off the straight as Ponting shuffles across and looks to cover the line. No cookie, the ball slips between bat and body, and misses the stumps.

16.2

Sharma to Ponting, no run, goes a touch fuller, and slightly wide of off stump. Ponting jumps across and defends to the off side.

"An almost perfect setting for Punter to do a repeat of his epic MCG innings 8 years ago!" Not quite, Omair. The MCG was undergoing renovations and looked ugly back then, not like now, or ever. Gambhir in at bat-pad.

16.3

Sharma to Ponting, 2 runs, short ball, didn't take long for Ishant to try that. Ponting takes him on and pulls square for a couple. In position early this time.

16.4

Sharma to Ponting, 1 run, the first misfield of the series. Ishant isn't allowed to work six balls at Ponting as Zaheer fumbles at mid-on. The yorker, Ponting pushes it unconvincingly and gets the single eventually.

16.5

Sharma to Cowan, no run, full length ball outside off, Cowan leans forward and defends.

16.6

Sharma to Cowan, no run, well bowled and nicely played. Short of a length outside off, Cowan does a good Alastair Cook impression as he covers the line and pokes it away softly.

End of over 17 (3 runs) Australia 52/2
EJM Cowan    7* (38b 1x4)      I Sharma    6-2-14-0
RT Ponting    6* (9b)      UT Yadav    5-2-22-2

17.1

Yadav to Ponting, no run, Yadav attacks the stumps with open-chested intent and pace. Ponting crunches down on it and defends to mid-on.

"Must say it was a pleasure watching Umesh bounce Ponting and smirk - unlike Srinath who inquires about Ponting's wellbeing and gets abused (from 1999)" Lingering memories, Joel!

17.2

Yadav to Ponting, 3 runs, full again, Ponting gets it away but he again falls over in eagerness as he looks to flick. Scampers back for three as the ball whistles through square leg.

17.3

Yadav to Cowan, no run, ah, he sends down a Ponting ball to the left hander. Cowan lets it go wide down the leg side.

When was the last time two Tasmanians top-order men batted together in a Test?

17.4

Yadav to Cowan, no run, sprayed across, too wide of off stump this time. Cowan lets go.

17.5

Yadav to Cowan, no run, whoa, Umesh is cranking it up! Cowan cops one on the elbow now. Short ball, angling in menacingly and Cowan gets into no position after pressing his front foot too far across. He looks away as leather thuds into his right elbow.

17.6

Yadav to Cowan, no run, super shot, and stupendous fielding. Kohli does considerably improve the average fielding ability of this side. Over-pitched outside off and drilled through the line. Kohli flies away at mid-off to stop a sure four.

End of over 18 (3 runs) Australia 55/2
EJM Cowan    7* (42b 1x4)      UT Yadav    6-2-25-2
RT Ponting    9* (11b)      I Sharma    6-2-14-0

18.1

Sharma to Ponting, 1 run, full length to Ponting, he isn't yet getting well forward. Covers the line and defends to the off side for a single.

Round the stumps to Cowan.

18.2

Sharma to Cowan, no run, dream ball. Did everything but get the wicket. Zipped in from wide of the stumps and then went away madly. Cowan got forward and across, and played at it, but couldn't get bat on it.

18.3

Sharma to Cowan, FOUR, top shot. Cowan's best of the morning. Ishant goes a yard fuller than the previous ball, Cowan leans across towards the line, drives through the line, bends the back knee and proffers high elbow as the ball flashes across the greens in the covers. Glorious.

18.4

Sharma to Cowan, no run, Ishant hangs it back outside off, Cowan stays put and lets it go.

18.5

Sharma to Cowan, no run, lovely ball. Ishant's working the angles beautifully here. Drags this down back of a length, a subtle offcutter that snaps away - Cowan tries to cover the line, but no cigar.

18.6

Sharma to Cowan, no run, easy leave this time, angles in with the angle wide of off stump and Cowan lets go.

End of over 19 (5 runs) Australia 60/2
EJM Cowan    11* (47b 2x4)      I Sharma    7-2-19-0
RT Ponting    10* (12b)      UT Yadav    6-2-25-2

"I like Cowan. He'll either play a majestic shot or not score!" In other words, good old Test match opening batsmanship, eh Sumith? Zaheer is back, over the stumps to Punter. Three slips and gully.

19.1

Khan to Ponting, no run, slow back of a length ball, on middle and leg, Ponting defends from the crease.

19.2

Khan to Ponting, no run, pitched up on off stump, Ponting is drawn forward and defends off the front foot.

19.3

Khan to Ponting, FOUR, that's the third time Ponting has fallen down today. Won't mind doing it a few more times, after playing such lovely strokes. Too short, too slow and too inviting from Zak. Ponting pulps the pull behind square, slips on the pivot and tumbles. The ball is through to the boundary by the time he recovers.

Round the stumps is Zak.

19.4

Khan to Ponting, no run, cuts the angle and bends this in towards Ponting, who covers the line and defends.

19.5

Khan to Ponting, no run, that's better, full length on middle and off, and straightening down the line. Ponting defends even as he adjusts to cover the line.

19.6

Khan to Ponting, no run, the trademark Ponting lunge across outside off, to defend a length ball to the off side.

End of over 20 (4 runs) Australia 64/2
RT Ponting    14* (18b 1x4)      Z Khan    7-3-18-0
EJM Cowan    11* (47b 2x4)      I Sharma    7-2-19-0

""When was the last time two Tasmanians batted together in a Test?" October 2010 - Paine and Hilfenhaus (v India in Mohali)" Wombat, thanks, but I should clear that up - I meant top-order batsmen. For the record, Doherty and Hilf batted together in the Ashes too, after Mohali.

20.1

Sharma to Cowan, no run, full and searching on off and middle, Cowan gets the front foot across and defends to the leg side.

20.2

Sharma to Cowan, no run, good stuff this. Cowan's leaving balls barely inches away from off, and he's doing it with conviction. Ishant keeps slanting them in from outside off, on a length.

20.3

Sharma to Cowan, no run, short ball on the ribs, Cowan hops and nudges to the leg side.

20.4

Sharma to Cowan, no run, fuller length, draws a watchful Cowan forward and he defends with the bat making an impressive acute angle with the turf as he meets the ball.

20.5

Sharma to Cowan, no run, gets the away seam going now, and picks up the edge. Cowan knew he was tricked into it, but adjusted well to soften the grip and guide it down to gully. Sehwag at gully tumbles and stops.

20.6

Sharma to Cowan, no run, another smart leave. Cowan stays on the crease and yanks the bat out of the line after seeing that Ishant's length ball isn't jagging back in.

End of over 21 (maiden) Australia 64/2
EJM Cowan    11* (53b 2x4)      I Sharma    8-3-19-0
RT Ponting    14* (18b 1x4)      Z Khan    7-3-18-0

21.1

Khan to Ponting, no run, awry from Zaheer, angles this very wide down the leg side and Ponting doesn't have to bother about it.

21.2

Khan to Ponting, no run, better line and on a good length. Ponting is drawn forward into defending to mid-off.

21.3

Khan to Ponting, 1 run, he may be old, but few man go between the wickets faster than Ponting. Length ball outside off, pushed to cover with soft hands and he sprints away for one.

Back over the stumps to the leftie.

21.4

Khan to Cowan, no run, Zaheer's struggling a bit with the lines here. Slanted well down the left-hander's leg stump now.

21.5

Khan to Cowan, no run, short of a length outside off, Cowan leans out and lets it go.

21.6

Khan to Cowan, 1 run, Cowan's first false shot of the morning? A probing full length ball gets him to close the face too soon on the front foot and he gets a leading edge towards covers.

End of over 22 (2 runs) Australia 66/2
EJM Cowan    12* (56b 2x4)      Z Khan    8-3-20-0
RT Ponting    15* (21b 1x4)      I Sharma    8-3-19-0

Ashwin's into the attack with lunch looming. Slip and short leg, round the stumps.

22.1

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, lots of drift on that, in ended on leg stump and was worked to the leg side.

22.2

Ashwin to Cowan, 1 run, short ball outside leg, Cowan nudges behind square for a single.

Ponting can breathe easy. An Indian offspinner who isn't Harbhajan to bowl at him.

22.3

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, tossed up and spinning in a touch, Ponting leans out to smother.

22.4

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, spin already, and quite a bit of it. And bounce. Ponting chooses to offer no shot as it jumps and turns back in. It hits the elbow and goes harmlessly to the leg side.

22.5

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, pitched well up, Ponting leans out to drive to mid-off.

22.6

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, decent first over for Ashwin as he gets a feel of the Kookaburra. Over-pitched on off stump, and dug back to the bowler.

End of over 23 (1 run) Australia 67/2
RT Ponting    15* (25b 1x4)      R Ashwin    1-0-1-0
EJM Cowan    13* (58b 2x4)      Z Khan    8-3-20-0

23.1

Khan to Cowan, no run, back of a length and seaming in, defended from the crease.

23.2

Khan to Cowan, no run, Zaheer hides the seam as he chugs in, and puts it on a good length. Cowan watches carefully and defends to the off side as it straightens.

23.3

Khan to Cowan, 1 run, short of a length on off stump, Cowan pushes to the covers and they get another quick single away.

23.4

Khan to Ponting, no run, back of a length from round the stumps, and Ponting defends from the crease.

23.5

Khan to Ponting, no run, slower ball, pitches it up on a full length and Ponting defends very carefully.

The drizzle gets heavier even as I type. Let's hope it clears by 1.00 pm which is when we'll be back on commentary. Cheers!

"Is Greg Chappell in the commentary team? Would love to see him and Dada commenting together." Tragically, no such luck, Vibhash.

12.28 pm The drizzle is back. Umpire Gould calls the players off. Not a bad timing for the rain to come, since lunch was upon us in 2 minutes anyway. Nothing heavy, and this too shall pass. An intense start to the intense series, and the heroes of the session were the new faces - Cowan and Yadav. Forget what the experts on Channel 9 are saying - this is a tough pitch to bat on, and Cowan's hand so far has been invaluable. Umesh Yadav was supreme, while Zaheer and Ishant impressive without being lucky. On the whole, India's morning but not by much. Australia might have taken 80 for 2 at lunch after batting on this pitch, and they aren't far off that mark.

Yowza! All set for resumption. Have to give it to these Aussie grounds, they get ready for play in a trice after a rain break. The last interval helped India get 2 wickets. Can they winkle out a couple more now? 65,000 people at the G now. This is what it is all about. Zaheer has the ball. Three slips and short midwicket in place.

1.40 pm Live pictures now. Covers are off, some water on the outfield getting mopped away. We can't be too far from resumption. Several of you writing in asking for bowling speeds. Sorry to disappoint, but they aren't being beamed on the India broadcast. I am told that Umesh and Ishant are hitting 140-142, and Zaheer's around 133-4.

Sumith (from India) laments: "What have we done wrong to not get to listen to the Channel 9 commentary?" Sumit, I assume you don't know that Tony Greig is part of the Channel 9 team.

"An engineering definition for pitch is the distance between two crests in a thread. So, it is very possible, that the word 'pitch' in cricket is used to indicate the region between the two stumps." Aravind, bravo. Also, good luck trying to convince people that you aren't a geek!

Siva: "I am just guessing here, But think 'pitch' must have been used to indicate the bounding region within which the ball has to be 'pitched' when cricket was in its infancy.. The term should have caught on like many other.." Fair enough.

1.05 pm Bad news folks. The drizzle hasn't abated in the interim, and we are in for an extended delay. The banter shall continue here, though!

Star Cricket shows us replays of the umpiring howlers that marred Sydney 2008. The show has been on for the last 20 minutes, and we are still not near the end! Not trying to sound cocky here, but Ricky Ponting's career has gone one way since then. As have the fortunes of the Australian cricketing team.

Meanwhile, an early request from Kapila Bandara: "Love Turkey this season but no ducks please Dilshan."

"Nothing to do with this match (or any other match for that matter); Why is a cricket pitch called 'a pitch'?" I don't have an answer, Kalyanaraman. Anyone else?

"I am surprised you haven't yet figured why English pitches are still the same and pitches elsewhere are becoming more English. It is the Illuminati, of course. It is THEY who are behind a cosmic plan to ensure England remain the number one side in the near future!" Circe Magnifica might be onto something here.

"Really now, what's a "seeming" wicket? Fans these days, *Sigh*." You know, Pushkar, considering the pretences for wickets that we see these days, 'seeming pitches' could actually be a very clever pun.

Marcus makes a very valid point here. "Why are Australian pitches so English these days i.e.spongy seaming wickets? Australia's strength is being able to deal with bounce better than other teams, we need more hard bouncy wickets to gain an advantage! Look where our best records are in recent times, South Africa, Perth and the Gabba!"

Pitches everywhere are changing. It doesn't spin so much in India anymore, it doesn't zip through in Aus and SA either. I wonder why. The wickets in England haven't changed that much, though.

23.6

Khan to Ponting, no run, back of a length on the stumps, Ponting goes back and defends from the crease.

End of over 24 (1 run) Australia 68/2
RT Ponting    15* (28b 1x4)      Z Khan    9-3-21-0
EJM Cowan    14* (61b 2x4)      R Ashwin    1-0-1-0

Ashwin continues.

24.1

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, tossed up outside off and spin away from Cowan who leaves.

24.2

Ashwin to Cowan, 1 run, flatter ball on the stumps, Cowan hangs back and works it square for one.

""Not being beamed on the broadcast?" I thought Cricinfo was so powerful it had people at every Test match around the world physically measuring speeds with an iPhone app." We are working on it, Aditya.

Slip and short leg.

24.3

Ashwin to Ponting, 2 runs, too short and wide to Ponting, he lunges back and slaps it square. Kohli palms it away at point, to cut the boundary.

24.4

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, short of a length and spinning in from outside off. Defended from the crease.

24.5

Ashwin to Ponting, FOUR, poor from Ashwin, is the wet ball slipping? This one is short and spins down the leg side, Ponting guides the pull away to fine leg for four. Easy runs.

24.6

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, better length, full on off stump and Ponting covers it well to defend to the leg side.

End of over 25 (7 runs) Australia 75/2
RT Ponting    21* (32b 2x4)      R Ashwin    2-0-8-0
EJM Cowan    15* (63b 2x4)      Z Khan    9-3-21-0

Umesh Yadav replaces Zaheer Khan. Can he crank it up once again?

25.1

Yadav to Cowan, no run, slipped in well wide of Cowan from over the stumps and he lets it go.

25.2

Yadav to Cowan, no run, back of a length, Cowan hangs back and defends to the off side.

25.3

Yadav to Cowan, FOUR, glorious! Oh, the joys of a flowing cover drive in Boxing Day! Pitch it up to Cowan and he unfurls utter joy upon you. Leans out, gets near the pitch of the ball and laces it into the covers. Even the ball felt gracious to roll away through the covers.

25.4

Yadav to Cowan, 1 run, Yadav holds it back, Cowan hangs in the crease and dabs to point for one.

25.5

Yadav to Ponting, FOUR, too short, Ponting is rolling along now. He sees it early as it slants down the line and bangs the pull along behind square leg. This is a lazy start from India after the break.

25.6

Yadav to Ponting, 3 runs, the backfoot punch now! Ponting stands tall in the crease and redirects a short of length ball in front of cover-point. Only the very best of batsmen can play that shot that well. Ponting is one of them.

End of over 26 (12 runs) Australia 87/2
RT Ponting    28* (34b 3x4)      UT Yadav    7-2-37-2
EJM Cowan    20* (67b 3x4)      R Ashwin    2-0-8-0

As expected, a change of ends for Zaheer. On from the pavilion end now.

26.1

Khan to Ponting, FOUR, he's pulling everything! Off the front foot. Vintage Ponting. Sloppy ball from Zak, slow and sitting up. Ponting presses forward, has time to wait and stabilise before cracking it in the air through square leg.

No seam movement so far after the break. The wet outfield isn't helping India.

26.2

Khan to Ponting, no run, fuller length, draws Ponting confidently forward and he defends towards mid-off.

26.3

Khan to Ponting, no run, back of a length, Ponting is still looking to get forward and defends.

26.4

Khan to Ponting, no run, that's more like it from Zaheer. Seams this in from a length and traps Ponting on the crease as he tries to cover the line. Negotiated without much conviction.

26.5

Khan to Ponting, no run, there, he goes fuller now inviting outside off, drawing Ponting into a drive, but he's too early on it and not in the best position. Inside edged to the leg side.

26.6

Khan to Ponting, no run, angled across at polite, inviting pace. Ponting chooses to leave.

End of over 27 (4 runs) Australia 91/2
RT Ponting    32* (40b 4x4)      Z Khan    10-3-25-0
EJM Cowan    20* (67b 3x4)      UT Yadav    7-2-37-2

27.1

Yadav to Cowan, no run, Yadav whangs it in short of a length, Cowan stays steady and defends to the off side.

27.2

Yadav to Cowan, no run, full and wider of off stump, Cowan sees it through to Dhoni.

27.3

Yadav to Cowan, FOUR, spanked! Cowan can pull too. Yadav bangs it in, Cowan does a good impression of Hussey as he pulled the weight back after getting forward. The ball clatters through square leg. Australia are flying.

27.4

Yadav to Cowan, FOUR, edged, four more! Short and a touch wide of off stump, Cowan plays one of his more ordinary shots - he cranks it up and over gully. He didn't have room to clear the fielder comfortably, but did just enough.

27.5

Yadav to Cowan, no run, Yadav goes wider outside off, Cowan doesn't get tempted now, and leaves.

27.6

Yadav to Cowan, no run, tight line, short of a length on middle and leg, forcing Cowan to stay on the crease and defend to the off side.

End of over 28 (8 runs) Australia 99/2
EJM Cowan    28* (73b 5x4)      UT Yadav    8-2-45-2
RT Ponting    32* (40b 4x4)      Z Khan    10-3-25-0

"I could see Dravid in first slip now. What is the logic behind moving him away from first slip in the first session and bringing him back in first slip in the second session?" I am confused too, Sathish. Here's Zaheer.

28.1

Khan to Ponting, no run, back of a length and across Punter, who stays behind it and defends to the off side.

28.2

Khan to Ponting, 1 leg bye, hmm, Ponting shuffles right across and nudges a leg stump ball behind square for one. That was heading for the furniture. Australia have a 100.

28.3

Khan to Cowan, no run, wobbles away from a length outside off stump, and Cowan shoulders arms.

"I think David Warner had some Polyjuice potion with Ed Cowan's hair in it for lunch.. seeming a completely different batsman post lunch!" What was that, Aman? Is that something like Voodoo?

28.4

Khan to Cowan, no run, fuller length to Cowan now, he leans out and defends to cover.

28.5

Khan to Cowan, no run, one of those sneaky Zaheer variations. Haven't seen a replay, but it seemed to be a legcutter that straightened from a full length. Cowan dealt with it well as he defended off the front foot to the off side.

28.6

Khan to Cowan, 1 run, and well run now. Zaheer probes away on a full length, and Cowan turns it to midwicket for a single.

End of over 29 (2 runs) Australia 101/2
EJM Cowan    29* (77b 5x4)      Z Khan    11-3-26-0
RT Ponting    32* (42b 4x4)      UT Yadav    8-2-45-2

"I like the way Cowan says 'NO' to a run - " No run" pretty unusual." He is known to be erudite, Dishan!

29.1

Yadav to Cowan, no run, full length from over the stumps, Cowan pushes it down the track off the front foot.

29.2

Yadav to Cowan, FOUR, he's opening up now! And just as well, after doing the hard work before lunch. Short of a length outside off, not much width at all, and Cowan once again manages to impart power on a hack close to the body. Very Hussey-esque and gets him four behind point.

Two men back on the hook. Over the stumps.

29.3

Yadav to Cowan, no run, short of a length on the stumps, Cowan squares up well and defends.

29.4

Yadav to Cowan, no run, pitched up well outside off, Cowan lets it go to the keeper.

"@Aman: I imagine Cowan is just feeling a lot more relaxed now after making it to lunch. Also, the "polyjuice potion" is a Harry Potter reference for those that are wondering, makes you look like someone else." Ah, that explains it. Thanks Mark.

29.5

Yadav to Cowan, 2 runs, that potion is sure helping. Cowan plants another full ball into the covers. For a habitual leaver, he doesn't necessarily get close to the pitch of the ball when he drives, but he knows what lengths to go after.

29.6

Yadav to Cowan, no run, through him with a quick yorker! Cowan blinks away in befuddlement after missing the line completely. The ball missed his inner edge and his stumps. if only Yadav had got that on line with the stumps ...

End of over 30 (6 runs) Australia 107/2
EJM Cowan    35* (83b 6x4)      UT Yadav    9-2-51-2
RT Ponting    32* (42b 4x4)      Z Khan    11-3-26-0

30.1

Khan to Ponting, no run, pitched well up to Ponting from over the stumps, defended off the front foot.

30.2

Khan to Ponting, no run, that kept low, much too low for the pull. Did Ponting just misread the length? Wasn't very short and sneaked in under the bat to hit the thigh and head towards the slips.

30.3

Khan to Ponting, no run, punchy from Ponting, gets forward and middles it off the full face into the covers.

30.4

Khan to Ponting, no run, angled across wide of off stump, Ponting hops and skips before shouldering arms.

30.5

Khan to Ponting, no run, similar ball, Ponting gets across and leaves assuredly.

30.6

Khan to Ponting, 1 run, he's decided to pull everything today. Another one guided well to deep square leg for one.

End of over 31 (1 run) Australia 108/2
RT Ponting    33* (48b 4x4)      Z Khan    12-3-27-0
EJM Cowan    35* (83b 6x4)      UT Yadav    9-2-51-2

Umesh over the stumps.

31.1

Yadav to Ponting, no run, sheer pace. Full and fast on the stumps and Ponting is late coming down on it. He gets it away to the off side.

31.2

Yadav to Ponting, no run, full again, draws Ponting forward into a lunging push into the off side.

31.3

Yadav to Ponting, 3 runs, the moment it is half short, Ponting pounces on it. This wagonwheel will make for interesting reading. Through midwicket now for a triad.

31.4

Yadav to Cowan, 1 run, good ball, catches Cowan in-between forward and back. He inner edges onto his boot and takes a single.

31.5

Yadav to Ponting, no run, angled in at pace, Ponting shuffles into line and defends to the leg side.

31.6

Yadav to Ponting, FOUR, whipped in the air but safely away. Ponting's always tended to fall over while playing the flick and this ball was angling in particularly sharply. He played it in the air, to the left of the diving man at midwicket and the ball rocketed along to the fence.

End of over 32 (8 runs) Australia 116/2
RT Ponting    40* (53b 5x4)      UT Yadav    10-2-59-2
EJM Cowan    36* (84b 6x4)      Z Khan    12-3-27-0

Ponting's looking the part now. India are helping him to.

32.1

Khan to Cowan, no run, full length stuff outside Cowan's off stump, he leans across and leaves.

32.2

Khan to Cowan, no run, Zaheer wobbles one away from a length, and Cowan lets it go again.

32.3

Khan to Cowan, no run, three in three outside off, and another leave.

Chappell and Ganguly on air, in the India broadcast.

32.4

Khan to Cowan, no run, back of a length outside off, Cowan holds the bat away from harm's way.

32.5

Khan to Cowan, no run, that snapped back in from a length, Cowan shoulders arms as it came in.

"A lot of fuss over a 5$ piece of cloth." Pure gold from Chappell, on the Baggy Green tradition! Not a fan of Tugga, as far as I can see.

32.6

Khan to Cowan, 1 run, on the middle and leg line to end the over, Cowan tucks it around to square leg for a single. Zaheer's been average after that first spell.

End of over 33 (1 run) Australia 117/2
EJM Cowan    37* (90b 6x4)      Z Khan    13-3-28-0
RT Ponting    40* (53b 5x4)      UT Yadav    10-2-59-2

Ashwin's back on. Where's Ishant?

33.1

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, curls in from round the stumps and straightens to cramp Cowan even as he looks to cut. Dangerous choice of stroke to one that's not spinning much.

33.2

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, fuller, Cowan leans out and defends off the front foot.

33.3

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, draws him out of the crease with flight, and beats him in the trajectory. Cowan is forced to drive from away from the body towards mid-off.

33.4

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, stays back in the crease and defends watchfully as Ashwin gets some rip.

33.5

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, another forcing cut to a short ball on middle and off. Ashwin sends it down without much tweak, and Cowan can't resist that shot.

33.6

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, tossed up dolly outside off to end the over, Cowan lets it go as it spins big, but it was too far outside off. Interesting, very interesting over from Ashwin.

End of over 34 (maiden) Australia 117/2
EJM Cowan    37* (96b 6x4)      R Ashwin    3-1-8-0
RT Ponting    40* (53b 5x4)      Z Khan    13-3-28-0

34.1

Khan to Ponting, 2 runs, Zaheer slants one across to Ponting, who leans into it like a well-oiled machine and slides it off the face through point.

Round the stumps again.

34.2

Khan to Ponting, no run, too wide of off stump to start off, Ponting isn't bothered.

34.3

Khan to Ponting, no run, that seamed away from a length, Ponting lets it go.

34.4

Khan to Ponting, no run, full ball on off stump, Ponting leans forward to defend.

34.5

Khan to Ponting, no run, Ponting gets nicely across and defends to the leg side of the pitch.

34.6

Khan to Ponting, 2 leg byes, slow loopy bouncer, too slow for Ponting to time the pull and he gets it away off the pad for freebies.

End of over 35 (4 runs) Australia 121/2
RT Ponting    42* (59b 5x4)      Z Khan    14-3-30-0
EJM Cowan    37* (96b 6x4)      R Ashwin    3-1-8-0

35.1

Ashwin to Cowan, 2 runs, Cowan works Ashwin with the angle to the leg side for a couple.

35.2

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, that spins away from a length and is defended.

35.3

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, quicker through the air, Cowan isn't quite sure where that went, but keeps it away.

35.4

Ashwin to Cowan, no run

35.5

Ashwin to Cowan, 3 runs, too short. Inconsistent from Ashwin. Cowan hacks him through point for three.

35.6

Ashwin to Ponting, 1 run, short again to Ponting now and he pulls it square for a single.

End of over 36 (6 runs) Australia 127/2
RT Ponting    43* (60b 5x4)      R Ashwin    4-1-14-0
EJM Cowan    42* (101b 6x4)      Z Khan    14-3-30-0

Not a bad move this. Ishant is back on. He was the most consistent seamer in the morning, and India can do with some discipline now.

36.1

Sharma to Ponting, no run, starts with a short and wide ball outside off. Ponting stays out of the way.

36.2

Sharma to Ponting, FOUR, hops and steer! Ponting rises onto the toes to get atop a short ball and waves it away with the assuredness of a symphony conductor. The ball dances away his tunes, through the cover-point area this time.

36.3

Sharma to Ponting, 1 run, that jagged in, Ponting left himself prone after lunging across exaggeratedly, and ended up poking it off the pad to the leg side for one.

36.4

Sharma to Cowan, 1 run, nipped into Cowan's pads, he nudges it square for a single.

36.5

Sharma to Ponting, no run, good length ball on off stump, Ponting leans out and defends solidly.

36.6

Sharma to Ponting, 1 run, attacks the stumps from wide of the stumps, Ponting tucks it behind square to move to 49. Ominous for the visitors, this! Ponting relishes them when he's in form, and he's getting there slowly.

End of over 37 (7 runs) Australia 134/2
RT Ponting    49* (65b 6x4)      I Sharma    9-3-26-0
EJM Cowan    43* (102b 6x4)      R Ashwin    4-1-14-0

37.1

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, floater from Ashwin, Ponting stays behind it and defends.

37.2

Ashwin to Ponting, 3 runs, fifty for Ponting, doesn't come in the most graceful fashion, but it will do. Tossed up on the stumps, he tries to lever it over midwicket and miscues it to send it squarer than he'd have wanted. But he gets three and gets a standing ovation. Well played!

98+ 50+ scores, level 2nd with Dravid on the all-time list, who yawns in approval. That list, like several others, is headed by that man from Mumbai.

Point goes back. Chappelli is livid.

37.3

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, spins away from middle and off, Cowan defends to the off side with the turn.

37.4

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, fuller ball, Cowan props the front foot forward and defends.

37.5

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, tossed up on the stumps, Cowan defends.

37.6

Ashwin to Cowan, 1 run, too short and too wide. A case of Harbahajanitis for Ashwin here - utter inconsistency of lines and lengths. Cowan hacks it in front of square for a single.

Drinks break, and Australia are on top after dominating the post-lunch hour easily. India struck in the second hour of the first session, and will hope for the same after this interval.

End of over 38 (4 runs) Australia 138/2
EJM Cowan    44* (106b 6x4)      R Ashwin    5-1-18-0
RT Ponting    52* (67b 6x4)      I Sharma    9-3-26-0

Think Ponting trotted off to answer nature's call. He's back now. Is the concentration still there? Ishant round the stumps to Cowan.

38.1

Sharma to Cowan, no run, pitched up outside off, defended solidly off the front foot.

38.2

Sharma to Cowan, no run, back of a length outside off, not enough in it to suck Cowan into a false stroke.

38.3

Sharma to Cowan, 1 run, back of a length and angled into the pads, Cowan works it behind square nicely for a single.

38.4

Sharma to Ponting, no run, hits the pads as he shoulders arms! Big appeal, but surely wasn't doing enough to hit the stumps. Landed well outside off and jagged in, Ponting hopped outside the line and was struck outside off, but that doesn't matter since he wasn't playing a shot. The ball was missing the stumps, though.

38.5

Sharma to Ponting, no run, that straightened from a length, Ponting adjusted and defended to the off side from the crease.

38.6

Sharma to Ponting, no run, fuller to end the over, Australia well on top now. Ponting defends off the front foot.

End of over 39 (1 run) Australia 139/2
RT Ponting    52* (70b 6x4)      I Sharma    10-3-27-0
EJM Cowan    45* (109b 6x4)      R Ashwin    5-1-18-0

39.1

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, Ashwin slips down Cowan's leg side now.

39.2

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, well bowled, spin away from middle and leg after drawing Cowan forward. Outside edge runs away through point.

39.3

Ashwin to Cowan, 1 run, fired in on the pads, Cowan turns it with the angle past Gambhir at backward square leg.

39.4

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, turning in from short of a length, Ponting defends.

39.5

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, tossed up over the eye line and it dips on Ponting, who defends without a worry.

39.6

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, that one held its line and bounced extra. One of Ashwin's tricks. Ponting was taken by surprise after shaping to play with the turn.

End of over 40 (1 run) Australia 140/2
RT Ponting    52* (73b 6x4)      R Ashwin    6-1-19-0
EJM Cowan    46* (112b 6x4)      I Sharma    10-3-27-0

"Nitin, Need clarification on the ponting lbw appeal here. If the batsman does not offer a shot, does the ball need to hit the pads in line of stumps ? I think not. If the ball is hitting the stumps, he is out. Why do the commentators, who have played the game for so long, get this fact wrong more often than not?" Rahul, I was stumped too! Wasim, of all people, too!

40.1

Sharma to Cowan, no run, pitched up to Cowan, who unfurls the high elbow as he cover-drives to cover.

40.2

Sharma to Cowan, 1 run, short and wide outside off, Cowan forces it away through gully for a single to the deep.

40.3

Sharma to Ponting, no run, pitched up on the stumps, Ponting punches with the angle to a clumsy Zaheer at mid-on, who does enough to stop a single.

"Odd fact/stat of the day: The commentator Wasim Akram and Ricky Ponting have the exact same career best score: 257." Good one, Danish. What's more, Sachin's career-best score is lesser!

40.4

Sharma to Ponting, no run, short of a length outside off, Ponting stands tall and cracks it square straight to point.

40.5

Sharma to Ponting, no run, pitched up on the stumps, Ponting drives it back right out of the screws. Ishant does really well to put the right hand out and stop it.

40.6

Sharma to Ponting, 1 run, blocks with ultra-soft hands and this time Zaheer has no chance. A single pinched from under India's noses.

End of over 41 (2 runs) Australia 142/2
RT Ponting    53* (77b 6x4)      I Sharma    11-3-29-0
EJM Cowan    47* (114b 6x4)      R Ashwin    6-1-19-0

41.1

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, not much turn, Ashwin zips it straight off and length and Ponting defends.

41.2

Ashwin to Ponting, 1 run, too much turn now, defended with the angle to square leg for one.

41.3

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, tossed up deliciously on leg and turning away. Cowan leaves, and it spins past off stump.

41.4

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, The skidder, it held its line after landing on off and middle, even came back in a touch. Cowan didn't know what it was doing. Inside edged onto the boot.

41.5

Ashwin to Cowan, 2 runs, two good balls, followed by a release ball. Cowan nurdles through square leg for a couple.

41.6

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, turn and bounce away from the left hander. Cowan was born knowing where his off stump is.

End of over 42 (3 runs) Australia 145/2
EJM Cowan    49* (118b 6x4)      R Ashwin    7-1-22-0
RT Ponting    54* (79b 6x4)      I Sharma    11-3-29-0

42.1

Sharma to Ponting, 1 run, full toss on the toes, Ponting flicks to deep square leg. These two have added 100, and how!

42.2

Sharma to Cowan, no run, full ball wide of off stump and Cowan leaves,.

42.3

Sharma to Cowan, 1 run, Cowan's gifted his 50th run on debut! He's played beautifully. Back of a length and a touch of nip away, he dabs it to the vacant off side field and trots across.

42.4

Sharma to Ponting, no run, edged, short of point. Ponting nearly nailed by a monster legcutter. It landed back of a length and absolutely took off as Ponting pressed forward. It kissed the glove as Ponting pressed forward, jumped on to hit his shoulder and ballooned to point. Gambhir was too far back to get under it in time.

42.5

Sharma to Ponting, 1 run, on the pads, Ponting tucks it with the angle for a single.

42.6

Sharma to Cowan, no run, Cowan presses the front foot outside the line of off stump as he defends. He's hit on the pad but outside the line of off.

End of over 43 (3 runs) Australia 148/2
EJM Cowan    50* (121b 6x4)      I Sharma    12-3-32-0
RT Ponting    56* (82b 6x4)      R Ashwin    7-1-22-0

43.1

Ashwin to Ponting, 2 runs, Ashwin's radar is firmly in the Off mode. Another offbreak lands on middle and spins away to allow Ponting a sweep for a couple.

43.2

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, better, gets it outside off and spins it in. Ponting defends.

43.3

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, the quicker one that doesn't turn. Ponting covers the line and defends.

43.4

Ashwin to Ponting, 1 run, tossed up on the stumps, Ponting lunges across and sweeps well to the deep for a single.

43.5

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, loopy ball outside leg and turns towards off. Cowan defends off the front foot.

43.6

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, flight to end the over, Cowan dead bats.

End of over 44 (3 runs) Australia 151/2
EJM Cowan    50* (123b 6x4)      R Ashwin    8-1-25-0
RT Ponting    59* (86b 6x4)      I Sharma    12-3-32-0

44.1

Sharma to Ponting, 1 run, Ponting does the smart thing by getting to the non-striker's end against his nemesis. Back of a length on the stumps, jabbed to the off side, sprint.

44.2

Sharma to Cowan, no run, slams the bouncer down too short and slipping down the leg side. Cowan ducks under.

44.3

Sharma to Cowan, no run, leading edge, safe. Not the first time Cowan's closed the face early. Ishant slants it down the leg side, it was there for the flick, but Cowan was too soon into the shot, and popped the ball towards mid-off.

44.4

Sharma to Cowan, no run, more like it, skips inside the line and tucks a length ball to the leg side.

44.5

Sharma to Cowan, no run, shortens the length and gets some seam away from Cowan, who adjusts and guides with an angled face to the off side.

44.6

Sharma to Cowan, no run, Ishant is in the middle of an intense spell here. Ends the over with a zipper than angles in and bends away as if on a charm. Cowan didn't look like he was going to get bat on it, and Dhoni had to move away quickly to pouch it.

End of over 45 (1 run) Australia 152/2
EJM Cowan    50* (128b 6x4)      I Sharma    13-3-33-0
RT Ponting    60* (87b 6x4)      R Ashwin    8-1-25-0

45.1

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, skimmer from Ashwin that skids along, Ponting defends from the crease.

45.2

Ashwin to Ponting, no run, tossed up and coming in towards off, Ponting lunges and defends.

45.3

Ashwin to Ponting, 1 run, too many freebies from Ashwin. Another one on the pads, Ponting works it behind square for one.

45.4

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, length ball, jumps and spins away from Cowan who leaves.

45.5

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, tossed further up, draws Cowan forward and he defends to the off side.

45.6

Ashwin to Cowan, 1 run, pitches outside leg again, Cowan easily works it square for a single.

End of over 46 (2 runs) Australia 154/2
EJM Cowan    51* (131b 6x4)      R Ashwin    9-1-27-0
RT Ponting    61* (90b 6x4)      I Sharma    13-3-33-0

46.1

Sharma to Cowan, no run, whanged down short of a length outside off, Cowan lets it go.

46.2

Sharma to Cowan, no run, yorker, and it swings it too. Cowan does really, really well to dig it out. Shades of the ball Shoaib bowled to Fleming in the 1999 World Cup. Cowan saved the stumps, though.

46.3

Sharma to Cowan, no run, Ishant sprays this one wide down the leg side.

46.4

Sharma to Cowan, no run, keeps it on a length outside off, and Cowan leaves.

46.5

Sharma to Cowan, no run, attacks the stumps at some pace, Cowan defends with determination.

46.6

Sharma to Cowan, no run, another ball on the stumps, on a full length, and Cowan defends down the track well.

End of over 47 (maiden) Australia 154/2
EJM Cowan    51* (137b 6x4)      I Sharma    14-4-33-0
RT Ponting    61* (90b 6x4)      R Ashwin    9-1-27-0

47.1

Ashwin to Ponting, 1 run, risky single, but they get away with it. Ponting pushes it to point, Dhoni charges after it tries it sling it back at his end, but doesn't have the time to aim and fire.

47.2

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, flighted on middle and leg, Cowan comes forward and defends.

47.3

Ashwin to Cowan, FOUR, super shot. Cowan's not had the best of Ashwin so far, but he had his measure here. Tossed up on middle and leg, Cowan skips out to the flight and drives beautifully down the ground.

47.4

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, on middle and leg line, turned quietly to the leg side.

47.5

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, breaks away from middle stump line, Cowan lunges forward and leaves.

47.6

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, flighted on the stumps to end the over, and Cowan plays it back to Ashwin.

End of over 48 (5 runs) Australia 159/2
EJM Cowan    55* (142b 7x4)      R Ashwin    10-1-32-0
RT Ponting    62* (91b 6x4)      I Sharma    14-4-33-0

Yadav's back on, the sun is out, and Australia are grinding India here.

48.1

Yadav to Ponting, no run, an appeal straight away, but Ponting is safe. Yadav gets a ball to explode from a length, and Ponting does the kangaroo impersonation as he thinks of ducking then realises it isn't that short, and then changes his mind again as he sees it thundering up. He tries to fend it away to the off side, but can't manage to. That saved him in the end.

48.2

Yadav to Ponting, no run, stays back and steers a short ball to the off side.

48.3

Yadav to Ponting, OUT, Ishant will have a smile. Dravid will have a smile. Ponting won't. They were the three men involved in the Perth downing of Ponting, circa 2008. Two names change on the card this time, but the manner of dismissal is astoundingly similar. Back of a length again, Yadav gets it to rear up menacingly again and leap away, and this time it thumps high on Ponting's bat as he hops across. The edge loops to Laxman's right in the slips, and he holds well. Ponting's 100 drought continues, and Yadav's showing he belongs in Test cricket.

RT Ponting c Laxman b Yadav 62 (148m 94b 6x4 0x6) SR: 65.95

Three slips for the captain Clarke.

48.4

Yadav to Clarke, no run, Yadav goes full and attacks the pads. Clarke does well to defend it as it homes in at pace.

48.5

Yadav to Clarke, 2 runs, on the hips, Pup's away with a nip and tuck job through the leg side.

48.6

Yadav to Clarke, no run, slips towards middle and leg, Clarke's inside the line but can't get the flick away. End of an astoundingly brilliant over, especially at the start of a spell in uphill circumstances.

End of over 49 (2 runs) Australia 161/3
MJ Clarke    2* (3b)      UT Yadav    11-2-61-3
EJM Cowan    55* (142b 7x4)      R Ashwin    10-1-32-0

Slip and short leg. Ashwin round the stumps.

49.1

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, angles in towards off and spins away. Cowan leaves.

49.2

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, another one back of a length, Cowan leaves again.

49.3

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, another leave from Cowan who is immoveable outside off stump.

49.4

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, angled into the pads, he works it to midwicket with the angle.

49.5

Ashwin to Cowan, no run, slow and tossed up, Cowan lets it spin away from him.

49.6

Ashwin to Cowan, 2 runs, drifts into the pads - five good balls followed by the release - and Cowan turns it square for two more.

End of over 50 (2 runs) Australia 163/3
EJM Cowan    57* (148b 7x4)      R Ashwin    11-1-34-0
MJ Clarke    2* (3b)      UT Yadav    11-2-61-3
Overs 1-50  | Overs 51-100  | Overs 101-150
Series Results
Australia v India at Adelaide - Jan 24-28, 2012
Australia won by 298 runs
Australia v India at Perth - Jan 13-15, 2012
Australia won by an innings and 37 runs
Australia v India at Sydney - Jan 3-6, 2012
Australia won by an innings and 68 runs
Australia v India at Melbourne - Dec 26-29, 2011
Australia won by 122 runs
More results »

Match Coverage

Photos

Dec 29, 2011

James Pattinson is ecstatic after snagging VVS Laxman, Australia v India, 1st Test, Melbourne, 4th day, December 29, 2011

James Pattinson is ecstatic after snagging VVS Laxman

© AFP

Dec 29, 2011

Sachin Tendulkar gets a standing ovation of the MCG, Australia v India, 1st Test, Melbourne, 4th day, December 29, 2011

Sachin Tendulkar gets a standing ovation of the MCG

© AFP

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