Rain dampens spirits at the Gabba
Close India 11 for 0 (Chopra 5*, Sehwag 5*) trail Australia 323 all out (Langer 121, Ponting 54; Zaheer 5-95) by 312 runs
Ajit Agarkar: needed just one ball to polish Australia off today
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India had 11 runs on the board and all their wickets in hand, in response to Australia's 323, when rain brought the day's play to an end. In 27 minutes of play, 38 balls were sent down, the first of which wrapped up the Australian innings at 323. For both teams, though, it was a day of frustration. Rains first kept the players off the field till as late as 3.20pm. And then, just when it looked as though the worst of the squally weather was gone, the rains came down.
India continued in a positive vein, and took small steps forward after their successful performance on the second day. Ajit Agarkar helped himself to Stuart MacGill's wicket off the very first ball of the day. Agarkar banged the ball in short and wide of the stumps, MacGill played an ungainly swipe, across the line, and only managed a top edge that ballooned to Chopra at point. Bracken (6 not out) exchanged sheepish grins with MacGill and the players walked off the field.
India were left with the unenviable task of facing 35 overs in conditions suited to swing and seam bowling. There was still enough live grass on the wicket to suggest seam movement. There was cloud cover, and Jason Gillepsie and Bracken used this to good effect.
From the very first ball there was a suggestion of outswing for Gillespie. He hit the right length immediately, and had Chopra driving and missing. Bracken, with his natural high-arm action, got the odd ball to rear up off a length. More importantly, he consistently shaped the ball back in to the two righthanders. Sehwag played and missed at Bracken more than once, and was hit on the pad.
To their enormous credit, however, the Indian opening batsmen did not look overawed. Chopra, playing in just his third Test, showed no signs of nerves. He left the ball well, with an assurance that can only come from reading the bounce of the pitch and a firm knowledge of his off-stump line. Sehwag showed none of his usual impetuosity, and was nonplussed even at being beaten more than once. With five apiece, Chopra and Sehwag had begun well, and took India to 11 for no loss from 6.1 overs.
Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo.