Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne, 1st day December 26, 2003

The length bowlers go to

The length bowlers go to ...
India batted first on what was supposed to be a bouncy track, with cloud cover. So what did the bowlers do? They bowled short. The batsmen were hit on the head, the arm, and all over their upper torsoes. Not one wicket fell to intimidatory bowling. And when they did pitch it full, they over-compensated. As many as 84 runs came off the 70 half-volleys that were bowled.

Length

Balls

Runs

Full length

13

22

Yorker

2

1

Half-volley

70

84

Good length

352

152

Short of a length

72

54

Short

39

4

Runs, runs everywhere
Virender Sehwag was not about to let a nagging line outside off stump stifle him. He scored 114 runs on the off side, and anything slightly close to his pads was dispatched to leg. Given the generous number of half-volleys that came his way, it was no surprise that a large number of his runs came in front of the wicket.

Sehwag's wagon wheel

Region

Runs

Runs in boundaries

Third man

31

20

Point

18

16

Cover

39

28

Long off

26

12

Long on

22

12

Midwicket

45

24

Square leg

7

4

Fine leg

7

4

His first false shot was his last
Rahul Dravid missed out on a half-century by one run, playing a loose shot off Steve Waugh straight to the fielder at midwicket, when he could have put the ball anywhere on the leg side. But until then, even by his standards, his control was exemplary.

Melbourne

Adelaide

In control

85

527

Not in control

4

91

In control percentage

95.5%

85.3%

Opening for India
Could Virender Sehwag and Akash Chopra be the opening pair India long been searching for? Their opening stand of 141 was India's highest outside the subcontinent since 1990. Since then, India has played 21 openers, with only Ravi Shastri, Manoj Prabhakar and Navjot Sidhu achieving any degree of success. But the current combination has been exceptional, especially when one considers that this tour is their first overseas assignment together. (Note India's average of their previous tour to Australia)

India's overseas opening performances since 1996

Season

Openers

Average

Opposition

2003-04

Chopra, Sehwag

64

Aus

2002-03

Sehwag, Bangar, Patel

7

NZ

2002

Sehwag, Bangar, Jaffer

17

Eng

2001-02

Bangar, Jaffer, Das, Dasgupta

18.4

WI

2001-02

Das, Dravid, Dasgupta

10.3

SA

2001

Ramesh, Das, Dighe, Badani

22

Zim

1999-00

Prasad, Laxman, Ramesh, Gandhi

9.2

Aus

1998-99

Jadeja, Sidhu

22.8

NZ

1996-97

Sidhu, Laxman, Jadeja

27.6

WI

1996-97

Mongia, Rathour, Raman, Dravid

22.2

SA

1996

Jadeja, Rathour, Mongia, Manjrekar

14.4

Eng

Rahul Bhatia is on the staff of Wisden Cricinfo.