Australia v India, 4th Test, Sydney, 3rd day

A plan for the spinners

Rahul Bhatia

January 4, 2004

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Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden went on a roaring rampage of revenge. And Murali Kartik came in for some very special attention. By the time Anil Kumble dismissed both openers, Kartik had given away 64 runs in eight overs.

In the end it came unstuck, but Australia had a plan for the spinners. It involved using the sweep, and if the ball was flighted, using their feet to get to the ball. Both tactics were used to good effect. Kartik was not allowed to settle down, with 39 deliveries to the openers resulting in 57 runs. Fifty-four of those runs came in 24 balls, as the batsmen swept and used their feet to drive the spinners. Even Kumble, who later dried up the runs, had a hard time containing the openers.

Openers against Kartik
Balls Runs
Stepped out 12 27
Swept 12 27

Australia against the spinners
Balls Runs
Stepped out 34 56
Swept 38 53

Stopping the flow of runs

While Kartik went for runs, Kumble kept his end under some semblance of control, picking up both openers, and then getting rid of Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn. By dismissing the top two, Kumble stopped the torrent of runs that threatened India's aspirations for victory.

Australia's openers scored 184 runs between them to lead the assault. It wasn't the volume as much as the manner in which they collected the runs that pushed India back for a while. Runs came at a strike rate of 77.3, that's nearly five an over. Almost 70% of these runs came in boundaries.

However, after Hayden and Langer were dismissed, the next six batsmen scored 129 runs between them in 261 deliveries, at 2.9 runs an over, with the help of 16 hits to the fence. And Irfan Pathan's late strikes, which gave the Indians access to Australia's tail, pushed the run rate down even further.

Openers v middle order
Openers Other batsmen
Runs 184 129
Balls 238 261
Runs per over 4.6 2.9
Boundary percentage 69.6 49.6

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