|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
January 5, 2008
Harbhajan Singh's trance over Ricky Ponting gains in strength with each innings. Having dismissed Ponting on day one, Harbhajan collected Ponting with his first ball at the batsman and his record is now as stunning as the celebration. He sprinted towards the boundary before rolling twice to mark the achievement. "It's a good thing he stayed on the ground," Sourav Ganguly said, "I thought he was going to the dressing room." It was the eighth time Ponting, whose leading edge went to VVS Laxman at silly point, had fallen to Harbhajan in eight Tests. It was not the last Ponting saw of the Indians as he had to run for Matthew Hayden, who had a sore right thigh.
Michael Clarke had seen Andrew Symonds and Ponting survive caught-behind decisions in the first innings so he thought he would try it when he edged Anil Kumble to ... first slip. The deviation to Rahul Dravid was marked but Clarke waited for Steve Bucknor to give him out and collected his first zero in Tests. "Why did he wait?" Hayden said. "Just to see the umpire's finger go up." The dismissal followed Hayden's exit and Kumble's hat-trick delivery, a wrong'un to Andrew Symonds, almost secured an lbw, although there was doubt over the height.
Hayden had a bit of trouble connecting with some of his sweeps, but there was no problem when he moved to fifty. With a vacant region behind point, he turned himself around and reverse-swept Harbhajan from outside leg stump. It was a brave, unconventional but effective stroke, which he tried for the first time in Tests. He hasn't perfected it yet as he was dismissed playing the shot.
Australia were meandering in the morning as they worked on reducing the deficit, but Hayden changed the tempo with 14 runs off an Ishant Sharma over. Hayden powered three boundaries and a two to signal the lift in pace and shortly after Australia moved into the lead. They finished with an advantage of 213.
Rain and coffee breaks
The numerous weather interruptions were annoying for the spectators and the players and Hayden revealed what he did to keep busy. "I had a lot of flat white coffees just to try and relax," he said. "The breaks in play leant a bit to me because I was very sore with my leg."
A different set of spikes
India began the day with a game of volleyball, with the batsmen taking on the bowlers. It was played out in a relaxed air with some tapping instead of spiking. The game was one of the features of their tour last time around and John Wright remembered how India suddenly stopped doing well when the side didn't have the contests. Going by their batting performance in this match, the volleyball luck appears to have resurfaced.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The serene team culture cultivated by Misbah and his men shouldn't be allowed to be disrupted by a player with a tainted past
An early start to the international season, coupled with costly tickets, have kept the Australian public away from the cricket
The sickening blow that struck Phillip Hughes is a reminder of the ever-present dangers associated with facing fast bowlers, even while wearing a helmet
It is impossible to imagine how Sean Abbott must feel after sending down that bouncer to Phillip Hughes. While the cricket world hopes for Hughes' recovery, it should also ensure Abbott is supported
Why the Indian opener would be well advised to shelve the hook and pull in Australia
Never mind cricket's absence from free-to-air TV - changes in social attitudes, the demands of work, and an individualistic age are all contributing to a decline in participation
Pakistan have notched up some fine wins under Misbah-ul-Haq's leadership, but they haven't yet achieved consistent results outside the UAE
Going out to play cricket today would have been near enough to impossible. Even doing so next week in the nets and at the Gabba for the first Test will be difficult