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January 25, 2008
Catching is slowly becoming a serious problem for Australia. The team prides itself on its fielding but seven went down in the first innings, assisting India significantly as they reached 526. Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting missed more difficult attempts, but those hit to Phil Jaques at short leg and Michael Clarke, off his own bowling, would normally have been taken.
It took a while but Brett Lee managed to snare Sachin Tendulkar with a set-up. First he let loose a short-of-a-length ball that Tendulkar inside-edged onto his knee. A long break ensued, with the umpires calling for drinks as the batsman received treatment, before Lee began to charge in for the next ball. Predictably, with two fielders on the legside boundary, it was a short one and Tendulkar decided to go for the pull, holing out to Brad Hogg at backward square leg. Tendulkar got a friendly pat from Lee, before hobbling off slowly, acknowledging the grandstand applause.
An apology and a chest-thump
Harbhajan Singh was in the thick of the action for most of the afternoon, bringing up his second fifty of the series. He was in no mood for a scrap: a collision with Stuart Clark, when he was completing a run, prompted an immediate apology. His half-century, though, was followed by a big celebration - he thumped his chest four times before raising his bat to various parts of the ground. He was coming back into Test cricket after a tumultuous couple of weeks and had made his return one to remember.
Six degrees of separation
There was a time when sportsmen wore black armbands only when a hero or a team-mate passed away, but these days flicking through the local paper's obituaries and spotting someone with a similar name to yours almost qualifies as a reason to get out the electrical tape. On day two, some of the New South Wales players in the team were paying respect to the death of the grandmother of Pat Farhart, the state side's physio.
No peanut gallery
The fun police have been out in force over the last few days, confiscating beachballs at will. There's one place they can't reach (or haven't yet, anyway) and that's the spillover area outside the media box where one kind chap has been bringing round bottles of water. He's Australia's version of the peanut thrower in the Caribbean but, unlike his compatriot, he's not been told to quit.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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