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India v Australia, 3rd Test, Feroz Shah Kotla, 2nd day
Ian Chappell: Draw the only viable option for Australia
October 30, 2008
Superb batting powered India to a massive total and Australia have to bat out of their skins to draw this match
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Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
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Anil Kumble's shoulder seems in much better shape than it was in Bangalore, which is bad news for Australia © AFP

It was double trouble at the Feroz Shah Kotla for Australia. Gautam Gambhir became the first left-hand opener to score a double-century against Australia, quite an amazing stat when you think of all the good left-hand openers that have played Test cricket. And then it was VVS Laxman; he has always been a thorn for Australian side and you can tell that from the fact that this was the fourth time he has been involved in a double-century partnership against Australia - that's more than anybody else has ever done. He went on to score his second double-century in Test cricket, both of those coming against Australia.

So it was Gambhir and Laxman who came together and accelerated the scoring-rate at just the perfect moment for India. Their brilliant batting and their tremendous partnership took them to a position of great strength. Even though the pitch was playing extremely well when they were batting and the Australian attack is pretty limited and lacking in variety, you got the feeling that it might be a bit tougher for Australia when their turn came.

Eventually it came after Anil Kumble had scored quickly himself. Zaheer Khan had put together five boundaries in scoring 28 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni played in his normal aggressive fashion. India had 613 on the board before Kumble put the Australians out of their misery.

There was a wicket for Brett Lee; he is really down on form and on confidence at the moment. Mitchell Johnson got three wickets: he has been the best wicket taker for Australia, but even he has got a problem with the position of his wrist and he is not getting the old ball to swing at all. Shane Watson, I thought, has showed a lot of improvement at a Test match bowler in this match. He produced one very good spell where he got a couple of wickets; he got rid of Gambhir and his bowling confidence has gone up in this match, which is good news for Australia. Ricky Ponting was forced to use Simon Katich but when he did use him he got a wicket and he certainly looked the most threatening of Australia's slower bowlers.

When the Australians came out to bat, it seemed as though a day and three-quarters in the field had done Matthew Hayden a world of good. While he came out in Mohali in the second innings all aggression and looking to dominate the opposition bowling, this time he came out in much more sedate mode and I thought he played very well. He gave the Indian fast bowlers full face of the bat and he looked pretty confident. Simon Katich started slowly but then when the spinners came on, he went after them and there was a spate of boundaries which took him to 29.

When Kumble came into the attack he got one delivery in particular to bite and spite. It spun a long way and it jumped, and that is the hint his shoulder is in much better shape than it was in Bangalore, which is bad news for Australia. The other thing that is bad news for Australia is that it looks to me, particularly the slower bowlers but even later in the game the quicker bowlers, are going to be hard to drive, and that is going to be danger shot for Australia. They've got to be very cautious of which delivery they drive and which delivery they don't and they are going to have a lot of questions asked by Amit Mishra with his flight.

So, sure Australia survived and it was a good period for them picking up 50 tonight. But I think they have got a lot of long, hard toil ahead of them if they are going to draw this match, which is now the only viable option left for Australia.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is a cricket commentator for Channel Nine, and a columnist

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Posted by Rajasundram on (October 30, 2008, 22:18 GMT)

It is refreshing to see the 'Seniors' silencing the critics with their bats!

All it needs to complete would be for Anil to let the ball do the talking and shut them up completely.

The disrespect shown to those who have served India, faithfully for a long period and the insinualtions hurled on them was definitely not 'cricket'.

So let us enjoy the cricket and ignore the critics.

Siva from Singapore

Posted by faraz on (October 30, 2008, 19:52 GMT)

There is a huge gap in australian line up after the retirement of mcgrath and warne.They will not be the same force as they have been for the last ten years.on this tour they are missing shaun tait and a decent spinner.cameron white can not be called a regular spinner.He does not even bowl regularly in one day cricket.I believe the gap between no 1 and 2 is narrowing and australian supremacy is about to end.

Posted by Rajesh on (October 30, 2008, 18:23 GMT)

Everyone will now sing the praise of Laxman and Kumble (More, if he bowls well too) after their efforts today but will be ever ready to punce on them again after another one average performance........ That players like Laxman & Kumble have staved of all this and kept going is testament to their greatness..... Indeed Laxman is VVS (Very Very Special) !!

Posted by Karthik on (October 30, 2008, 18:13 GMT)

Laxman once again proved why he is highly rated by the Aussies. It would have been good if little master had added one more 100 to his arsenal.

Posted by Bhavnesh on (October 30, 2008, 17:53 GMT)

well said, mostly game ll ended on day 4 may be around tea.One thing is sure all Indians have to chip in with some accurate bowling and have to take wickets at reguler intervel.

Posted by devarajan on (October 30, 2008, 17:51 GMT)

Yest Ian Chappell is right. Having better bowling attack, India will certainly win this match and the series. For Australia it is will take an exceptional talent to draw this test considering their batting hicups.

Posted by Prashant on (October 30, 2008, 17:03 GMT)

Well I feel there are only 2 results possible now either a draw or a defeat and series loss for Austalia.To avoid the defeat they really need to bat well but its easier said than done.Its not only the skills and temperament of Australian batsmen which will be tested but more its the unpredictability (sudden bounce ,turn,remaining low) of indian bowling which will trouble Aussie batsman more as Kumble is a master of this kind of wicket and history is with him. My gutfeeling is on fourth day match will be over for Australia if India gives follow on and if somehwo the follow on is avoided or not given then it will be repeat of Mohali test unless rain interferes. I am not writing off Australia here as they are the best team in the world but they are not used to play with this kind of pressure and wicket and against this kind of quality spin bowling. Gambhir scored his first double hundred and its a great job done as a left handed opener but hats off for one and only VVS.

Posted by crininfo on (October 30, 2008, 15:51 GMT)

nicely written. Laxman is always very very special.

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