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Australia in India 2008-09
Ian Chappell: Why is Ponting repeating his mistake?
November 9, 2008
A day full of surprises and at one stage it seemed Australia were right back in the game
 
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Ricky Ponting has only himself to blame for slow over-rates. He takes up a lot of time talking to his bowlers and fielders about tactics. It is not necessary and he's got to rectify that problem. © AFP
 

That was the most bizarre day of Test cricket I have ever seen. In the first session we had the openers Virender Sehwag and M Vijay completely on top. Especially Sehwag who played in his typical aggressive style and played magnificently. Vijay had a very impressive debut. He made two solid scores and probably he'll be a bit disappointed that he didn't go on and make a really big one. But he certainly showed that he has the temperament and technique for Test cricket. So it was a wonderful first session. Everything was sailing along beautifully for India and the Border-Gavaskar trophy was safely in the hands of the Indians at lunch.

After lunch, India lost an early wicket with Vijay going down. Now if you can see that a batsman is out of form and every time he comes in a situation arises when it hands the initiative back to the opposition, you have to change things. To send Rahul Dravid in at No. 3 again was a mistake by India and they paid for it. Dravid was quickly gone; then Sehwag went and suddenly you could see the Australians were right back in the thick of things. They felt like something was going to happen for them and they had a lot of control in the match. Things just got better from there for them.

Jason Krejza produced a beauty to get rid of VVS Laxman and then he dismissed Sourav Ganguly too. Ganguly got a perfectly pitched delivery first up - it drifted into his pads - he got a leading edge straight back to the bowler. It was a sad finish for Ganguly - a first-ball duck.

And then, the weirdest of things happened. What the hell was Sachin Tendulkar thinking? He played the ball wide of Cameron White's left hand, but didn't make a move for three or four seconds. So Mahendra Singh Dhoni would have settled back at the non-striker's end thinking well he's not running, particularly because there were only a couple of balls to tea. But suddenly Tendulkar decides to dart off and runs himself out. It was an absolutely amazing turnaround. Australia were suddenly looking at 250-odd to get with six wickets out of the way. They must have been thinking: we can win this. Suddenly, the trophy could have been back in the Australian dressing room.

After tea, Ricky Ponting bowled his part-timers at the other end to Krejza. We were told that there was an over-rate problem and he was trying to fix that. But the first question you've got to ask is: How the hell can he keep making the same mistake? He has been in that position previously in this series; he has been fined and he has been warned about the slow overs but here we are again. It was a situation from where Australia could well have won the Test had they continued to push the Indians as they had in the second session. But by putting himself in that position all the momentum was gone. And boy didn't the pair of Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh jump on the Australians? They became very aggressive and they just took the game right away from the Australia with a century partnership.

Eventually India were dismissed for 295 and Australia need 380-odd to win this Test. You would have to say now that the favourite is India to win the Test. Australia will have to do something remarkable. But after we saw the way Dhoni closed them down in the first innings, you figure the Australians probably won't be able to go on and chase that sort of a total down.

It was an amazing day of Test cricket.

There will be questions asked of Ponting, but surely after this calamity he has to get a move on with those over-rates. The worst part about this is that he is the main offender. He is the guy who takes up a lot of time talking to his bowlers, talking to his fielders about tactics, changes his field placings and all of that just takes too long. It is not necessary and he's got to rectify that problem.

The last day will be a very interesting day but you would have to say that at this stage the Border-Gavaskar trophy is pretty firmly in the Indian dressing room.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator for Channel 9, and a columnist


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Posted by Superbat on (November 10, 2008, 6:42 GMT)

Yes Ian Chappell You're Right.When Australia Does Well In One Session,They Can't Keep Up The Tempo. They Don't Have The Bowling Punch Which They Had Earlier When Glen McGarth And Shane Warne Was There. Two Three Years Back They Used To Get Sides Out For Less Than 200, Which Makes Second Innings Reply Very Simple. Australia Will Go Down The Rating Very Soon Unless They Find Some Good Bowlers. They May Fair Better In Their Home Grounds. Good Luck For The Future.

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