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Ian Chappell: Timing of declaration will be crucial

Ian Chappell on Amit Mishra's five-wicket haul; the lead India have and the importance of a well-timed declaration (03:50)

October 19, 2008

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India v Australia, 2nd Test, Mohali, 3rd day

Ian Chappell: Timing of declaration will be crucial

October 19, 2008

Amit Mishra was the star for India today. It wasn't just the way he bowled, but the thought that went behind each delivery was spectacular © AFP
Ian Chappell: The Indians are well and truly on top in Mohali and they can thank some terrific bowling and some aggressive batting for their position of great strength. With more than a 300-run lead, and two days to play, it is really a matter of the captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni timing his declaration right.

The Indian bowlers really posed some questions for the Australians. A huge wicket was when Ishant Sharma got rid of Michael Hussey first thing in the morning. Hussey is the type of player who could have anchored the Australian innings to bring the deficit down - much lower than what it finally was - 201. So that was a terrific wicket for India.

Meanwhile Shane Watson, who joined Hussey at the crease, played along steadily and sensibly. He has had his problems with spinners in previous times but a little bit of cricket in India - even if it was just the IPL - has helped him play them better. He used the crease well by going back to the spin bowlers. He gave himself a bit of time and, once he had been there for a while, started to play a few shots. It was a well-thought out innings and certainly an important one from Australia's point of view. He didn't get much support from Brad Haddin or Cameron White, who were very quickly dismissed by the spinners. But after a bit of a struggle early on against the spinners, Brett Lee showed that he was no pushover with the bat. His partnership with Watson certainly gave Australia a bit of hope that they might be able to survive in the game. Lee finished with 35 and was eventually out to a very good ball from Harbhajan Singh - the one that went straight on. He edged it and Rahul Dravid took a good catch at first slip.

The bowling star for India was Amit Mishra. He finished with five wickets in his first Test and that is an incredibly good performance. But it was also the thought which went into his bowling that was marvelous. Having got Michael Clarke last night with the wrong 'un, he got White today with another beautiful wrong 'un. That was a cardinal sin for White - a legspinner who bowls the wrong 'un himself was not able to pick the opposition legspinner's wrong 'un. It was a terrific performance from Mishra - 5 for 71.

The two fast bowlers Ishant and Zaheer Khan did a good job again for India, and Harbhajan chipped in with two as well, but it was the young man Mishra, who has already taken 300 first-class wickets before playing Test cricket, who did the job. He now also gives the Indian selectors quite a bit of a headache as to whom they will pick for the next Test if Anil Kumble is fit. Anyhow, that is a pleasant headache for the selectors: it is always better to have too many than not enough.

And talking of too many, India set out on the path of really flaying the Australian bowlers by setting up a big lead. They had the right guys to do that - Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir - both of whom are very aggressive. They also got some help from Ricky Ponting. He didn't try hard enough to get a wicket early on, particularly that of Sehwag, which would have slowed the Indians down. I thought he went on the defense straight away by spreading the field everywhere and not really giving his bowers much of a chance of picking a wicket.

So the Indians - 301 runs in front at the end of the third day with ten wickets in hand - are in a position of great dominance. I think Dhoni probably needs to give himself about five or four and three quarter sessions to bowl Australia out. It is still a good wicket to bat on but Dhoni does have a bowling attack that is very much in form and is very well-balanced.

India are dictating the terms in Mohali.

Posted by rohanbala on (October 20, 2008, 7:46 GMT)

I fully agree with the views of Priyantha Gunaratna on making M.S Dhoni as India's captain in place of Anil Kumble. Its time for the new selectors to think about the role of Anil Kumble in the team following the success of the new comer Amit Mishra. However, I would like to point out that the Srilankan selectors were very unfair to Marvan Attapattu in sidelining him in the World Cup and also not making him captain after his return from injury.

Posted by goblynn on (October 20, 2008, 7:41 GMT)

as far as the declaration is concerned i believe india shud declare by a good about 500 on the board...n let aus play for the last session .the wicket is goin to slow by midd ay tomorrow n that will really help the bowlers....

Posted by jure23 on (October 20, 2008, 0:13 GMT)

In reply to popcorn? Are you serious man?

I'm from Australia, but the umpiring hasn't been that bad. 13 against 11? And your judging the decision on Brett Lee's appeal?? He can run past the slips if he wants to but he has pitch in line with the stumps. ( The ball to Gambir pitched outside leg stump.

And it is true that they made an umpiring mistake against Ganguly, but how about Sharma's appeal for LBW against Watson? Which was as plumb as you can get.

Posted by Krishna_Sydney on (October 19, 2008, 23:19 GMT)

Coming to the conclusion that the Aussies are on the decline or not a great side, is as naive as those who said that the Indians didnt look to be equal to the task after the 1 st test at MCG last tour. Yes India has the edge for sure. Yes Oz lack the quality spin of Warne. Stuart Clarke is not playing. Hayden had a tough decision and got some great balls first up from an in-form bowler(Zaheer). M.Clarke is a fluent player of spin and its just a matter of time. Katich while dependable is not brilliant - if Shaun Marsh joins the side (replacing Jacques)that would make a big difference. I would have liked to have seen Nathan Bracken in the tour side rather than Bollinger (or even Siddle). Sydmonds in place of Watson and a quality spinner ( or a maturing White ) and with Lee getting back some form, would restore some balance later in the Aussie summer.

Posted by popcorn on (October 19, 2008, 21:59 GMT)

Two bad umpiring decisions have put Australia in this hole - one, Ganguly given not out, not even referred to the third umpire when he was clearly out stumped. Two, Gambir was clearly out lbw first ball to Brett Lee in the second innings,given not out. Brett Leee knows when a batsman is out lbw - he runs towards the batsman. He is honest. How can Australia win when they are playing 11 against 13, of which two are umpires and hold veto powers?

Posted by MananWad on (October 19, 2008, 20:57 GMT)

Autralia does not look like world champions..... do they?? and actually i you see this australia side i dont see much quality in there bowling... they really miss the likes of warne and mcgrath..... and add to that the quality of gilchrist batting down the order... in short australia will not be a number 1 test team in the time to come.

Posted by TwitterJitter on (October 19, 2008, 20:43 GMT)

There is also a danger of declaring little too early on a pitch like this. The ball seems to be coming on to the bat and if the pitch does not deteriorate and the Indians declare a little too early, they might loose a winnable/drawable match. I would think a lead of 500+ with 4 sessions to go is a good time to declare.

Posted by JOSHUA_XI on (October 19, 2008, 19:55 GMT)

well, the way i look at it, the entire match now depends on how quickly the indians can give australia a reasonable target and how the aussie batsmen tackle the Indian spinners, especially amit mishra on a still batting friendly wicket at Mohali.

Posted by Rajesh. on (October 19, 2008, 19:41 GMT)

It's ridiculous to even think if Kumble should be slotted back once he is fit...... Well doe, Amit Mishra.. he bowled really well and I have always thought he would be a better choice than Chawla who still looks to be a work in progress. But Mishra should persevere and try to get in alongside Kumble rather than replace him.... If Sri Lanka can play two offies India can play two leggies.

But once Kumble is fit, he should be the automatic choice as captain and the # 1 spinner in the team as he has always been. As far as Indian Cricket is concerned Kumble is on par with Sachin Tendulkar and should be treated like Sachin...... They both aren't just invaluable, they are indispensable too !

Posted by Vnott on (October 19, 2008, 18:56 GMT)

India should bat till 1hr post lunch and set a target of 500 or thereabouts. Australia should play for safety. In that frame of mind, they will get wiped out in 2-3 sessions.....

Amit Mishra's success was expected as was Piyush Chawla's in the practice match. Nevertheless his performance has been superb. Does not mean we get excited and bay for Kumble or Harbhajans blood for the 3rd test. Remember Mcgill was always successful when he played, but when Warne was fit he was always preferred and that is how it should be. Amit will have to sit out for the next test. But with youngeters performing well even in test matches, it augurs well for Indian cricket given that we will see Dravid , Tendulkar and Kumble retiring by 2009.

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