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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
India v Australia, 2nd Test, Mohali, 3rd day
Ian Chappell: Timing of declaration will be crucialOctober 19, 2008
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.
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