India v Australia, 1st Test, Mohali, 4th day October 4, 2010

Rebuilding Australia retain never-say-die spirit

Somehow Australia have either hung in or come back for the last four days to now be favourites
66

Whatever happens on the final day of this great Test, Australia can be proud of themselves. Don't count on them feeling content with this, though.

This has been an un-Australian display in many ways, but in the refusal to give up, in the fight they have put up despite limitations, this has been so very Australian. And that is the beauty of playing Australia, that only rarely - like in Nagpur two years ago - do they make it easy for the other side to win.

In foreign conditions, with two bowlers who had never played Tests here and one who had played one, with a wobbly middle order that has allowed the Indian spinners to dictate terms, somehow Australia have either hung in or come back for the last four days to now be favourites.

Earlier Australian sides wouldn't have batted the way Shane Watson and Tim Paine did in the first innings. Even as recently as in 2008-09, Matthew Hayden was trying to hit his way out of trouble, feeling out of place as one of the pack. The difference, perhaps, was that that team was not used to struggling. This team has not only been introduced to the struggles, it seems to be enjoying the fight. And India, down to three bowlers and five batsmen in the first innings, have given them some fight, only for Australia to absorb, absorb, absorb, and then strike back at a weak moment.

On the start of the fourth morning, with all three results possible, Australia showed safety was the last thing on their minds. Watson went from monk to marauder, identifying the moment to seize and coming hard at India. All the shots he had avoided earlier, he played now: the upper-cut, the slog-sweep, the adventurous drive against the turn. A collapse followed, but two left-hand batsmen who were denied by the golden generation before them stuck around to push Australia to a defendable total.

Simon Katich and Michael Hussey began their careers almost simultaneously as kids in Perth, and started this game with the same number of caps and runs. Hussey followed Katich into the 4000-run club today, and you couldn't help but wonder how many more they would have got had they been born in some other country. Both of them have been part of - fleetingly, albeit - the days of domination too, but as scratchy accumulators. The 42 runs that came from their scratchy accumulation today will not be talked about often, but just ask India what they won't give for a 42-run stand right now?

The pièce de résistance, though, came when Australia came out to defend 215. If Virender Sehwag got off to a flier, this would have been one last Australian effort in this match. And if this was going to be the one last effort, they were going to make it grand.

The Australian bowlers might not have the skill of Zaheer Khan, but they made up for it through aggression and persistence. The wickets didn't come through a cracking pitch or a mischievous spinner, but through three pace bowlers finding energy they didn't seem to have in the first innings. Ben Hilfenhaus' pace went up dramatically, Doug Bollinger found accuracy, and Mitchell Johnson just had to do the back-up job.

"We had a bit over an hour to bowl," Hilfenhaus said later. "We knew we could come out hard. We knew we didn't have the runs on the board, and this could be the defining moment in the match."

There have been teams that have tried the short ball against Sehwag in the last two years and failed, but the Australian trio remained quick and accurate. With only two men in front of square, Bollinger kept pounding in the bouncers at around 140kmph, and hit Rahul Dravid once before getting his wicket.

Hilfenhaus was prepared to play what is not his natural game. He bowled as many bouncers and cutters as he did outswingers. He had been much better in the first innings than figures of 0 for 100 suggest. For somebody playing his first Test in the country, he has shown remarkable knowledge of Indian conditions. He has been bowling off a shorter run, preserving energy for longer spells, and has done well with the old ball that hasn't quite swung.

Against Sehwag today, two of his bouncers sailed over the keeper's head, giving away close to 4% of what Australia were defending. With a change of ends, he kept searching for the correct bouncer. It wasn't quite an unplayable delivery, and Sehwag has managed these before too, but the right amount of pressure had been created.

Similarly Hilfenhaus has promised to put Sachin Tendulkar, who has terrorised generations of Australian bowlers before him for 20 years, under the pump on the final day. Who can blame him for feeling confident? Staying consistent with the Australian way, expect Hilfenhaus and friends to make India fight for every single run.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jim1207 on October 5, 2010, 20:37 GMT

    People who question Sachin's fourth innings average need to stop sometime. These guys just want to criticize Sachin and bring him down and having got a small point, they blow it big. So if Sachin does not have an average of 40+ in fourth innings, would be become less in stature? If so, Ponting's average in Indian pitches (so called dead and roads by many) is just 20+ which is less than Harbhajan's batting average in Australia. So does Ponting become technically less than Bhajji? Do not just take one statistics and blow it in every forum you get to write. Sachin has played enough wonderful innings in fourth innings of a test match, he might have flopped in world cup or in many more examples you can point out. But one cannot achieve everything in life. People make themselves look churlish by stating a simple fact again and again for a cheaper cause.

  • RAMKI2404 on October 5, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    VVS Wow WHat a gifted player you are I dont have words for you. 2 test in a row you won for india single handed. Amazing player its worth watching it. I am mesmirised infront of my TV watching your Inngs. The nightmare of VVS will haunt AUS for long time. Congrats India for winning the 1st test and keeping the lead. Guys lets not forget the contribution of Ishant its a learning lession for all the tailenders. His application and determination is tremendous infact he took some burden from VVS by scoring runs too. I appriciate Ojha too. But guys there is one more person who was on the field for long time and played key role in last two wins is Suresh Raina running for VVS. I am truly thrilled with the Indian Victory and dont have any more words for Appriciation.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on October 5, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    People will talk about Laxman BUT Ishant has played the big inning. Incredible effort by him. He was beaten 100 times but learned from every beat. Never ran, never lost his cool. For me, his knock was the most vital, Laxman 2nd. It looks like Ind are gonna win and I am not surprised. Aus were 50 runs short which hampered their field settings. had they been able to attack more, they could have had Laxman caught in the slips early. Tight test but the quality overall hasn't been that good. Hope the quality improves not only in this series but between all countries around the world, as the standards of what we are seeing are close battles between 1/2 decent sides and not close battles between very good ones. Something I thik Ian Chapple already stated.

  • The_Professor on October 5, 2010, 7:04 GMT

    Dear NISH67 which 'ego-centric player who believes the cricket world revolves around him ' might you be referring to??? All players have good and bad experiences with certain things so they are all entitle to their opinions...same as the rest of us fans, aren't they? The decision to use UDRS lies with the ICC and the individual cricketing boards. I am all in favour of the UDRS and I am also a fan of the player that you may be referring to - I think he probably is the best batsman of the modern era and a hell of a humble guy!! Certainly not a 'ego-centric player who believes the cricket world revolves around him '. Please quote any statements from him that prove otherwise? Just cos someone has wide fan following does not make him 'ego-centric'.

  • sadSajith on October 5, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    well well well.Now Indians talking about UDRs.Only because they got few decisions that won't favor them.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on October 5, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    I have actually been watching Indians play for 38 years and nothing has changed in the way they totally mentally disintegrate even when in a winning position. Not once, not twice, but I can reel out numerous occasions when they have lost from positions when no 2 bit team would have lost from winning positions. I am ashamed to the extent I cannot explain. The malaise in this case, is the way they need to be mentally conditioned. The mental conditioning of every Indian player is way below par and the Indians don't seem to have a clue how to fix it. Besides, they don't know things that FEAR erodes SELF BELIEF and to combat FEAR you need to up your self belief and that can happen by things like self talk. Look at the Indian commentators - they are all doomsday prophets portraying pictures of despair even when victory is in sight. Don't believe me? Read Shastri prophecy before start of play today on cricinfo...Indians have never heard of "power of positive expectations influencing outcome!

  • TwitterJitter on October 5, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    It is good that India is losing this game and they should loose many more games in cricket and I hope people loose their passion in cricket in India. It is high time that people start paying attention to other sports in India instead of paying too much attention to sports played by over-hyped, under-performing prima donnas. India need to pay attention and start taking to other sports some of which are played world over than cricket which is played by just 9 full-time members 4 of which are in the sub-continent. Cricketers in India are like a stock that is high bubble and ready to burst at any point and its only going down from here.

  • NISH67 on October 5, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    Well done Australia -on the way to a deserved victory . India have only themselves to blame for this position . Their reluctance to use the UDRS in order to pacify the ego of one individual has backfired and come back to bite them where it hurts the most . It is now time for the other players , the BCCI and the ICC to take a stand and ensure that the available technology is implemented in every test match notwithstanding the selfish motives of an ego-centric player who believes the cricket world revolves around him !

  • on October 5, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    Why always shewag & Sachin has to perform it come to under pressure game.. why cant dhoni and rest of the team......we cant keep dhoni only for his captaincy..he too bat atleast once in two years......

  • klobania on October 5, 2010, 5:14 GMT

    ladies n gentlemen as i suggested yesterday tendulkar has again failed to take india home

  • Jim1207 on October 5, 2010, 20:37 GMT

    People who question Sachin's fourth innings average need to stop sometime. These guys just want to criticize Sachin and bring him down and having got a small point, they blow it big. So if Sachin does not have an average of 40+ in fourth innings, would be become less in stature? If so, Ponting's average in Indian pitches (so called dead and roads by many) is just 20+ which is less than Harbhajan's batting average in Australia. So does Ponting become technically less than Bhajji? Do not just take one statistics and blow it in every forum you get to write. Sachin has played enough wonderful innings in fourth innings of a test match, he might have flopped in world cup or in many more examples you can point out. But one cannot achieve everything in life. People make themselves look churlish by stating a simple fact again and again for a cheaper cause.

  • RAMKI2404 on October 5, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    VVS Wow WHat a gifted player you are I dont have words for you. 2 test in a row you won for india single handed. Amazing player its worth watching it. I am mesmirised infront of my TV watching your Inngs. The nightmare of VVS will haunt AUS for long time. Congrats India for winning the 1st test and keeping the lead. Guys lets not forget the contribution of Ishant its a learning lession for all the tailenders. His application and determination is tremendous infact he took some burden from VVS by scoring runs too. I appriciate Ojha too. But guys there is one more person who was on the field for long time and played key role in last two wins is Suresh Raina running for VVS. I am truly thrilled with the Indian Victory and dont have any more words for Appriciation.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on October 5, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    People will talk about Laxman BUT Ishant has played the big inning. Incredible effort by him. He was beaten 100 times but learned from every beat. Never ran, never lost his cool. For me, his knock was the most vital, Laxman 2nd. It looks like Ind are gonna win and I am not surprised. Aus were 50 runs short which hampered their field settings. had they been able to attack more, they could have had Laxman caught in the slips early. Tight test but the quality overall hasn't been that good. Hope the quality improves not only in this series but between all countries around the world, as the standards of what we are seeing are close battles between 1/2 decent sides and not close battles between very good ones. Something I thik Ian Chapple already stated.

  • The_Professor on October 5, 2010, 7:04 GMT

    Dear NISH67 which 'ego-centric player who believes the cricket world revolves around him ' might you be referring to??? All players have good and bad experiences with certain things so they are all entitle to their opinions...same as the rest of us fans, aren't they? The decision to use UDRS lies with the ICC and the individual cricketing boards. I am all in favour of the UDRS and I am also a fan of the player that you may be referring to - I think he probably is the best batsman of the modern era and a hell of a humble guy!! Certainly not a 'ego-centric player who believes the cricket world revolves around him '. Please quote any statements from him that prove otherwise? Just cos someone has wide fan following does not make him 'ego-centric'.

  • sadSajith on October 5, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    well well well.Now Indians talking about UDRs.Only because they got few decisions that won't favor them.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on October 5, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    I have actually been watching Indians play for 38 years and nothing has changed in the way they totally mentally disintegrate even when in a winning position. Not once, not twice, but I can reel out numerous occasions when they have lost from positions when no 2 bit team would have lost from winning positions. I am ashamed to the extent I cannot explain. The malaise in this case, is the way they need to be mentally conditioned. The mental conditioning of every Indian player is way below par and the Indians don't seem to have a clue how to fix it. Besides, they don't know things that FEAR erodes SELF BELIEF and to combat FEAR you need to up your self belief and that can happen by things like self talk. Look at the Indian commentators - they are all doomsday prophets portraying pictures of despair even when victory is in sight. Don't believe me? Read Shastri prophecy before start of play today on cricinfo...Indians have never heard of "power of positive expectations influencing outcome!

  • TwitterJitter on October 5, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    It is good that India is losing this game and they should loose many more games in cricket and I hope people loose their passion in cricket in India. It is high time that people start paying attention to other sports in India instead of paying too much attention to sports played by over-hyped, under-performing prima donnas. India need to pay attention and start taking to other sports some of which are played world over than cricket which is played by just 9 full-time members 4 of which are in the sub-continent. Cricketers in India are like a stock that is high bubble and ready to burst at any point and its only going down from here.

  • NISH67 on October 5, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    Well done Australia -on the way to a deserved victory . India have only themselves to blame for this position . Their reluctance to use the UDRS in order to pacify the ego of one individual has backfired and come back to bite them where it hurts the most . It is now time for the other players , the BCCI and the ICC to take a stand and ensure that the available technology is implemented in every test match notwithstanding the selfish motives of an ego-centric player who believes the cricket world revolves around him !

  • on October 5, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    Why always shewag & Sachin has to perform it come to under pressure game.. why cant dhoni and rest of the team......we cant keep dhoni only for his captaincy..he too bat atleast once in two years......

  • klobania on October 5, 2010, 5:14 GMT

    ladies n gentlemen as i suggested yesterday tendulkar has again failed to take india home

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on October 5, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    I agree with wagon_wheel to an extent. In Ind conditions Zaheer has an edge, especially with the reverse swing factor. He lacks in pace and bounce and so that will be a bit of a minus when talking about overall.

  • Bukhari on October 5, 2010, 4:42 GMT

    I feel sorry for India as they are hard done bu umpires in this match. Katich & Hussey were not given early in their innings while Gambhir was wrongly given. If they loose then those 3 decisions would be the real factor. People might say Hussey got a wrong decision but they forget he should not have been there in first place. I still hope India wins as they were the team which showed positive intent through out the match.

  • The_Professor on October 5, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    Generally, in Test Matches, the team that makes the least mistakes wins. In this match India has made most mistakes by far. India could have won the game easily but dropping catches of Watson and Paine on ducks cost them over 200 runs! Having said that, all is not lost. Pitch is still good. India will lose wickets but it is important that India don't get into a defensive mindset - need to keep scoreboard ticking.

  • on October 5, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    One more chance came to SRT to win a Test Match for India. He missed the last test with SRI which Laxman has Finished in Gr8 styel. I wish SRT win this Test match for India if he does I will rate this Inngs as the best of all his inngs he played so far. Best of Luck India and SRT.

  • indianpunter on October 5, 2010, 4:00 GMT

    Barring a minor miracle, India will head to Bangalore 1-0 down. I am surprised no one is talking about it, but surely Dravid's place in the line up should seriously be revisited. His game and form is in complete tatters and no one should be fooled by the sketchy 77 he made in the first innings. I have been a huge Dravid fan for so many yrs and it is sad to see him deteriorate the way he has. Dravid's solidity was based on his assuarance around the off stump and he is now reduced to a bumbling novice. It is the way he gets out which concerns me the most. At his age, he is not going to get any better and the time is ripe to blood a new face in South Africa. It will be a great disservice , both to India and to Dravid, if he were to be picked for the SA tour. C'mon RD, retire in grace. You are undoing your good name.

  • on October 5, 2010, 3:28 GMT

    Decent test match yes....but certainly lacking in quality. It was as if 2 above average teams slugging it out, not two brilliant teams, individual performances notwithstanding. We'll get a result for sure, but I hope to see a better quality display from both teams at Bangalore. Hopefully pitch there will assist both teams, unlike the dead surface here. @ScottNZ, what was meant here was the skill that Khan has in reversing the ball. Mitch and Bollinger are way behind, as of now.

  • arvind.10 on October 5, 2010, 3:24 GMT

    Hello frnds...I am confident that Sachin will definitely take india through..As we are having one of the luckiest captain in the world(Dhoni),so it would be difficult for the aus to beat us..just wait and see.

  • realredbaron on October 5, 2010, 3:21 GMT

    "The Australian bowlers might not have the skill of Zaheer Khan"- this sentence killed the article. Zaheer Khan may be the best Indian pacer out there but he is not even one of the ten best pace bowlers in the world right now! Johnson, Hilfenhause, Bollinger- they all are more skilled in the art of pace bowling than Zaheer Khan.

  • popcorn on October 5, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    Australia will win this Test match - and they fully deserve to.

  • Sultan. on October 5, 2010, 2:15 GMT

    If India lose from here they will be under enormous pressure for the next match. Pressure does funny things to people regardless of their level of experince. If they can't get the runs the Indian batsmen and captain should give Khan a please explain on why he would want to give Ponting and Co extra motivation with his little outburst. Zaheer, sometimes its best to just stfu.

  • smart_cricketer on October 5, 2010, 2:12 GMT

    Whatever may result be...I am new Aussies fan! This is one of the of the best example of 'resource management' after geniuses retired in their team. Thanks for this thrilling game :)

    This is coming from a die hard Indian cricket fan.

  • on October 5, 2010, 1:50 GMT

    Cricket is the real winner here. Finally, an enthralling test with the outcome still to be determined at the start of the 5th day.... Hopefully no spot fixing either. :)

  • leo787 on October 5, 2010, 1:43 GMT

    CAN I ASK MY INDUAN BROTHERS HOWCOME SEHWAG IS THE BEST BATSMAN IN THE WORLD PLS DONT TELL ME STATS WHEN U NEED HIM HE DIDNT DO ANY THING

  • CustomKid on October 5, 2010, 1:32 GMT

    @Lalit Chiplonka - while India might be playing with a team that isn't fully fit that isn't anyone's fault but their own. They knew these players were under a injury cloud and they shouldn't have been picked. Laxman granted may have been ok pre match hence he was given a runner when it was time to bat but as for the rest they shouldn't be in the side if they couldn't stand up for 5 days.

  • on October 5, 2010, 1:32 GMT

    As with ScottNZ I was shocked at the authors comments on the Aust bowlers not having the "skill of Zaheer Khan". THe fella has a career average of 32 and almost 38 versus Australia.. compared to Johnsons 28, Hilfies 29 and Bollingers 24... I know he is good but the Aussies are not inferior.... Also the fella is made of glass...

  • wagon_wheel on October 5, 2010, 0:52 GMT

    @ScottNZ Regarding the reporter's comment on the abilities of Australian bowlers vis-a-vis Zaheer Khan, I am sure he meant in Indian conditions. In fact even Ricky Ponting and Ian Chapell acknowledged that Zaheer is a major threat under these conditions. Not that Zaheer does not perform abroad. In recent years, other than Dale Steyn, Zaheer is one fast bowler who has done well in all kinds of seaming/dry/bouncy tracks especially in tests. In one dayers and 20/20 he still has a long way to go.

  • on October 5, 2010, 0:49 GMT

    Well this match is really complicated.Well i think that India can win this match quite comfortably.But all of us know that what Australian's can do.They r d best.If they take tendulkar early then its Australia.

  • Bone101 on October 5, 2010, 0:49 GMT

    Can someone get on the phone to Hilditch & Co. to sort out this middle order? What a disgrace!

  • SteveMiller on October 5, 2010, 0:48 GMT

    I don't think the Australians are favourites here---I think it is dead even. Just the way it should be on the morning of the fifth day of a test match. India have only five and a half wickets left, but the world's best batsman at the crease (ave of 74 in recent fourth innings), and the Australians only have a modest total to defend. Isn't this what we all love about test cricket? Ebbs and flows, always opportunities for redemption?

  • gzawilliam on October 5, 2010, 0:47 GMT

    ScottNZ i think what he means is that Khan has more skill in bowling. Like swing , reverse swing and use of the seam. Johnson has more pace , heart and aggression than khan. But he definitely is light years off the skill khan has with the ball. Just look at Hauritz's dismissal with the way he reverse swung the ball around the wicket. Only a few bowlers in the world could do that. One has retired in flintoff. Hilfenhaus though has more skill than all of them. Determination , good wrist position and natural swing and also a very nasty bouncer. Bollinger is just as good but needs more time in indian conditons to bowl to his home record standards.

    Surprised to not see more of watson though.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on October 5, 2010, 0:42 GMT

    @sskr1. No offense man but majority of Ind pitches THESE DAYS are pretty dead and that probably is exactly why SOME foreign batsmen struggle in Ind. The pitches have very little pace and carry and thus make it difficult for horizontal bat shots and a certain general approach to stroke-play,look no further than Watson's and Ponting's dismissals. Were they good deliveries? No! Watson dragged a short , wide ball that didn't bounce or come on enough for a pull and he would have been better off cutting or driving off the back foot and then Ponting tried to pull a short ball that hardly reached his knee. Sadly, these days see VERY LITTLE TURN, much unlike yesteryear and I find spinners bowling in Ind are far too reliant on footmarks and doosras. Watching guys like Swann and Ajmal bowl in Eng and hauritz and Kaneria bowl in Aus, was actually more exciting than watching even Murali bowl in Ind the last series he played there.

  • smalishah84 on October 5, 2010, 0:23 GMT

    Coming from Pakistan I must wish good luck to both the teams. I had mentioned before the start of the match that the team which will handle the pressure better will win. And that is australia's forte. They can take pressure well. For the same reason I had predicted an Aussie win. And I still think Aussie's will win. India I think are the better side in this test but the Aussie's can handle the pressure better. I hope it is a good contest. Best of luck India.

    P.S. I see a lot of gloating by Pak fans when India is losing. I suggest we take an inward look at our cricket team. It is in a far worse situation.

  • warnerbasher on October 4, 2010, 23:46 GMT

    Now this is a test for Tendulkar. This is when India need him not when he is scoring those thousands of meaningless runs in those boring 600 v 600 games that seem to feature regularly iin Asian test matches. He has to bat for the team now not for himself. He was allways to selfish to be captain due to his propensity to accumulate runs regardless of the game situation. I suspect that he may not have the bottle for the type of intense contest that will be coming up this afternoon. The real concerns for Australia are Dhoni and Singh who do show a bit of fight. May the best team win.

  • malomay on October 4, 2010, 23:11 GMT

    Yet another entralling Test Match between these two countries. To say that Test cricket is in trouble is to completely ignore the amazing fluctuations and the physical & mental examinations that 5 day cricket demands of players. How anyone can prefer to watch 20/20 hit & giggle cricket is beyond me. Which brings me to my main disappointment. Where are the crowds ? How can a test match such as this, played in a country so proudly fanatical about their cricket, be played in front of vast numbers of empty seats ? To me this is a tragedy.

  • on October 4, 2010, 22:45 GMT

    Credit to the Indians for causing a collapse like that. BUT HOW CAN YOU SAY zaheer khan has more skill than someone like Mtch Johnson or Ben Hlfenhaus, India did well but at the end of the day they were bowling on a minefeild against an out of form and out of luck middle order. Australia's fast men took 3 wickets in an hour and two of these have arguably been two of the best batsmen of the last few years.

  • ScottNZ on October 4, 2010, 21:50 GMT

    "The Australian bowlers might not have the skill of Zaheer Khan,"

    I am sorry but what???? What the hell is this reporter on, Johnson is a far better bowler than Khan, I would say Bollinger is as well.

    Kahn is a good bowler dont get me wrong but to say that Johnson and Bollinger are not or better than Khan in the skill department is just ignorant.

  • sskris1 on October 4, 2010, 21:45 GMT

    What a test match it has turned out to be. Kudos to both the Indian bowlers, and the Aussie bowlers to turn this game from a probable draw to a certain result. Being an Indian I feel the Aussies are going to take this one as it is never easy to bat in India on Day 5 and Australia will be firing on all cylinders. @Klobania, really I mean really you want to go down this lane of Indians only palying on dead pitches. Please check Sachin's, Dravid's and other Indian greats records before making such statements. IF the pitches in India are dead pitches why do the cricketers from Aus, Eng struggle to score in India, despitie the fact that India does not having quality fast bowlers. To all our friends from PAK please pray for your own country which is in such a turmoil, cricket or otherwise.

    May peace be with all and let the game of cricket win

  • BillyCC on October 4, 2010, 21:01 GMT

    Don't underestimate the fighting spirit of India, I think the match is still poised 50/50. Had Laxman been fit, I think India would be favourites.

  • GHemrajani on October 4, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    I have always maintained that for all his greatness Sachin is a poor finisher. Hence no World Cup win for him nor a good 4th innings test average. My prediction is an Aussie win and perhaps a repeat of Chennai.

  • cricinfo_2010 on October 4, 2010, 19:42 GMT

    hmm...sachin has to yet again prove he can bat under pressure. bless your soul

  • klobania on October 4, 2010, 19:32 GMT

    i think this is gonna be one sided encounter in the end as aussies will thrash indians by lunch tomorrow. sachin n dhoni have always failed to come up good when it is needed most n they will repeat the same tomorrow. these indian players r only flat pitches bullies n since pitch has started to show some good signs for the bowlers i think aussies will easily overcome indians by bowling some short stuff

  • on October 4, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    I think you have to appreciate the way the Aussies have gone in to each session, even knowing they will get ambushed given the superiority on paper of the indian side, and they seem to have come out of the day's play with their noses slightly in front. Well done.

    However, I do NOT think its correct, (or wise) to single out Aussie never-say-die spirit. After all, its India who is playing with half a side that's fit and still they are in with a chance; they were even ahead at end end of half the days.

    So I think your evaluation and the subsequent praises of Aussie determination is a little one sided and not a complete picture.

  • gmoturu1 on October 4, 2010, 19:10 GMT

    thanks to cricinfo's statsguru. i just found out great statistics abt sachin. With 6 innings as a minimum qualification for a batsman in 4th innings in India, Sachin averages 52 with only hayden and pankaj roy having better averages. mind you sachin has 52 average in 22 innings. who said sachin can't play in 4th innings.

  • on October 4, 2010, 19:06 GMT

    PradeepR 5yrty5rtyhtryhrtyr6t76uy6tyu6ytu6yu6

  • BlorScouser on October 4, 2010, 19:03 GMT

    Credit must be given to the Indian bowlers for making a game out of a match which seemed to be headed for a draw. However the famous never-say-die spirit of the Aussies, has left the match interestingly poised and has ensured a fascinating final day's play. India should win if Sachin bats through the innings. Hoping that he will be adequately supported by dhoni n the likes of Zaheer n Harbhajan and that we will not need the injured laxman to save us. The Aussies will come out firing all guns and won't give a quarter. Must agree with the author that a team which hasn't played in the characteristic Australian manner, has nevertheless retained the old, never give up attitude A thrilling finale is what the fans want. Bring it on.

  • on October 4, 2010, 19:02 GMT

    @PradeepR ....ur over- rated sachin will gift his wicket just like against pak at chennai...go aussies go....prayers from pakistani people

  • on October 4, 2010, 19:01 GMT

    Lo, it was the short ball indeed that did for Sehwag in both innings. All the Indians boasting big earlier at the Cricinfo comments, allow me to laugh at ya x)

  • gmoturu1 on October 4, 2010, 18:59 GMT

    this is an awesome test. people always say sachin doesn't have a good record in 4th innings. i wonder what is the highest average for a batsman in 4th innings played in India. i hope India wins this test by 1 wicket. that would do good for test cricket.

  • sanin on October 4, 2010, 18:58 GMT

    All depends on TENDULKER ........

  • on October 4, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    Good Luck tomorrow Australia!!

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on October 4, 2010, 18:32 GMT

    @36638875ash, there is nothing wrong with supporting your team but don't make up stories. The no-ball Ishant bowled to Hussey PITCHED OUTSIDE LEG. That means not out anyway and the no-ball was close and considering Sharma's trend, he gave up his right to be "close" lol@cricarch, do you really think its easy to defend 215 on ANY sruface? If you think that pitch is difficult to bat on, you haven't been watching cricket for very long. Headingly makes that surface look like a basketball court on a sunny day.

  • on October 4, 2010, 18:18 GMT

    Sachin will fight tomorrow to win against Australia with the support from Zaheer, Harbajan and Laxman, we can't expect much from Dhoni tomorrow.Sachin will make 49th century and win this game for India.............Very all the best for IND........Jai Hind!!!

  • alvinmanoj on October 4, 2010, 17:52 GMT

    Dear PradeepR, The retired aussie players were legends agreed, but y do u still depend on Sachin to win matches for you, anyway he is not going to hang around for long too. After that can you imagine anyone capable of winning matches for you? Definitely not. India being a Cricket-only country and where cricketers are considered national heroes for nothing unlike Australia, India still need to go a long way to accomplish what Aussies have done in Cricket. Maybe small-case letters will make my point clear to you.

  • keralite on October 4, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    I don't like the Aussie team, like most of the Indians. But i respect them. If the current Indian team had such an attitude and commitment, Indian would dominate the world cricket much like aussies did in the last 2 decades or the windies of 80's. Aussie without the greats- still fighting till the last ball: a good test towards a thrilling climax(India will win though).

  • East_West on October 4, 2010, 17:47 GMT

    INDIA#1 in Tests???- Well, It's time for us to prove it today!! Let us see if Sachin takes us there? or...for that matter, captain Dhoni's one of the most important events is today to show us that he is a batsman and also a captain to lead us to a victory!!! Can this happen today??

  • Deivanandhi on October 4, 2010, 17:46 GMT

    Even Aus does not have strong bowling line up, they will try to create a pressure on India. SInce Laxman is not in fit to play, Australia will create a tremendous amount of pressure on Indian Batsmen. Dhoni and Tendulkar with the help of Zaheer and Singh has to play some descent cricket to win the visitors............

  • AK47_pk on October 4, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    Austrailia gona win it within 1st session.

  • on October 4, 2010, 17:29 GMT

    India have saved many bad situations and infact won some in the last 3 years. And in the same time have given away equal number of winnable matches.

    I want to know the instances australia has come back from hopeless situations without a dubious decision or two (atleast in the last few years).

    Please do not reinforce the cliche's without a more detailed look at what has happened to the current australian line up. Just taking examples that suits your narrative is just bad journalism.

  • PradeepR on October 4, 2010, 17:21 GMT

    @chad_reid, Aussies won't be the same team again buddy and your typing in caps will not change that. All the players who retired were once in a few generations' players and it is tough to find players like that and all at the same time. The Aussies are going to lose this series starting with the current match. Tomorrow Sachin is going to win it for us.

  • on October 4, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    As much as comforting and easy as it sounds, the only thing Indians could do tomorrow to save this match is to HANG ON as much as they could or next 8 hours till dawn. India needs 163 to win with six wickets in hand. This is the way I see it, rather thinking India needs 163 to win, with Laxman crook and Dhoni being the only recognized batsman left in the Indian batting order. Australians still needs to get six wickets to win the match. Sachin can definitely sruvive till lunch given the amount of international cricket he has played both at home and overseas. That would mean atleast 25 Overs. If India could score at a paltry rate of 2 Runs per over, that would mean 50 Runs from start of day 5. (Target Now: 113).Assuming, these 50 runs are scored with Zaheer & Harbhajan as Sachin's standing partners). India would need another 113 between Dhoni & Laxman to figure out.I would prefer Harbhajan going next ater Zaheer is out, before Dhoni & Laxman.

  • on October 4, 2010, 16:44 GMT

    ozs are doing brilliantly, as usual. can indians work a magic which they occasionally do?

  • 36638875ash on October 4, 2010, 16:43 GMT

    Untill the unfair no ball decision by Billy Bowden to Ishant which denied him Hussey's wicket, the umpiring was outstanding by both. The pair of umpires have given suberb decisions which gave advantage to the Aussies, but the bad ones hurt India with the exception of Hussey's dismisal.I don't know what to tell about Sewag and Dravid. Sewag as usual played a meaningless shot loosing concentration coz of frustration. Dravid unnessarily chased the ball to fend which took his wicket. Raina show his inability to played the short stuff. Tomorrow SRT needs someone to support him, you can never expect one such thing from Dhoni. All de best for team INDIA.....

  • on October 4, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    Aussie rocks...go aussie go

  • cricarch on October 4, 2010, 16:25 GMT

    Well, I must say its NOT Australian's never-say-die spirit this time. If you look at past and recent records for chasing on this ground, it always has been poor. Records indicate that fourth inning has always proved to be difficult on subcontinental pitches like Mohali which induce extra bounce on later days. Its unfortunate for India and Australia shouldn't be given full credits for this. Having said that, I must appreciate their efforts and cashing on opportunities.

  • chad_reid on October 4, 2010, 15:41 GMT

    WONT BE TOO LONG BEFORE AUS BECOMES NUMBER 1 AGAIN WITHOUT WARNE MCGRATH AND OTHER TOP RETIRED PLAYERS MANY WERE SAYING AUS WONT BE THE SAME AGAIN BUT THEIR FIGHTING SPIRIT LIVES ON THAT'S WHAT MAKES THEM A LETHAL FORCE THEIR NEVER GIVE UP NEVER SURRENDER ATTITUDE IF KNOW CAN DO IT THEY CAN

    I AM NOT SAYING THEY WILL BEAT INDIA ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN BUT ITS THEIR COMPETITIVENESS WHEN OTHER TEAMS GIVE UP THAT AMAZES ME. THEY DIDN'T DOMINATE TEST CRICKET FOR MORE THAN A DECADE BECAUSE THEY WANT TO PLAY GOOD CRICKET IT WAS THEIR SELF BELIEF THAT KEPT THEM WINNING

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on October 4, 2010, 15:33 GMT

    This is turning out to be a decent test match despite the dead surface. Aus batted really poorly in the 2nd inning (take nothing away from Ind, Zaheer was again brilliant) but as every proper cricket follower knows, if there is one team in the world who would go out there and try to defend 10 runs, it would be Aus. I still think they are about 50-70 runs short and injured or not, Laxman will fill fight but Aus will put up a fight and so far,overall, they have really done well in very foreign conditions.

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  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on October 4, 2010, 15:33 GMT

    This is turning out to be a decent test match despite the dead surface. Aus batted really poorly in the 2nd inning (take nothing away from Ind, Zaheer was again brilliant) but as every proper cricket follower knows, if there is one team in the world who would go out there and try to defend 10 runs, it would be Aus. I still think they are about 50-70 runs short and injured or not, Laxman will fill fight but Aus will put up a fight and so far,overall, they have really done well in very foreign conditions.

  • chad_reid on October 4, 2010, 15:41 GMT

    WONT BE TOO LONG BEFORE AUS BECOMES NUMBER 1 AGAIN WITHOUT WARNE MCGRATH AND OTHER TOP RETIRED PLAYERS MANY WERE SAYING AUS WONT BE THE SAME AGAIN BUT THEIR FIGHTING SPIRIT LIVES ON THAT'S WHAT MAKES THEM A LETHAL FORCE THEIR NEVER GIVE UP NEVER SURRENDER ATTITUDE IF KNOW CAN DO IT THEY CAN

    I AM NOT SAYING THEY WILL BEAT INDIA ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN BUT ITS THEIR COMPETITIVENESS WHEN OTHER TEAMS GIVE UP THAT AMAZES ME. THEY DIDN'T DOMINATE TEST CRICKET FOR MORE THAN A DECADE BECAUSE THEY WANT TO PLAY GOOD CRICKET IT WAS THEIR SELF BELIEF THAT KEPT THEM WINNING

  • cricarch on October 4, 2010, 16:25 GMT

    Well, I must say its NOT Australian's never-say-die spirit this time. If you look at past and recent records for chasing on this ground, it always has been poor. Records indicate that fourth inning has always proved to be difficult on subcontinental pitches like Mohali which induce extra bounce on later days. Its unfortunate for India and Australia shouldn't be given full credits for this. Having said that, I must appreciate their efforts and cashing on opportunities.

  • on October 4, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    Aussie rocks...go aussie go

  • 36638875ash on October 4, 2010, 16:43 GMT

    Untill the unfair no ball decision by Billy Bowden to Ishant which denied him Hussey's wicket, the umpiring was outstanding by both. The pair of umpires have given suberb decisions which gave advantage to the Aussies, but the bad ones hurt India with the exception of Hussey's dismisal.I don't know what to tell about Sewag and Dravid. Sewag as usual played a meaningless shot loosing concentration coz of frustration. Dravid unnessarily chased the ball to fend which took his wicket. Raina show his inability to played the short stuff. Tomorrow SRT needs someone to support him, you can never expect one such thing from Dhoni. All de best for team INDIA.....

  • on October 4, 2010, 16:44 GMT

    ozs are doing brilliantly, as usual. can indians work a magic which they occasionally do?

  • on October 4, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    As much as comforting and easy as it sounds, the only thing Indians could do tomorrow to save this match is to HANG ON as much as they could or next 8 hours till dawn. India needs 163 to win with six wickets in hand. This is the way I see it, rather thinking India needs 163 to win, with Laxman crook and Dhoni being the only recognized batsman left in the Indian batting order. Australians still needs to get six wickets to win the match. Sachin can definitely sruvive till lunch given the amount of international cricket he has played both at home and overseas. That would mean atleast 25 Overs. If India could score at a paltry rate of 2 Runs per over, that would mean 50 Runs from start of day 5. (Target Now: 113).Assuming, these 50 runs are scored with Zaheer & Harbhajan as Sachin's standing partners). India would need another 113 between Dhoni & Laxman to figure out.I would prefer Harbhajan going next ater Zaheer is out, before Dhoni & Laxman.

  • PradeepR on October 4, 2010, 17:21 GMT

    @chad_reid, Aussies won't be the same team again buddy and your typing in caps will not change that. All the players who retired were once in a few generations' players and it is tough to find players like that and all at the same time. The Aussies are going to lose this series starting with the current match. Tomorrow Sachin is going to win it for us.

  • on October 4, 2010, 17:29 GMT

    India have saved many bad situations and infact won some in the last 3 years. And in the same time have given away equal number of winnable matches.

    I want to know the instances australia has come back from hopeless situations without a dubious decision or two (atleast in the last few years).

    Please do not reinforce the cliche's without a more detailed look at what has happened to the current australian line up. Just taking examples that suits your narrative is just bad journalism.

  • AK47_pk on October 4, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    Austrailia gona win it within 1st session.