India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 1st day October 9, 2010

'We're happy with the score' - Sehwag

ESPNcricinfo staff

At the end of the opening day, India wouldn't have been sure whether to feel satisfied after a hard day's work or slightly let down over passages of play when they let things drift. They did splendidly to recover from a barren opening session that cost 95 runs, but then conceded 57 in an hour to Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey. Hussey fell to a poor stroke and Ponting, on his favourite Indian ground, was denied another hundred by Suresh Raina's part-time offspin. But by the time play was called off for bad light, it was hard to escape the feeling that MS Dhoni had played the occasional-bowler card a few overs too many.

Virender Sehwag, as optimistic and positive a soul as any in the Indian dressing room, looked on the bright side after the day's play. "We're happy with the score," he said. "The way they started, we thought they might make 350 or so. We're especially happy with the wicket that Raina took, when Ponting looked set for a hundred."

After the paltry crowds in Mohali, Bangalore provided a much more raucous atmosphere. Ponting was greeted by boos - though Shane Watson claimed later not to hear them - and every Indian wicket whipped the crowd into a frenzy. "In Bangalore, people usually come to see Tests and cheer India," said Sehwag. "So we're very happy. Hopefully, they'll come for all five days."

The players went off three deliveries after the new ball was taken, but there was no grumbling from the Indians, with overcast conditions expected for much of the five days. "We just ask them to stay consistent," said Sehwag. "Then it's fair for both teams."

Once again, India wasted the new ball. Zaheer Khan was perhaps still feeling the effects of his exertions in Mohali, while Sreesanth overpitched consistently early on trying to get the ball to swing. When he got the right shape, the length was wrong and then continued in his later spells when he bowled some fine deliveries without quite stringing together a great over.

In Indian conditions, Zaheer has invariably been more effective with the older ball, while Sreesanth, too, helped India win a game in Kanpur last year with telling spells of reverse swing. There was no dramatic action with the old ball here though, with spinners bowling in tandem for much of the afternoon. "Because of the ground conditions, which are wet, and the side wickets not being dry," said Sehwag when asked about it. "If they dry up, then reverse swing will be a factor."

India were dealt a blow in the morning with the late withdrawal of VVS Laxman, though Sehwag insisted that the decision to go with young blood in Cheteshwar Pujara was the right one. "He [Laxman] tested in the morning and he said his back was still stiff and sore. We didn't want to take any chances. If something goes wrong, we can't even get a fielder for him. So it was the right decision not to play."

Having experienced his own dip in form in South Africa in 2006-07 - he was axed after the final Test in Cape Town - there was some sympathy from Sehwag for Marcus North, fighting for an Ashes place and unbeaten on 43 overnight. "I think he's batted really well in this Test," said Sehwag. "At the moment, he's looking comfortable. But tomorrow morning, we'll be looking to put more pressure on him."

Unlike at Mohali, where dropped catches proved rather expensive, India were tidier in the field on Saturday. There was still some sloppy groundfielding, especially from those the wrong side of 30, but the catches taken by Rahul Dravid, MS Dhoni and Sehwag represented a big improvement on what was on view in the opening Test.

With a new ball in hand on Sunday and the tail to come, a quick wrap could put India in a commanding position. For that to happen, they'll need to shake off an old habit and use the new ball effectively under cloudy skies.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • V.L on October 10, 2010, 8:02 GMT

    Well the crowd is over-excited thats all. I had been to the ground yesterday and they were clapping when ever a good shot was played. Infact they applauded when Ponting and Watson reached their 50's. So lets not take that too seriously, more so considering the fact that Harbhajan, Sreesanth, Pietersen and Murali were consistently booed by the crowd in Australia.

  • andrews on October 10, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    Yes neutral fan, WI crowds are great. How wonderful to riot and end a Test match when Australia are one wicket away from victory. Lest you think I am bringing up the distant past, it was only two years ago that the crowd rioted when Darren Sammy was bowled, yes bowled. Apparently that was another example of the ugly Australians receiving the benefit of the umpires yet again. We've completely lost balance in this whole argument for quite a few years now. (Australian crowds will be disgraceful this summer, but there won;t be too many Aussie accents among them).

  • meena on October 10, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    Dhoni deserves to lose this match. In my past 50 years of watching cricket in India, I have not seen such a bad field placing by an indian captian. Dhoni seemed to be influenced by Ponting's field placing. Foreign captains have gone for fields that include short mid wicket, short cover, short extra cover. Traditionally indian captians have gone for attacking fields like slip, silly point, silly midwicket and other close catching positions for spinners. But Dhoni broke that tradition with distant field settings and he will definitely lose this match. No doubt about it. He got it all wrong and should take the 100 percent blame for it.

  • Fleming on October 10, 2010, 5:17 GMT

    Well i dont know why the hell people say there's no comparison between Tendulkar and Ponting...Ricky Ponting is the second highest run getter in the history of test cricket..He has 39 test hundreds and is 2nd to Tendulkar....He has a great record all over the world...He is the best no.3 batsman...Tendulkar was no way near to him in the last decade....So there is a comparison between Tendulkar and Ponting...and infact Ponting is only the 2nd man to score 12000 test runs...I m a big fan of Ponting and rate him over Brian Lara...Lara was a genius but he has retired....When Punter retires, hopefully he would score atleast 15000 test runs...along with 45 or 50 test centuries...Good luck legendary Ricky Ponting...

  • Fleming on October 10, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    Well its really disappointing Ponting not getting a hundred...He was playing a captain's knock with a lot of determination...Hope he would score a hundred in second innings...this series is turning out to be a great series for Punter...

  • Patrick on October 10, 2010, 4:38 GMT

    Looking forward to another great day of play today! Interesting little innings by North at the moment given his recent bad run - could this be a career saving innings? As for booing, I went to a rugby league game between the Tigers and the Dragons in Sydney and people booed when the kicker was preparing. So Australian fans do boo, and it left me feeling disappointed and dirty. But I have never seen people boo like that at the cricket and I really really hope I never do. Booing is poor form, ungentlemanly and shows you to be a bad sport. People who excuse the fans for booing because of Pontings "off-field poor form" should apply those same standards of behavior to the fans, else they are starting to sound hypocritical. Two wrongs don't make a right. At times I have been embarrassed by Ponting and some other members of the Australian team, however in the last year or two I think he has been nothing but a gentleman and good sport. But nice to see some Indian fans are true cricket fans.

  • - on October 10, 2010, 3:58 GMT

    I heard that Ponting got booed because he didn't allow Laxman a runner. It was a good decision from Ponting too. If he's injured before the match, a runner should not be allowed. Sometimes we Indians overreact too much.

  • Babu on October 10, 2010, 3:14 GMT

    Ponting was booed in England and SA too. Even though he is gr8 sportsman he carried himself very poor on and off the field. He is never a good ambassador of Australia. Poll conducted in Australia in 2008 said the same.

  • Marcio on October 10, 2010, 2:49 GMT

    The myth that Ponting is a bad sportsman is just that - a myth. No matter how often is is gentlemanly and a good sportsman - such as permitting Laxman to use a runner in the first test and thus allowing India to win, or his gracious speech at the end, despite a heartbreaking loss. The even bigger picture is that his positive attitude to the game and pushing for victory makes for the most entertaining test match cricket around. There is nothing more he can do. Hate is irrational, and worldviews are not amenable to reason. I have seen so many deliberate distortions of fact in Indian media 7 internet about Ponting - such as deliberately creating the false impression that a catch he cleanly caught hit the ground, by showing the image AFTER the catch was taken, and as he was using the hand with the ball to get up from the ground, pressing the ball into the ground. When a culture bases itself in being the victim, they will always find an enemy, & if there isn't one, they will fabricate one.

  • harsha on October 10, 2010, 2:40 GMT

    ponting has always been the "ugly poor behaved aussie" surprises that he gets booed.......he has already been booed by the english fans in the ashes and even in SA at times

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