India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 1st day February 22, 2013

Could have been more ruthless - Henriques

  shares 25

As he walked out to bat in his first Test innings, Moises Henriques felt like his legs were made of jelly. The first-afternoon pitch looked like something that had been played on for a full five days already. R Ashwin was spinning Australia into a trance. Wickets were falling much too quickly for their liking. Plenty of fans and pundits back home had questioned the selection of Henriques, not that he was thinking about that as he walked out. Still, by the end of his innings of 68, he had silenced a few critics.

In the post-war era, only three other Australians had scored as many as Henriques on debut from No.7 or lower. Two of those men, Greg Chappell and Adam Gilchrist, went on to become legendary figures in Australian cricket. The other, Greg Matthews, had a more than handy career over the course of a decade. Of course it is much too early to judge what sort of Test player Henriques will become, but he has made a fine start. If he can add a few wickets he will be hard to budge for the rest of this tour at least.

Throughout his innings he batted with the captain Michael Clarke, who must have been impressed by the patience displayed by Henriques during his 132-ball innings and their 151-run partnership. Clarke, who in the lead-up to the match said batsmen who made a start in this series could not afford to throw it away, will be pleased with the way Henriques admonished himself after falling lbw to a sweep.

"I certainly think I had the opportunity to make it my best innings [in all cricket] but it was a little bit disappointing, I really wanted to get through the day and make sure we finished five wickets down," Henriques said. "I could have been a little bit more ruthless at the end. But if someone said you're going to have 60-odd on debut I'd take it."

He didn't try to copy Clarke's nimble-footed approach against the spinners but he benefited from his captain's ability to throw Ashwin and his colleagues off their rhythm. Henriques said Ashwin had been a handful but he believed the pitch would also offer some assistance for Australia's fast men, given that Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar both found some reverse swing as the day wore on.

"He [Ashwin] is a little bit taller and puts some really good work on the ball, the ball is fizzing and can bounce or not bounce, or spin or not spin," Henriques said. "But the other [spinners] are still really disciplined. It wasn't their day today but guys like Harbhajan have taken 400 Test wickets and come day three or four when the wicket is really starting to play some tricks, they're certainly going to come to the game.

"[There was] not much seam movement or anything like that but both their quicks were getting it to reverse and I think with our quicks they'll probably penetrate the wicket a little bit more than what those guys did. Hopefully with guys like Jimmy [Pattinson] and Peter [Siddle] and Mitch [Starc] with a little bit more airspeed, there [will be] reverse swing. The key with reverse swing is to try to bowl to new batsmen with it and be smart with your fields."

Henriques batted on a surface that threw up clouds of dust whenever the players kicked away a stone, and it will only become much more difficult to bat on as the match progresses. Australia reached 316 for 7 at stumps and if Clarke and the tail-enders can push the total up towards 400 on the second day, India might have their work cut out for them.

"The footmarks and the loose ground out there is something like a three-day wicket," Henriques said. "Even back home in Australia you wouldn't see that on day three or four. To have that loose soil out there, come days four and five the ball's going to start playing some tricks."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY sarangsrk on | February 24, 2013, 20:42 GMT

    @Chris Barns..I have never agreed with definition of a "good" pitch as given by cricket experts who suggest that if its difficult to bat on a certain pitch with uneven bounce and with too much seam/turn, then its not a good pitch. In Test cricket, what you need to see is a pitch offering something for the bowlers for all 5 days and batsmen should work hard for their runs. I am much happier seeing this pitch in India than others in the past where you win the toss and put 600 on the board in 1st 2 days and then, if pitch doesn't break enough, match is a draw or if it does break, you win the game. That would make for slow, boring cricket and would make winning the toss very very important. What this pitch has shown in last 3 days is if you apply yourself as a batsman, you can score and as a bowler, there are no free wickets and you need to earn them.

  • POSTED BY on | February 23, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    Well done Moises Henriques on an exceptional debut. This innings may keep the Big Show out of the test side for a while..

  • POSTED BY dms1972 on | February 23, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    @class9ryan and @AhmedEsat, on this pitch Australia have a very clear advantage with over 300 runs already on the board. Australia's pace bowlers are far superior to India's and, if Ashwin can take 6 wickets on day one, imagine the carnage M.Clarke will cause from here on. This pitch appears tailor made for his bowling.

  • POSTED BY Simoc on | February 23, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    The pitch analysis and scores don't equate as normal. Ashwin 6 wickets on day one is great so lets hope it's swinging and seaming come day 4 or 5. But so far no-one can complain. Mostly it has been predictable outcomes apart from Henriques and Ashwin. It is to early to judge but I agree with sentiments expressed.Pitches around the world need to give fast bowlers encouragement early and spinners later or vice versa. The batting teams need to be around the 3 runs per over or more mark to keep crowds coming.

  • POSTED BY on | February 23, 2013, 2:56 GMT

    @sarangsrk, Perth and a lot of the other grounds are not impossible to play on day 1. Neither is this one, but it is still like a normal day 3 or 4 pitch, in most other places across the cricket world. It makes for slow, boring play. Consistently you hear of ex-players and commentators saying that the pitches in SA and AUS are the best for a healthy game of cricket, with something in them for batters and bowlers across the 5 days. This is something that does not happen in India. They have the money, fix the issue.

  • POSTED BY class9ryan on | February 23, 2013, 0:22 GMT

    You would have 2 say India will be on top if the Aussie pacemen do not perform the 2nd day ... Australia should bat for the maximum possible time or else it would be India's game ... The fact is they have lost 7 wickets on day 1 .... God knows what would be their stay on a fourth day pitch

  • POSTED BY AhmedEsat on | February 22, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    Lets see what happens when India bat- Indian quicks couldn't take a single wicket. I'd be worried if I were Clark.

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2013, 23:23 GMT

    The Indians will cry foul and say Aussies won it because they won the toss... When you create a pitch that looks like a 5th day pitch in Aus then it's your own fault!!

  • POSTED BY Lermy on | February 22, 2013, 23:07 GMT

    How can this pitch be described as a disgrace when Australia scored 316/7 so far, and joy of joys we should see a result? Test match pitches should be results pitches, not ones where two and a half innings are completed over 5 days.

  • POSTED BY ozziespirit on | February 22, 2013, 23:06 GMT

    This is a really flat pitch which will spin big time on day 5. The Indian spinners got spin today, but they really turn the ball. Lyon has got to try to vary his delivery speed more to make up for not turning the ball as much.

  • POSTED BY sarangsrk on | February 24, 2013, 20:42 GMT

    @Chris Barns..I have never agreed with definition of a "good" pitch as given by cricket experts who suggest that if its difficult to bat on a certain pitch with uneven bounce and with too much seam/turn, then its not a good pitch. In Test cricket, what you need to see is a pitch offering something for the bowlers for all 5 days and batsmen should work hard for their runs. I am much happier seeing this pitch in India than others in the past where you win the toss and put 600 on the board in 1st 2 days and then, if pitch doesn't break enough, match is a draw or if it does break, you win the game. That would make for slow, boring cricket and would make winning the toss very very important. What this pitch has shown in last 3 days is if you apply yourself as a batsman, you can score and as a bowler, there are no free wickets and you need to earn them.

  • POSTED BY on | February 23, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    Well done Moises Henriques on an exceptional debut. This innings may keep the Big Show out of the test side for a while..

  • POSTED BY dms1972 on | February 23, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    @class9ryan and @AhmedEsat, on this pitch Australia have a very clear advantage with over 300 runs already on the board. Australia's pace bowlers are far superior to India's and, if Ashwin can take 6 wickets on day one, imagine the carnage M.Clarke will cause from here on. This pitch appears tailor made for his bowling.

  • POSTED BY Simoc on | February 23, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    The pitch analysis and scores don't equate as normal. Ashwin 6 wickets on day one is great so lets hope it's swinging and seaming come day 4 or 5. But so far no-one can complain. Mostly it has been predictable outcomes apart from Henriques and Ashwin. It is to early to judge but I agree with sentiments expressed.Pitches around the world need to give fast bowlers encouragement early and spinners later or vice versa. The batting teams need to be around the 3 runs per over or more mark to keep crowds coming.

  • POSTED BY on | February 23, 2013, 2:56 GMT

    @sarangsrk, Perth and a lot of the other grounds are not impossible to play on day 1. Neither is this one, but it is still like a normal day 3 or 4 pitch, in most other places across the cricket world. It makes for slow, boring play. Consistently you hear of ex-players and commentators saying that the pitches in SA and AUS are the best for a healthy game of cricket, with something in them for batters and bowlers across the 5 days. This is something that does not happen in India. They have the money, fix the issue.

  • POSTED BY class9ryan on | February 23, 2013, 0:22 GMT

    You would have 2 say India will be on top if the Aussie pacemen do not perform the 2nd day ... Australia should bat for the maximum possible time or else it would be India's game ... The fact is they have lost 7 wickets on day 1 .... God knows what would be their stay on a fourth day pitch

  • POSTED BY AhmedEsat on | February 22, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    Lets see what happens when India bat- Indian quicks couldn't take a single wicket. I'd be worried if I were Clark.

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2013, 23:23 GMT

    The Indians will cry foul and say Aussies won it because they won the toss... When you create a pitch that looks like a 5th day pitch in Aus then it's your own fault!!

  • POSTED BY Lermy on | February 22, 2013, 23:07 GMT

    How can this pitch be described as a disgrace when Australia scored 316/7 so far, and joy of joys we should see a result? Test match pitches should be results pitches, not ones where two and a half innings are completed over 5 days.

  • POSTED BY ozziespirit on | February 22, 2013, 23:06 GMT

    This is a really flat pitch which will spin big time on day 5. The Indian spinners got spin today, but they really turn the ball. Lyon has got to try to vary his delivery speed more to make up for not turning the ball as much.

  • POSTED BY Slysta on | February 22, 2013, 22:56 GMT

    Well played Moises. Right to be cross to be dismissed before the close - one wicket so often brings another, and I believe India gained parity on the day as a result, because I think India will bat large in their first innings against our seam-heavy attack. And I don't have a problem with India preparing pitches to their strengths as other countries do... but the fact remains, this is a poor pitch. When will it help the seamers? Answer: never, ever. Even in Perth, spinners who bowl well, like Robin Peterson did recently, get into the game in the second innings. Obviously it's good for the quicks early, and batting is excellent days 2-3, so there is good balance. India's other problem is that pitches that suit their strengths are completely different to those found everywhere else in the world. Which is why they get thrashed everywhere they go, whereas other decent sides travel much better.

  • POSTED BY OzWally on | February 22, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    @sarangsrk - the reason why @Randyoz rightly called this pitch a disgrace is because the team batting first has a decided advantage as the pitch will only get worse day by day. You describe pitches that are difficult to bat on Day 1 correctly; however, they are generally easier to bat on days 2 & 3, then slowly deteriorate days 4 & 5. Meaning Innings 1 & 4 favor bowlers and innings 2 & 3 the bats. That makes it fair to both sides. And between both bat and bowl. Make sense?

  • POSTED BY Hoyle27693 on | February 22, 2013, 19:48 GMT

    This is guy is a mediocre twenty twenty player. The so called ruthless attitude of an inexperienced Aussie team will only make the home side look better than they really are.

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    I am feeling sorry about R. Ashwin that nobody supports him other side in bowling dept. It's good for Ashwin but pretty bad for bowlers that nobody can take a single wicket.

  • POSTED BY sarangsrk on | February 22, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    RandyOz, why would you call the pitch a disgrace and with a remark "as usual"? Just because its spinning from day 1 and difficult to bat on doesn't make any pitch a disgrace. Those criteria should make Perth, Headingley, Durban and some pitches in NZ as disgrace too because you simply can't bat on 1st day on those pitches.Like those pitches, this pitch also requires lot of patience and skills as Clarke and Henriques showed today. Thats why this is called test cricket. At least this pitch is result-oriented which is good for test cricket.Who ever plays better, wins the game.Simple as that.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | February 22, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    I, too, am thrilled for him. Too early, to say much more than well played, Mo!

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | February 22, 2013, 17:33 GMT

    As someone who has followed & watched his career for the past 7 seasons it was a pleasure to see him deliver on his potential. He has always looked good, but has , frustratingly, thrown his wicket away in his youthful eagerness. This season has seen him combine patience with aggression, shown by his outstanding fc form with both bat & ball. In Mo Henriques, we have someone who is worth the effort in encouraging, (as long as form is maintained) in the rebuilding of the team. Good effort, Mo, I also think you will surprise a few with your bowling.

  • POSTED BY myStraightTalk on | February 22, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    If he does not take 2-3 wicket then its selection is bad. We have to wait and see how Henriques bowling is.... finally its wicket that matter.. a wicket of 2 senior Indian batsman is equivalent to 300 runs.

  • POSTED BY PPD123 on | February 22, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    Well played Henriques. Prior to the start of this test I had my reservations about his ability to tackle spinner on turning track, but he has shown great technique and temperament to handle it on his debut. he still has a long way to go before he convinces people that he can do this regularly, but this innings must give him tremendous confidence that he belongs to this place. Well played.

    Clarke is just getting better by the day. On current form he is easily the best batsman in the world. probably hashim Amla & Alaister cook come close. If he keeps this going he will end up as on of the greats of all time. Well played aus... Now Ind have some catching up to do.

    Finally Ashwin was awesome, but did not find any support from the other end. Really concerned with harbhajan's bowling form. This is the 2nd test, where he has got a turning track (after Mum against Eng) and he remains wicketless. Ashwin outbowled him in every spell. Now Ojha not being there on this track really rankles me

  • POSTED BY TaqiSharp on | February 22, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Here is the Chance go and Grab it Until and unless someone Critisizes you.....may Be a Lot were going in the Mind of Australia Lovers On selection Of Henriques...but he Cemented the Chance With Both Hands and showed how Handy he Can be Even when team is downFall...well done Young man....

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | February 22, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    This pitch is a disgrace, as usual in India. Too bad not even they can play on it!

  • POSTED BY vallavarayar on | February 22, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    India prepared a rank turner and still Aus came up on top.

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    well played Michael Clarke you sucha a greatest batsman in world cricket

  • POSTED BY challagalla on | February 22, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    solid innings from a debutant. Well played. His partnership with Clarke may well turn out to be a match winning one. Moises Henriques loooked calm and composed while batting and did not show any sign of nerves. I am sure he must have had butterflies floating in his stomach .

  • POSTED BY Htc-Android on | February 22, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    I had doubts over his batting abilities, but he proved me wrong here. He looked clueless in the SL series. Anyways good job henriques. Good luck for the rest of the series.

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  • POSTED BY Htc-Android on | February 22, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    I had doubts over his batting abilities, but he proved me wrong here. He looked clueless in the SL series. Anyways good job henriques. Good luck for the rest of the series.

  • POSTED BY challagalla on | February 22, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    solid innings from a debutant. Well played. His partnership with Clarke may well turn out to be a match winning one. Moises Henriques loooked calm and composed while batting and did not show any sign of nerves. I am sure he must have had butterflies floating in his stomach .

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    well played Michael Clarke you sucha a greatest batsman in world cricket

  • POSTED BY vallavarayar on | February 22, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    India prepared a rank turner and still Aus came up on top.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | February 22, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    This pitch is a disgrace, as usual in India. Too bad not even they can play on it!

  • POSTED BY TaqiSharp on | February 22, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Here is the Chance go and Grab it Until and unless someone Critisizes you.....may Be a Lot were going in the Mind of Australia Lovers On selection Of Henriques...but he Cemented the Chance With Both Hands and showed how Handy he Can be Even when team is downFall...well done Young man....

  • POSTED BY PPD123 on | February 22, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    Well played Henriques. Prior to the start of this test I had my reservations about his ability to tackle spinner on turning track, but he has shown great technique and temperament to handle it on his debut. he still has a long way to go before he convinces people that he can do this regularly, but this innings must give him tremendous confidence that he belongs to this place. Well played.

    Clarke is just getting better by the day. On current form he is easily the best batsman in the world. probably hashim Amla & Alaister cook come close. If he keeps this going he will end up as on of the greats of all time. Well played aus... Now Ind have some catching up to do.

    Finally Ashwin was awesome, but did not find any support from the other end. Really concerned with harbhajan's bowling form. This is the 2nd test, where he has got a turning track (after Mum against Eng) and he remains wicketless. Ashwin outbowled him in every spell. Now Ojha not being there on this track really rankles me

  • POSTED BY myStraightTalk on | February 22, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    If he does not take 2-3 wicket then its selection is bad. We have to wait and see how Henriques bowling is.... finally its wicket that matter.. a wicket of 2 senior Indian batsman is equivalent to 300 runs.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | February 22, 2013, 17:33 GMT

    As someone who has followed & watched his career for the past 7 seasons it was a pleasure to see him deliver on his potential. He has always looked good, but has , frustratingly, thrown his wicket away in his youthful eagerness. This season has seen him combine patience with aggression, shown by his outstanding fc form with both bat & ball. In Mo Henriques, we have someone who is worth the effort in encouraging, (as long as form is maintained) in the rebuilding of the team. Good effort, Mo, I also think you will surprise a few with your bowling.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | February 22, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    I, too, am thrilled for him. Too early, to say much more than well played, Mo!