Sachin-day gives way to Dhoni-day
This day was supposed to be all about Sachin Tendulkar. No Test hundreds for more than two years. Speculation about his future rife. Unbeaten on 71 at stumps on the second afternoon. The anticipation was such that fans had lined up from the early hours of the morning to make sure they could be at the ground if and when his century arrived. As play started, long lines of people were still waiting outside the stadium, hoping to make it past the security checkpoints and inside the venue in time. A glance off the pads for four brought roars from the crowd; indeed every run that Tendulkar added was a reason for celebration. But on 81, the fans were silenced when Nathan Lyon turned one too far for Tendulkar and bowled him. Sachinday had given way to a regular Sunday. Until Dhoni arrived.
It was almost like a Powerplay. Around the time that Virat Kohli reached his century, India's tempo lifted considerably, thanks largely to MS Dhoni's aggressive approach. From the 85th over of the innings until the 90th, they added 44 for the loss of no wickets at a run-rate of nearly nine an over. The majority of the runs had come through Dhoni, who seemed to enjoy the fact that the new ball had not long been taken. Dhoni was especially dismissive of Moises Henriques when Michael Clarke brought him on. His first ball was dispatched by Dhoni over the long-off fence for six and another one was crunched to long-on for four. The over finished up costing 12 runs and Henriques was taken straight off by Clarke. It was just the first of many onslaughts from Dhoni.
Ravindra Jadeja might have three first-class triple-centuries to his name but he looked the least threatening member of India's middle order in this innings. On 16, Jadeja followed four of his batting colleagues in being bowled, but unlike the others, he hadn't even tried to play a shot. Jadeja shouldered arms to Pattinson, who was coming around the wicket and angling the ball in, and the off stump was gone. As far as judgment goes, Jadeja's left a lot to be desired.
As a batsman who doesn't bowl, Phillip Hughes needs to offer something in the field. Unfortunately that didn't happen on this occasion when Dhoni worked the ball to midwicket and took off for a run. But confusion reigned between Dhoni and Jadeja, and Hughes had the chance to effect a much-needed run-out. Except that he was unable to gather the ball cleanly. By the time Hughes had finally managed to get the ball in his hands, the batsmen were safely through for their single.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here