India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 4th day February 25, 2013

Doherty strikes during lunch

Plays of the Day from the fourth day of the first Test between India and Australia in Chennai

The return of the opener
Shane Watson has made no secret of his desire to return to the opening position at some point and he got his wish in the second innings. David Warner was suffering from a bout of gastro, so Watson accompanied Ed Cowan to the middle to face the new ball when Australia's innings began. Watson prefers facing pace than spin, which is one of the reasons he enjoys opening, but unfortunately for him the pitch was so devoid of assistance for the fast men that India opened with spin from both ends. Watson put away a couple of boundaries - a six and a four - but perished on the last ball before lunch when he pushed forward at a ball that dropped on him and his edge lobbed to slip.

The second spinner
Whether Australia choose to alter the balance of their attack for the second Test in Hyderabad remains to be seen. The second specialist spinner in the squad, Xavier Doherty, was out in the middle of the MA Chidambaram Stadium at lunch, bowling at a single stump in the ground on one of the pitches on the edge of the wicket square. At one point, Doherty hit the one stump with five consecutive deliveries. Of course, it's much easier when MS Dhoni isn't there to belt the ball out of the ground, but all the same it was an impressive party trick.

The nastiest ball
For a while it looked like Phillip Hughes had been on the end of the trickiest delivery of the day, a spitting Ravindra Jadeja ball that bounced sharply and caught his edge. But that was surpassed later by the R Ashwin delivery that got rid of Michael Clarke, a ripping offbreak that pitched in the rough well outside off and kept fiendishly low. Clarke was rocking back to attempt a cut, but the turn and lack of bounce was so severe that his bat got nowhere near the ball, and he was struck in line and ruled lbw.

The blow
Australia didn't inflict many blows on India on the fourth day but Matthew Wade briefly landed one. He launched a big sweep off the bowling of Jadeja and it struck the short leg fielder Cheteshwar Pujara flush on the helmet. But they make helmets strong these days and Pujara showed no signs of pain and quickly resumed his position for the next ball. With so many fielders hovering around the bat throughout the innings, it was bound to happen at some point.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Philip on February 26, 2013, 13:23 GMT

    I was there too, watching Doherty. And he did hit the single stump often. But he was pitching far too full for match conditions... half volley length, and at a pace rather slower than any of the Indian spinners bowl... he looked to be practising at under 50mph. I don't think (unfortunately) he is the answer. If he is the best 4th or 5th bowler available, we are in trouble.

  • Anupam on February 26, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    How well played by Prior & swann with the Bat. They provide imp. contribution at lower order. Anderson's reverse swing, Finn's pace, monty & swann's spin + Cook, KP batting other contributions like Comton, Root-- then ENG WON they works as a unit. Here Clarke axed all senior player and divided the team in senior(watson, MJ, Hauritz, haddin, Marsh) and clarke's fav (lyon, Mathew waste. maxwell, warner,cowan).

  • Praveen on February 26, 2013, 5:41 GMT

    I think Aussie need some confidence to play spin in India.. Its very much better to drop siddle & take Doherty for the next match.. Also., watson must be taken as All-rounder rather than playing in the final Xl just as a batsman.. Its beeter to take Maxwell in place of Watson.. I want a tough fight fron the Aussie in the next match.. Even ., the top-order should play with great confidence so as to make minimun runs..

  • Prakash on February 26, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    If any1 say ravindra jadeja is not a good player well I think u dnt even exist. The guy has massive runs in his name. Triple ton is not a piece of cake. I think the only useless player in the indian squad is bhajji, he cnt even ball properly. He must b thankful to the curator cuz pitch is turning nd that got him wicket. Rasool or ojha would be a good pick in place of bhajji. One can look for another option of murli vijay.

  • Anver on February 26, 2013, 4:44 GMT

    Aus should play two specialist spinners in these Ind conditions........ Eng did that & created history in India !!!!

  • Dummy4 on February 26, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    Aussies may allout 230 in first innings unless that out of clarke go india goto hyderabad with 10days rough pitch

  • Devavrat on February 26, 2013, 3:56 GMT

    Whats with the discussion on team balance ? Clearly, India have yet again not fielded the best 11. A test match is supposedly different form a one day and T20. A team does not need (in tests) 11 players who can bat and bowl. Every player needs to do his job, 6 batsmen+5 bowlers and if you want more 'security', play 7 batsmen+4 bowlers - only it say a lot of your 6 first choice batsmen, that they are not capable of performing the job they have to do. The test team does not need Jadeja+Harbhajan - with batting meriting their selction, the team needs Ojha and / or Rasool, to achieve that maybe Sehwag needs to make way for a more stable opening batsman. For the 1st test, MSD needs to use all resources tactfully, Bhuvi will need a short burst early in the morning, Ishaant might support (the most iffy player of present times) India need to go all out for a wicket, defensive feild will only give that much of a breather for the Australian fighting spirit to rear its head up !

  • vignesh on February 26, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    Oz made the mistake by taking Starc, they should have gone with doherty,since he his left arm spinner he can attack the indian right handers,they should also drop siddle and bring back johnson who has experience in indian conditions and also has very good success against indians,at the same time he is handy batsmen at lower order. 1.Cowan 2. warner 3.watson 4.clarke 5.khawaja 6.wade 7.henriques 8. johnson 9. pattison 10.doherty 11. lyon i expect these team can attack the indian line up.

  • Lester on February 26, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    for Lewis_2303 from "delusional" Aussie re your derogatory comments recently and possibly earlier concerning a totally inept cricketer called M C Henriques. I think I may speak for most "delusional" Aussies when I say that we don't mind if you make derogatory remarks about Aussie cricketers (or Aussie cricket) so long as they are factual and supportable remarks. Your comments concerning Moises Henriques' performance and ability as a cricketer were so absurdly wrong as to make me think yours were akin to a personal grudge. Before making such future comments, you should check his career and current seasonal performance, and in particular take note of his debut test performance currently against India at Chennai.

  • Chris on February 26, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    @Webba84 With you on that one. No way Maxwell is ever likely to be a real test prospect.

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