India v Australia, 3rd Test, Mohali, 4th day March 17, 2013

Siddle resurgence gives Australia hope


Peter Siddle has said Australia have not given up on the prospect of winning the Mohali Test, although they know something remarkable would have to happen with one day to play. Only a victory will keep Australia alive in the series. Having lost in Chennai and Hyderabad they need to force a 2-2 draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Losing the first day to rain did not help Australia's cause but even more of a setback was the 289-run opening partnership they allowed Shikhar Dhawan and M Vijay to compile. Australia's first innings of 408 looked reasonable but India ended up with a 91-run lead and by stumps on the fourth day the Australians were wobbling in their second innings at 75 for 3, still 16 runs behind.

"We know that a draw doesn't help us at all, but we'll do everything we can to see where we can get," Siddle said. "It will be hard for us to win, we know that, but we just have to see where we end up.

"We haven't spoken too much about it, but we knew we had to knock off the target first. They set us a few more than we would have liked to be chasing going back out there but we have done pretty well. We lost more wickets than we would have liked but that's what we have to do, we have to keep pushing along and see what position we can put ourselves in."

Key to Australia's hopes will be Phillip Hughes, who has endured an awful tour until this innings but found some form and reached 53 from 68 balls at stumps. Previously in the series Hughes has looked unwilling to play shots against the spinners but in this innings he was more adventurous. The fact he scored quickly was an advantage but the loss of three top-order wickets was the major issue.

"He has been working so hard in the nets preparing to score runs and it just hasn't come about so it is great for him to get a few runs under his belt and be not out overnight," Siddle said. "It gives him a chance to go in tomorrow and did in see where he goes, hopefully he can go big."

Like Hughes, Siddle had not enjoyed a productive tour until the fourth day in Mohali and the start of the day he had series figures of 2 for 197. But he struck early, trapping Cheteshwar Pujara lbw and later when the ball began to swing he and Mitchell Starc became more of a threat. Siddle finished with 5 for 71 and said it was pleasing to be able to contribute some wickets at last.

"Before the Test, I was disappointed with my performances and what I was lacking was building pressure and setting up good partnerships for the team," Siddle said. "I think I went a bit better in this match with that side of things. There was still a loose ball and too many boundaries that I am picky with myself on. But it is nice to come away with the rewards.

"The bowling today from both ends, the partnerships and how we planned to go about getting the wickets, we did that today and I was the lucky one who got the results. I think there was a bit more fight today, we knew we had to go out there and bowl to our plans and slow it down and put a bit of pressure back on them which I think we did. A few wickets tonight set us back but we will turn up tomorrow and see how we go."

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

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  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    The win might be out of the question but yesterday was a good return for a good performance. Siddle is one of those team players who definitely does not get the recognition he deserves. Anyone who saw the last day of the unforgettable Adelaide Test vs South Africa (where he bowled until he could not walk) can see that he always gives 110%. The English may talk up Broad, Anderson, Finn and all those guys but Siddle has better stats than any of them and barely rates a mention!

  • Matt on March 18, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    Have faith Clyde, even the best Australian teams rarely win in India, the same way that no Indian team has ever won a series in Australia. It is just the way of the world. We have not suddenly gone from great (thrashing India and pusing South Africa at home), to terrible (getting smashed by India away). We are still a pretty good but not exceptional team. We will win more than lose at home and will be competitive away, except when it spins. Then we will fall over and have a bit of a cry!

  • Simon on March 18, 2013, 0:59 GMT

    It's good that Siddle can clean up the tail of the Indian batting. He went missing in action again for the first 350 runs when the pressure was on. Who is going to get early wickets or put the Indian top order under pressure. Funny that Bryan calls Hughes batting, form. He's swinging from the bootlaces and got lucky for a change. Now if he score another 30 plus today I'de say he has some form.

  • Matt on March 18, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    @Clyde. Sad, but true! Let's relish our mediocrity, and be pleasantly surprised by the occasional Test win, maybe a series here and there - mostly against fellow mid-ranked teams - and watch the next generation of players with cautious optimism, rather than with the expectation of them being the next Warne, Ponting, McG, Gilly, Hayden etc etc. maybe by the time the 4 square feet of Adelaide Oval turf I got yesterday has spread to cover the front lawn of the house I do not yet own, Australia will once again dominate world cricket. In the mean while, I will continue to love Test cricket for its own sake, and rejoice in feats like Darwan's debut in this Test.

  • Alastair on March 17, 2013, 23:10 GMT

    Siddle bowled well but I think he should sit out of the final test. Unless Hughes scores a big ton that saves the test he should be dropped for the final test as well. Cowan, Warner and Smith already not backing up their first innings is a real worry. Assuming Clarke cannot play the next test, Australia could do worse than to replace their top order with a mix of the Tasmanian/Victorian teams. Also get this Ahmed bloke over to bowl spin with Steve O'Keefe.

  • David on March 17, 2013, 23:09 GMT

    Australia needs to bat for two sessions to force a draw. If India can bowl Australia out within two sessions then they should be able to push for the win. An Australian victory is highly unlikely.

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    If only the Aussies would have appealed for the mankad we might have a chance at winning this test.

  • Mohammed on March 17, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    @Tarit Bhattacharya - You should know one thing that all players perform best in their home conditions. According to you, playing the swinging ball well is greater than playing spinning balls on rank turners? Both should be given equal weightage. Subcontinent players do have difficulty playing on green tops and so do overseas players have difficulty in playing on rank turners. But always the subcontinent players are criticised for not performing well overseas. India is almost going to win a series with very few hiccups so give them credit rather than finding faults that they can not play the swinging ball well. Talk about SA when the tour happens. Also if you were sarcastic about "fantastic indian batting" let me remind you that not so long ago, India's batting was considered best in the world when we had Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman and Sachin in peak form. It will take some time till we find players of their calibre.

  • j on March 17, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    This is great news for England as it means Siddle will play the Ashes again. England absolutely love facing him, as we've often seen the last few years.

  • Alex on March 17, 2013, 17:20 GMT

    cant see us being able to get a big enough lead quickly and then taking 10 Indian wickets, i think if we do go ok with the bat Clarke will make a competitive declaration of say 150 from 60 overs or something, and that will prob lead to 3-0 rather than 2-1. I'm an aussie fan and i would take a draw in this test, best case scenario is that Hughes can ton up and Lyon can get 3 or 4 cheap wickets in 2nd innings for a draw.

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