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First-person reports from the stands
Choice of game
It is my dream to watch all days of all Tests in a series. I had already watched three days of the Chennai Test last week and was not going to miss a home Test in Hyderabad, especially against a team other than New Zealand.
The hurt of the 0-8 overseas losses and then the defeat against England at home was hard to digest. I approached this match hoping India wouldn't repeat the mistake they made in Mumbai against England. Needless to say, I am rooting for India to go 2-0 up in Hyderabad.
Michael Clarke again proved to the fulcrum of the Aussie batting and was the only reason Australia lasted the day. But the start performer for me was Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Australia never recovered from those three wickets in the first session. The spinners too would have relished the rare chance of not having to bowl at the openers.
One thing I'd have changed
I would have loved to see local boy Pragyan Ojha have a go at the Aussies. Clearly, they were most troubled by Ravindra Jadeja's left-arm orthodox spin and Ojha would have proved more than handy.
Interplay I enjoyed
Clarke came in much earlier than he would have wanted to and immediately began enforcing himself on the spinners. R Ashwin was treated to a huge six down the ground. Clarke's footwork against the spinners was exemplary. He showed others around him how it's done.
Filling the gaps
VVS Laxman seemed to be giving batting tips to the camera in the company of Ramiz Raja and Kapil Dev during the tea break. He is much loved in Hyderabad, and the crowd was quick to show its appreciation to one of their own.
Bhuvneshwar's inswing to the left-handed Aussie top order was reminiscent of Ajit Agarkar's efforts against Justin Langer down under. It was heartening to see him pick up wickets after the no-show in Chennai. The wow moment, however, belonged to Jadeja who turned one past Henriques' outside edge to take the middle stump. The crowd went delirious at the sight of the sight of the disarranged stump.
As always, Sachin Tendulkar was the object of the crowd's affection more than anyone else. The crowd in the eastern stand swarmed around him like bees as he fielded there through the last two sessions. Almost any gesture from him was enough for them to bring the house down with loud cheers. He seemed to be interacting more than usual with the crowd today.
Virat Kohli, as in Chennai, kept engaging the crowd when they were quiet - especially in the second session when Clarke and Matthew Wade got stuck into the Indian bowling, encouraging them to get the noise levels up. His way was to taunt the crowd by gesticulating that he couldn't hear them, and it worked like a charm.
Shot of the day
Clarke's six off Ashwin takes the cake. He did not make a move till the ball was delivered, and when it was, he got to the pitch with lightning quick footwork, and had a lovely arc of the bat to send the ball over the sightscreen.
Quite simply, the only things we were allowed to carry were wallets and car/bike keys. Mobile phones, banners, and even binoculars were not allowed, which meant we had to walk back almost a kilometre to keep it safe in the car. I spotted an elderly lady using one later on though. Wonder how she got it past the "tight" security.
Surprise of the day
If I thought dropping Nathan Lyon and picking two spinners was a puzzling move, Clarke had more in store. His declaration was as surprising as it was innovative. Even some of the Indian fielders seemed taken aback. Many in the crowd thought something had gone wrong due to which play was called off! The crowd was not complaining, though, since it meant fans could watch Virender Sehwag bat, even for only an over.
The new canopy in Hyderabad's stadium proved to be a relief, albeit for those lucky enough to be in the southern stands. The catering and other facilities left much to be desired once again. The screen was a disgrace. It was barely 6ft long, which is way too small for a cricket ground, and hardly visible in the sunlight - this when they have as many as two proper-sized "giant" screens for IPL!
Marks out of 10
9. The cricket was very good. India dominated the first and third sessions, after Australia had fought back through Clarke and Wade in the second. It has also set up the game beautifully - James Pattinson should enjoy bowling here, and the Indian batting is not the best against express pace of his kind.
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