Fourth Test

Australia v India 2007-08

Greg Baum

At Adelaide, January 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 2008. Drawn. Toss: India.

Kumble's hopes of squaring the series - high when his side amassed 526 in the first innings - were stymied by some excellent Australian batting. Indeed, it was India who were under pressure to save the match on the final day, just as England had been the previous season at the Adelaide Oval. However, India did not fall into the ultra-defensive mindset of Andrew Flintoff 's side, and in the end Sehwag's attacking century denied Adam Gilchrist victory in what was his 96th and last Test. After beating Mark Boucher's Test record for wicketkeeping dismissals - 413 - Gilchrist stunned his team-mates and the rest of the country by announcing on the third evening that he would retire at the end of the Australian season. He acted as on-field captain on the next two days when Ponting was incapacitated by a sore back.

India won a good toss, but slipped to 156 for four on an excellent pitch that never offered any bowler much encouragement. Tendulkar, helped by Laxman's disciplined half-century, guided them towards respectability with another masterly hundred, his 39th in Tests and his 80th in all internationals. When he was finally out, top-edging a pull off the second new ball, Kumble took over, batting outstandingly for more than four hours for 87, his maiden fifty against Australia. Harbhajan Singh, with his second 63 of the series, played the lead role in an eighth-wicket stand of 107, an Indian record at Adelaide, as Hogg's chinamen proved ineffectual. Australia needed 56 overs to dispose of the last three wickets, which put on 167.

R. P. Singh went off with a hamstring injury after bowling only four overs, but in any case the ball did not swing for him or Pathan as it had at Perth. There was some reverse-swing but, as temperatures climbed to 33°C on Australia Day, the home batting proved hard to shift on a flat pitch. India did not break through until the 53rd over, when Jaques's vigil was ended by a crude heave. Hayden reached his third hundred of the series from 181 balls, two fewer than Ponting, whose century was his 34th, but first in a Test since December 2006. Ponting ended up batting with a runner, and stayed six and a half hours for his dogged 140: his fourth-wicket stand of 210 with Clarke guaranteed a draw, at least. Clarke was the slowest to his hundred, his sixth in Tests, reaching it from 209 balls with only six fours. Untroubled by the spin of Kumble or Harbhajan, Australia were content to edge their way slowly past India's first-innings total. Hayden later explained that a soft ball and the Indians' line wide of off stump were factors in Australia's sedate (for them) scoring-rate of 3.11 an over.

Makeshift opener Pathan fell in the second over of India's second innings, and they would have been more worried by the end of the fourth day had Clarke at second slip not dropped a sitter off Lee when Sehwag had made only two. It proved a critical miss. Dravid was forced to retire hurt next morning when Lee, once again Australia's outstanding bowler, broke the middle finger of his bottom hand with a lifter, but Tendulkar's wicket was the only one to fall before lunch, and that to a run-out, trying a non-existent single to Johnson at short midwicket. Sehwag, who had just completed his hundred, out of 128, dropped anchor in a stay lasting six minutes short of six hours: it was his 13th Test century, the last nine of them all in excess of 150. By tea India were 173 ahead with only four wickets down, and there was no chance of a result. The performance of Hogg, who was treated with complete disdain and given only five overs before tea that cost 42, underlined just how badly Australia were missing the retired Shane Warne.

Man of the Match: S. R. Tendulkar.
Man of the Series: B. Lee.

© John Wisden & Co.