Over 70,000 people turned up at the Melbourne cricket club to watch the first day of the first test match between India and Australia and someone told me that people are not interested in test cricket anymore!
Prior to the test match, there were omens that the Rain Gods would interfere in the proceedings. There were a few interruptions early in the morning but the sun began to shine brightly as the day progressed. Michael Clarke won the toss and decided to bat first. The Aussie openers started off cautiously as they took their team to 48/0. Quickly, it became 2 at the same score. Young Umesh Yadav took the Aussies by surprise by running in hard, bending his back and bowling regularly over 140 km/hr. After removing Warner(37), he removed Shaun Marsh for a duck. His dismissal brought Ricky Ponting to the crease who received applause from a certain section of the crowd while the rest of them were filled with questions and doubts regarding the legend’s place in the team.
A word on Ricky Ponting: I am a huge fan of Ricky Ponting so my opinion might be biased but I firmly believe that he should not be dropped form the team when the Australian side is still in a transition phase. For the last year, he has failed to convert his starts into big ones but that does not mean he should stop playing cricket. It’s a matter of one good innings.
Along with Cowan, the former Australian captain added 113 runs for the fourth wicket. The second ball which Ponting faced, he was struck on his jaw by a rising Umesh Yadav delivery. If that doesn’t wake him up, I don’t know what will! He seemed to be getting into his groove as he notched up his third half century in the last five innings when Yadav, who was brought back for one last dash and dance before tea, b0wled a peach of a ball to remove him.It pitched outside off, bounced sharply which forced Ponting to nick it.
There was a lot of speculation about Zaheer Khan’s fitness before the match and he was finding it difficult to find his rhythm initially. It was the first over of his second spell that turned things around for him. Michael Clarke became his first victim when he dragged a ball onto the stumps. Off the next ball, Hussey was given out caught behind although the ball was nowhere near his bat or the gloves. Two deliveries in two balls and all of a sudden there was spring in Zaheer Khan’s stride.
Watching all this from the non striker’s end was Cowan. He was intelligently accumulating his runs holding one held steadily. Unfortunately for him, he became Ashwin’s first victim after he nicked one to which Dhoni held onto.
It seemed to be all falling apart for the Aussies before Peter Siddle and Brad Haddin steadied the ship. It’s one thing that I have always noticed in an India-Australia series. If the top order fails, the tail somehow always manages to wag. It was all even-stevens at the end of day one. An exciting day of cricket lies ahead of us.