Aussies eye series victory after another day of dominance
- Australia vs India – Third Test – Perth
By Dinouk Colombage
Australia produced a second day of dominance in the third test match that left them poised to wrap up a series victory on day three in their third test match against India in Perth.
After the batsmen had given them a handy first innings lead, their bowlers edged them closer to the Border-Gavaskar with a fine display late on day two to leave the visitors reeling at 88-4, still trailing by a further 120 runs.
Coming in to day 2, all eyes were on David Warner and Ed Cowan as the two looked to take Australia past India’s insipid total and on to realms beyond their reach. In stark contrast to day one, the pair began cautiously looking to see out the first half hour without any problems. Zaheer Khan began where he left moving the ball both ways and producing the odd unplayable delivery. Ishant Sharma was better, but still lacked any venom in his stride.
With the first half hour gone, Warner signalled the end of his patience striking Sharma back over his head for the first six of the day. Almost like a dam breaking, India’s discipline with the ball slipped and the pair began to once again score freely.
Prior to this match the openers were under pressure as they continued to search for the right combination; this innings was certainly did that. The runs continued to tick over as Cowan proved to be solid while Warner dominated the bowling. In no time the partnership had passed 200 and the Indian players would have been imagining yet another long day in the field.
This was not to be the case however, with only 40 minutes to go till lunch Umesh Yadav was brought back in to the attack. He had been aggressive with little success the day before, today his aggression paid off. With Cowan nearing his maiden test hundred, Yadav was able to bring a ball back in that ricocheted off his pads and on to the stumps.
With the wicket a sense of rejuvenation entered the Indian team; Shaun Marsh entered and was immediately under-pressure. Marsh, who had a dream start to his career in Sri Lanka, has been struggling with the bat of late. With Warner and Cowan both making scores of note and Shane Watson’s return imminent, Marsh knew this had to be his day. It was not to be, he scratched his way to 11 before Yadav induced the edge which a diving VVS Laxman accepted gleefully.
Ponting, centurion from the previous game, did not last long either as he too was undone by an inswinger from Yadav. At 241-3 Australia was by no means in trouble, but would certainly have been feeling uncomfortable. On the other end Warner continued on his way picking up a 150, he was joined by Michael Clarke.
As Warner neared his double hundred, his aggression cost him dearly. Looking to launch Sharma in to the stands he only achieved in sending the ball straight down long-on’s throat. This wicket caused a collapse that has plagued Australia in the recent past. Wickets continued to tumble as India began to edge themselves back in to the game. Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc, however, ensured that the hosts took the lead past 200 giving themselves some leeway with the ball.
From 214 for no wicket, the hosts had capitulated to 369 all out losing ten wickets for 155 runs and India may have felt that they had done well to restrict their first innings deficit. Yadav continued his good form with 5 for 93.
India’s openers, both of whom continue to remain under pressure, started in a circumspect manner. They passed the ten over mark for not very many, but ensured that new ball pair had not got the vital breakthrough. Their relief was short lived as Starc came in to the attack and immediately dismissed Gautam Gambhir who was caught by Hussey for 14.
His wicket was soon followed by the out of sort Virender Sehwag who edged a pumped up Siddle to the keeper. At 25/2 India was wobbling again, Sachin Tendulkar soon followed, and with him so did the hopes of India. VVS Laxman did not last long – registering a nine-ball duck as his wretched form continued – and Australia was now in total control of the game.
Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli ensured that the visitors ended the day at only 4 down, as the put on a 37 run partnership. However, needing a further 120 runs just to make Australia bat again India now faces an uphill task in making a contest of the match. For Australia they will hope that they can secure the series before the end of today, and leave themselves an reward themselves with an extra two days off before the fourth test in Adelaide.