Its a perfect position for India as they have the Aussies under pressure at 277 for 6 by the close of the first day's play in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. The second new ball is only 9 overs old and it has darted around pretty well for the Indians so far. Its a great opportunity for India to first break the ongoing fighting partnership between Brad Haddin and Peter Siddle and then finish off the tail with the second new ball. The visitors should try and restrict Australia under 350 and then will have to bat really well to press home the advantage.
Not many would have expected the Indian bowling to come good straightaway in the series. The onus has always been on the batsmen for India. This time though there was a potent pace attack comprising of two bowlers who could bowl at speeds of 145 kmph and the other bowler who is well-versed in moving the ball in both directions at brisk speed. The only mistake India did was too bowl too many short balls on a first day pitch that was damp and on the slower side because of the moisture. Once it gets quickened up, the short ball will have to be used more often to keep the batsman struck in the crease. On the first day though, the Indian bowlers could have put in more length deliveries.
The most impressive of the pace trio was Umesh Yadav who made the Aussie batsmen hop around with his extra speeds and lift off the track. Zaheer and Ishant proved that they were almost match fit and steadily getting their rhythms back. Ashwin, the lone spinner got encouraging turn and bounce but was often inconsistent with his lengths in particular. India could do well in cutting down on bowling the one loose ball an over which the Aussies really scored off. There were phases in the game today that had free runs flowing through and at times, the batsmen being made to wonder where their next runs would come from.
Looking at the Aussies' nature, it could well be to bowl tight at one end and attack at the other end. For this, the lone spinner R Ashwin will have to lift his standards up and concentrate more in strangling one end up with tight lines and lengths. All in all, it was a satisfying day for the Indian bowlers and they can only improve from here looking at their mistakes and also try and bowl more in the corridor of uncertainity with some nice speed behind the ball.
- BV Swagath