Michael Clarke’s men may have lost the first Test at Chennai comprehensively, but they clearly aren’t down and out, not as yet. In fact, the loss only seemed to have inspired them to do much better at Hyderabad...
Australia can’t say they weren’t warned. Long before this 2013 Border/Gavaskar test series commenced, pundits were pointing out that the visitors needed to be wary of the spin threat. “Trial by spin” was a common refrain.
India may have tasted victory rather easily in the end at Chennai, but things would not have been as simple had Australia got rid of M S Dhoni earlier in India’s first innings. It was during the period that Dhoni was at the crease that the match firmly shifted in India’s favour.
India took an hour and 20 minutes to wrap up an 8-wicket win in the Chepauk Test. Chasing a target of 50, India took 11.3 overs to reach there with the opening batsmen – Vijay and Sehwag becoming causalities. Vijay was caught driving Pattinson uppishly to mid off while Sehwag edged a straighter one from Lyon to slip.
After the first two days of the Chennai Test, the match between India and Australia was evenly poised thanks to a good fightback from the Indian batsmen, particularly Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli. It is in their bowling in the second innings where the Indians could suffer though.
Sachin Tendulkar scored an unbeaten 71 to steer India safely to 182 for 3 in reply to Australia’s 380. The little master got able support from Cheteshwar Pujara (44) and Kohli (50*) to take the initiative away from the Aussies.
If there was anyone in the Australian team capable of disrupting India’s plans of suffocation by spin it was Michael Clarke. He plays spin with a freedom and a sure-footedness that is a joy to behold. Brian Lara dominated spin bowling more than almost any other batsman in his time, but not even he was as free on his feet as the Australian captain.