Mohali Test evenly poised as India lose plot

By Jaideep Sarin, IANS
Sunday, October 3, 2010

MOHALI - The loss of six wickets within a span of 51 runs made India lose the plot in the post-tea session on the third day of the first Test match against Australia at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium here Sunday.

India were all out for 405 runs in the dying moments of the third day’s play, trailing Australia by 23 runs. Australia had scored 428 in their first innings.

Australia will begin their second innings Monday morning.

India dominated Australia in the first two sessions of the day, thanks to some good knocks by Sachin Tendulkar (98), Suresh Raina (86) and Rahul Dravid (77), but the lower order batting collapsed in the last session.

The collapse started soon after Tendulkar fell leg before to Marcus North while trying to hit across the line. The world record holder for highest runs and Test hundreds (48), missed out on another century by two runs.

This is the eighth time in a Test that Tendulkar has got out in the 90s.

Before Tendulkar fell and the batting collapse started, India seemed to be cruising to the Australian total and looked poised to overtake it comfortably.

But pacer Mitchell Johnson had other ideas. He bagged five wickets for only 64 runs in his 20 overs. Doug Bollinger and spinner Nathan Hauritz got two wickets apiece.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (14) fell when India’s score was 382. Within a span of 23 runs, five Indian wickets fell. After Dhoni’s wicket, Harbhajan Singh (0) and Zaheer Khan (6) looked as if they were playing a T20 match, throwing away their wickets cheaply.

Raina played aggressively for his 86 runs (128 balls, 14 fours) but fell leg before to Johnson.

The last man to fall was middle-order batsman V.V.S. Laxman who batted down the order of the Indian innings owing to a sore back.

Laxman, who came to bat with a runner, scored only two runs before edging out a catch to Michael Clarke in the slips off the bowling of Hauritz.

Earlier in the day, India scored 191 runs for the loss of three wickets at lunch. Resuming from their overnight score of 110 runs for the loss of two wickets, the hosts lost the wicket of night-watchman Ishant Sharma (18) in the first session of the day.

Opener Virender Sehwag (59) had Saturday given a good start to the Indian innings. India scored 100 runs on the second day in just 99 balls with Sehwag hitting 10 boundaries.

With two more days to go in the Test, the match is evenly poised for both sides.

will not be displayed