I am traveling. So I am not in a position to file in detailed reports that I did in the previous two Test matches of this series. A few key points from day-1 of this 3rd Test.
India blew a perfect platform in the last session and collapsed to 297 for 6. If you look at the six wickets that fell, most of them went to lose/rash shots. Virender Sehwag was out to a lose slash outside off. The ball could have been left alone on bounce alone; although it could have been left alone on width too! Sachin Tendulkar continues to have his nightmares with umpires. Rahul Dravid got out to a really bad hoik-pull-heave-slap-dash-drive-cut shot (Sorry, I can’t describe that shot in any other manner!) that would, I am sure embarrass him in years to come. V. V. S. Laxman got out pull-hook-ing a short ball that grew on him.
So, while the Indian team says that a score of 350 to 400 would do on this pitch, I am not really sure. The pitch played well and will be easy for batting on days 2 and 3. It is quite likely that the Australians will bat on and on and ensure that they only bat once in this match!
Unlike Paddy, I don’t think that this match will be over by Tea on day-3! However, I think India are behind.
On the Session-By-Session count, I give the first session as even, the second to India and the third to Australia. Although the resulting SBS score reads 1.5-1.5, I do believe Australia is ahead in this game, thanks to the strokes that Rahul Dravid and V. V. S. Laxman played to get themselves out.
Brett Lee was superb throughout the day. He bowled with heart, purpose and direction. Given that the much touted Shaun Tait was ordinary throughout the day, Lee had to step up. He did. He bowled in short spells. He was quick. He was effective. This is, I believe, the summer that has made him the top bowler in Australia.
It was good to see Tendulkar and Dravid get amongst the runs. Tendulkar was playing with such control and majesty. He played all the shots and played with utmost control. It was a pity that his innings had its legs chopped off when he was looking set for a long stint.
The pitch was hyped up prior to the match. It was somewhat placid for a Perth wicket.
Finally, the Over rate. Australia just did not rate. Despite the match having been extended by a half hour, Australia bowled 6 overs less in the day! This is just not good enough for International cricket. Something must be done about it. I would be willing to bet that consistently, the Australians bowl the least number of overs in a day. Their tactics of putting the pressure on the batsmen — Michael Clarke to Rahul Dravid — in a bid to catch up on their earlier ineptitude was galling. Unfortunately, given that Mike Proctor thinks that the sun shines out of the collective hinds of the Australians, he will do nothing about it.