I spoke yesterday about how India should be careful not to let the Australian tail wag and that is exactly what they didn’t do. The last 5 wickets added another 206 runs in the end, and Australia had a respectable total of 428, well above the 1st innings average at Mohali, which is in the high 3oos.
Australia just seemed to be content on batting out time late yesterday and even this morning and it seemed like test cricket of old, where you played not to win, but not to lose. The intent to win just didn’t seem to exist. Australia did show some positive intent once Mitchel Johnson came on to bat – this is the way Australia should have batted and put more pressure on the bowling. India also made some tactical errors. Their persistence with the old ball was baffling. Sure, Ishant couldn’t bowl straight away– but Zaheer should have taken the new ball and partnered with Harbhajan Singh. India just didn’t try enough to nip the wickets out – it appeared that their strategy was just to slow down the runs, and the wickets would come automatically.
After Zaheer’s five-for, India came out blazing. It was as if the two countries were batting on two different surfaces. India raced off to 100/1 in the 17th over and the title to the post would have read “Advantage India”, if Sehwag hadn’t lost his wicket in the penultimate over of the day. With 3 more days remaining, there is still a possibility of a result and it could go either way – however the scales have slightly tilted to Australia’s favour – their safety first approach seemed to have worked this time.