India dominate Day 1 at Hyderabad
Michael Clarke made 91 to rescue Australia from a collapse before springing a surprise declaration to end their innings on 237/9d on Day 1 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday.
MS Dhoni retained the side that had played in Chennai while Clarke made two changes, slow left armer Xavier Doherty replacing Nathan Lyon and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell making his debut replacing pacer Mitchell Starc.
Wicketless on debut in Chennai and having not even bowled an over in India’s second innings, Bhuvneshwar Kumar removed David Warner and Ed Cowan early after Australia chose to bat first, using the abrasive pitch to cut deliveries back into left handers. Kept on for an extended spell, he got Shane Watson LBW to leave Australia tottering at 57/3. Phil Hughes seemed to lose all confidence gained when Ashwin was introduced into the attack, playing out four consecutive maiden overs from the offie to go from a fluent 17 off 22b to a stodgy 19 off 57b before he was caught behind, Dhoni successfully hanging on to an attempted cut.
Matthew Wade, an uncertainty to play after having been hit on the cheek during practice on Friday, walked in to join Clarke with the score on 63/4. They managed to keep the session from getting any more disastrous, taking Australia to lunch at 83/4.
Clarke did what he has done so well since taking over the Australian captaincy, rebuilding the innings with panache against the spinners. He went down the track to loft Ashwin for a six over early in his stay and seemed at ease since then. Wade was highly selective in his shots at the other end, taking his time to open up with a couple of fours off Harbhajan Singh. With his captain he added 104 runs off the bowling in the second session, taking Australia to Tea at 187/4 with Clarke on 68 and Wade on 55.
India’s bowlers returned with a much tighter act after the Tea break, the script going awry for the Australians with Wade’s poor pull shot off Harbhajan. He was gone for 62, bringing the 145 run partnership for the fifth wicket to an end in the 9th over of the session. Moises Henriques once again tried to apply himself but Ravindra Jadeja got him with a beautiful delivery early on. Jadeja returned to get Maxwell caught behind before Harbhajan sent Peter Siddle back.
Clarke, so close to yet another century on 91, watched the scorecard go from 208/4 to 236/8 at the other end. Then he was bowled trying to sweep Jadeja and decided it would be better to give his bowlers a go at the Indian batsmen, declaring with the score on 237/9. Thankfully for India, Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay played out the three overs without incident, closing the day with India on 5/0.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar had taken 3/53, a much welcome performance after his no-show on the Chennai flat track. Jadeja’s 3/33 helped India close the innings quicker while Harbhajan showed improvement in his 2/52. It would be hard not to call it India’s day after they had restricted a potentially destructive line up to a very manageable looking 237 and gotten in 5 runs on Day 1 itself.