Zaheer picks up 3 after India collapse at SCG
Zaheer Khan picked up 3/26 as Australia reached 116/3 at Stumps on Day 1 after India were bowled out for 191 in their first innings in the second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
MS Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat first in the morning despite the greenish tinge on the pitch, expecting his batsmen to do well at the venue where India has a very good batting record. India’s innings stuttered however as James Pattinson removed Gautam Gambhir in the first over itself.
Steady, unrelenting bowling from the young Australian attack set India to 59/4 with Sehwag, Dravid and Laxman all back in the pavilion. Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Virat Kohli joined Sachin Tendulkar in the middle and the two set about repairing the innings with a 37 run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Kohli made 23 of those runs but fell to a set up from Peter Siddle, edging to the keeper a fuller, out swinging follow up to two bouncers as India moved on to 96/5. MS Dhoni made 57*, adding 28 runs with Tendulkar (41) for the sixth wicket and 52 runs with R Ashwin (20) for the seventh wicket. India were bowled out soon after Tea for 191 as Pattinson finished with 4/43, Siddle with 3/55 and Hilfenhaus with 3/51.
David Warner began with a four and getting an all run four in the very first over of the innings from Zaheer but the bowler had the last laugh, Warner edging the last ball to first slip Laxman who deflected the ball for second slip Tendulkar to complete the catch. In the first ball of his second over, Zaheer slid one across Shaun Marsh, just enough for the batsman to poke at and edge to slip where Laxman this time took a clean catch.
Marsh was gone for a golden duck and Zaheer was on a hattrick. Ricky Ponting survived it but Zaheer returned to pick up Ed Cowan for 16, trapping him LBW with a delivery that moved in after pitching outside off to strike him in line with the off stump, reducing Australia to 37/3.
The support bowlers weren’t as disciplined though, Ponting and Michael Clarke’s early survival was made easier by the short and wide deliveries eagerly fed by Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. Yadav eventually reigned in his line but his shorter length meant the batsmen never really were put under pressure and could take easy runs off him. Ishant was more liberal, spraying the ball either side of the batsmen, negating the field placements and haemorrhaging runs. Ashwin bowled only two overs towards the end of day’s play while Sehwag chipped in with one over.
The duo began to hit their straps, and scored at a good rate towards the end of the day as Clarke produced some delightful strokes. The duo wrested the advantage back for Australia, taking them to 116/3 at Stumps, 75 behind India’s total. Zaheer finished with 3/26 but unless his bowling partners begin to bowl sensibly tomorrow, his job is not even half done.