Zaheer picks up 4 on Day 2 at Melbourne
A top performance from India’s batting stalwarts saw them end Day 2 on 214/3, 119 runs behind Australia’s first innings score in the Boxing Day Test after Royal Challengers Bangalore spearhead Zaheer Khan ran through the lower order on Tuesday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Brad Haddin and Peter Siddle had fought strongly on the previous day to take Australia to 277/6 at Stumps from 214/6 at one point in the third session. Zaheer wasted no time ending the resistance, getting Brad Haddin to drive a late outswinging delivery outside off in the second over of the morning, his first of the day. The edge was snapped up by Virender Sehwag at gully, Haddin was gone for 27, Australia were 286/7.
Australia’s run scoring nearly stalled after Haddin’s dismissal as Zaheer and Umesh Yadav toyed with the batsmen with deliveries that swung either way at the last possible moment. Six overs later when Zaheer dismissed Peter Siddle, getting him to nick an outswinger to Dhoni, the score was only 291. Ben Hilfenhaus, James Pattinson and Nathan Lyon managed to take Australia to 333, attacking R Ashwin who eventually took the last two wickets.
Zaheer ended with figures of 31-6-77-4, adequately proving his fitness with the amount of overs bowled and his form with wickets.
Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag negated the 15 minutes before lunch successfully but Gambhir edged a short ball from Hilfenhaus soon after play resumed. Sehwag looked set to repeat his 195 at the same venue from the tour of 2003, attacking at his own blistering pace. He made 67 before an inside edge off Pattinson cut his innings short.
Dravid was on 25 when Sachin Tendulkar joined him but the little master sped off the blocks, overtaking him when both were in their 40s, the Aussie bowlers suffering as a consequence. Dravid was the first to reach his 50 however, off 137 balls. When Sachin brought up his 50 in the next over, it had come off only 55 balls.
An unplayable delivery from Siddle rocketed through Dravid’s defences and took out his stumps when he was on 65 only for the umpires to discover that Siddle had stepped over the line. Reprieved, Dravid looked to shut down at one end, playing for stumps while Sachin Tendulkar continued with his fluent strokeplay at the other end. Yet another inside edge onto the stumps, this time off a legal delivery by Siddle ended Sachin’s knock on 73 in what turned out to be the last over of the day.
Dravid, former RCB skipper was unbeaten on 68 at Stumps with Ishant Sharma, yet to open his account, for company.