Bangalore: Day 1
A good pitch and a good crowd. The makings of a great test match despite some key players being missing (Bollinger, Sharma, Laxman and Ghambir).
Both sides will be reasonably happy with where they are at the end of the day.
Bad light stopped play before 5pm local time with the Aussies on 285/5. This could and probably should have been less but the baggy greens were gifted a heap of gimme singles that had Dhoni got his cricketing head on and placed his field more sensibly would have been avoided.
It pains me, it pains me greatly but Shane Watson is some serious nick and is starting to look like a confident, classy batsman. I (and a few others) have an irrational dislike of all things Watson but he is certainly looking like one of the danger men going into The Ashes.
Ponting hasn’t faired well in his career in India although of all the Indian pitches, Bangalore is the one he’s liked the most – going into this match he averaged over 50 on this pitch and added a further 77 to the tally today. He’ll be disappointed that a momentary lapse in concentration and a close call from Bowden saw him falling LBW to a ball just judged to be clipping leg stump.
Punter came out to boos from the crowd and left to more boos. Seems harsh to me – I know he’s a miserable, impersonable bugger but he was very gracious in defeat after Mohali and hasn’t (as far as I know) said anything twat-like since then. This is likely to be his last test match in India and for my money, the crowd should appreciate how much he has brought to the game.
Harbajhan was the pick of the bowlers although none of them looked particularly threatening. Sreesanth in particular looked woeful. Raina snared the key wicker of Ponting as it looked as though he may get his head down and beat his Indian demons – although his wicket was more down to Bowden and his own head than the ball itself.
Marcus North is a man under real pressure, he’s been labelled the walking wicket and there are calls left, right and centre for him to be dropped. The bookies placed his run line and under or over 25.5 – the lowest I can recall seeing for a “proper” batsmen and we were all falling overselves to go under that run line. Well, he rather shoved us all back in our box as he moved his way to 43* before they were brought off.
Umpires Bowden and Gould have become something of a joke (Bowden more than Gould) in this series with more ridiculousness from both of them today. Two appeals, two wickets – no sight of a finger in the air for either of them just a nod. That’s not the deal dudes, you stick your finger up even if it is crooked.
So almost honours even-ish at the end of Day 1. The bookies are still favouring a draw – I’m beginning to question this. Both batting line ups can be as brittle as Highland Toffee although each side has a slightly weakened bowling attack.
Bring on day 2…… and don’t forget you can hear commentary of every ball live on http://www.testmatchsofa.com