Australia pace trio strike again
Another brilliant bowling display from Australia’s pace attack saw them take control on the opening day of the second Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
James Pattinson continued his impressive Test form with figures of 4-43 as India failed to deal with the swinging ball and were dismissed for just 191 inside 60 overs.
Ben Hilfenhaus returned 3-51 and Peter Siddle claimed 3-55, with only captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who struck an unbeaten 57, and Sachin Tendulkar, with 41, providing any real resistance as the tourists’ star-studded batting line-up failed yet again.
Zaheer Khan threatened to thrust India back into the match with a trio of quick wickets, but the experienced pair of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke added an unbeaten 78 to guide Australia to 116 for three at the close, 75 runs behind.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, India suffered a blow with the third ball of the match as Pattinson, with a beautiful delivery that seamed away, induced an edge from Gautam Gambhir and Clarke took a simple catch at first slip.
Rahul Dravid followed 10 overs later when he inside-edged a full Siddle delivery on to his pads and Ed Cowan took the catch at short-leg.
Virender Sehwag struck four boundaries in his 51-ball 30, but, after being dropped at second slip by Ponting, he provided Pattinson with his second wicket, poking a full delivery behind to Brad Haddin.
Tendulkar, still searching for his 100th international century, looked comfortable at the crease but continued to lose partners as VVS Laxman departed for just two, guiding Pattinson to Shaun Marsh at third slip.
Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, who made 23 from 41 balls, added 37 in 12 overs for the fifth wicket, until the latter failed to account for extra bounce and provided Haddin with his second catch of the match off Siddle.
The Little Master struck eight fours in his 89-ball innings but was next to go with the score on 124, bowled by Pattinson via an inside edge, before Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin steadied the ship with a seventh-wicket partnership of 54 in 14 overs.
Hilfenhaus swung the momentum back Australia’s way with three wickets in two overs. The right-arm seamer, who snared seven scalps on his return to the side in the first Test, accounted for Ashwin and Zaheer in successive balls.
He brought an outside edge from Ashwin, Clarke taking the catch in the cordon, before Zaheer failed to evade a sharp bouncer and could only glove the ball to Cowan at short-leg.
The innings was wrapped up when Hilfenhaus replicated the Zaheer delivery to Ishant Sharma, who could only fend the ball off to Cowan, and Umesh Yadav found Haddin to give Siddle his 100th Test wicket.
In reply, Australia suffered a terrible start and were soon eight for two in the third over.
David Warner hit Zaheer to the square-leg boundary, but the India seamer hit back four balls later, drawing the edge from the left-handed opener and seeing Tendulkar hold on to a rebound at first slip after Laxman had juggled the initial chance.
Laxman did hold on to a catch soon after when Marsh poked at Zaheer, who also trapped Cowan lbw as the hosts slumped to 37 for three.
But Ponting, who made an unbeaten 44, and Clarke, with 47 not out, weathered the early storm with a 17-over stay to ensure Australia had a strong platform to build on.