India vs Australia: Michael Clarke gave impression he had independent mind

Feb 28 2013, 10:55 IST
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SummaryEarly wickets off deliveries that came in encouraged visitors to ignore India's weakness.

that certainly wouldn’t make a Test opener proud — an expansive drive off a ball pitched on the popping crease. As for Sehwag, he was unlucky. His was a freak dismissal, a rare case of the ball sneaking on to the stumps despite hitting the middle of the bat. More than the trajectory of the ball, it was poor shot selection and bad luck that did the Indian openers in.

And so, both Cheteshwar Pujara and Tendulkar got a series of in-coming balls early on in their innings. Aussies had “decided to target the stumps”, and the instruction had gone down the ranks. Pattinson’s new-ball partner, left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc, wasn’t his usual self. He sparingly used his old stock ball, the one that goes towards to the slips with the angle. He concentrated on the attacking the stumps with the delivery that dips into the right-hander. Once in a while he bowled the away-going ball, but that stopped once he came around the wicket after the first couple of overs. From then on it was nearly impossible to pitch on off stump and get the ball to move away as the left-armer was bowling from the corner of the crease.

Peter Siddle was the one bowler who seemed to be banking on the old trick that the Indians are notoriously prone to falling for. In his first two overs, he kept the ball on off stump and moved it both ways. But he wasn’t persisted for a longer spell when the ball was new. Siddle did return after 30 overs to carry out the team’s plans of aiming at the stumps and hoping that reverse and the uneven bounce would help them. Pujara did fall to an in-coming ball that kept slightly low. This might have strengthened the Aussie’s belief of sticking to the straighter line. But according to Pujara, he had somehow lost sight of the ball and was thus beaten, rather than getting undone by low bounce. The pitch map and Hawkeye showed that the Australians had used the away-going ball merely as a variation, and that too, on most occasions, pitched short or wide.

A Study in contrast

Before the tour started, the Australians had revealed how they had been tuned in to England’s Test series win in India. In case they revisit those clips from 2012 and have a look at the James Anderson’s spells, they

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