By Denzil Fernandes
Daijiworld Media Network
Jan 15: Day 2 of the Perth Test saw bowlers from both India and Australia taking control of the day’s proceedings throughout. As play began with Australia in control, the Indians were prepared and determined to stop the run flow. It was India’s young and promising bowler Umesh Yadav who bowled his heart out and his efforts bore fruit giving him 5 precious wickets for 90 runs.
Yadav got the prize wicket of Ponting when he clean bowled him. His performance went into the record books as the second best by an Indian bowler at WACA just behind spinner Bishen Singh Bedi who took 5 wickets for 89 runs in 1977-78 series. The Australians in their quest to increase the runs quickly lost wickets at regular intervals and were all out for 369 runs. Except for overnight batsman David Warner (180 runs) no other batsman managed to score. In fact, Warner should thank Virhat Kohli for dropping him when he was on 126 runs.
With a lead of 208 runs Australian bowlers found great help when the Indian batsmen fell easily like in the earlier innings. Wickets went tumbling regularly with the scores at 24 Gambhir getting out, Sehwag falling with the team score at 25, Tendulkar lbw with India on 42 and Laxman blobbed with 51 on board and the Australians were already celebrating. By the end of day two, Dravid with unbeaten 32 runs and Virhat Kohli with 21 runs not out were holding the fort before any further disaster.
There are still 3 more days to go for the Test and the verdict is very clear for any commoner. Already down by 2 Tests, unless unexpected rains come and assist India there is no escape from defeat. Young bowler Starc has already picked up 2 wickets of Gambhir and Tendulkar in his 6 overs while giving away only 14 runs. Tendulkar was distinctly unlucky to be given out lbw against a swinging Starc delivery which was moving away to the leg side.
Except for some lion hearted bowling show by young Yadav who started the Australian slide there was nothing worth writing about the pathetic Indian performance. Day two saw at least 14 wickets falling for 308 runs from both sides. Such was the dominance of the bowlers. The Indians simply failed to tackle the pace and swing of the Aussie firepower and were easy prey.
With Dravid and Kohli to start the 3rd day’s batting one hopes that the capable batsmen will see through the deficit of 120 runs which they have to clear to avoid a possible innings defeat at Perth. Except for skipper Dhoni who will come next, there is no other batsman capable of even getting into double digits. Everything rests on the shoulders of Dravid and Kohli along with Dhoni to take India out of an embarrassing innings defeat.
As said before, the scoreline will extend now from 2-0 to a possible 3-0 as the Perth Test comes comes to an end. There is no other result one can imagine unless the overnight Indian batsmen have an unbelievable turnaround in their batting display.
It is not impossible but right now nothing seems to be going India’s way. India’s story as poor travelers continues and whoever has been rooting for this touring side will be crestfallen at the show put up so far. It will be safe to assume that Rohit Sharma will surely make his debut in Adelaide and possibly Pragyan Ojha too will get a chance to show what he can do with the ball. With the news that Ojha will be playing for Mumbai Indians in the next Indian Premier League (IPL) he will be keen to prove to everyone his worth especially with the spinning ball.
One feels that there should be wholesale changes with Laxman and Sehwag making way for other youngsters to give them a feel of the heat in the middle. Now that the Border-Gavaskar trophy given to the winner of the Test series will remain in Australia it really does not matter who plays in the final Test at Adelaide. With nothing at stake, it may do a world of good for their experience if the untried boys are given an outing in Adelaide.
Despite such high hopes and hype before the Test series began, Team India has proved to be an abject failure with almost every member in the playing eleven failing to deliver.
The Aussies will now go for the ‘kill’ on day 3 of the Perth Test sensing victory. That will be a huge 3-0 lead in the series which will be unassailable. So many past Indian players have called for the non performers to be axed from the squad. Even if that happens it will take a long time for the Indians to become a force to reckon with in international cricket. India may look good in the shorter version of the game but if there are no immediate remedies taken to improve the standard of our teams playing abroad India’s status as a cricketing power will soon disappear.