India (71/1, Rohit 40*, Rahul 31*) trail Australia (572/7 dec, Smith 117, Warner 101, Shami 5/112) by 501 runs. The second day of the 4th Test match between India and Australia was all about Australia exerting their full control on the game, by picking up the prized wicket of Murali Vijay after putting up a huge total of 572 in the 1st innings.
Australians carry Day 1 momentum forward
It was with professional ease that the two overnight batsmen – Steve Smith and Shane Watson – went about their work of piling on the quick runs during the morning session. Both Watson and Smith looked in sublime touch, and made the Indian bowlers sweat throughout the first session. Bhuvneshwar Kumar looked like a fish out of water, as the Australian batsmen kept knocking his gentle medium pace around without any hint of discomfort. Umesh Yadav’s stray line and length improved only marginally at times, but was largely ineffective on the Aussie batsmen. The visitors found some respite before lunch when both Watson and Smith were dismissed in quick succession, after having put on a partnership of 196 runs for the third wicket. Smith’s classy knock of 117 made him the only Australian after Sir Donald Bradman to score centuries in 4 consecutive Tests in a single series.
Marsh and Joe Burns seize the opportunity
The post lunch session was the perfect opportunity for Shaun Marsh and Joe Burns to find some rhythm in their batting. And both the middle order batsmen responded well, with aggressive half centuries that broke the back of the Indian bowling today. The records, too, kept tumbling one after the other as this was the first time since 1968 that the top 6 batsmen in an Australian Test team had all surpassed the score of 50! Amidst the ruins, Mohammed Shami emerged as the stand out performer for India as he bagged his first overseas 5 wicket haul. The declaration same shortly after tea, with the score on 572/7.
India survive final session scare
A horrendous start awaited the Indians as they the openers walked into the field in the final session of play – Mitchell Starc found a rare delivery to dismiss in form Murali Vijay for a duck! Things looked even scarier when Rohit Sharma was promoted to No 3 and sent in to assist newcomer K.L. Rahul in stabilizing the Indian ship. The duo, inspite of being under the pump for underperformance, managed to hang on till the close of play with a partnership of 71, that kept India away from suffering an infamous collapse on the 2nd day itself.
The Sydney wicket still holds enough promise for the batsmen who are willing to spend their time out there. The Indians need to adopt this policy of patience tomorrow, for going after a total of 572 with your best batsman of the tour back in the pavilion, is not going to be an easy task! The Sydney Test is turning into yet another one sided affair, in the absence of preventive measures from the Indian team.