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1st Test, day 3: That long awaited 5 wicket haul for Hilfenhaus

Article written by on December 28th, 2011

Another day of momentum switches but India will feel they’re in the drivers seat at the moment and rightly so after the way they brought about a batting collapse for the Baggy Greens, yet another one.
The lead is in place for the Baggy Greens due to the urgent rescue mission from the man who does it best, Michael Hussey. He’s been in a career threatening drought with his Test game and along side him to save things was Ricky Ponting.
It was a day though that belonged to Ben Hilfenhaus who took his maiden 5 wicket haul. Really proud of him as he gets his career back on track while Huss fights to give himself an extended run with the Baggy Greens.

Day 4 is going to be very tough indeed and the bowling effort that we saw from the Baggy Greens today will need to be repeated come tomorrow.

Full scorecard via ESPN Cricinfo

Bowling:
India 282 all out
Ben Hilfenhaus 5-75 (26 overs), Peter Siddle 3-63, James Pattinson 2-55

After surviving some close encounters and having some luck go their way at our expense, India found themselves taking day 2 and being in a slightly dominant position.
However day 3 didn’t start out as well as they’d hoped as India only managed to add 68 runs to their overnight total due to some really awesome seam bowling.

The proceedings began with one of my personal bowling favorites Ben Hilfenhaus bowling Rahul Dravid. It was a massive wicket after Dravid survived being bowled off a no-ball by Pedro Siddle.
Hilfy then continued to hit back hard at the Indian middle order as he removed young gun Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and then the nightwatchman Ishant Sharma, who hung about for quite a while.
The results came from fuller pitched bowling.
His first ball of the day was pitched on off-stump and there was just enough movement for Dravid to push it away to the onside. Second ball was a similar line but just pitched up slightly fuller and with a bit of movement after pitching it beat the outside of edge of Dravid and he gone for 68.
He followed this up with two deliveries pitched right up in the block hole to VVS which made the intentions clear.

Seeing him claim his first 5 wicket haul after 17 Tests (this being his 18th) was a very proud moment and I am so stoked for Hilfy. It’s been a very frustrating journey for him after being the top wicket taker in the 2009 Ashes series, to suffering a knee injury which has affected his performances since then notably being dropped after the 2010/11 Ashes series.
He has worked hard and his experience counted in his favor with a few of our other fast bowling options out injured. He delivered an outstanding spell of bowling so within the context of the game I think it was a special effort.

Peter Siddle grafted hard yesterday with James Pattinson showing serious fight despite his inexperience.
Pedro took over duties from James Pattinson for day 3 and he removed VVS Laxman in no time.
He was able to grab one more wicket being that of Ashwin’s while James then came on to bowl out the last batsman. Pedro was able to get just enough shape to work well in partnership with Hilfy to bring about a major Indian middle order collapse. A few shorter pitched deliveries were thrown in there for tactical variation. Was good to see it when a plan comes together.

An issue Hilfy and the rest of our bowlers faced (paticularly Siddle) was the lack of fuller pitched bowling. They veered off too short at times and that was frustrating but for the better part I still maintain my opinion they did a decent job but we didn’t take those critical moment and opportunities.
For day 3 it was a far better collective bowling effort from this trio of fast bowlers playing in their first Test match together. Knocking India over for under 300 was a mighty fine effort. Well done boys!

The eagerly awaited moment!
Ben Hilfenhaus shows the relief as he finally claims his maiden 5fer. Well done Hilfy.

© Getty Images

Batting:
8-179 from 60 overs
Lead of 230 runs

Michael Hussey 79*, Ricky Ponting 60
Another batting collapse, another display of loose shots and inside edges onto the stumps.
It happens to all teams but unfortunately we’ve have had our fair share of exposure to batting collapses.
David Warner, Michael Clarke and Shaun Marsh all chopped the ball on with attempted attacking strokes while Ed Cowan just had some misfortune leaving a ball that was just too straight and hit his pads. No shot offered and he was on his way which was a pity because that debut innings of his was outstanding.

Fortunately our senior players brought about a rescue mission to get us somewhat back on track.
Both Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey fed off each others intentions and their innings were quite similar.
Playing the ball with soft hands into the gaps, running very well between the wickets, showing their class once they got things under way and this was evident in their shot execution for their respective boundaries.
I had a look at their wagon wheels and it was very interesting to see so many similarities with the way they mapped things out.
Unfortunately the way we see the nervous nineties for most batsman, Punter is now suffering from the nervous sixties. He has made another half-century for the summer but has failed to carry on.
No need to be critical as it was a joy to see Punter’s innings alongside Huss (the good old days some might say) but it was just a possible lapse in concentration that resulted in Punter flashing at one.
He had played some lovely back foot drives but he was caught out lunging at a wider one from Zaheer Khan to be caught in the gully.

Huss continued to play with gritty determination as his career is totally dependent on it.
He had a life line when Dravid dropped him in the slips but he has played wonderfully so far for his 79 runs with 7 boundaries. I use the word “urgent” to describe this innings from Huss as after Ben Hilfenhaus’ effort with the ball and yet another collapse, we needed something special from Huss who has come off the two worst Test series of his career.
We urgently needed him to show his class and we urgently needed someone to step up after we slipped to 4-27.

Brad Haddin departed cheaply with Pedro Siddle and Nathan Lyon following soon after but fortunately James Pattinson can graft so hopefully he will give Huss the assistance needed to try and advance our lead which is easily 70 runs short of something substantially threatening.
Ben Hilfenhaus will probably have a licence to slog so let’s see how things go but that lead isn’t too minimal to give India enough of a threat.

The Verdict?
India will feel they clawed their way back into the game and momentum rests with them.
Their collapse will weigh heavily on their minds but they did have batsmen stand up, notably the veteran players. They’re in a good position now.
We need a lead of 300 to take to the field with a psychological advance to try roll them for the victory.
It was an outstanding bowling effort from our boys but the collapse was upsetting.
Very good Test match so far and good to see some dominance from the bowlers from both teams.

Fear not though if you are a Baggy Green fanatic as the Huss is still there and we know how good he is when batting with the tail. It brings out the best of his competitive spirit.

This article is from The Baggy Green Blog!
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