1st Test, day 4: The Baggy Green bowlers secure victory

  1. Article by: Posted: 29th December 2011 In: Cricket News Replies: No comments

    The Baggy Greens have taken the 1st Test for the eagerly awaited Border-Gavaskar series.
    Tensions were high out there for all four days of the Test and this added to the dynamic for some highly competitive cricket.
    Congratulations to the Baggy Greens!

    The controversy was slightly owed to the ongoing debate regarding the DRS but it just means the Umpires must step it up and they had a questionable game. Hopefully they can dust off any uncertainties come the SCG. I’m not really up for any issues like the Bucknor ordeal and boycott threats.

    After James Pattinson dug deep to keep advancing the lead with the bat in hand, after Michael Hussey was dismissed for 89 vital runs, James and his experienced counterparts, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle, brought about a splendid batting collapse of this very daunting Indian batting line-up.
    Rightly so James was named Man-of-the-match and he can just hold his head up high.

    He’s an outstanding youngster and with the awesome comeback of Hilfy, the roar of Pedro and knowing the likes of Patty Cummins, Ben Cutting, Trent Copeland, Mitch Starc, Peter George, Josh Hazlewood and then experienced campaigners like Ryano Harris, Mitchell Johnson and Douggie Bollinger are also in the mix, the bowling depth is returning and I mean this with respect to all forms of the game.

    The batting brings about cause for concern as we can add a few batting collapses to the list our other contributor Sylvester put together a few weeks back.
    The batsmen obviously acknowledge this. The younger blokes like Warner, Marsh and Cowan will come right but it was a relief to see our senior players of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey’s class step up when they were urgently needed (see day 3 article for this).

    Full scorecard via ESPN Cricinfo

    Result: Australia won by 122 runs (1-0 in the 4 match Border-Gavaskar series)
    Man-of-the-match: James Pattinson (#424)

    Day 1, Day 2, Day 3.

    Bowling: India all out for 169 (47.5 overs)
    James Pattinson 4-53, Peter Siddle 3-42, Ben Hilfenhaus 2-39

    After the tail-ender assault from James Pattinson (37*) and Ben Hilfenhaus (14) which brought 43 runs for the partnership it helped advance the lead ever so closer to a lead of 300 as 292 was the target set.
    I felt 300 was essential just for a psychological edge but our bowling unit had alternative plans to ensure this was sufficient as it was the best chance we had courtesy of the tail-enders, as well as Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting.

    Kudos to our bowlers. Honestly, I never doubted the guys could grab us victory defending 292 but to roll India for under 300 in the first innings and 200 in the second, that is something to embrace.
    Well done to the boys and against many odds they stood up to the challenge. That die-hard attitude, that is it!

    James Pattinson was given the new ball and had a bit of misfortune as he tried to settle into a rhythm but Ben Hilfenhaus soon had Sehwag caught by Hussey in the gully (again) as he played a loose cut shot. Just 17 runs were on the board.
    Gambhir and Rahul Dravid began to fire things up but only fired Peter “Pedro” Siddle up as he had Gambhir caught by Ricky Ponting in the slips nudging at one.
    Every run was cheered by the Indian supporters as Sachin Tendulkar wasted little time bringing out his classic shots to take on our pace attack but he lost “the wall” of Dravid when James Pattinson decided to get into the action bowling a beauty that nipped back of the track and Dravid was bowled for the third time in the match off a similar length and similar delivery by all three bowlers (Pedro bowled him off a no-ball the 1st innings).

    VVS Laxman was caught just brushing one away to the onside which was taken comfortably by Eddie Cowan and the no-ball was cleared which was soon followed by Hilfy trapping Virat Kohli plumb LBW for a golden duck. Kohli is a very skilled youngster so his wicket was equally important as the rest. Was great to see the joy on Hilfy’s face as he got rid of Kohli.

    You felt the game was well and truly the Baggy Greens when Sachin lunged at a wider delivery off the bowling of Peter Siddle. Pedro has some history bowling at Sachin so it was fitting that he removed the greatest threat of them all. It was a sharp catch as well by Huss and India were 6 wickets down less than 100 on the board.
    Quite a few of the Indian lower order batsmen hung around for quite a while to keep knocking runs off the board.

    The fuller pitched bowling has been doing the trick from a bowling unit that can all get sufficient movement off the track. Craig McDermott wasn’t pointing out anything extraordinary with regards to working on ensuring our bowlers pitched it up more but his advice is paying off wonderfully.
    Pedro still used the shorter ball effectively to pick up his third wicket of the innings while James Pattinson picked up his fourth removing MS Dhoni.
    David “Pitbull” Warner took an epic catch on the boundary to give Nathan Lyon a wicket for the game (who wasn’t really needed too much in the end) and victory was secured by 122 runs!

    It’s been special to see the bowlers all working COLLECTIVELY and all of them managing to control their skill sets which has been creating pressure and to see it against the brilliance of India’s batting line-up is definitely positive.
    It could get tougher for the upcoming game at the SCG where India have decent statistics and the WACA and Adelaide Oval where the tracks can flatten out considerably but if they wanted the confidence this was the bowling display the take.

    The verdict?

    The negatives point to the batting unit.
    One commenter on the blog made mention that these batting collapses simply continue to add pressure on the bowling unit and just ruins all their hard work setting the games up for us.
    We could use many examples of this where the bowlers have given us those key moments that were never secured which would have been a walk in the park for previous sides.
    Winning those key moments only comes with experience from winning games and this team has had their fair taste of this but the batting remains a worry.

    The positives:
    Ed Cowan’s 68 runs on debut opening the batting. His selection was on current form and he was a joy to watch as David Warner also showed further promise in his first innings. If he can just find ways to slow down his tempo he will come right. He was dismissed playing attacking strokes in both innings.

    Ricky Ponting is possibly playing his final summer for the Baggy Greens as we have no clue of the selectors intention before the Windies tour in 2012 but he has hit back this series with 62 and 60. He has already posted more half-centuries than he did in the 2007/08 series but that century is still calling him.
    The nervous nineties for most batsmen has become the nervous sixties for Punter.
    He’s become a very nervous starter but when he gets set he remains the Maestro! Come on Punter.

    Michael Hussey has been a concern but he has this slightly annoying habit of delivering the goods just before he gets the axe. His innings 89 runs was a display of the classy Huss we all know.
    Gritty, determined and a bloke who loves to bat with the tail enders. Pity he didn’t make a century as it must be said he was unlucky in the 1st innings with his dismissal.

    – The bowling unit was just excellent to watch. They bowled it fuller after seeing that things didn’t go too well towards the final sessions of day 2. When Pedro bowled Sachin at the close of the play the lights went on and it was just brutal stuff from there.

    Ben Hilfenhaus made me proud with his comeback and collection of 7 for the match with his maiden 5fer. Pedro, who only needs 3 more wickets to get his 100th Test wicket, continues to just give his best and the additional leadership responsibility has helped.
    James Pattinson has just continued to show excellent application to his duties as he now has 20 wickets at 15.20.

    – The fielding improved after the standards were rather poor for the 2nd day of play during India’s first innings. Some important chances were dropped but come the 2nd innings it was just top class stuff, setting the bench mark.

    The SCG could prove to be a much tougher battle zone before the WACA and Adelaide Oval fixtures where our batsmen will need to be at their utmost best to take the battle to India and give our bowlers the best chance possible on what will quite likely be ideal batting conditions.
    Another excellent game for Test cricket and was great to see the bowling units from both sides show dominance.

    A few good images of the Baggy Greens celebrating each wicket as they came closer to a crucial 1st Test victory against a solid Indian side. © Getty Images

    This article is from the The Baggy Green Blog!
    Thanks for reading this article written by Ian.

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