Knights v Dolphins at Bloemfontein, SuperSport Series

Well, that was that, that was the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

I was out last night and was unable to watch any of the fourth day, but I was able to follow it on my phone and it looked as though Australia really had India’s number.

The day started with Australia already in the ascendancy, but a 43 run ninth wicket stand put them in the driver’s seat for sure, leaving India needing 292 runs to win.

If their batting clicks, of course, that is more than a doable total for Sehwag, Sachin, and Co.  Heck, it wasn’t even lunch yet on the fourth day and there was no rain in the forecast.  I even had visions of Tendulkar winning the match AND getting his 100th century with the same swing of the bat.

But then Sehwag fell after only seeing 12 balls, and as soon as that happened, you just had this feeling that this was just not going to be India’s test.

One after the other, the visiting batsmen fell to a vicious attack from the Aussie quicks, finally taking Yadav in the 48th over of Indians second innings to win the match by a healthy total of 122 runs.

For me, I can pinpoint two sessions that seemed to turn the tide for India and both involved weak Indian bowling after lunch: on the first day when Australia were cranking along at 4.55 runs an over, and on the third when Dhoni seemed absolutely unwilling to set an attacking field.  In both cases, absolutely no pressure was put on the Aussie batsmen and they just plugged along, piling on runs.  And that’s your 122 run different right there.

In fact, if not for the brilliant Zaheer, Australia could very well still be batting.  And that’s why, for me, he is Man of the Match (Pattinson was the official MotM, deservedly so.)  Zaheer though kept India in the match and, less objectively, played with a flair and an aggressiveness that made me really love him.  He also took 10 wickets while restricting Australia to 130.

Other heroes? Willow.tv was a hero for sure, brilliant streaming.  Except after tea, for some reason.  The stream always got dodgy after tea…

Also: Eddie Cowan, of course, and his slow but fun to watch 68 in the first innings.  Ponting Leared his way to 62, as well, taking Australia to a respectable, despite the haters, first innings total.

Yadav was expensive, but impressive, and of course all of the Aussie quicks impressed: Pattinson, Hilfenhaus, and Siddle took 19 of the 20 wickets.

Moment of the match?  Again, in a losing cause, it was the first couple of hours of India’s first innings.  Tendulkar, and Sehwag, and Dravid raged for around three hours, giving the hosts a real scare.  I had fantasies of 600 runs by lunch on day three.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, but it was a treat to watch.

The best part of all of this?  Three are THREE more tests to come.  Next up, Monday night in Sydney.

**********************************************************

Meanwhile, in Durban, another Boxing Day Test match is happening. Sri Lanka are taking their time, and South Africa are hanging on, but this looks like the visitors match to lose.  I think I will sign off here, and follow the match on Cricinfo, old school style.

Until next time.

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