Monday, 18 October 2021

Yadav, Jadeja, Shami ensure India’s dominance

SYDNEY: A Test-series win for India in Australia has never looked so close, nor been better deserved. Indeed, through large parts of this tour, they have dictated terms in much the way Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting’s men had done, amassing big totals and suffocating opposition batsmen out. Cheteshwar Pujara took care of the first part of that equation. The bowlers as a group were taking care of the second part when the storm that threatened Sydney finally arrived to put an early end to proceedings.

At stumps, the hosts were 6 for 236. Marcus Harris made an eye-catching 79 and, if none of his team-mates pass that, he will hold the record for the lowest highest score in a Test series for Australia in 100 years. Things were smooth in the morning, largely because their newest opening batsman was showing how he belonged at this level. The fast bowlers would tease his outside edge. He would leave them. Then they’d attack the stumps, he’d flick them through midwicket. The spinners didn’t get their lengths right early on and he was remarkably quick putting them away through point. On the back of three fours in an over off Kuldeep Yadav, he moved to 63 off only 80 deliveries.

Then India regrouped. They had an old ball in hand and it appears they very much relish it. In any case, the new one wasn’t offering any help. Nothing in terms of bounce. Less than nothing in terms of swing. By sticking to their discipline – which includes maintaining the shine on one side of the ball so as to can generate reverse swing – Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep and Ravindra Jadeja became a mighty threat between overs 30 and 80. They picked up five wickets, giving away a mere 126 runs.

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