Saturday, March 2, 2013

Clarke, Wade resurrect Australia

HYDERABAD, March 2, 2013 PTI

Australian captain Michael Clarke continued his rich vein of form as he rescued the visitors from a precarious position with a responsible half-century in the second Test against India on Saturday.

Along with wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade, Clarke put on a century-plus partnership, as Australia reached 187 for four at tea, after being reduced to 63 for four during the first session of play.

The Aussie captain was batting on 68 with the help of eight boundaries and a six while Wade reached 55 with the help of seven hits to the fence.

The duo had their anxious moments but overall they handled the spin troika of R. Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja with ease.

While Clarke again used his feet to perfection, Wade decided to play with the spin on most occasions as they logged 104 runs in the second session.

Earlier, with suitable help from a strip that is offering variable bounce, seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar rocked the Australian top-order with a triple strike in his first spell removing openers David Warner and Ed Cowan along with the dangerous Shane Watson.

Bhuvneshwar bowled a couple of leg-cutters (off-cutter for left-handers) to get rid of Warner and Cowan in the third and fifth over of the innings respectively.

In case of Warner (6), the delivery landed on the seam and cut back enough to take the inside edge of his bat knocking the off-stump back. This was Bhuvneshwar's maiden Test scalp.

In his very next over, the 23-year-old removed Cowan with a similar delivery. The ball landed on the seam and moved a shade as Cowan was trapped plumb in front.

From 15 for two, Phillip Hughes (19) and Watson (23) tried to make amends with a 42-run partnership. Watson, in particular, hit some lovely drives off both Ishant and Bhuvneshwar's bowling. Just when it looked like Watson was getting set, he completely misjudged the length of a Bhuvneshwar delivery and was trapped leg-before in the process.

The seamer bowled a short one and the ball kept low as it came back in. The batsman committed himself early to a pull shot but missed the delivery completely to be hit on the thigh pads. Umpire Erasmus had a long hard look before raising his finger.

With the fall of wickets, Ashwin, introduced from the pavilion ends kept things very tight bowling four consecutive maidens.

Hughes, under pressure to get a big knock, finally caved in when Ashwin bowled a typical off-break and the batsman went for a cut-shot. Dhoni fumbled on the first attempt but held on to the catch to make it 63 for four.

Clarke, however batted with a lot of composure as he even danced down the track to lift Ashwin for a big six.
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