Watch Ricky Ponting exorcise Indian demons with a century – 123 – in these cricket highlights from the first day’s play of the 1st test: Australia vs India played at Bangalore on 9th October, 2008.
Australia won the toss and unsurprisingly batted first only to lose Matthew Hayden in the first over to Zaheer Khan. An inconclusive-replay-decision, though it does seem that bat hit pad rather than ball. But this decision against the Aussies was kind of evened out by end of day’s play.
Ponting walked in and played an innings mostly instructed by brains rather than flair. There were some beautiful Ponting shots but it was mostly a well-thought out innings. He did have to face some testing moments from Ishanth Sharma (who had him quite a lot during the Aussie version of this series a few months back). But it was probably better than having to face Harbhajan Singh right up. When Ponting vs Harbhajan eventually happened, it was Ponting mostly all the way – playing without any of those nervous jerky movements in past encounters. Harbhajan was a bit disappointing because he’s been in good form of late and today it appeared as though he felt he just needed to turn up and his man would be his man again.
There is a reason why Ponting is sometimes clubbed with Tendulkar and Lara.
Though Ponting won this encounter (Harbhajan eventually dismissed him, though), it’s not over – you just need to go back to 1996 when Shane Warne got Tendulkar out in the 1st innings, 1st Test and Sachin scored a big hundred in the 2nd innings. So if Harbhajan can chill a bit and understand he needs to wait sometimes for a wicket, this could be a thrilling series with the best of Ponting and Singh coming to the fore.
Anil Kumble was wicketless but also luckless – a couple of LBW appeals vs Katich, a caught and bowled off Ponting when he was on 111 not given, near chances to the keeper and short leg and the sort.
Day 1 up and already all typicalities of an Ind-Aus see-sawing series on offer – a wicket for Zaheer Khan in the 1st over and what was eventually the last ball of day’s play (Michael Clarke). Oh and Simon Katich got 66 but that’s more relevant to the Australian score than a highlights video, isn’t it. To wrap up, Hussey was not out on 46 with Australia 254/4.
Pre-test Thoughts: Considering the 15 man squad picked for the 1st two tests, which includes Sourav Ganguly, it should be a pretty normal test team fielded - Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Ganguly, Dhoni, Kumble, Harbhajan, Ishanth, Zaheer. There is no way a 5 bowler attack will be used because that would mean Sourav would have to sit out which doesn't give credence to him being hauled back into the team (most probably at Kumble's behest - returning the favour when Kumble was brought back into the 2003 tour of Australia by Sourav and Tendulkar). Like Kumble did in that tour, Ganguly is probably going to knock up a big score in one of the two tests and Yuvraj Singh will wonder why he squandered the 2007-2008 test tour of Australia.
Update: Well, as it turns out Sourav Ganguly has announced he will retire after this series. Decent move by new chairman of selectors Srikkanth (despite his weirdness as a commentator - eg: repeatedly calling Ricky Ponting - Ricky Martin) to allow a farewell series. What has been amusing though is the reaction in the Indian media - now that he's going there is a sentimental tone to what a great guy Ganguly was as a player, coupled with a grinding of the palms while counting down the remaining Fab Three. What's with this obsession of counting down their time. For some time now, Ganguly has looked replaceable by Yuvraj Singh. But for the other three, let's take a look at who could step in. Rohit Sharma for VVS - not quite there yet. Rahul Dravid - no one really. Raina, Badrinath, Uthappa still remain distant options.
And for Sachin Tendulkar.
Eh? What? Whadyousay? I didn't hear you, can you come a little closer?
More 2008 Ind-Aus Test Series Videos
More India vs Australia Down the Years videos