It was just like the first day of the Adelaide test. David Warner scored his first century of year 2015 and the new Australian captain is on the verge of another century of the series as he is still unbeaten on 82. Keeping him company is Shane Watson, also not out on 61. Unfortunately for Chris Rogers, he missed a deserved hundred by 5 runs. Quite obviously, there was nothing in the Indian bowling attack. They persistently refuse to learn the art of seam bowling. Perhaps, they can benefit from watching Dale Steyn’s bowling videos. It may not be possible to match the South African’s speed and accuracy but the Indians can learn how Steyn goes on attacking the stumps with good length deliveries. Indian pace attack is modeled in the ODI Fashion, in which it is possible to get wickets from short-pitched balls. This has to change immediately or else; the bowlers would get thrashed in the same way that Australians have done against them in the ongoing series. With such listless bowling attack, Australia didn’t have to do anything spectacular. There were far too many loose balls worthy of being dispatched away. The hosts ended the day with 348/2 and it seems they could add another 250+. This will make India’s task difficult. With the bowling lacking the teeth, it was easy for every Australian batsman, who played on the opening day. Luck was the only way for Indian bowlers and that deserted them.
Australia won the toss in the morning and decided to bat. The Indian squad made four changes after Melbourne with Wriddhiman Saha coming in for MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar making way for Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma. Australia made a single change to bring in Mitchell Starc for Mitchell Johnson. The Indian think-tank probably erred by retaining Mohammad Shami. It would have been better to drop him in place of Ishant Sharma. Ishant is not a great bowler himself but anybody is better than the thoughtless Shami. Sydney was the very ground on which Phil Hughes had played his life’s last ball and therefore it was an emotional return for the Australian cricketers to SCG. Salvaging some lost pride by winning the last game was uppermost in Indian team’s mind. David Warner and Chris Rogers got into their grooves from the time they arrived on the crease. India began with Bhuvi Kumar but he didn’t make much impression on the determined Australian openers. Kumar yielded 6 runs in his first over and Umesh Yadav’s next over was worth 8 runs. The tone of the Australian batting looked set. At the end of 10 overs, Australia had notched up 56 of which 23 were yielded by Bhuvi Kumar in 5 overs. Shami gave away 14 in his 3 overs. The hundred of the innings came in the 20th over and there were no signs of trouble for the Australian batsmen. In Adelaide, the Australians’ grief from Hughes’ death was quite raw and when Warner reached hundred at the Adelaide oval, he had looked to the sky in remembrance to his friend. Yesterday, he did that once again, when he took a single to move on to 63. They would never forget Hughes’ 63 not out. Warner removed his helmet and gloves and knelt down to kiss the grass at the precise point, where Hughes had collapsed. The teams went to lunch at that point with Australia on 123/0 and warner not out on 63. Rogers was dropped by KL Rahul, when the batsman had scored 19 but the Australian had reached 52 by lunch.
The toil for Indian bowlers and fielders continued in the period after lunch. India were lucky that the morning began with overcast conditions and sun didn’t beat down their backs. The lackluster Indian bowling allowed Warner and Rogers to score freely and briskly. Warner reached his 12th test-match hundred in the 42nd over of the innings, bowled by Shami. He had taken just 107 balls and sent the ball to the boundary on 16 occasions. But soon he was out as well. He popped up a catch to the gully fielder in trying to play against the turn off a ball from Ravichandran Ashwin. But Australia had reached 200 by that time. Shane Watson joined Rogers but their company didn’t last long. In the next over, Rogers fell at 95, bowled by Shami. At that point Australia were 204/2 and Skipper Smith had joined Watson.
The two batsmen carried on the good work done by Warner and Rogers much to the anguish of the harried Indian bowlers. As stumps were drawn on the first day, Australia reached 348/2 with both batsmen looking in great form. Steve Smith was not out on 82 and Watson on 61. With nothing to show for their bowling and Australia strong on determination, Smith looks good for another test match hundred.
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