Ten wickets fell on the second day at Gabba compared with four on the first day. Just as in the second innings of the Adelaide test, the Indian middle order and tail caved in after the solid start they made on the opening day. A pattern seems to be developing and it is dangerous for India since their performance in the longer version of the game has not been consistent of late. From 311/4 in the morning, India lost the remaining 6 wickets for just 87 runs as their innings folded at 408. Three of those wickets were claimed by Australia’s brand-new bowler Josh Hazlewood. The new captain Steven Smith would have expected to take the advantage of the Indian’s slide as his openers took to the crease. But speedster Umesh Yadav came up with three wickets to upset Smith’s calculations. The second day’s play was threatened by storms but finally poor light brought an early end with Australia at 221/4. The captain, however, still occupies the crease, unbeaten at 65 and much will depend on how he fares on day three.
When India began the second day, they had two capable batsmen, who had already added 50 runs since Murali Vijay got out at 261. Rahane was batting on 75 and he looked good for more. With him was the cool Rohit Sharma. Smith had begun the day’s proceedings with Hazlewood, who produced the best ball of the test match in his second over to claim Rahane. On the previous ball, Rahane had scored a boundary and he looked nicely settled. But the next ball from Hazlewood had a great length that held Rahane on the crease as it angled in towards his off stump and swung away. Rahane had to play at it but the ball kissed the outer edge of his bat and went through to Haddin. India lost its fifth wicket and Dhoni came to join Sharma at the crease. Until now Haddin had taken all the catches to make it 5 in a row. When Rohit Sharma was 32, he was tempted by an away going out-swinger from Shane Watson. Sharma drive took his bat’s outer edge and Steven Smith brought off a marvelous diving catch at second slip. India were now 328/6 and as R Ashwin joined his skipper in the middle, the two batsmen raised some hopes of a late revival. To a large extent, they succeeded as they dealt with Australian bowlers with patience. Johnson and Watson failed to make much impression on the pair but Smith had another problem. Mitchell Starc struggled with his length and Mitchell Marsh could not bowl due to a hamstring problem. So finally he summoned Hazlewood once again. Dhoni and Ashwin had already added 57 for the seventh wicket and looked for more. But when Hazlewood came back, he struck with his second over of the new spell. A good length ball outside the off stump had Ashwin shaping for a drive but the edge went straight to Watson on the first slip. Then in his next over, Hazlewood also accounted for MS Dhoni to get his fifth wicket on debut. Dhoni looked like leaving the ball, was he caught in two minds and the inside edge went to Haddin for his sixth catch of the innings. At 394/8, there was not much left in the India innings as the last two wickets of Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron were polished off by Nathan Lyon.
Australia had a good chance of mounting an assault but Umesh Yadav had other ideas. He bowled with fire and didn’t allow Chris Rogers and David Warner to settle down. Warner was first to depart, when he tried a pull on a delivery from Yadav that was not as short as Warner thought. He didn’t have enough room to play that shot and that resulted in top-edge flying to first slip, where Ashwin took a few steps back and held the catch. Watson was next to go, when he tried to lift Ashwin out of the ground but instead the shot flew low to the right of Shikhar Dhawan, who brought off an excellent diving catch. After showing sound judgment for a while, Rogers tried to work Yadav down the leg side but his touch was taken by Dhoni. Australia were reduced to 121/3. Smith and Shaun Marsh carried Australia to 208, when Marsh also fell to Yadav. The ball was angled across and had an extra bounce and Marsh’s shot flew over the first slip and the tall man Ashwin jumped high to grab the two-handed catch. Australia ended the day with 211/4.
Of the two captains, Dhoni was better placed, when the second day ended and if his bowlers continue with the same rhythm, India have a chance for the first innings’ lead. A lot, however, depends on skipper Smith, who is unbeaten on 65. Smith still has Mitchell Marsh, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson, all of whom are capable of swinging their bats around. But among all, the day ended most satisfactorily for the new man, Josh Hazlewood, who has already made a brilliant start to his cricket career with 5 wickets in his debut test.