There’s a saying in cricket that decisions even out in the end. Since it was only the second day of the second test match we will have to wait until the final day at Adelaide to find out if that holds true, but going by the last couple of days of cricket so far, it looks like it will take a lot to get things on an even keel from the Indian point of view at the end of the Adelaide test.
Great sides have invariably had luck going with them, be it decisions or the simple matter of batsmen playing and missing and edges that don’t carry to fielders. They also have a certain manner of asking questions that make the officials see their point of view rather than the opposition’s. India will, no doubt, feel miffed and aggrieved at the decision not to give Symonds out caught-behind which was the more crucial one than the stumping appeal much later in the day.
They will also count themselves lucky that Ponting’s escape, when on 17, was not too costly though it came off another palpable error. The theory that those who have played the game at the first class and test level make better umpires has been increasingly coming under strain in recent times. They are supposed to, with their experience, be able to distinguish different sounds that can mislead others who haven’t played at the highest level.This is not to take anything away from the magnificent century by Andrew Symonds who built his innings splendidly. He was content to play second fiddle to Brad Hogg, who came out and started to attack the Indian bowlers as if practicing in the nets. However, as soon as he got to his fifty, much later than Hogg got his half ton, Symonds began to take over and so dominated the attack that the shoulders of the Indians dropped in the heat of Sydney. That partnership of 173 was at a phenomenonal rate as well and almost took the game away from India. With Brett Lee showing how much his batting has come on, there was no respite for the Indians at all and at the end of the day the Australians were firmly in the driver’s seat.It all looked so different a little after lunch when India captured four wickets in the space of a few minutes to have Australia reeling at 134 for 6 wickets. R.P.Singh was back at his best after a none too confident return to the team at Melbourne and he swung the ball beautifully both ways to cause problems to all the batsmen including Symonds, who also had to be vigilant against him. Ishant Sharma too was impressive, though later in the day he just got a bit overawed and was not sharp. Harbhajan might have been lucky to get the decision against Ponting in his favour but it was a well-fought and concealed ‘Doosra’ that had the Australian skipper playing back in an uncertain manner. Then we had the fleet- footed Clarke padding up to the straight one and with R.P.Singh getting the dangerous Gilchrist out, the Indians were on a roll till those decisions allowed Australia back in the game. With India batting well in their first innings, there are still hopes for them to level the series. Had all the decisions gone in India’s favour, the match would truly have been in India’s kitty. Such is life. Raghav Agarwal