The ritual is now complete! India has been comprehensively beaten by Australia with a whopping margin of 122 runs in a low scoring match at MCG. Indian fans’ dreams of an elusive series win down under, take a wallop as Indian batsmen surrendered meekly against a sustained pace attack by Australian pace battery.
To sum up things, Australia started the day 4 at 179 for 8 and were ahead by an overall margin of 229. India needed to dismiss the last two batsmen quickly and set up themselves, a victory target of less than 240. Strangely enough, MS Dhoni, employed a defensive field and allowed a 9th wicket partnership between Hussey and Pattinson to develop. James Pattinson played with remarkable ease and his technique would have made any top order batsmen proud. He cut, drove, pulled with panache and contributed 37 invaluable runs to Australian total. Dhoni, didn’t attack Hussey and allowed him to take the single in a bid to keep Pattinson, on strike so as to try and remove the tail-ender. His tactics backfired as Australia piled on the agony for the hapless Indians. The last two wickets produced 74 runs and virtually sealed India’s fate.
It must be said that Indian bowlers did not bowl enough in the channel, the proverbial corridor of uncertainty and repeatedly erred in length on a helpful track. They appeared to go through the motions, even when tail-enders are at the crease. Indians exhibited a clear lack of intent and their body language wasn’t too great. It was incredible to see, how this Indian outfit could lose heart so easily and go into a self-imposed exile. Any international team would come hard at you and it is imperative that you showed some fight before going down. Indians scripted their own fate and the writing was on the wall.
In stark contrast, Aussies ran in hard and kept pegging away at Indians. The track definitely offered something to the faster men, but it couldn’t have been so impossible as has been made out by the Indian batsmen. One saving grace for India, of course is batting legend, Sachin Tendulkar, He once again looked in complete control as he got behind the line of the ball and exhibited immaculate footwork. However, wickets kept tumbling at the other end and it broke the rhythm of master blaster. He soon got out for 32, consumed by Peter Siddle again. Buoyed by his batting success, James Pattinson upped the ante and reduced India to 81 for 6 along with his pace colleagues. Once again, the inevitable was delayed by the tail-enders, who showed better application than the so called batting bigwigs. James Pattinson, was deservedly, named man-of-the-match.
Stiffer targets were chased before, on much difficult tracks and against much tougher oppositions. Aussies bowled well, but by no means were unplayable. Indians showed distinct lack of application and their inadequacies have been exposed to the fore. They now need to pull off a miracle, if they ever hope to stay in the hunt.