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    October 14, 2005

    Super Test: Australia recover through Hayden and Gilchrist

    Australia ended the first day of the Super Test at 331/6 and will definitely be the happier side. They were in some trouble when Murali and Vettori snapped up a couple of wickets to send them from the comforts of 150/2 to 163/4, a period of play in which Michael Clarke became the first batsman in test matches to be given out caught after an intervention by the third umpire.

    Enter Adam Gilchrist, batting at #6 to accomodate Shane Watson and Stuart MacGill. He then played the kind of innings which went AWOL during the Ashes. When play ended prematurely, he was on 94(109) and Australia were looking at going past 400 to put pressure on the World XI who would bat last against Warne and MacGill. This game has two spinners on each side, surely a rareity for a test match in Australia.

    Matthew Hayden, who escaped the chop which Martyn copped, made his second century in two tests, a far cry from his form till the Oval test match. His was a chancy knock, but he, and Australia, will take it over the rock solid 20s and 30s he has been making in the recent past.

    Langer went very early, the third ball of the day's play in fact, bowled by Harmison. The World XI had an all-English opening attack as Shaun Pollock was left out to accomodate Inzamam (who might have thrashed Smith with the bat if he had been left out) and the two spinners. Flintoff and Harmison did trouble the batsmen, but with not much assistance from the wicket, runs did become progressively easier to get. The Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy winners may have both been all-rounders, but only one of them looked like getting wickets today.

    Kallis, whose bowling has deteriorated to picking up six wickets in his last 9 tests, excluding achievements against Zimbabwe, fed Hayden and Ponting with a lot of hit-me deliveries and his first spell effectively ensured that the two Aussies began to enjoy their time out in the middle, putting on 73 at over 3 runs an over.

    After Ponting was out in the 40s, Clarke and Hayden speeded up the runrate with Hayden especially severe on Vettori and to a lesser extent on Murali. He swept repeatedly and went past his half-century. A while later, Clarke was out, having got a start and Katich followed soon, run out following a collision with Murali. Gilchrist and Hayden then belted the bowling around the ground with Gilchrist predictably outscoring Hayden, even though Hayden had gone past his century. The fifty partnership came up in just 10 overs and just when they looked for a lot more, having added a further 47 in 8 overs, Hayden was dismissed by Murali, attempting to cut.

    Watson can certainly bat, and he gave Gilchrist very good company, as the two put on 63 runs in fairly quick time. Watson though failed to read Murali towards the end of the day's play and shortly after he was dismissed lbw, the umpires offered the light to the batsmen, who accepted it, much to the relief of the World side.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 7:20 PM |
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