October 1- 2010 was the day when “Endhiran” released and people crowded for 2am show to watch it. Meanwhile, the test series between Australia and India started abnormally in a quite manner in Mohali. Australia started off on high with Watson and Ponting putting together 141 run partnership. When it is an Aussie-Indian clash you expect the balance to be topsy-turvy. Its like the Humpty dumpty who sat on the wall. This one didnt disappoint one bit.
Indians came back well with Zaheer making good use of the art he had mastered, reverse swing. The biggest bore was the rate at which the Aussies were scoring the runs. The usually aggressive Aussies played like they were scared for their life. The RPO of the post tea session on Day1 was 1.43. Now imagine sliding a hacksaw through your neck and thats what it felt like.
Once again on Day 2, the Aussies took charge and piled up the runs and ended up with a 1st innings total of 428 despite Zaheer’s fiver-for, thanks to Tim Paine and Mitchell Johnson scoring 92 and 47 respectively. India did get off to a good start with yet another Sehwag blitzkrieg with a better than ‘run a ball’ 59. Dravid and Raina gave good support to Sachin scoring 77 and 86 respectively. The match was back again in India’s hands but the fans had a heartbreak when Sachin fell 2 short of yet another 100 with that Australia took the upper hand bowling out India for 405 and Mitch picking a five-for.
The Aussies got off to a good start with an opening partnership of 87 runs. This time the runs came much quicker. Watson once again was the top-scorer with 56. A tall lanky Ishant Sharma, who was swatted off in the 1st innings came out of the ashes baiting 3 wickets in a spell, all big fish. Zaheer once again cleaned up the tail. The wickets of Hauritz and Hilfenhaus were dream deliveries, even top order batsmen would have nightmare facing such deliveries. The way Zaheer Khan is bowling with the old ball, he would be asking for “Second Old ball due” at the end of 80 overs. 215 was not a tough target for the Indians, considering this was team which chased big totals in the recent past. Advantage once again shifted to Australia when India were 55/4 at the end of Day 4.
Day 5 didnt start off on a good note with India tottering at 124-8. If this match was played between some tom,dick or it would’ve been over, but hey this is IND Vs AUS. Ishant Sharma camped the same crease where the top order batsmen were jumping to short deliveries of the Aussie Fast bowlers, on a wicket which was pretty tough to play short pitch bowling. Laxman despite his back problems, batted with silken touch. Ishant Sharma and Laxman took India to within 11 runs of the target from a hopeless position. There were many tense moments after Ishant was adjudged LBW when he wasn't and Ojha wasn’t when he really was LBW. Ojha and Laxman held the nerve and took India through to their “closest ever test win” with Laxman remaining unbeaten on 73. Yet another time the Aussies were stoven by Laxman. Ishant who started as a villain at day 1 conceding too many runs became a hero in a span of 5 days at the end of the test match. At the start of Day 5 everyone were screaming for Sachin, after all the hype it was a quite and Very Very Special Laxman who drew the “Laxman Rekha” for India.
Australia would be really down after losing such a close test match. They would need a lot to bounce back after this. It is really a shame this is just a 2 match series. The Match also marked Zaheer’s achievement of picking 250 test match wickets. I was jumping in joy not because India won but because i witnessed one of the greatest test matches ever played and that too between two evenly matched teams with a lot of “setting the cat among the pigeons” moments.