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Can Australia still salvage Hyderabad Test?

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    Phillip Hughes passed away just three days shy of this 26th birthday. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

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    Maybe batting legend Matt Hayden’s comment on television two days ago was a tad early when he predicted, “Today the great Australian fighting spirit will surface.”

    As it turned out Cheteshwat Pujara and Murali Vijay flogged the Australian attack all around the ground.

    But today there’s a big chance to save this Test when all appeared lost at tea yesterday with India looking set for a 400-plus first dig lead.

    The unlikely heroes were orthodox spinners Glenn Maxwell and Xavier Doherty who were an integral part of the flogging two days ago.

    Maxwell on debut captured 4-126 off 26 including the prize scalps of Vijay (127), Virat Kohli (34), MS Dhoni (44) and Ravindra Jadeja (10).

    Doherty cleaned up the tail to finish with 3-131 off 46.1 to limit the first dig deficit to 266.

    Having already lost David Warner and Phil Hughes to ill-disciplined sweep shots both bowled by Ravi Ashwin, it’s up to Ed Cowan and Shane Watson to set up the launching pad to save this Test.

    If Maxwell and Doherty can overcome the mountain of criticism they copped to grab seven wickets between them, Cowan and Watson can do likewise with the bat.

    Cowan’s Achilles heel is in the 30s, he resumes on 26. Watson hasn’t scored a Test ton in 37 digs, he resumes on nine with Australia 2-74 still 192 runs shy of making India bat again.

    If the Cricinfo scorecard is right, there’s been a change in the Australian batting order with Maxwell promoted over Moises Henriques, but still batting behind keeper Matt Wade.

    That doesn’t make any sense, Both Maxwell and Henriques are batsmen who can bowl, Wade’s a keeper who can bat. It would seem more practical to bat Wade at eight.

    Whatever happens, the Australians must knuckle down today to do the job they are well-paid to do – save a Test that looked out of the question two days ago.

    Providing they limit their stroke-making to the V and give away the sweep, they can do the job.

    The biggest disappointment has been Phil Hughes, With all his exciting talent he lets himself and his team mates down so often by playing poorly selected shots.

    So far in India he’s scored six, duck, 19, duck – a total of 25 runs off 84 deliveries.

    Australia has been effectively two down in a hurry once a opener is dismissed. That’s a burden on any side, especially one as brittle as this one.

    So let’s see how much bottle the baggy greens have on display today.

    Let’s hope Matt Hayden’s prediction comes alive.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (158)

    • March 5th 2013 @ 7:49am
      Johnno said | March 5th 2013 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      Would take a bigger miracle, than Botham’s 1981 Headingley, heroics, or Laxman’s 2001 heroics’.

      • March 5th 2013 @ 12:06pm
        kid said | March 5th 2013 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

        Well, considering 2 batsmen scored over 150 in india’s innings, yet only 8 australian batsmen have ever sored 150 in india. And only M Hayden and D Jones have scored 200, (M Waugh was not out on 153). You have to think it very unlikely australia can win the match with Heroics

        • March 5th 2013 @ 2:21pm
          matt h said | March 5th 2013 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

          Was that Heriocs or Henriques? Sorry, couldn’t help it

    • March 5th 2013 @ 7:54am
      Dasilva said | March 5th 2013 @ 7:54am | ! Report

      We need the batsman to FAF it out

      • March 5th 2013 @ 11:13am
        ShmaxShmillas said | March 5th 2013 @ 11:13am | ! Report

        India need a right faffing

    • Roar Guru

      March 5th 2013 @ 7:57am
      JGK said | March 5th 2013 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      No. The batsmen are not equipped for long innings, Clarke is poor in the second innings of a match and the tail is weak.

      It would be a mini victory to have Indian bat again.

      • Roar Guru

        March 5th 2013 @ 8:01am
        JGK said | March 5th 2013 @ 8:01am | ! Report

        As for Hughes, anyone with a modest knowledge of cricket could see he was going to struggle in India.

        Give me Cowan any day in these conditions.

        • March 5th 2013 @ 10:48am
          Julian said | March 5th 2013 @ 10:48am | ! Report

          Depsite the shortcomings in their technique against spin, Cowan seems to be mentally stronger. The question is, who is more likely to eke out ugly runs knowing the limitations of their game? I’d say Cowan.

        • March 5th 2013 @ 12:02pm
          Disco said | March 5th 2013 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

          Chris Martin isn’t the only bowler who can make Hughes look rubbish.

        • March 6th 2013 @ 3:24am
          Bearfax said | March 6th 2013 @ 3:24am | ! Report

          You are right in that. Cowan does seem the one batsman outside of Clarke who mentally can rough it out. But that is only because he is so defensive in style. Unfortunately despite that resilience, and he should be commended for that, he is at best a reasonable Shield player who is only there because we have such a limited stock of batsmen available at present. He’s only ever going to be good for about 30 runs an innings

    • March 5th 2013 @ 8:08am
      Prateek Sharma said | March 5th 2013 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      This is not an Australian side we were expecting. When we play Australia, we expect challenge and there is an evident lack of the same in current Australian side. This series is the most boring one, really. Even the matches with the English were thrilling. They made a good series. Though we lost, we enjoyed it. Seems like we are playing against Australia A.

      • March 5th 2013 @ 9:07am
        Wolfie said | March 5th 2013 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        We thought the same when pasting India 4-0 in Oz last time. Swings and roundabouts I guess…

        • March 5th 2013 @ 10:12am
          Colin Stuart said | March 5th 2013 @ 10:12am | ! Report

          Too true

        • March 5th 2013 @ 11:50am
          Prateek Sharma said | March 5th 2013 @ 11:50am | ! Report

          Ok… India never made an impression in Oz. We never won a series that is true. But that is not true for Oz in India. Looking more like a one man army, this time. Clark must be Clark Kent.

          • March 6th 2013 @ 3:28am
            Bearfax said | March 6th 2013 @ 3:28am | ! Report

            Very poor training in Oz against spin. Will be our undoing in Brit as well. Oz pitches have been designed for pace bowling not spin. That’s why our spin bowling stock is so low and why our batsmen cant handle the good spinners on spinners wickets.

    • March 5th 2013 @ 8:37am
      Swampy said | March 5th 2013 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      Prateek, you just put in words what every Australian supporter knew but didn’t want to hear.

      The great Australian cricket team is no longer feared or even respected.

      Lets hope Watson and Cowan now do a Laxman and Dravid and India have to chase 150 on a crumbling pitch…

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [].

      • March 5th 2013 @ 11:47am
        Prateek Sharma said | March 5th 2013 @ 11:47am | ! Report

        I’d love to see that. What is a test without a competition?

        • March 5th 2013 @ 2:22pm
          matt h said | March 5th 2013 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

          India touring Australia. Sorry, you just walked into that one 🙂

          Seriously though your point is well taken. A competitive test match is what we all want to see. At least Day three was closer to that.

          I remember when Australia were dominating through the 2000’s and test matches did get boring, especially at home, as there was little uncertainty as to the result.

          Having said all of that, I am looking forward to today becasue of the little battles:
          – can Cowan push through the thirties
          – can Watson conetrate harder than goldfish with ADHD
          – can Clarke keep going? It seems impossible that a failure isn;t around the corner
          – can Henriques reprise his first test heriocs
          – can Maxwell bat for longer than 40 balls

          • March 5th 2013 @ 5:03pm
            Jay said | March 5th 2013 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

            – Cowan – yes… into the 40’s
            – Watson – no
            – Clarke – yes… although is a failure still a failure when it was a delivery that would’ve gotten every other Aus player out?
            – Henriques – No
            – Maxwell – No

            1 or 2 ain’t bad… right?… right?

            • March 6th 2013 @ 3:40am
              Bearfax said | March 6th 2013 @ 3:40am | ! Report

              My answer

              Cowan – No. He is at his best already at his best. 30-35 is the best average he will get in test cricket
              Watson – Yes but not in the short term. Has a FC batting average of 45 so we know he can bat better
              Clarke – Yes. He’s a tough cricketer but dont expect the purple patch to continue. He will however remain Australia’s best bat for a few years yet
              Henriques – We got a peak of his potential in the first test. Eventually he will be a good test all rounder, maybe even better. But will be dveloping for a few years yet
              Maxwell – Yes but not in the short term. He’s a kid with raw talent like Steve Smith, but its unrefined and needs good coaching. At present too impetuous. Bowling is improving but still a long way to go. Fielding excellent. Batting, too focussed on limited over cricket. Needs to learn patience. Potentially could be a good test player but not yet.

    • March 5th 2013 @ 8:42am
      Pope Paul VII said | March 5th 2013 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      A 100 run partnership would be handy right now.

      A couple of early wickets and the lads are stuffed. If they do manage to draw level and the big show let’s go anything could happen but it almost certainly won’t.

      Good news is the spinners gained some respec’.

      • March 5th 2013 @ 11:05am
        Nihar said | March 5th 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

        We have pulled back slightly but yet again they havent shown foresight in the batting.Why bring Hughes ahead of Watson & Clarke when he is a walking wicket this series. Honestly I have never really rated Hughes very highly though some other folks think otherwise. I hope to see Watto play well today and along with others give a good account of themselves. With the way the wicket is starting to play up more tricks, I dont think we will be able to save this match but atleast play for pride. Going forward in the series at the interval, I think they should drop Hughes for the Mohali test match and bring Khawaja in. He wouldnt play any worse. Break up the order wherein Cowan & Watto could open, Khawaja at 3, Clarke 4 & Warner at 5. Keeping in view Pattinson s past injuries, manage his workload well and bring Starc or Johnson for him.

        • March 5th 2013 @ 2:28pm
          matt h said | March 5th 2013 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

          Again, as has been stated repeatedly, Watson is GOING HOME. So Khawaja is in and the question will be whether they persist with Hughes, bring in Smith or bring in a bowler and move Henriques/Maxwell up the order.

          As for sending Hughes out at 3, frankly I would rather that and get it over with.

          • March 6th 2013 @ 3:52am
            Bearfax said | March 6th 2013 @ 3:52am | ! Report

            Hughes needs to experience spin bowling as much as he can. This kid has outstanding raw talent, but he has deficiencies, especially with spin (mind you most Australian batsmen these days have that deficiency because of our pace doctored wickets). We know this kid can bat and score big. He’s done it before and he’s not the first top batsman to be found wanting on the sub continent. He’ll come out of this a better batsman. Its also the reason Khawaja needs to be in tests so he also can experience the spin bowliing expertise. I think he’s likely to be our best batsman against spin after Clarke, but he needs to go through the gauntlet to learn what he needs to learn. That’s one of the reasons these selectors are so incompetent. Batsmen like Hughes, Watson and Khawaja need this experience at this age to make them into top test players.

            Personally I think this experience for Oz batsmen, Smith, Maxwell, Henriques included, is priceless. They will all emerge better for the experience if given the chance to face the best spin attack and spin grounds in the cricketing world.

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