After losing the toss, Indian bowlers came back to leave Australia reeling at 134/6 but a late surge from Symonds and Hogg ensured that the Australians not only crossed the 350 run mark but went on to score the 2nd highest total in a day at the SCG.
It was a good toss to win as the Aussie openers made their way on to the pitch. But the opening pair of Jaques and Haydin was sent back to the pavilion by RP Singh who was the premier Indian fast bowler in the absence of Zaheer Khan. Ponting and Clarke had a good partnership before both of them fell in quick succession to Harbhajan and RP respectively. Ponting might still say that he is not Bhajji’s Bunny but he continues to keep getting out to the Indian off spinner. Ponting did make a 50 but was out LBW to Harbhajan after scoring 55.
The Australians started the New Year with a dismal start and were in a fix at 134/6 when Symonds and Hogg got to recovery work. Recovery it was but full of aggression. Hogg showed that he was no mug with the bat as he cut and drove with ease against the Indian spinners. Hogg went on to make 79 before he finally fell to Kumble bringing an end to the largest 7th wicket partnership of 173 against any team at the SCG.
Meanwhile, the star of the day was definitely Andrew Symonds. Symonds was at his ferocious best as he launched an onslaught against the Indian bowling attack. His fore arm jabs over mid wicket, his powerful square cuts and his exquisite drives through Mid off were a delight for the crowd that had gathered at the opening day of the test. At the end of days play Symonds remained unbeaten at 137.
Indians can take heart from the fact that they had the Aussies under the mat with the first 6 batsmen having gone back to the pavilion without even posting 150 runs on the board. But as is the case with the Aussies, they once again slipped through the net thanks to Symonds and the Aussie tail. RP Singh in particular needs to be lauded for his four wicket haul as he got all the four left handers out and Ishaan sharma bowled his heart out but remained wicketless. The 19 year old had Symonds caught behind but for Steve Bucknor who didn’t hear the snick. Symonds made most of the poor decisions made by the umpires. He was earlier adjudged not out by the third umpire in a stumping appeal when the cameras clearly showed part of the foot raised in the Air.
At the end of the day, Aussies would feel that they have recovered well and are well placed at 376/7 with Symonds and Lee on the crease. The Indians would rue some poor fielding in the outfield after Tendulkar had taken great catches at first slip to dismiss Hussey and Hayden. Aussies are on course to making a big first innings total which could lead them to a record 16th consecutive test win matching Steve Waugh’s test win runs in 99-00. Coincidentally, Steve Waugh’s winning run had been brought to an end at Kolkatta in perhaps the best test match ever. Indians will need such performances if they need to break the Aussie record. Something that seems to be missing in this series is the Killer Instinct that the Indians needs to nip the opposition. Lets hope for a strong batting performance tomorrow and not the usual batting collapses that we have got used to.