|Ground:||Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, Perth|
|Scorecard:||Australia v India|
|Player:||DA Warner, I Sharma, R Vinay Kumar, V Sehwag, V Kohli|
|Event:||India in Australia 2011/12|
DateLine: 13th January 2012
In association with Pan Pacific Hotel.
Perth – David Warner's onslaught on the India bowling produced a batting spectacle rarely seen in Test cricket. His sensational second Test century, off just 69 balls was the fastest by an opening batsmen and the fourth fastest on record. His extraordinary stroke-play made the bowling totally hapless under a fusillade of heavy shots, a combination of perfect timing and brute force. The innings took Australia to 149 without loss at stumps after India were dismissed for a paltry 161 and has in all probability, put India out of the third Test match as early as the first day. Warner was unbeaten with 104 which contained 13 fours and 3 sixes with his opening partner Ed Cowan on 40 from 58 balls.
The old superstition of 'Friday the thirteenth' seemed ominous for India after yet another inept performance. Could India bounce back in the series from being two nil down was the question before the start of the Test and the answer came swiftly during the first session with the top four wickets going down for 63 and nothing much to come from their batsmen thereafter. Their problems at the crease continue unabated against Australia's relentless pace bowling throughout the series. The remarkable thing about this attack is that it proving to be so successful despite three pace bowlers, who would have been chosen in preference, unfit through injury.
After dismissing the tourists half an hour into the final session, Warner and Cowan, relatively inexperienced with just four and two Tests prior to this, gave a marvellous exhibition of aggressive batting. Warner in particular gave a display of belligerent batting against all four India pace bowlers. With straight sixes and fours all around the ground he raced to his half century from just 36 balls. When Zaheer Khan, having conceded 44 from six overs was replaced by Ishant Sharma, Warner lifted him for six to take his score to 70.
Two consecutive fours followed by two runs to cover took Warner to 90, then with his thirteenth four he was 94, a single and then he brought up his century with a powerful on-drive for six off Kumar which went ten rows into the crowd. His blistering three-figure knock brought a prolonged ovation from a packed ground.
Earlier, Australia struck early after putting the opposition in to bat on the fast, bouncy green pitch for which this ground in renowned. Ben Hilfenhaus whose swing bowling in the second Test gave him match figures of eight for 157 removed Virender Sehwag in only his second over. Sehwag went without scoring following scores of 4 and 30 in Melbourne and not long after that Rahul Dravid went. Peter Siddle had replaced Hilfenhaus and his second ball, a yorker on the leg stump, struck Dravid on the pad to go on to the stumps.
Dravid had 9 and India were 32 for two but there was to be no recovery at that stage. Sachin Tendulkar's first three scoring shots were boundaries all off Siddle. The first two were in the same over, a perfect straight drive and another lovely drive to mid-on. But he wasn't to progress much and on 15, Ryan Harris, - one of two changes in the Australian side, in place of the spinner Nathan Lyon – the other change is the left arm pace bowler Mitchell Starc for the injured James Pattinson, while India replaced off spinner Ravi Ashwin with seamer Vinay Kumar – was brought back for a second spell to trap the great batsman lbw for 15. It was a fine ball, pitched up and jagged back from outside off stump.
Australia's fast bowlers kept the pressure on with Hilfenhaus returning to claim the next wicket. Gautam Gambhir, who has been in reasonable form having top scored with 83 in Melbourne, had got to 31 when he edged behind an away swinger ten minutes before lunch which was taken on 73 for four. Just when India seemed to be making a recovery during the second session with a 68-run stand in 26 overs between VVS Laxman and Virat Kohli Australia hit back through Peter Siddle. The 'workhorse' pace bowler had Kohli held at point on 44 from 81 balls when he drove at a ball a shade short of a length.
In his next over Siddle accounted for Laxman's wicket for 31, over a two-hour period, Again it was a similar ball that moved away a little and took the outside edge for Michael Clarke to take the catch at first slip. These were the last two of the recognised batsmen and India were 138 for six. There was little else to come. On 152 the next two fell Vinay Kumar, making his Test debut, was trapped lbw with Starc's first ball of the spell when he replaced Siddle and MS Dhoni was snapped up at second slip off Hifenhaus who, in his next over had Zaheer slashing outside off stump for Clarke to take a simple catch.
The innings was wound up four runs later with Starc claiming his second wicket.for 39. The left-arm paceman was playing in his third Test having made his debut last month against New Zealand, but curiously it was his first first-class match on this ground.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2012 Andy Jalil)