Peter Siddle deflates India

2011-12-27 18:41
Peter Siddle (File)
Melbourne - Australia paceman Peter Siddle deflated a nation of a billion people when he bowled Sachin Tendulkar for 73, three balls before stumps on the second day of the first Test against India in Melbourne on Tuesday.

With Tendulkar moving effortlessly to the brink of his 100th international century, Siddle sent a stinging full-pitched delivery that swung in late and bowled the 38-year-old through the gate to break a 117-run partnership with Rahul Dravid.

Ishant Sharma came in as nightwatchman and survived the tense last balls to see India through to 214 for three at the close of play in response to Australia's first innings 333 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Dravid ended the day unbeaten on 68 alongside Sharma, who has yet to score.

Tendulkar and Dravid had resumed after tea on 99-2 and made hay in the sunshine, blunting an Australian attack that had been buoyed by their dismissal of Virender Sehwag for 67 shortly before the interval.

The pair dominated the hosts in a bruising session with few genuine chances but Siddle's late breakthrough was just reward for a bowler who thought he had removed Dravid for 65 a few overs earlier, only for the decision to be overturned after the umpire had asked the third umpire to check whether the delivery was indeed legal.

Television replays showed the paceman's foot had crept over the crease, rendering it a no-ball, and after the fiery redhead from rural Victoria had displayed his anger by spitting on the field, he came steaming back with renewed determination.

"It actually felt like he did come through five k's (kilometres per hour) quicker after that which was good and I thought he showed a bit of character coming back after what happened to get Tendulkar late in the day," wicketkeeper Brad Haddin told reporters.

"It was a big blow for us to get him."

Having survived a tense few overs before tea, Tendulkar kicked off proceedings with a six off the first ball, opening his bat to despatch Siddle with an uppercut over the slips.

By the time he trudged off the ground, the 38-year-old "Little Master" had lofted another two similar shots over the slips cordon and stroked a pair of sublime cover drives among the eight boundaries he spread around the ground.

Dravid reverted to type, playing the role of straight man in the double act, reaching his half-century off 139 balls with a thick edge that fired past home captain Michael Clarke in the slips on the way to the fence.

Tendulkar raised his 50 minutes later with a deft flick to mid-on off spinner Nathan Lyon, sparking a roar from the crowd, where one of the many banners read: "We welcome His Excellency Sachin Tendulkar to the MCG."

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who took 3-81, said Tendulkar would bounce back from another near-miss. The right-handed master batsman has been stranded on 99 international centuries since March.

"It will eventually happen, so there's no point in really bothering about it," he said.

With his front-line bowlers smashed around the ground, Clarke shrugged and turned to his part-timers.

Opening batsman David Warner rolled over his arm late in the session without success, but could claim a moral victory when one of his legbreaks eluded Tendulkar's swiping bat and struck him on the ribs.

Sehwag had earlier put Australia to the sword but was halted in his prime by paceman James Pattinson.

The hard-hitting opener belted seven boundaries in an 83-ball knock in which he was dropped twice, before Pattinson forced him to play on to his stumps.

Opener Gautam Gambhir headed back to the pavilion after lunch after making just three runs in his 23-ball stay.

He feathered an edge to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin off paceman Ben Hilfenhaus, who celebrated the first Indian wicket upon his return to the test arena after almost a year out of the squad.

Resuming their innings on 277-6, Australia's tail-enders added 56 runs for the final four wickets with paceman Zaheer Khan and Ravichandran Ashwin sharing two wickets apiece.

Zaheer wasted little time dismissing Haddin and Siddle, ending their 72-run stand, but Hilfenhaus and Pattinson frustrated the tourists with a 27-run partnership for the ninth wicket before Lyon joined the latter to add another 15.

Ashwin ended an enterprising 19 from Hilfenhaus, who slogged a boundary off his first ball, and then bowled Lyon as he attempted an ill-judged sweep.

Zaheer, playing his first test in five months after a long layoff from injury, took 4-77 to finish the best of the Indian bowlers, with Ashwin and Umesh Yadav each taking three.

"In the end we were happy with 330. India might be a little bit in front of us in the game but it's evenly poised tomorrow if we start this first session well," Haddin added.



David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (capt), Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin (wk), Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Ben Hilfenhaus

Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni (capt, wk), R Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav


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