As Australia ground itself to a position of vulnerability on Day 1 of the Test in Mohali, the team displayed the same cracks that have been exposed in recent years. Being a non-subscriber to pay TV, I was unable to take in live vision or audio, so I can’t say much. I have seen about 8 balls in highlights.
The highlight of the day seemed to be the run out of Ponting and his subsequent altercation with Zaheer Khan, as he departed. Firstly, the run out was all the fault of Ponting, despite a marvellous piece of fielding. Watson eased the ball into the leg side where the fieldsman was deep. There was a an comfortable single in it. The batsmen took the single, without hesitation. Ponting was guilty of cruising.
This is a technique used by arrogant batsmen where they run just fast enough to make the distance perfectly. This proves that they are masters of their off destiny, and says “up yours” to the fielder. Martyn and Ponting himself have demonstrated the risks of this technique in the past. The fielder gathers and throws a little more quickly than expected, the throw is right on target. The batsman quickly shifts a couple of gears as panic sets in but it is too late and it is too funny.
Ponting did judge it exactly right this time. That is, if on the line was in. But it is not. And he was out. Ponting and Watson had at that point put Australia in an excellent position after winning and important coin toss. Also remember that Ponting has been fighting for runs and has been under pressure. Naturally, he would have been bitterly disappointed but he has nobody to blame but himself.
I also draw your attention to a pre-match interview where Ponting stressed that given the current climate in cricket, that it was very important that this series be played in a good spirit and to be free of acrimony. He is very wise.
This is why it is even more inexplicable that following his run out, the had an ugly, heated verbal discussion with the bowler as he departed. You could say it was acrimonious. Aside from it being his own fault, whatever the circumstances (a mild send off), Ponting should have been on his best behaviour for reasons he had stated himself. Same old, same old.
The Australian selectors continue to persist with Hussey and North. In recent history, Hussey, I guess has done enough to retain his place. North, I’m not sure about. At any rate, Hussey made 17 from 76 balls before being euthanased by Khan. North was out for another duck, not playing a shot. Same old, same old.
And then we have Watson. Yet again, the best batsman. Yet another century. Same old, same old.