Australia's nose put out of joint by Harbhajan
India 313-8 Australia 430 (India trail by 117 runs)
Sunday 12 October 2008
If Australia's nose remains well in front in the First Test, it was put distinctly out of jointtowards the end of the third day. In a sense, India's belated count-erattack in Bangalore demonstrated that suspicions of the tourists' newly discovered vulnerability were not based entirely on the wishful thinking of those hoping for a less predictable Test regime.
At 232 for 7, the follow-on only just saved, India were reeling. A combination of smart bowling, hesitant batting and a pitch which favoured Australia's seam attack had tilted the match, perhaps decisively. But Harbhajan Singh, Australia's bête noire, and Zaheer Khan were briefly irrepressible against the second new ball.
Enjoying themselves hugely, they put on 80 in 22 overs to reduce the deficit to a level which is almost manageable, India eventually finishing on 313 for 8. It was the third time in the past seven Tests that Australia had conceded more than 50 runs in an eighth-wicket stand, whereas the previous three such partnerships took 20 matches.
That suggests that without their great champions Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne they may not be so adept at finishing off sides. Obvious, perhaps, but also solid corroboration.
Before the cheeky alliance it had been all Australia and mostly all Mitchell Johnson, who accounted for three of India's big four, including Sachin Tendulkar for the fourth time in Tests.
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