Pattinson's dream start gathers pace
Wednesday 04 January 2012
The one element missing from James Pattinson's man-of-the-match performance in Australia's heartening first Test victory over India was the prize wicket of Sachin Tendulkar. Australia's bright young thing put that right on the first day of the second Test in Sydney, albeit with just about his worst delivery of another memorable day for the 21-year-old and his side.
Tendulkar, who had averaged over 200 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, dragged a wide delivery from Pattinson onto his stumps having made 41; the hunt for the 100th 100 goes on.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India's captain, top scored with an unbeaten 57 but it was another poor day for the tourists, who have lost their last five Tests matches on the road. Their first innings dismissal for 191 followed first Test totals of 169 and 282 for a batting line-up that is failing to live up to a stellar reputation. Duncan Fletcher, India's coach, sought to hide the cracks by putting it down to ill fortune.
"They're putting in the effort, they're trying their best," he said of a batting order that saw the top five total 78 runs – 15 more than in their second innings at Melbourne. "It's just sometimes in cricket we just need a little bit of good fortune. You look at Sachin, how often would he play on from that width, more often than not he would have put that through the covers for four. Sometimes it goes against you and sometimes it runs with you."
It is undoubtedly running with Australia's pace attack. A buoyant Pattinson has been ably supported by a revitalised Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle. "I'm loving it," said Pattinson as he reflected on a shining start to his international career. "I'm just loving playing Test cricket and playing for Australia. I'm honoured to be out there playing against some of the best batsmen in the world and getting Sachin out is something I'll remember for the rest of my life. It's an amazing feeling."
His tone is of a young man overawed by the chance to face such garlanded opponents, but his bowling has been anything but. Once again, Pattinson and the Australian seam attack stuck rigorously to Craig McDermott's plan to pitch the ball up and bowl on and about off stump. Pattinson's pace –he delivers at consistently close to 90mph – also allows him to slip in the occasional dangerous short ball.
It is not only McDermott's input – the new bowling coach has the experience of 71 Tests, in most of which he took the new ball, to call on – that has helped Pattinson. "Pace is something that comes pretty naturally to me. I don't run in a try and bowl really fast, I just run in and try and bowl a nice line and length," he said. "One of the greatest fast bowlers of all time, Glenn McGrath, had a chat with me the other day and said that's all you have to worry about, the pace will take care of itself."
This is only Pattinson's fourth Test and he already has 24 wickets to his name. Yesterday he finished with four for 43 – all top-order batsmen.
Siddle included his 100th Test wicket among his three, while Hilfenhaus, who looks a different bowler to the one chewed up by England in the last Ashes series, ran through the tail.
Australia have their own batting concerns and their top order once again proved worringly brittle. Zaheer Khan dismissed David Warner, Ed Cowan and Shaun Marsh to leave the home side 37 for three before Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke saw them to the close on 116 without further loss.
Meanwhile, Kent have appointed the former West Indies captain Jimmy Adams as their new coach.
Kallis ton puts South Africans on right track
Jacques Kallis hit 159 not out in his 150th Test to guide South Africa to 347 for 3 at stumps on day one of the series-deciding third Test against Sri Lanka.
Kallis marked the milestone match at Newlands, his home ground, with a 41st Test hundred and shared a 205-run partnership with opener Alviro Petersen (109).
Kallis was in dominant, attacking form from the start to boost South Africa's hopes of a first home series win since 2008.
The 36-year-old right-hander took just 42 balls to reach 50 and 114 balls for his century. He hit 21 fours and a six as Sri Lanka paid for their decision to field on a flat Cape Town pitch. Dhammika Prasad dismissed captain Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla as he claimed figures of 2 for 85.
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