Chris Rogers and Shane Watson scored valuable half centuries against India at MCG which may extend their respective careers © Getty Images
Shane Watson (left) and Chris Rogers scored valuable half-centuries against India at the MCG which may help them fight the troubles they have been facing © Getty Images

Chris Rogers and Shane Watson teamed up to steady Australia and added 115 runs for the second wicket, consolidating their side’s position against India at Melbourne in the third Test. While both batsmen came up with impressive knocks, they still continue to live dangerously, says Devarchit Varma.

Australia and India shared honours on the first day of their crucial third Test at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). While Australia will be pleased as three of their batsmen scored half-centuries, India would certainly be patting themselves on the back for not allowing any one of them to go on to register a big score. After all, India have consistently failed to remove the batsmen — irrespective of their batting positions — once they have settled in; the effort would certainly give them a lot of confidence going ahead in this contest.

The series has had a couple of heroes as well as the flops. While India had decided against the selection of Rohit Sharma, who has done miserably overseas, Australians persisted with the likes of Chris Rogers and the experienced Shane Watson — two men who have not scored enough in this series. While Rogers secured his place in the side for this clash with two half-centuries in the second Test at The Gabba in Brisbane, Watson continued to fail after starts and it was critical for him to get a big score.

Both Rogers and Watson batted with ease in the middle, but the manner in which they got out in quick succession would certainly not ease the woes Australia find themselves in. Time and again the Australian camp has spoken about the importance of big scores from these two, and the manners of their dismissals only prove they have squandered the opportunity. While Rogers saw width in a Mohammed Shami delivery way outside the off-stump and went chasing it, Watson completely missed to connect one that was right in the line of the off-stump and was declared out plumb, off a disciplined Ravichandran Ashwin.

A comparison with Steven Smith can help put things into perspective. He saw the two wickets go down in quick succession, but did not hurry; at one point he had reached just two off 31 balls; he knows that scoring runs may not be a wise idea when it comes to construct a Test innings. He finished the day with an unbeaten 72 at stumps to add to his 162 not out, 52 not out, 133 and 28 in this series.

Neither Rogers nor Watson showed the diligence or attitude to stay at the wicket and convert their fifties into hundreds; they were guilty, not only of falling prey to innocuous deliveries, but also for not making their starts count.

Watson is into his sixth Test without a century and so is Rogers. They occupy two of the top three positions in the Australian batting line-up. It would be unfair for the team to depend on David Warner and Smith every time to deliver. Rogers and Watson may have raised hopes of big scores with their fifties, but they still continue to live a little dangerously at the moment.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)