Australia in control as India stumble to 178/8

James Pattinson (R) celebrates after dismissing Sachin Tendulkar for 41 Getty Images

Sydney: Jan 3, 2012

The much-vaunted Indian top-order batting line-up crumbled against a disciplined Australian pace attack as the visitors were left gasping for breath at 178 for eight at tea on the opening day of the second Test.

Young fast bowler James Pattinson grabbed four wickets for 43 runs, which included the scalp of Sachin Tendulkar (41) who now will have to wait for India’s second innings for his 100th international ton.

Tendulkar’s lunch-time partner Virat Kohli had earlier departed for 23, surprised by the bounce of a Peter Siddle delivery which he edged behind the stumps.

The slide was somewhat arrested by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (44 batting) and Ravichandran Ashwin (20) who put on 54 runs for the seventh wicket before the latter fell to Ben Hilfenhaus just before tea.

Ashwin closed the face of his bat all too soon at a swinging delivery from Hilfenhaus which took the edge of his bat and went to Michael Clarke in the slips.

The next delivery, the last before the break, was a short-pitched delivery at Zaheer Khan’s throat which caught him completely unawares. Zaheer was still in a tangle when the ball hit the handle of his bat and lobbed to Ed Cowan at forward short leg.

Tendulkar and Kohli had put on 37 runs for the fifth wicket when Siddle made a ball bounce on the young Delhi batsman which he could do no better than edge it behind the stumps.

But for his dismissal, Kohli had looked good during his stay of 41 balls before an error in judgment cut his innings in full bloom.

Tendulkar was in immaculate touch and twice hit Hilfenhaus through the offside for fours off the backfoot to move into the 40s. Yet, he was drawn into a cover drive off a fullish, widish delivery from Pattinson and dragged the ball on to his stumps. Tendulkar made 41 off 89 balls and hit eight fours.

Dhoni showed better application and young off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin could also not be dissuaded from his end as the visitors looked to prolong their innings.

Australia introduced off-spinner Nathan Lyon in the afternoon but the young bowler, was as ineffective like he was at the MCG.

Dhoni drove Lyon through the covers to move to 39 which incidentally is his highest score in 11 innings in this part of the world. At tea break, he was batting on 44 off 63 balls with five fours.

The Australians looked to bounce Ashwin into indiscreet shots but the tall cricketer kept hooking them and avoiding the fielders.

Earlier, Dhoni won the toss on a bright sunny day and had no hesitation in opting to bat only to find out later that his famed batting colleagues surrendered meekly to the inexperienced Australian pace attack.

Gautam Gambhir (0), Rahul Dravid (5) and VVS Laxman (2) were dismissed cheaply while Virender Sehwag made 30 before he was out as India lost four top-order batsmen for 72 runs at lunch. (PTI)

Brief Scores: India 178 for 8 (MS Dhoni 44*, Sachin Tendulkar 41, Virender Sehwag 30; James Pattinson 4 for 43, Peter Siddle 2 for 42) vs Australia.

Full Scorecard