Man who did nearly everything


Clarke went on to score an unbeaten 103 to take Aussies to 316/7 at stumps. Ashwin was to add a wicket in the final session to finish with figures of 6/88. The offie's late strike, getting the very impressive Henriques lbw, had evened the game, which during the latter part of the 151 run-sixth wicket partnership seemed to be drifting away from India. But in the context of the series, the positives for Australia far outnumbered the ones for the Indians. Their MVP had hit a ton, the rusty Warner had scored a 50 and the 26-year-old Henriques had ticked two crucial boxes — he could negotiate the tough sub-continent and, if not a Shane Watson yet, but a worthy No.7 batsman.

On the other hand, Ashwin played solo. A mere glimpse at the scoreboard proves it. Except for 'Ed Cowan st Dhoni b Ashwin', all the rest of the offie's dismissals have been lbw or bowled. The opening overs of his first three spells of the day were marked by a wicket, dropped chance and an umpiring howler that denied him a wicket. He was the one making things happen all the time.

The Ashwin glow was blinding but still the grey areas of India's bowling unit stood out prominently. New ball bowler Ishant Sharma continued to remain wicketless despite bowling well. His young partner and debutant Bhuvneshwar Kumar showed that he can reverse the ball and move it both ways. But there was also a realisation that getting past the guard of top international batsmen would need better conditions and a few more kphs. Bhuvneshwar certainly hasn't been touted as a strike bowler but he didn't even keep one end tight, conceding 4.4 runs per overs and eight fours.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who was to dry up the runs from one end to help the strike bowlers, didn't live up to his brief either.

... contd.

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