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Bangalore draw a good advertisement for Test cricket

October 15, 2008

The first Test between India and Australia [Images] ended in a hard-fought draw, which Ricky Ponting [Images] will still be thinking about the 'ifs'.

It was a gripping Test, with the pendulum swinging in Australia's favour more than India's. The toss proved vital again and Australia made full use of the best batting conditions on offer, putting runs on board.

Ponting tried to fill a hole in his career by scoring a brilliant hundred and Hussey matched his skipper with a strokeful ton. India were bailed out with the Harbhajan-Zaheer association of 80 runs for the eighth wicket, and that was the time when the momentum quietly shifted towards the Indians after they were precariously placed at 155 for 5, with the danger of the follow-on looming large .

Ganguly showed tremendous application in a knock of 47 and Dravid played like a grafter after quite some time. Australia thoroughly missed a genuine spinner who could run through the opposition and take advantage of the cracks on day five, even though Michael Clark and White, even if half as good, troubled the batsman.

India must have felt deja vu when Rahul Dravid [Images] was picked up by Ponting's acrobatic catch at midwicket immediately after Sehwag's dismissal, and one felt the ghosts of the Sydney Test were waiting to haunt again. However, Tendulkar and Laxman, and later on Ganguly, applied themselves with resolute knocks to earn a well-deserved draw.

What a Test Zaheer had! He got the ball to reverse and was instrumental in that partnership with Harbhajan, both scoring half centuries that took the game away from the Aussies.

Ponting set a target that would have been under threat if Sehwag had come good . However, it was surprising to see Ponting go into a defensive mindset when the Harbhajan-Zaheer partnership was on; as a result, the game slipped out of Australia's grasp.

India have lots of positives to take from the match. For most part of the contest, it was Test match cricket at its best, with all three results likely at start of Day 5.

Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan [Images] bowled exceedingly well under testing conditions and troubled all batsman alike with in-dippers .Anil Kumble [Images] had a ordinary Test, going wicketless, and lacked resourcefulness, while Dhoni [Images] will look to siege the initiative to prove his batting credentials in Mohali.

From an Australian stand-point, Lee and Johnson employed a lot of variation in pace which yielded results for them .

The strip at Mohali will offer more assistance to the pacers and lot more carry to the wicketkeeper. Australi will feel at home.

Round One was no-result affair and the battle shifts to Mohali. But, at the moment, cricket lovers are assured of a riveting series in the offing.

A good advertisement for Test cricket!

Editor's note: Rediff believes that like its own editorial staffers, readers too have points of view on the many issues relating to cricket as it is played.

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