Friday, October 31, 2008

Match Heading towards draw

India v Australia, 3rd Test, Feroz Shah Kotla, 3rd day

Australia 338 for 4 (Ponting 87, Hayden 83, Katich 64, Hussey 53, Clarke 21*, Watson 4*, Sehwag 3-66) trail India 613 for 7 dec by 275 runs

Ricky Ponting battled his way to 87 as Australia fought hard on the third day

Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden led a solid collective effort from Australia on the third day in Delhi, although by the close there was no guarantee they would avoid the follow-on. Virender Sehwag went from fifth bowling option to major striker with three wickets, including two key breakthroughs in the final session that left Australia needing 76 more runs to ensure India would bat again.

It was a difficult day for Australia and the stumps scorecard did not fully reflect the gripping nature of the contest. There were no mammoth individual efforts like those from Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman; the most impressive aspect of Australia's batting was simply their group fight.

Replying to 613 is a psychologically difficult task and India's bowlers did not make it any easier. Even without Anil Kumble for one and a half sessions - he went to hospital for treatment on a cut finger after getting his hands to a fierce Hayden stroke at short midwicket - the attack was constantly threatening.

Sehwag, India's prime offspinner in the absence of Harbhajan Singh, was as dangerous as any of the specialists as he spun some deliveries sharply while others sailed straight on towards the stumps. He gave India momentum at key intervals and his removal of Michael Hussey and Ponting after tea sparked something in his team-mates.

Hussey had worked incredibly hard for his 53, only to see his dead-straight bat beaten by a superb offbreak that clipped the off-stump. Ponting had already departed to a ball that pitched in the rough and turned back to rattle his stumps and the two blows came at just the right time for India.

They were frustrated that Ponting survived a super spell of reverse-swing bowling from Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan, who tested his focus more rigorously than a pair of optometrists. As expected, Ishant troubled him with deliveries that bounced and jagged back in sharply. Zaheer's swing was also a challenge. Despite a couple of indecisive and almost fatal leave-play-leave moments, Ponting somehow survived.

There were some genuinely good strokes from Ponting, who was desperate not to stagnate. He drove Amit Mishra beautifully straight back down the ground for four and pounced on occasional full tosses and long-hops. But for a man who usually makes batting look so simple, this innings was as fluent as his Hindi.

In many ways, that made it even more impressive that he reached 87. His 82-run partnership with Hussey continued to grind Australia towards avoiding the follow-on after the early work of Hayden and Simon Katich. Importantly for Australia, the stings throughout the day were well-spaced, although a swarm of bees that descended on the stadium just after lunch briefly provided a different sort of threat.

When the players and umpires avoided the buzzers by lying flat in their positions - some perpendicular to the pitch, some parallel - the aerial view looked like a human version of the board game Battleship. Sachin Tendulkar was the small and aptly-named destroyer, Hayden the hulking aircraft carrier. And it wasn't long before Sehwag sank the biggest ship with a perfectly targeted missile.

Hayden had survived a few close calls, including an edge off Sehwag that landed centimetres short of Rahul Dravid at first slip, before his fortune ran out. Playing back to a Sehwag delivery that held its line, Hayden was lbw for 83 and Australia were 202 for 2. It was a respectable scoreline but after two of the opposition made double-centuries Australia wanted at least a single hundred from one of their top men.

Still, Hayden's innings was a step in the right direction following his struggles in the first two Tests. He was more composed, he watched the ball closely and waited for opportunities, and rarely did he try to bully the bowlers. He went over the top only when it was safe to do so - he pulled a Mishra long-hop viciously for six and cut Zaheer without risk over the cordon to the vacant third man region.

Generally his bat was straight and it was noticeable that he ignored the sweep that undid him in Mohali. A classic cover-driven boundary off Ishant gave Hayden his first half-century of the tour and he was part of two important partnerships: a 123-run opening stand with Simon Katich and a 79-run compilation with Ponting.

In what was by far Australia's most positive start of the tour, Katich scored more freely than the watchful Hayden and used his feet impressively to the two legspinners. But on 64 he tried to close the face and clip Mishra through leg - a tactic that had worked before - but could only watch on as the ball spat out of the rough and collected his middle stump.

He was not the only batsman who would have that feeling. The task will only get tougher in the final two days of the Test. For now, Australia cannot look that far ahead. Their primary goal must be to knock off the 76 runs they require to avoid the follow-on.

- CricVille -

Sandesh Kumar

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gambhir's ton sets India on course

India 296 for 3 (Gambhir 149*, Tendulkar 68, Laxman 54*) v Australia


Gautam Gambhir posted his highest Test score, and he did it against the world's No. 1 Test team at his home ground

It took Gautam Gambhir nearly four years to make his second Test century having posted his first against Bangladesh in Chittagong; within nine days he has added a third. And if scoring two hundreds against the world's No. 1 Test team within a fortnight was not enough of a thrill, Gambhir can celebrate striking his highest Test score at his home ground and giving India an excellent start to a match that could deliver them the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

When Gambhir, who had been impressively patient throughout the day, brought up the milestone with an unexpected six slammed nonchalantly over long-on off Shane Watson, the roars around the Feroz Shah Kotla were loud and long-lasting. The fans had been denied a century from Sachin Tendulkar, who was in magnificent touch until he fell for 68, but the Gambhir hundred was ample compensation.

The only ones not cheering were the Australians, who were witnessing an opening day that bore worrying similarities to the first three sessions in Mohali. Ricky Ponting insisted at the toss that his men had identified the problems that lost them the second Test and had worked tirelessly to fix the issues.

But apart from pinching two early wickets, Australia again had few causes for optimism. Their concerns included a lack of pace in the pitch, the absence of a frontline spinner, the inability of their fast men to consistently swing the ball, and the concentration of India's batsmen. It was a very familiar list of troubles.

The day went firmly in India's favour as soon as Gambhir and Tendulkar bedded down for a patient and important 130-run partnership. For most of their time together it was Tendulkar who looked by far the more dangerous. Unburdened by questions over when he would break the Test run-scoring record, he was in superb form.

A couple of brilliantly executed back-foot drives that raced past point for boundaries off Mitchell Johnson were a hint that something special might have been coming. An exquisitely-timed cover-drive to an overpitched Brett Lee delivery was just as attractive and Tendulkar passed 50 for the 20th time in Tests against Australia with a delicate and seemingly effortless late cut for four off Stuart Clark.

A 40th Test century was looming when Tendulkar edged behind off Johnson in the final over before tea. But Australia's momentary spark was quickly extinguished after the break when Gambhir lifted his pace.

When the Australians were running through a pre-series analysis of India's batting line-up they must have assumed the major threats would be the usual suspects: Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. But the back-to-back centuries have come from Gambhir, the least experienced man in the top order.

Particularly impressive was the patience displayed by Gambhir after the early losses of Sehwag and Dravid. He comfortably saw India through a slightly nervous period, realising that there was not severe swing, seam movement or steepling bounce, and a sensible approach should work.

He did pounce at times - a pull off Watson comfortably cleared midwicket and sped away for four - but mostly Gambhir displayed his class with terrific timing and placement. A cover-driven boundary off Johnson rivalled anything Tendulkar had provided and he was quickly on to any seamers who strayed towards his pads.

When the platform was safely constructed, Gambhir changed gears more smoothly than Lewis Hamilton. Watson's around-the-wicket angle, which had tied down the left-hander, suddenly became a liability as Gambhir clipped balls repeatedly through the leg side. He began to cut and drive through the off-side more readily and capped off an attacking period by clubbing the six to move from 99 to 105.

The runs did not stop there. Laxman was almost unnoticed, inasmuch as that can be said of his glorious flicks through leg, in building a valuable half-century that helped stop any momentum Australia might have collected when Tendulkar departed. Laxman and Gambhir's unbeaten 139-run partnership became a major frustration for Ponting, whose troops performed admirably at times but failed to maintain the pressure.

The first hour had brought two mood-improving strikes for a team that had suffered a crushing loss in Mohali. In the third over Sehwag was beaten by Lee's speed and was struck dead in line, then as soon as Johnson came on he drew Dravid into an ill-advised drive that caught the edge and was terrifically snared by Matthew Hayden at first slip.

But the momentum eased, despite impressively tight bowling from Stuart Clark, who returned to the side having missed the second Test with an elbow injury. Australia's decision not to play the offspinner Jason Krejza meant Cameron White was again the leading slow bowler and his initial signs were not good.

Tendulkar contemptuously slog-swept a barely-turning White delivery over midwicket for four and drove him through cover, while Gambhir also attacked with delight. It took India 16 overs to take 27 runs from Clark; it took them four overs to strike the same amount off White, who was duly shelved and not seen again for the rest of the day.

Michael Clarke had a trundle and Simon Katich was given his first bowl of the series, although his major contribution was to antagonise Gambhir after comprehensively getting in the way of an attempted single. Words were exchanged and Billy Bowden inserted himself between Katich and Gambhir but the incident had no bearing on the final wash-up.

At a venue where India have won the past seven Tests a stumps total of 296 for 3 was precisely what Australia didn't want. They would hate to hear it, but it was an even worse outcome than the first day in Mohali, when India closed with 15 more runs but two fewer wickets in hand. Ponting has four more days to inspire his men.

- CricVille -

Sandesh Kumar

Credit Card Tips

There are many advantages to having a credit card such as being able to purchase items online and make hotel and car reservations. The way you handle your purchases should be taken seriously. Following are a few tips and suggestions about credit cards.

  • Credit cards are just like a loan -- you have to pay what you owe -- so try and not overcharge more than you can afford to pay.
  • Keep track of how much you spend on your credit card. Remember that incidental and impulse purchases add up fast.
  • Save your credit card receipts. Compare them with your monthly bill. Promptly report problems to the company that issued the card.
  • Never lend your credit cards to anyone.
  • Owing more than you can repay can damage your credit rating. That can make it hard to finance a car, rent an apartment, get insurance or even get a job.
  • Pay your credit card bill on time, and in full when possible. If you don't, you'll have to pay finance charges on the unpaid balance-and it takes forever to get caught up if you just pay the minimum.

Federal law limits your liability for unauthorized charges to $50 per card.

- CricVille -

Sandesh Kumar

Mortgage Refinancing Tips

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There are many things you need to do before you can apply for your next mortgage.

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Select Mesothelioma Lawyers

A mesothelioma diagnosis is a scary event. There is a lot of stress and much to understand about various treatment options. You are busy with doctor's appointments and learning about mesothelioma surgery, chemo and other therapies. But, you should not forget that mesothelioma is caused by asbestos, a carcinogen. The money you can receive from filing an asbestos claim can help pay for medical bills and provide security for your family. It also punishes the companies that made you sick. But, selecting a mesothelioma lawyer should be done carefully.

In this brief article, I have tried to explain a few things to consider when selecting a mesothelioma attorney. As you will read, the outcome of your case can depend on your choice of mesothelioma lawyer. As an attorney, the President of Cancer Monthly, and the publisher of various cancer books and publications including two on mesothelioma, I have helped hundreds of mesothelioma patients over the years. Give me a call when you are ready to learn how to identify reputable mesothelioma law firms, what questions to ask when you interview lawyers, and what mistakes you should avoid. This is a free service provided by Cancer Monthly. My phone number is 619-599-3112.

If you are ready to select a mesothelioma lawyer without additional information, I have listed at the bottom some firms with a tremendous amount of experience.

The Facts of Your Situation

Some mesothelioma patients know they worked around asbestos, but many do not know how they were exposed or how often. In fact, many people are not sure if they were ever near this carcinogen. Unfortunately, there have been thousands of products that contained asbestos - cigarette filters, hair dryers, brakes, basement and roof materials, pipes, boilers, insulation, and many other products found throughout the home and at work. If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma it is more than likely that you were exposed to asbestos multiple times in your life and that this happened decades before your diagnosis.

In general, the value of your case depends on how many asbestos containing products you were exposed to, the number of identifiable defendants that still exist (many have declared bankruptcy), your age and earning capacity. And the speed of your case can depend on a number of variables including the state where you worked and lived when you were exposed to asbestos.

The Law Firm You Choose

When you have been given the news about this terrible disease, you may not feel that you have the time to deal with the legal questions - Should I talk to a lawyer? Should I file a claim? However, you should not wait too long to learn about your legal rights for at least three reasons:

  1. Statutes of Limitations - There are statute of limitations which means you only have a limited time to file your case after diagnosis. The statute of limitations time period is set by individual states and varies. The clock usually starts ticking on the day of diagnosis.

  2. Financial Pressure - A mesothelioma diagnosis can bring financial stress, less income, more expenses, and treatments that are not covered by insurance. Knowing that money may be on the way from filing a claim can bring financial relief.

  3. Lawyers Can be Excellent Resources - The more experienced mesothelioma lawyers and law firms can often be excellent sources of information about various doctors and treatment options available for this disease.

But, picking a lawyer is serious business and you should not use TV ads as the reason to hire an attorney. Actual credentials are what counts. For example, what type of accomplishments has the law firm achieved? How committed are they to mesothelioma/asbestos cases? Are these cases a substantial part of their practice or just a small piece? How many other cases like yours have they handled?

Also, make sure you understand the fees being charges. Contingency is the term that means that the lawyer gets paid only after they collect money for you. The amount of the contingency fee that your lawyer can charge varies and is usually between 33% and 40%. It is important to discuss fees openly, ask what services they cover, how they are calculated, and whether there will be any extra charges.

Finally, for something as important as a mesothelioma lawsuit, your attorney should not only be experienced, skilled, and dedicated, but also a trusted partner who understands that your health needs always take precedence. The best lawyers are those that are not only expert at what they do, but are also caring, supportive, thoughtful and compassionate.

Below are experienced mesothelioma law firms you can contact. If you would like additional information on choosing a reputable mesothelioma law firm please feel free to call me at 1-619-599-3112.

- CricVille -

Sandesh Kumar

India v/s Australia 3rd Test Scorecard Day 1

Border-Gavaskar Trophy - 3rd Test
India v Australia
2008/09 season

Played at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi, on 29,30,31 October, 1,2 November 2008 (5-day match)

India 1st innings R M B 4s 6s SR

G Gambhir not out 149
285 20 1 52.28

V Sehwag lbw b Lee 1 10 2 0 0 50.00

R Dravid c Hayden b Johnson 11 36 31 1 0 35.48

SR Tendulkar c wicketkeeperHaddin b Johnson 68 188 126 11 0 53.96

VVS Laxman not out 54
94 3 0 57.44

Extras (b 4, lb 5, nb 4) 13

Total (3 wickets; 89 overs) 296 (3.32 runs per over)

To bat SC Ganguly, wicketkeeperMS Dhoni, captainA Kumble, Z Khan, I Sharma, A Mishra

Fall of wickets1-5 (Sehwag, 2.1 ov), 2-27 (Dravid, 10.4 ov), 3-157 (Tendulkar, 51.5 ov)

Bowling O M R W Econ

B Lee 19 1 70 1 3.68

SR Clark 21 8 29 0 1.38 (1nb)

MG Johnson 17 1 69 2 4.05

SR Watson 13 4 41 0 3.15 (3nb)

CL White 4 0 27 0 6.75

MJ Clarke 9 0 34 0 3.77

SM Katich 6 1 17 0 2.83

Australia team
SM Katich, ML Hayden, captainRT Ponting, MEK Hussey, MJ Clarke, SR Watson, wicketkeeperBJ Haddin, CL White, B Lee, MG Johnson, SR Clark

Toss India, who chose to bat first

- CricVille -
Sandesh Kumar

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

India v/s Australia 3rd Test Preview

Match facts
Oct 29-Nov 2, 2008
Start time 9.30am (0400 GMT)

Big Picture
The 320-run drubbing for Australia at the hands of India in Mohali means the hosts have all the momentum and confidence going into the third Test, in Delhi. The leadership might have changed hands - Anil Kumble takes over from the inspired Mahendra Singh Dhoni - but that is unlikely to affect the buoyant Indians, especially given the track record of team and captain at this venue: India have won the last seven Tests here, and Kumble has a rich haul of 55 wickets from six Tests at an average of 15.41. Almost all the Indian batsmen have been among the runs in this series, the fast bowlers have asked plenty of questions of the opposition batsmen with their reverse-swing and accuracy, and the spinners - including a debutant - have helped themselves to a bagful of wickets as well. Things couldn't be any rosier for India.
For Ricky Ponting, though, the tour has been full of thorns. His own form has come undone after a splendid start in Bangalore, but even worse, he could only watch helplessly as his team was completely outclassed in Mohali. The one-week break could not have come at a better time for Australia, and while Ponting has said the team's work ethic has been outstanding during this period - "Steve Waugh was at training yesterday [Monday] and he said he'd never seen a team train as well as we did" - what matters is how the players translate that into performance in the middle. Australia have so far been badly let down by the senior players - Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke and Brett Lee have all been below par - and they need at least a couple of them to turn in match-winning performances to claw back in the series.

Form guide (last 5 Tests)
Australia LDWDW

Watch out for
Matthew Hayden hasn't been among the runs so far, but he is too good a player to go four Tests without making a significant contribution. He was unlucky with a couple of marginal decisions in Bangalore, and if the rub of the green goes his way Hayden could well stamp his authority on the Delhi Test.
Michael Clarke has had a lean run so far, twice falling in the last over of the day, but his 69 in Mohali showed he is coming to terms with the conditions in India. His ability to use his feet against spin makes him a key member of Australia's batting line-up.
Anil Kumble: You can't argue with his record in Delhi: 55 wickets in six Tests at an average of 15.41. Even if he isn't at his deadliest, Kumble could be a major threat here.
Sehwag and Gambhir: The Feroz Shah Kotla is the home ground for both Indian openers, and given their form in the series so far, expect more fireworks from them at the start of India's innings.

Team news
Kumble is certain to return to the team, which means Amit Mishra, who made an outstanding debut in Mohali, or Harbhajan Singh will make way. Mishra would have sat out in normal circumstances, but a toe injury that Harbhajan sustained towards the end of the Mohali Test makes matters more uncertain, with a final decision expected only on the morning of the match.
India 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Rahul Dravid, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Sourav Ganguly, 6 VVS Laxman, 7 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), 8 Anil Kumble (capt), 9 Harbhajan Singh/ Amit Mishra, 10 Zaheer Khan, 11 Ishant Sharma.
Stuart Clark is back in the reckoning after missing the previous match due an elbow injury. He will replace Peter Siddle, while Jason Krezja has been named in the 12-man shortlist as well. Krezja had a terrible time in the tour game, and it's unlikely Australia will take a chance with him even in conditions expected to favour spin.
Australia (likely) 1 Matthew Hayden, 2 Simon Katich, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 Michael Hussey, 6 Shane Watson, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Cameron White, 9 Brett Lee, 10 Mitchell Johnson, 11 Stuart Clark.

Pitch & conditions
Radhey Shyam, the curator, has a track record of making pitches which suit Kumble, and there is every likelihood of another spin-friendly surface over the next five days. If that's the case the toss could be crucial yet again. Though the weather is expected to remain clear, the morning smog and the early sunset could both eat into playing time.

Stats & Trivia
India have won the last seven Tests in Delhi, but in the 20-year period from 1972 to 1992, they hadn't won a single match out of 11, losing five and drawing six.
Kumble has won the Man-of-the-Match award in the last two Tests in Delhi. Overall, three of his ten match awards have come in Delhi.
In all 29 Tests here, the captain winning the toss has chosen to bat. However, out of 16 decisive results, the team winning the toss has won the game only five times. England are the only overseas team to win the toss and the match.
Even though India have won the last seven Tests here, they've struggled with their opening partnerships: the average stand during this period is 17.23, with only one half-century stand in 13 innings. Opposition teams have fared only slightly better, averaging 24.71 in 14 innings. The overall opening stand of 21.11 in the last seven Tests suggests there's something in the track for the new-ball bowlers.
Spinners have taken nearly two-thirds of the wickets here in the last seven Tests - their 141 wickets have come at an average of 27.52. Fast and medium-fast bowlers have taken 76 wickets at 39.08.

- CricVille -
Sandesh Kumar

Monday, October 27, 2008

Kumble to replace Mishra, if fit

While the stadium itself has retained none of the charm of the old world, the surroundings suggest you have entered a town of forts. Once you have entered the Feroze Shah Kotla – and it's mighty tough given the security - just look up and you'll find a policeman at most of the high points, overlooking the movements outside the stadium, almost like the guards in a fortress. They may as well be protecting India's lead in the series, welcome to the Fortress Feroz Shah.

Leading 1-0, India couldn't have come to a better venue – Kotla itself means a citadel - to try and kill the series: they have won the last seven Tests played here. India's build-up going into the third Test is in stark contrast to the one going into Mohali, where they won comprehensively. In Mohali, India were not sure of the final XI till about half an hour before the start; here they are almost sure – two days before the match – that Anil Kumble will replace Amit Mishra, who took a five-for on debut.

If Kotla is the fortress, Kumble has been its king. He has taken 55 wickets in six Tests here, at an average of 15.41. After having missed the Mohali Test, he seems to have recovered from the shoulder injury, and has been bowling in the nets.

- CricVille -
Sandesh Kumar

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Intikhab Alam to replace Lawson

Pakistan Coach Hunt

Intikhab Alam has emerged as the leading contender for the position of Pakistan coach after the removal of Geoff Lawson yesterday.

Intikhab said he has been offered a two-year contract but added that an official announcement will come from the board.

The PCB released Lawson from his contract with three months compensation pay insisting they were not satisfied with his performance. Lawson, who was supposed to complete a two-year contract with the national team next year in August, is still in Lahore. The new administration has been keen to hire a local coach, and the names of Javed Miandad and Aamer Sohail have also cropped up.

Intikhab has a successful track record as coach, having first been at the helm when Pakistan won the 1992 World Cup and then in 2000. He has also coached the Indian Punjab team in their domestic Ranji Trophy tournament for two seasons, taking them to the final in 2004-05.

Since 1997, Pakistan have had nine different coaches, some of whom, like Javed Miandad and Richard Pybus have been in the position more than once.

- Cric Ville -

Sandesh Kumar

Lawson sacked as Pakistan coach

On the way out: Geoff Lawson has been given the marching orders by the new-look Pakistan board

Geoff Lawson has been removed as Pakistan coach, just days after it was announced that he would see out the rest of his contract, ending in August 2009. The announcement came shortly after a meeting he had with PCB chief Ijaz Butt - responsible for the recent public flip-flops on the coach's future - at which Lawson was told a decision would be conveyed to him by Saturday, following discussions within the board.

He will be paid three months’ salary as agreed in his contract in case of termination. The contract of David Dwyer, the trainer Lawson brought with him, has not been ended though it is understood that he is reluctant to stay without Lawson.

Surprisingly, Lawson is believed to have heard of the decision after it became public. In fact, as news emerged, Lawson was on his way to train with some Pakistan players. Later, he confirmed receiving a letter from the board informing him of the decision.

- Cric Ville -

Sandesh Kumar

New Zealand v/s Bangladesh: Rain stops play second day

New Zealand v/s Banladesh

2nd Test, Day 2

Dear Readers,

Its' really sad to know that play has not even started between New Zealand v/s Bangladesh Second Test match. It is raining continuously for the second consecutive day. Hope to get back to you whenever there is an update.

Don't forget to "Leave a comment"

- CricVille -
Sandesh Kumar

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

India grabs record victory

India v Australia, 2nd Test, Mohali, 5th day

India 469 (Ganguly 102, Dhoni 92, Tendulkar 88, Gambhir 67) and 314 for 3 (Gambhir 104, Sehwag 90, Dhoni 68*) beat Australia 268 (Watson 78, Hussey 54, Mishra 5-71) and 195 (Clarke 69) by 320 runs


Zaheer Khan's three early wickets on the fifth day hastened Australia's defeat

It was a match that was never out of India's control. After the tremendous work done over four days, they needed less than a session on the fifth morning to defeat Australia, sealing the Test by 320 runs, their biggest margin of victory in terms of runs ever. Zaheer Khan nipped out three wickets in the space of four deliveries when play started, and though Michael Clarke resisted with 69, it was always going to be a matter of when India would take a 1-0 series lead. In terms of runs, it was Australia's biggest loss to India since Melbourne, 1977.

India had reduced Australia to 58 for 5 yesterday, but had to wait 84 runs for their next strike, after which proceedings resembled a bowling alley as Zaheer knocked over the lower order like nine pins. Zaheer was simply unplayable. He struck in the first over of the day, bowling Brad Haddin for 37 with a ripper. It pitched on a length, shaped back in, and took out the middle and off stumps. In his next over, Zaheer found himself on a hat-trick. A leaden-footed Cameron White went for a drive and edged to Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Next ball, Brett Lee had no clue to one pitched fractionally shorter and had his stumps splayed. Three wickets had fallen for three runs.

With nine men around the bat, Mitchell Johnson averted the hat-trick. Zaheer had slowly built up his momentum through the fourth day and struck gold on the fifth morning. He got the ball to move slightly away from the batsmen, and was very accurate. Ishant Sharma achieved movement both ways, evident when Clarke outside-edged towards slip - the ball didn't carry - and later inside-edged towards square leg.

Perhaps significant with two Tests to play, Clarke shrugged off an indifferent tour with a fluent 69. On a pitch with good movement and against bowlers who were on song, he batted with focus and determination. He and Johnson, who batted well for his 26 before popping a return catch to Amit Mishra, added 50. Clarke had been the glue that held a poor Australian innings together, but he was last out when he clipped Mishra - who finished with seven on debut - to midwicket. As the fat lady sang and Punjabi bhangra filled the Mohali air, Dhoni - India's stand-in captain who rarely made a wrong call through the Test - led the charge towards the catcher, Virender Sehwag.

Teams that have a habit of winning know how to seize the momentum and never let it go. Like Australia had done for the last decade and more, India did that very well in Mohali. They were, unquestionably, the superior side in this Test.

- CricVille -

Sandesh Kumar