India are now on a roll. The missing links in batting are beginning to fall in place. Both Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh have shifted gears. The batting now has an impregnable look to it.
Australia are under the hammer. Ricky Ponting has major worries. His middle-order looks vulnerable. It now relies too heavily on Mike Hussey, Shane Watson and the captain himself. Weakness inevitably leads to compromises and Ponting showed his hand when he revealed it to be a 220-run pitch at the time of the toss.
Mindful of a middle-order collapse, Ponting and Watson were unusually cautious. Both of them wanted to keep one end going. Ponting took the opener’s route for the first time but, for all his good intentions, I think the 220-run mindset hurt the world champions.
I, for one, still believe a left-hander at the top of the order is of utmost importance if the Aussies have to make a move in this series. Shaun Marsh is my man at the top of the order. Their depleted bowling was always going to come short against the rampaging Indians.
MS Dhoni is beginning to show a ruthless streak. One good innings isn’t good enough for the India captain. His consistency inevitably would demand an equal response from his mates. Yuvraj Singh had a memorable outing in the middle. He looked good even in Nagpur but a brilliant catch did him in.
It wasn’t the case in Delhi where he produced a perfectly paced innings. He first repaired and then provided the momentum. Yuvraj the bowler has been no less consistent in the past year or so. The “pie-chucker” is having a good chuckle.
The poster boy of Indian cricket is at the peak of his prowess. Spinners indeed are calling shots in this series. Nathan Hauritz has made the most of the conditions. He is improving with every match. For India, Harbhajan was back to his respectable self and it provided an altogether different look to the attack where the Rainas, Yuvrajs and Jadejas are squeezing the tap dry for Australia.