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Even good pitches can trouble shaken teams

It was another ordinary batting performance from India, this time on a good batting surface. The batsmen have struggled right through the series, and this must be a worrying thing for the players. Sourav Ganguly writes.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2012 00:50 IST
Sourav Ganguly

It was another ordinary batting performance from India, this time on a good batting surface. The batsmen have struggled right through the series, and this must be a worrying thing for the players. Wickets in the last three Tests favoured a lot more seam movement, but this was an absolute belter.

It shows that if the confidence is down, even good pitches create problems. India lost three wickets in the morning session and it could have been worse had Virat Kohli and Wriddhiman Saha not put up a good partnership.

Kohli was brilliant; he just took over from where he had left in Perth and this could be the innings he needs to get his Test career going. I believe one needs to get runs overseas, and his knock would rank up there.

He is a player who invariably makes big scores once he gets his eye in. He has scored eight One-day hundreds so far, but the Test ton at the Adelaide Oval would be cherished for a long time. What makes the knock special is that he kept scoring even when wickets were falling at the other end.

Saha was impressive
A word of praise is also due for Wriddhiman Saha. He definitely showed the temperament to succeed at this level. He is, by far, the best wicketkeeper in the country and if he keeps performing, opportunities will keep coming his way. It's never easy to keep filling up slots, because one never knows when the next opportunity will come, but he has done no harm to his reputation.

For Australia, it was a perfect day. They wouldn't have thought they could scythe through the Indian batting so easily on this surface, but Peter Siddle was brilliant. Siddle has a big heart and, to me, he is the captain's delight. A lot of bowlers get wickets in helpful conditions but it's the wickets on flat pitches that are special.

Nathan Lyon also impressed me. He bowled in areas outside the off stump, something which R Ashwin didn't. I had a look at the pitch during the tea break and the Australian spinner will have a big role to play in the second innings on this wearing pitch. Michael Clarke very rightly did not enforce the follow-on, as there is a lot of time left.

The weather is very hot, something I have not experienced in this country before, and he gave his quicks the extra rest required.

With the hot spell likely to continue for another couple of days, the pitch will deteriorate further and make lives harder for India. A declaration could be expected around lunch on Friday and the Aussies will have five sessions to get India out.

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(The writer is a former India captain and currently a TV commentator)