Overnight declaration, a target of 364 and 98 overs to survive. Indian batsmen had their task cut out. The art of survival was required on a track which was expected to only deteriorate as the sessions go by. And with the way Nathan Lyon bowled in the first innings, he was expected to be a major weapon on this wearing strip.
For India, the situation was clear – bat 98 overs and the runs will follow. The platform, in this battle of survival, became all the more important and it was required that the openers take the sheen off the new ball and provide a solid platform for the middle order. That, however, didn’t happen as Shikhar Dhawan, unlucky though, was back in the hut in the fifth over.
Unlike the first innings, Dhawan was not into his groove. There were no early boundaries as the Australians kept it tight against the Delhi dasher, who was, if not struggling, not in flow in the middle.
After all the ‘nice talks’ which happened on Day 4, Johnson was back to his elements. The speedster was charging in and bending his back in the middle. In the fifth over, the quick hurried Dhawan with a bouncer which the umpire thought he gloved it to Brad Haddin behind the stumps.
Replays suggest otherwise but India lost an early wicket and the hosts had their tail up.
After his heroics in the first innings – where he trapped India with some fine spells of spin bowling – a lot was expected from Lyon on the track which had a lot of rough areas to keep the spinner interested. He didn’t disappoint.
The first two overs weren’t that threatening but Lyon, after conceding some boundaries and a six, made the little adjustment in length and went a touch fuller. The little shift was enough to keep Pujara, who was strangely finding it hard against the offie, guessing.
Lyon was finally rewarded for an attacking spell when Pujara edged one to Haddin. Yes, he did concede at around four an over but wickets hold key for both sides.
India skipper Virat Kohli walked out in the 20th over of the innings. He had Vijay, who was building his innings well, for company and the duo had to ensure to not lose any wicket before heading into lunch.
They not only survived but scored at a brisk pace. Anything shot was pulled and Lyon’s offies were countered with authoritative sweeps. All of a sudden, there was a positive approach by the Indians.
For the visitors to stand any chance of winning or saving the Test, Kohli-Vijay need to bat at least for another 75-100 runs.