Sachin Tendulkar finally got past Brian Lara to become not only the highest run getter in Tests but also the first player to cross 12,000 runs. The two record breaking moments for the little master inspired him to put on a fighting stand of 142 with another old pro Sourav Ganguly, who had gone past 7000 Test runs in course of his innings. India could have had total control of the day had Tendulkar not been dismissed in the fag end of play. But India would take the 311 for 5 after a mini collapse early on.
The breaking news for the opening day’s play of the 2nd Test at Mohali was that of Anil Kumble sitting out with an injured shoulder and making way for MS Dhoni to lead the side. Haryana leggie Amit Mishra got his first test scalp while the Aussies had lost Stuart Clark through an elbow injury going into this game. Victorian youngster Peter Siddle got to make his debut. The track at Mohali looked absolutely perfect for batting and the team winning the toss had an advantage. MS Dhoni continued to show that he was a master at winning tosses and he had no hesitation in batting first.
The hosts had a perfect start from the pair of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir and it was getting desperate for the Aussies to get the breakthrough. Fortunately for them, Mitchell Johnson saved them from an afternoon carnage by forcing Sehwag to nick an akward short delivery down the legside to the keeper. It was a huge disappointment for the batting side to lose a batsman who was capable of scoring another 300! Sehwag lasted 36 deliveries in which he easily scored 35 runs with 6 fours in a partnership of 70 with Gambhir. No.3 batsman Rahul Dravid had to keep the set momentum going which he did along with a very fluent Gambhir, who brought up his half century in the last over before lunch with a couple of daring lofted shots off Cameron White.
It was consolidation time for the homeside having got to 104 for 1 but they also had to watch out for the reverse swing. The Australian fast bowlers haven’t been getting their act perfectly right as far as reverse swing goes and this time as well it was just matter of seeing through a few overs from Lee. Aussies were lucky though to get their next breakthrough when Rahul Dravid played a forceful cut shot off Lee only to chop it back onto his stumps. Dravid was batting so well on 39 (from 70 balls with 7 fours) until he played on in the 41st over. A couple of deliveries later, the match changed on its head when Gambhir (67 from 140 balls with 9 fours) edged one while driving on the up to a Johnson delivery and India now slipped to 146 for 3.
Mitchell Johnson went onto create further damage when VVS Laxman (12) like Sehwag got out to a short delivery down the legside. On a perfect batting strip, India got reduced to 163 for 4 and if they had got to 300 from here it would have been just about fine. The Australians were in a great position when Tendulkar and Ganguly got together. The two old pros of Indian Cricket had other ideas though and they transformed their greatness into the much needed runs. The Australian bowling just couldn’t sustain enough pressure on these two who comfortably brought India back on the track.
India were closing in nicely towards the close of play. The second new ball was taken and all of a sudden both Tendulkar and Ganguly instead of tightening up their guard looked too relaxed and loose. That accounted to Sachin’s dismissal after he went for a needless backfoot drive off an away going seamer from Siddle to be well caught by Hayden in the slips. Sachin missed out on yet another ton, he fell making 88 with 10 fours from just 111 deliveries while taking his team from a precarious 163 for 4 to 305 for 4. Ganguly (54*) along with night watchman Ishant Sharma (2*) saw the day through with India sitting impressively at 311 for 5 in 85 overs.