A tough day at the office is probably the best way to sum up today. We bowled India out just on tea this afternoon, although I was already off the park with ice on my side. I had walked off when they were eight down with a niggle, that was just starting to increase, in my left side. I had already bowled a couple of overs with it and it wasn’t going away so I thought it best to get off and start some treatment before I did something really bad that would rule me out for the rest of the match and maybe the series.
So, I sit here, with an ice pack on my side, a curry in my tummy and a night of broken sleep ahead as I’ll be getting up every two hours to ice it; the joys of this game!
Today wasn’t too bad, that was until we let their tail wag and lost three before the end of the day. We had a chance to bowl India out for just under 200 in front, and in the context of the pitch, that wouldn’t have been such a bad effort; in saying that we gave away a few runs in ‘boundary balls’ that we need to clean up on. We need to keep the pressure on for longer periods of time.
I took the ball first thing this morning, one ball to bowl to finish off my over that we stopped in last night when bad light called halt to play. Not a bad ball, in the channel, left alone, felt ok. Good feeling; the body was a little tired from the heavy field and the overs from the day before. I spent a bit longer than normal bowling in warm ups to get things a little looser around my body. My first spell was ok. Nothing special, bowled a couple of maidens bowled a couple of balls that released the pressure off the batters, one of those spells that could have been better. Tommy picked up Singh with a beauty, from round the wicket it pitched and just nipped back and hit the undefended off stump. There was the feeling that we could have that session we had been working towards, that session that turns the game. It wasn’t to be; MS and Sachin dug in and held us out till lunch.
Sachin, yesterday, wasn’t at his best. He got through to 70, but it wasn’t the 70 you’d associate with him. A half chance off Dan early, French cuts past the stumps, plays and misses and some timing that I would have been happy with but maybe not him. And with all that, he still got 70. And that’s the class of the guy, even when he’s having a ‘not so good day’ he battles through it and does well. Today, though, the real Sachin was back; timing, balance and 160.
I came backfor my second spell, after Tommy had started up after lunch. MS and Sachin looking pretty well set. The only plan was to keep sticking to the plans. I bowled as hard as I could into the deck, trying to get as much bounce as I could and coming back to fuller balls, just looking for anything I could get. After what seemed like an age I got MS to slash one to Jesse at gully. He initially claimed it and then wasn’t sure. MS held his ground, umpires went to the 3rd Umpire and not out was the verdict; technology available, used in the right way and the right decision made. Just a couple of balls later, a short ball and a feather of a glove through to Baz, we got MS and a breakthrough.
A couple of overs and a few short ball later, I was trying to keep Sachin at the end he was at with a last ball of the over bouncer so Dan could bowl to Khan at the other end, and I got my second for the day. Sachin tried to ride it and nicked it through to Rosco at first slip, it went pretty slowly to him, and in that time there is always time to think the worst. Rosco was safe and India was eight down.
I had a couple more overs here and then had to leave the field. I was pretty keen to keep bowling and hunt for one, maybe two, more wickets, but common sense rules here. There’s still a second innings to bowl in and two more Test matches to try to win.
We’re three down over night as we head into day four. Mac might have been unlucky to not have had his decision referred to the 3rd, as MS did, and was given out caught at 1st slip.
It’s going to be a tough road to try to win this one, but with the nature of the pitch, we certainly can bat and bat and bat, take some momentum into the next match and who knows, maybe give ourselves a chance to knock them over later in day 5. Stranger things have happened.