| Shane Watson after his century, in Mohali, on Friday |
Mohali: Shane Watson loves playing in India. Time and again the Aussie all-rounder has said how crucial the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been in shaping his career.
Speaking at a media conference on Friday, Watson reflected on his second Test hundred, his love for India and the verbal joust between Zaheer Khan and Ricky Ponting.
The following are excerpts
Q Did the Indians bowl well or the Aussies scored slowly?
A bit of both… The way the Indians bowled after Rickys (Ponting) dismissal made things tough for us. We scored freely in the first session. But the Indian bowlers stepped up later in the day and made it difficult to score. The spinners, especially, tied things up. It was very disappointing to lose a couple of wickets towards the end of the day. But then, when somebody of the quality of Zaheer Khan reverses the ball, it is not at all easy to handle.
Pontings run out
He hesitated a bit. Of course, it wasnt the ideal time to lose Ricky.
The Ponting-Zaheer spat
Well, everyone saw the footage and know what happened. Zaheer said something after Rickys dismissal and that led to some exchange of words. We all know what kind of a person Ricky is… He never initiates a war of words unless the other person steps out of the line. He knows how important it is for him as the Australian captain to keep things under control.
His success in India
It is always satisfying to get a hundred that, too, in conditions which are very different from Australia. It is great to carry the bat through the day in a Test. I love coming to India and scoring runs. It reminds me of the first IPL and how it helped me in shaping my career. I love rekindling that experience. However, our scoring rate was a tad slow today.
If he was lucky to get the hundred after two dropped catches
It is a part of the game. Of course, its not ideal when you give away a catch in the very second delivery of the day. In the practice match, too, I was dropped and I got a century. Such things happen.
Plans on Saturday
To accumulate as many runs as we can. We know it is difficult, but thats the thing we need to do. The game is evenly poised as of now.
Theres no doubt that the loss of Ishant was a blow to the Indians. We saw what Ishant can do with the old ball during our last India tour. With Zaheer looking dangerous, an Ishant by his side would have helped Indias cause. But now, the Indian bowlers have a bigger workload.
The wicket was a bit of surprise. Usually, the Mohali track is closest to the ones we get in Australia with good bounce and pace. But it was surprising to see that the ball was not carrying through to the keeper.
The reverse swing
There was no reverse swing for most part of the day. With the pitch being dry, it was surprising to see the Indians not putting in an extra effort to make the ball rough, like they did in 2008. It can really be a dangerous weapon on Indian soil.
opening day HIGHLIGHTS
○ India have now lost 9 tosses in a row. India last won a toss on 24th November 2009 against Sri Lanka in Kanpur. Since then India have lost 4 tosses to Sri Lanka, 2 to South Africa, 2 to Bangladesh and now 1 to Australia.
○ This now equals the world record of consecutive toss losses by teams (New Zealand, South Africa and England being the other sides), with India themselves having lost nine tosses in a row on two previous occasions.
○ By playing his 10th Test at this venue, Sachin Tendulkar has now played every single Test at the PCA Stadium, Mohali.
○ Simon Katich has been dismissed 4 times by Zaheer Khan, three of those dismissals have now been lbw.
○ One hundred and seven (107) of Zaheer Khan’s 245 wickets have been left-handed batsmen, i.e. 44% of his victims have been left-handers.
○ Ricky Ponting has now been run out 14 times. Interestingly 13 of those 14 run outs have come since December 2001.
○ Ponting thus extends his record of most run outs in Test cricket with Allan Border, Matthew Hayden and Rahul Dravid, all tied at second place with 12.
○ Rahul Dravid (197) moves closer to that magical 200-catches landmark. The catch to dismiss Clarke was incidentally his 48th off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh.
○ On 79, Shane Watson registered the highest score by an Australian at this venue. In the only Test that the Australians have played on this ground two seasons ago (2008), Watson had top scored in the first innings, batting at No. 6, and making 78.
○ On 88, Shane Watson registered his highest score outside Australia. His only century and top five scores (120*, 97 96, 93, 89) have all been on Australian soil.
○ Watson registered his second Test century, his first of 120* came against Pakistan in Melbourne in December 2009. While Watson’s first fifty came in 103 balls, he took 154 balls to go from 51 to his century.
Compiled by Mohandas menon