Mohali: The recent developments in ongoing the India-Australia Test series would suggest that the visitors have somehow taken things a bit lightly. At least, the team management’s decision to discipline four players ahead of the Mohali Test indicates that.
But the way the series has gone so far, it should really be the other way round. It is India who are 2-0 up and looking good enough to be 4-0 winners. But the Indians are far from being complacent.
On Tuesday, India looked a sharp outfit, hungry for more success. For more than three hours in the afternoon, at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium here, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s boys went through a rigorous session and stopped only when the lights were fading.
However, there was some concern when Cheteshwar Pujara was hit on the left knee by a delivery from a local bowler at the nets. The in-form batsman limped out immediately and did not take any further part in the practice.
After receiving medical attention, Pujara had his left-knee strapped. Pujara was seen initially walking with a slight limp before he chose to lie on a bench adjacent to the nets. There was some relief when one found Pujara walking normally when the team boarded the bus.
Like it has been happening in every Test match in every corner of the country for the past 24 years, Sachin Tendulkar remained the focus of attention for the couple of hundred fans, who managed to get past the police cordon to have a glimpse of their favourite batsman.
The Master spent a long time at the nets, first against the pacers and then the spinners. Sachin came armed with three bats, a couple of them new. He toyed with the new ones with great interest and had a chat with skipper Dhoni before getting down to business at the nets.
Once the team completed the practice session, Tendulkar was seen inspecting the wicket minutely and had a long conversation with curator Daljit Singh.
When the third match of the series gets underway on Thursday, India would be playing a Test in Mohali without Virender Sehwag after a very long time.
His likely replacement, Shikhar Dhawan, was the first bat at the nets, with Murali Vijay and Pujara. Dhoni, who was seen talking to Dhawan, watched the Delhi opener bat with keen interest.
On the other hand, the Australians, who too spent around three hours practising in the morning session, hardly gave a sign of the turmoil the team are going through. All the three cricketers, who have been dropped from the third Test on disciplinary ground, were enthusiastic participants at the nets.
In 2010, when India and Australia faced in a Test match at Mohali, Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson had a great time with the ball and the bat, respectively. Both have been axed from the third Test and Watson has already flown back to Australia.
However, Johnson, on Tuesday, was perhaps the most impressive bowler at the nets. The other disciplined player, James Pattinson, on the contrary, didn’t bowl too much. Instead, he was seen chatting with his teammates.
The only person among the disciplined lot who looked a bit downcast was Usman Khawaja, He confined himself to a corner and did his job rather quietly.