4th Test, Delhi: Ashwin takes four as Siddle frustrates India on Day 1

Neither a change in captain nor an initial change in mindset and approach did Australia any good as the story of the series was repeated all over again at the Feroze Shah Kotla.

updated: March 22, 2013 17:05 IST
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New Delhi: All tour long, Australia have found ways and means of shooting themselves in the foot when confronted with the turning ball and a surface that has assisted the spinners, if only slightly. The strip at the Kotla on Friday, day one of the final Test, resembled a third-day track – at best – and, despite having the first use of the surface for the fourth time in as many Tests, Australia did themselves no favours whatsoever with a patchy batting performance.

Not unexpectedly, Michael Clarke sat the game out due to a back injury, paving the way for Shane Watson to lead Australia out in a Test match for the first time. Watson did his side a massive favour by calling correctly and Australia did move into a position of promise, the second-over dismissal of David Warner notwithstanding, but familiar demons resurfaced in the immediacy of the lunch break to allow India, powered by R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, to once again wrest the initiative.

Through a combination of extraordinarily poor stroke election, probing bowling and a unique brand of instinctive captaincy that has stood Mahendra Singh Dhoni in wonderful stead over the years, India scythed through the Australian middle order, reducing them from 106 for 2 to 136 for 7 in 126 deliveries. But, in keeping with the unabated swing of the pendulum that was a huge characteristic of the first day, Australia launched a late fightback spearheaded by Steve Smith and Peter Siddle to go to stumps at 231 for 8.

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