Round the clock cricket: The time when frantic searches for radio commentary comprised a major chunk of a cricket lover's life are long gone. Come March 24 and four international matches will be served - with some online assistance - on a platter for the eager fan, ensuring 24 hours of non-stop action. India and Australia will be engaged at Delhi in the fourth Test; New Zealand will be hosting England at Auckland; Pakistan and South Africa will be battling in the fifth ODI at Johannesburg. It is on the fourth contest that the promise of 24-hour cricket depends. Only if West Indies and Zimbabwe are able to last to the fifth day of their second Test match will we have uninterrupted telecast for a whole day's length. There are four matches on March 17 too, but the Sri Lanka-Bangladesh Test match at Colombo overlaps the India-Australia game at Mohali, grounding aspirations of continuous cricket.
A prized wicket: An hour into play on the second morning, Harbhajan Singh was seen stretching purposefully at the boundary. He hadn't bowled since tea on the first day and questions were being raised on the sanity of his inclusion - at the expense of Pragyan Ojha - when he was not even going to be pressed into service. MS Dhoni soon tossed the ball to the Turbanator and he turned in a spell far more worthy of a 100th Test than the two insipid ones he had produced on Friday. Bhajji also got just reward. He bamboozled a stubborn Peter Siddle with a slower 'doosra' and snared him next ball with a quicker one that straightened, as Virender Sehwag finally caught something at slip.
Clarke crosses Greg Chappell: Michael Clarke is entering the Sachin Tendulkar mould so far as breaking records is concerned. He went past the great Don Bradman on Friday and today crossed Greg Chappell's Test runs tally (7,110). Clarke scored 130 - the highest score by an Australian captain in India - his sixth Test century against India after having debuted with a ton in Bangalore, in 2004. Clarke and Siddle added 54 for the eighth wicket and it was the Aussie skipper who finally disrupted the partnership. Half-an-hour to lunch, he holed out to long off against Ravindra Jadeja, halting Australia's crawl to the 400 mark.
Tailend crawler: Peter Siddle is on his way to joinning the ranks of Jason Gillespie. He batted 94 balls for 19, including a nicely cut boundary off star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, as he joined captain Clarke for the sixth wicket. The last time India played Australia in a Chepauk Test, in 2004 under Adam Gilchrist, pace bowler Gillespie came out as night-watchman and continued to bat for the better part of the next day. He survived 165 balls for 26 - a Strike Rate of under 16 - and added 139 with centurion Damien Martyn. Australia managed to save the match and the eventually won the series 2-1, the final frontier finally conquered. Siddle, however, failed to match his fast bowling predecessor's staying ability, falling to Harbhajan in the offie's 100th Test. Gillespie also scored an astonishing double hundred against Bangladesh in 2006. Siddle however has yet to cross fifty in 50 Test innings.
Dharamsena delays lunch:
Australia were nine down. Lunch was minutes away. India's three spinners - if you'd include Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh in that elite list - were pegging away at tailenders James Pattinson and Nathan Lyon. Ashwin had a close appeal for leg-before turned down, as did Ravindra Jadeja; Dharamsena remained unmoved while either batsman played and missed and was struck repeatedly on the pads. With one wicket remaining, lunch was delayed by a maximum of thirty minutes, and Ishant Sharma ran in to try his luck against the tail. He too was unsuccessful. The last dismissal was to be Ashwin's seventh, thanks to Virat Kohli's tumbling catch at backward short-leg off a botched Lyon sweep. But for Dharamsena - ICC's Umpire of the Year who had overlooked an obvious Michael Clarke bat-and-pad in the first innings - the spate of poor decisions continued.
Pattinson's spells: Michael Clarke's ploy of treating his express fast bowler with kid gloves paid rich dividend. James Pattinson received two three-over spells across the last two sessions, and both produced wickets. The first witnessed the downfalls of openers Murali Viay and Virender Sehwag - both to blinding pace - and the second saw middle-order mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara get his middle-stump uprooted by another rocket. Such was Clarke's insistence upon allowing Pattinson enough time to recharge his batteries that he didn't allow him to have an immediate go at Pujara and Sachin Tendulkar when they were new at the crease. A move that paid off when the 22-year-old speedster destroyed Pujara's woodwork almost immediately when he was reintroduced.
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