Sydney, Jan 21 : It was not that Australia lost the third Test at Perth, but India won it because the selectors of the visiting side chose a stronger and better-balanced side, and both the newcomers, viz Virender Sehwag and Dinesh Karthik, made sterling contributions, said an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Praising both the Indian newcomers, it said that Sehwag survived the new ball in both the innings, fielded like a man renewed and took two significant wickets with his improving off breaks. Dinesh Karthik deserves the chance to accompany him to the crease in Adelaide.
It added that Irfan Pathan was so effective that he was almost named him as man of the match. Thanks to him, India won the other battles of the new ball that determine the course of so many Test matches in this country. He swung the ball late, batted with unwavering determination and fielded with intensity. Despite the dubious offerings of certain senior citizens, India looked more alive in the field. India's seamers swung the ball more than their opponents. Credit can be given to Venkat Prasad, the travelling bowling coach, said the article.
Without blaming the Aussies for playing under any kind of pressure, it said that the Australians were not beaten because they have turned into a bunch of softies. They represented the nation with distinction and, after a terrific tussle, succumbed to a superbly led and single-minded side that played sturdy cricket for four days.
"Ricky Ponting and his players must disregard the notion that in the space of one turbulent fortnight they have become a bunch of likeable losers. Doubtless, the usual assortment of boneheads will suggest that Australia played a lame game and were, therefore, consigned to defeat against a more abrasive opponent. Although the hosts did start slowly, they recovered rapidly and produced a performance of the utmost spirit. As much could be told from a late rally featuring numerous swashbuckling strokes from unlikely sources that temporarily upset the Indian applecart," said the SMH article.
But, it added, the Australian strategy backfired. Shaun Tait had a poor match. Introduced later than expected in the first innings, he was desperately short of rhythm. Mitchell Johnson had a patchy match. On this evidence, it's hard to believe he is the best left-armer around.
Praising Ponting for leading his side, it said that the Aussie skipper deserved credit for the way his side played. A man under attack faces a stark choice. He can dismiss the remarks and surround himself with back slappers, a species in abundance on this continent. Or he can take the opportunity provided by provocation to re-examine his path. Ponting chose the latter course. It was not a single article that caused the commotion, but the response to it. Moreover, Anil Kumble's comments were altogether more telling, coming from a man of such stature. Australia had lost touch with its better self.
It was a wonderful match, the best staged in this country for several years. Australia played with a generosity of spirit not seen since Mark Taylor handed over the reins. The match referee had a quiet time. Both captains kept a lid on their teams, concluded the article.