Australia is pursuing 413 runs against India for a victory that would arguably rank above Bellerive in 1999 and last year’s Second Ashes Test.

Currently 2/65, requiring another 348. Batsmen out: Chris Rogers and Phil Jaques. At bat: Ricky Ponting (24) and Mike Hussey (5).

UPDATE. India bowling well, but no breakthrough. Australia 2/100 – Ponting 38, Hussey 21.

UPDATE II. Ponting out, caught off unplayable Sharma for 45. Australia 3/117. New batsman: Michael Clarke.

UPDATE III. Lunch. Australia 3/142. Hussey 39, Clarke 11.

UPDATE IV. Hussey unlucky to be out lbw for 46. Australia 4/159. Andrew Symonds in with match tilting India’s way.

UPDATE V. Symonds belts a six then out lbw for despite inside edge. Australia 5/177. Adam Gilchrist in. Clarke looking composed – now 33.

UPDATE VI. Halfway there, with half our wickets gone: 5/208.

UPDATE VII. Clarke’s 50 off 88 deliveries (playing Kumble very late); Gilchrist calmly to 15; target now below 200.

UPDATE VIII. Disaster! Gilchrist out sweeping part-timer Sehwag (average: 48.21). Innings of his life required from Brett Lee. Australia 6/227.

UPDATE IX. Another wicket to Sehwag – Lee gone for 0. Mitchell Johnson carries the hopes of a nation. Australia 7/243 at tea; Clarke 73.

UPDATE X. Michael Clarke tricked in flight by Kumble, stumped for 81. Johnson joined by Stuart Clark. Only 158 runs to get, lads. Heads down.

UPDATE XI. Painkiller-induced hallucinations kicking in; either that, or Stuart Clark really is pulling fast bowlers ahead of square and Mitchell Johnson is smashing Kumble for successive fours. And now Johnson is bowled – off a no-ball! Australia 8/290.

UPDATE XII. Fifty partnership (in just eight overs) between Johnson and Clark. Australia 8/303.

UPDATE XIII. Johnson’s 40 is his highest Test score. Clark (21) is seven shy of his best. Fewer than 100 runs remain. Australia 8/314.

UPDATE XIV. Clark out swinging for 31; 87 to win. Shaun Tait in.

UPDATE XV. A Test 50 to Mitchell Johnson. Australia 9/339.

UPDATE XVI. Tait bowled. India deservedly wins by 73 runs, although unseemly celebrations at game’s end – several players were waving flags, in the manner of rabid nationalists – will require captain Anil Kumble to be sacked.

UPDATE XVII. Peter Roebuck need only lightly rewrite his January 7 column to cover today’s events. Rewrite follows:

Symonds found himself facing Anil Kumble. Beyond argument Symonds’ was the crucial wicket. Although not exactly an immovable object, he looked solid enough to save his side.

Then came the moment that compromised all subsequent events, rendering meaningless the continuation of India’s existence as a nation. Symonds swung his bat at a straight delivery. The ball clearly nicked the bat before hitting the pad. Anil Kumble and his comrades immediately roared a raucous appeal. Kumble was especially animated.

Doubtless the fieldsmen heard two noises, as canvas and wood make different sounds, a fact known to every cricketer. That the bat struck the ball was surely more obvious from the bowler’s view. Doubtless the Indians will argue that excesses of this sort are commonplace elsewhere.

If the appeal was bad, the decision was worse. A mild-natured and intelligent man, Symonds departed shaking his head slowly as the Indians celebrated. Instead they should have been fearing the damage done to their reputations.

Posted by Tim B. on 01/18/2008 at 10:36 PM
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