Australia collapse early in their second innings after Ben Hilfenhaus earnt the home side a 51-run lead with his first ever five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
Ashton says: In November 2009, Justin Langer was appointed as Australias batting coach. Makes you wonder how many of these recent batting collapses can be attributed to the way Langer has been coaching the Australian players to bat. It might be time to replace Langer as batting coach (who appears to be clearly failing at his job, and has been for quite some time) just like they replaced Cooley with McDermott (which has appeared to deliver immediate benefits to the way the bowling attack has been bowling to opposition).
Ken says: Given the number of angled bat shots I am seeing I wonder whether the batting camp and/or Langer’s coaching is worth a crumpet. I think Langer might be more useful if he pulled the baggy green on again. I was always a fan of his when he played, and I think he retired too early, but as a coach he appears to be struggling.
1458: FOUR! Huusey strokes his fourth boundary backward of point from the bowling of Zaheer. He has raced to 22 from just 16 balls. AUS 4-58
1455: No DRS has hurt India yet again as Ponting was trapped in front but given not out. Replays showed it would have been overturned on referral. All Australia's bad luck from the first innings is starting to even up.AUS 4-54
1452: FOUR! Lovely cover drive from Hussey off the bowling of Sharma. You've got to feel for Australia's quickies. They busted their backsides for three tough sessions and now they'll be preparing to put the pads back on again. Hussey and Ponting rebuilding slowly now with a partnership of 24. AUS 4-51
1448: Stan of Stanmore says: The only good thing to come from this debacle and atrocious Aussie performance is that - hopefully - Clarke and Marsh will be sacked after the game. Quite clearly, neither of them can bat anymore. Comedy players, both of them.
Martin says: Is this the same Michael Clarke who has three centuries in his past six Tests? Don't think so, Stan.
1444: The Truth of it matters says: Dave Warner = T20 slugger. Not a Test player. Watson to replace him. Ed Cowan - not up to test standard. Shaun Marsh is a joke batsman. He should never be allowed a baggy green cap again.
Martin says: Geez you've got a short memory mate. Warner carried his bat last Test. Cowan made an impressive half-century on debut JUST TWO DAYS AGO. Marsh has made a great start to his Test career, although his two dismissals this Test have been ter1441: Cricket tragic says: The pitch is obviously unplayable. There are demons in it - it is a minefield. How else can you explain Hilfy nabbing more than 1 wicket? Shame on the curator.
Martin says: It's far from a minefield, rather a combination of poor batting and good bowling.
1440: FOUR! That's more like it from Hussey. A cracking pull shot through square leg that races away to the boundary for four. That will give him some confidence. He's raced to 13. AUS 4-41
1437: FOUR! Hussey edges one just short of Dravid at first slip and goes for four! Yadav is causing all sorts of problems. AUS 4-36
1435: Hussey gets off the mark with a three through mid wicket. Plenty of pressure on Mr Cricket; three slips, gully, short leg and a leg slip. He's possibly playing for his career in this innings. AUS 4-30
1431: WICKET! (Clarke b Sharma 1, AUS 4-27) Another one! Amazing collapse from Australia yet again! Great ball from Sharma - it nipped back off the seam, grabbed the inside edge and cannoned into leg stump. I think that is the seventh time Sharma has dismissed Clarke in Test cricket. Mike Hussey comes to the crease under all sorts of pressure.
1427: Two horrible shots in this match from Shaun Marsh. That ball was so, so wide and should have been left alone given the situation of the match. He could learn a bit from Ed Cowan. AUS 3-26
1425: WICKET! (Marsh b Yadav 3, AUS 3-24) Yadav gets another one! Horrible shot from Marsh given the situation of the match. It was full and wide, he went for a booming drive and dragged it back onto his stumps. What an incredible day of cricket.
1421: Lloyd says: Waiting to hear from Raphael of Mumbai and the other Indian bigmouths. The ether between here & India has suddenly gone very quiet. The much vaunted Indian batting crumbles to a bunch of rookies & honest toilers. Who'd have thunk it?
Martin says: They might start making some noise now Lloyd! This match is on a knife edge.
1416: FOUR! Ponting gets going with a lovely cut short off a short ball from Sharma, his first ball of the innings. Ponting v Sharma will be a great battle. AUS 2-24
1412: EDGED SHORT! The batsmen are making the pitch look like a minefield! Marsh gets hit on the glove but it falls just short of point. Ball is definitely dominating bat at the moment.
1410: APPEAL! NOT OUT! India go up for a caught behind off Ponting but I think it was bat on pad. Maybe not - Hot Spot shows he got an edge. Well, well, well ... the worm has turned! India's refusal to use the DRS has cost them a wicket there. Australia get a break. AUS 2-20
1406: Nine wickets have fallen for just 84 runs today. Incredible stuff. The match is probably back to even keel now with Australia's fragile middle order exposed. AUS 2-18
1403: WICKET! (Cowan lbw Yadav 8, AUS 2-16) Yadav gets another one and Australia are on the ropes! Two wickets in an over. Yadav hasn't been getting too much swing but that one angled back in from over the wicket and trapped Cowan in front, who didn't play a shot. Great bowling from Yadav - he's dragged India right back into this match. Ponting walks out to the middle.
1358: WICKET! (Warner b Yadav 5, AUS 1-13) It was coming and finally Warner falls! He went to cut the impressive Yadav but could only drag it back onto his stumps. A vital breakthrough for India.
1354: FOUR! Another nervous moment from Cowan but he gets away with it. It was a fierce short ball from Yadav that Cowan pulled over the slips for four. I actually think it may have clipped his helmet on the way through as well. India have started brightly after lunch. AUS 0-10
1350: EDGED SHORT! Warner gets a genuine edge from Zaheer but it falls just short of second slip. We saw that a few times in Australia's innings so India's slippers will be well advised to move up a step or two.APPEAL! And now a huge LBW appeal against Cowan but given not out by umpire Gould. Replays show he got a big inside edge. AUS 0-6
1345: Here's the moment you've been waiting for; Ken is back after bagging out Hilfenhaus earlier in the day: OK I will take my medicine, though I object to being called a “hater”. Simply having a different preference for a player does not make anyone a hater. @Ben of Hobart – “Form bowler in India last trip” ? 6/261 isn’t what you would call form mate. Anyway he has got his first 5 for today, so I imagine he has done enough for the selectors to pick him again. Someone asked who I would have in his place, and it certainly wouldn’t be Mitchell “Junior Johnson” Starc, and of course Cummins being injured doesn’t help either, but I would be playing a couple of younger players, like Faulkner & Hazelwood.
Martin says: Fair play for getting back to us, Ken. You're not the first one to look like a goose on these blogs and you won't be the last!
1340: Amazingly, Cowan is yet to face a ball in this innings after three overs. Warner has looked very shaky so far, especially trying to pull Yadav like he did in the first innings. AUS 0-2
1335: There have been rumours that Shane Watson has been ruled out of the second Test. Read our report here. On a different note, the much maligned Ken has hit us up on the email again so I'll show you his response shortly. AUS 0-2
1331: Zaheer beats Warner twice in the first over but the opener survives. Like this morning, the first hour of Australia's innings will be very important. India will be right back in it if they can take a few wickets early on.AUS 0-1
1327: It's hard to imagine Australia are batting after lunch on day three, but that's what we're faced with to start the second session. Warner will face the first ball from Zaheer Khan, with Australia effectively 0-51.
1324: Nick of QLD says: Yep we need to DRS, not just for players but for umpires as well. Since it was taken off them the umpiring has been poor. The Hussey decision, the Cowan decision, both out when not out. The Haddin LBW was plumb but given not out and the Ashwin decision was plumb as you like, given not out and instead of a 70 run lead we'll be lucky to have a 50 run lead. I understand umpires have a hard job but these decisions have been hopeless.
1317: Is 5fer from Sydney Ken in disguise?: One innings from Hilfenhaus proves nothing.
1307: Aaron says: So if the Aussies keep this up for the 2nd innings, where to for the 2nd test? Surely you couldn't bring Harris, Watson or Cummings back purely because they are fit? Possibly Watson for Hussey at 6 as an all rounder? I like the combo of Cowan and Warner then Marsh at 3 and Punter at 4.
Martin says: Without getting ahead of ourselves, Watson is unlikely to be fit for the Sydney Test and I doubt Harris will be rushed back either based on this performance from the Aussie quicks today. If the Aussies do pick an all-rounder, Mike Hussey is in the gun.
1258: It's been all quiet on the India front so far this morning, but here's Sanjeev from USA: India will lose this match by 250 runs. With such a disgusting batting performance this morning, its an outcome that will be richly deserved.
1244: WICKET! (Ashwin c Haddin b Siddle 31, India all out for 282) Finally the innings is over! Haddin gets his fifth catch from a regulation edge off Ashwin, who batted very, very well. Siddle finishes with three wickets, Pattinson two and Hilfenhaus the star with five. And that's LUNCH, Australia holding a 51-run lead. I'll continue to answer your questions during the lunch break so stay with us.
1240: FOUR! The field is spread but Ashwin still managed to find the fence behind point! Great rearguard innings from Ashwin keeping his country in the match. The partnership currently stands at 23 valuable runs.
1235: So lunch has been delayed to allow the Aussies to get this final wicket. Siddle is back into the attack, with the field spread when Ashwin is on strike. I don't know if I like that, but we'll wait and see how it works out.
1230: FOUR! Oh that is disappointing. Pattinson got it wrong to Ashwin and Hilfenhaus couldn't quite manage to get behind it at fine leg and it went for four. SIX! And now a top-edged pull for a maximum over the slips! Good stuff from Ashwin. He's on 22, India are only 61 runs behind. IND 9-272
1227: EDGED SHORT! Hilfy gets a genuine edge from Yadav's bat but it falls well short of Ponting. Hilfenhaus chasing six wickets. The session will be extended by 30 minutes to allow Australia to get this final wicket, if needed.
1225: This is an Australia-like collapse. India have lost 6-45 this morning and 7-45 overall. The match has been turned on its head.
1223: WICKET! (Zaheer b Pattinson 4, IND 9-259) India are falling in a heap! Zaheer went for a big swing but failed to connect and was clean bowled. The end is nigh for India ... can the Aussies get another wicket before lunch?
1222: FOUR! Zaheer gets off the mark with an edged four past third slip. I think Zaheer and Ashwin will have a swing here, which is what they need to do. There will be plenty more action in the 10 minutes before lunch.IND 8-259
1220: Apologies ... I thought it was Ashwin who fell then but it was actually Sharma. Sorry for misleading you.
1219: WICKET! (Sharma c Haddin b Hilfenhaus 8, IND 8-253) But it matters little as Hilfy gets his fifth! Great bowling from the big lad from Tasie. It was a stock standard outswinger, Sharma pushed at it and Haddin took it easily. Hilfenhaus's first five-wicket haul in Test cricket. Caps off to the selectors for the decision to pick him.
1216: APPEAL! NOT OUT! Huge appeal from Pattinson as he hits Ashwin in front. Umpire Erasmus had had another shocker there, unfortunately. India benefit from the DRS again as that was hitting middle and leg. Ordinary decision and Aswin gets a life. IND 7-253
1214: FOUR! Ashwin gets moving with an edged four through the gully to the third man fence. Not entirely in control, but he played it with soft hands.
1210: India have lost 5-31, including the dismissal of Tendulkar late last night. Maybe a batting camp is needed for the Indians? And they almost lost another one as Ashwin pulled a ball just in front of deep fine leg. He's a handy batsman, Aswin. Australia need to get him before he gets his eye in. IND 7-247
1205: More comments for Ken ...
Sam says: 4 for the Hilf man. Where are the haters?!?! Or those saying that India will post 400-500+
Ben of Hobart says: There's your answer Ken, 4 wickets, tight bowling. Not sure where you get this idea he's a pie chucker. He had one bad series against england while under an injury cloud and got justly dropped, now he's in form and knocking them down. You also seem to have forgotten who our form bowler was last trip to India, a Mr B Hilfenhaus.
Dirt Eagle of Paddo says: Those types of comments from Ken are useless. It is so easy to have a "glass half empty" attitude. What we need is constructive criticism. Put forward who you think should replace him, Ken. Cummins, Cutting are injured. Starc is a bowler of the future but not quite there yet. He needs another Shield season under his belt to get consistency. So I think Hilfy is a great selection.
Rob of Perth says: Where are all the Hilfenhaus haters now?
Will says: Looks like Ken is having humble pie for lunch...
Your move, Ken ...
1200: Hilfenhaus is an odds-on favourite for a five-for here. He's shaping the new ball way from the right-handers late and the slips are waiting.
1156: What a fantastic session so far for Australia, reaping the rewards of their hard work on day two. Pattinson back into the attack with a hard new ball at his hand and a tail-ender at the crease. But keep in mind that Aswin has a Test century to his name. India still trail by 88 runs.
1150: WICKET! (Dhoni c Hussey, b Hilfenhaus 6, IND 7-245) Where are you Ken!?! Hilfenhaus gets his third of the morning and Australia are well on top now. Dhoni fended at one he probably could have left and flicked it straight to Hussey in the gully. Hilfy has four wickets.
1147: NEW BALL TAKEN: Hilfenhaus has the new rock in his hand and is bowling to Dhoni.
1144: Cue the criticism of Ken (1118) and Merv (1020):
Will says: In response to Ken: Haters gonna hate.
Tom of Sydney says: I don't understand these comments about the Aussie pacemen. Hilfenhaus and Siddle have been the pick of the bowlers, yet Pattison has been decent as well. He threatens every time he has the ball.
Julz says: CMON Mervyn!! AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE! OI OI OI!!! You can now apologise :-)
Sam says: In response to Ken, get back in your box mate, 3 wickets now for Hilfy. He deserves his spot. Bowling very well this season. Last season, agreed rubbish but he was not 100%, and this season deserved the recall and getting picked over Starc who was rubbish against NZ. Or maybe you're supporting India hence your criticism...
1140: WICKET! (Kohli c Haddin b Hilfenhaus 11, IND 6-238) And he strikes second ball! Hilfenhaus gets the edge of Kohli and India are in even more trouble now. Good bowling and a good bowling change from Clarke. Stick with the old ball, Pup. It's working a treat.
1135: Finally, Lyon has been taken out of the attack and Hilfenhaus is back on. The new ball is due after this over but this old one is reversing at the moment so it might be worth persisting for a little while longer. Cover your eyes, Ken ...
1133: Michael asks: Is this the first time three players from the Tasmanian Shield team have played for Australia in a test match? (Yes, I am aware that Cowan is originally from NSW).
Martin says: Off the top of my head, no. Hilfenhaus, Ponting and Xavier Doherty played in the first Test of last summer, and Ponting, Hilfenhaus and Tim Paine played against Pakistan in England in 2010. But a great effort from the Tassie boys to have three representatives in there once again.
1127: Who wants to see an Channel 9 commentator make a goose of himself? Click here
1122: Ben of Hobart says: After 2 days of people telling us Hilf and Siddle shouldn't be in the team, they seem to be the only ones worrying the batsmen. Pattinson has been tight, but hasn't looked that dangerous today.
Martin says: I thought he was almost as good as Siddle yesterday. Can't understand why he's not bowling at the moment to be honest.
1118: Ken says: No doubt the supporters of Ben the Pie Chucker will be saying that his wicket this morning justifies his position in the side, but really he is just like Johnson. He accidentally bowls a good ball every 5-6 overs, and flukes a wicket, or he bowls a rubbish ball (lots of them) and a batsman makes a mistake trying to hit him to the boundary. Either way, he is not a test standard bowler and should never be seen in a baggy green again.
Martin says: Does anyone else want to respond to this? I think it's a pretty harsh call. He's bowled very well so far in this match; 2-53 from 18 overs.
1113: FOUR! Kohli plays a lovely cover drive off Lyon to get off the mark. Refer to my comment below. IND 5-226
1108: Nathan Lyon into the attack now, a decision I really can't understand. The fast men are doing a great job so far and the ball is reversing. Maybe it's to get the nightwatchman Sharma out of the way, but I would have stuck with the quicks.
1104: WICKET! (Laxman c Haddin b Siddle 2, IND 5-221) Siddle gets Laxman in his first over of the morning! Another huge wicket for Australia. It angled in and then decked away, caught the edge and Haddin took it well diving forward. Great first 30 minutes for Australia. Kohli to the crease.
1100: Bang, Cowan cops one in the helmet at short leg. Sharma flicked it off his pads and it smacked the debutant on the grill of his helmet. No damge done though, just a slight headache. Sharma is looking pretty solid so far this morning. Probably looking better than Laxman at this stage! But as I say that, Hilfenhaus beats him with a beauty. Siddle into the attack. IND 4-219
1055: Gus of Adelaide says: Your right Merv, its 20 wickets that wins games! Having said that would India be in this position had we held our catches? Bowlers, proven by India in our innings, get a second wind when they take a wicket.
Martin says: Yep, I hate to sound like an old coach, but catches win matches. Haddin's drop yesterday was particularly bad.
1050: Wayne says: The Convicts bowling is pretty average against TEST batsmen as apposed to KIWI's !!! India should make around 450 -500 on this track and against this attack.
Martin says: Yep it's a bit of a mis-match particularly in these conditions. But another wicket or two in the first hour will bring the Aussies back into the match. They fought really hard yesterday and deserved more.
1045: Pattinson and Hilfenhaus keeping it tight early doors. Two slips, two gullies and a bat pad in place and Pattinson is getting it to deck back in of the pitch. This is a huge hour in the context of this match; if Laxman falls here, the rookie Kohli will be out in the cauldren in his first Test in Australia.
1040: An interesting email from Ken, sent just before play began: I agree with Merv about Hilfenhaus, but would point out that Siddle clean bowled the two best batsmen in the world yesterday. Furthermore, Siddle will still be giving 100% at the end of the day when the other bowlers are looking for a place to sit down. The guy has the heart of a lion.
Martin says: Commentators curse, eh Ken?!? Totally agree about Siddle yesterday. He's a captain's dream.
1036: Great first over from Hilfenhaus. He normally bowls big outswingers but he's getting it to reverse late back into the right-hander. It's never easy to break through The Wall, but he's done it second ball. IND 4-214
1032: WICKET! (Dravid b Hilfenhaus 68, 4-214) Dravid falls second ball! Hilfenhaus got one to angle in and deck away and The Wall has crumbled! Huge wicket for Australia. Laxman comes to the wicket with India four down.
1028: Players are out on the ground now under sunny skies. Not a huge crowd at this stage but Melbournians never seem to realise that play starts at 10:30! They always show up late. Hilfenhaus to bowl from the Southern End, Dravid to face.
1020: Merv Hughes with the first comment of the morning: India 3/200+. All those saying Siddle and Hilfy shouldn't be in the same team were right. We want wickets from our bowlers not angry faces they pull trying to intimidate.
Martin says: To be fair, things weren't easy for the bowlers yesterday. It was a flat pitch, the two greatest run-scorers in Test cricket were at the crease yet the Aussies kept charging in. I thought Pattinson was fantastic and Siddle late on was brilliant. Things aren't easy for the bowlers out there and it should be more of the same today, so early wickets are key. Who do you think should be there instead, Merv?
1011: Just a quick update on the state of the match: India are 119 runs behind with seven wickets in hand, Dravid unbeaten on 68 and the nightwatchman Ishant Sharma on 0. So India have the slight advantage, but a few early wickets this morning will bring Australia right back into the match.
1000: Good morning everyone and welcome to day three of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. The sun is beating down on the MCG track and it should be another cracking day of Test cricket.