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Tendulkar and Laxman were flawless
January 04, 2004
Those who have been fortunate enough to pass through the gates this summer have been privy to a number of superb batting performances.
In our camp we have seen Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting shine at different stages, whilst for the Indians Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly have all demonstrated their class.
Day Two of this Test match provided fans in Sydney with another demonstration of flawless batting when the 'Little Master', Sachin Tendulkar, combined with Laxman to produce a fine partnership that has given India the momentum and set our side an enormous challenge to remain in the match.
Tendulkar obviously set himself for a big innings, and despite a slow start his shot selection and execution was exceptional.
Indian fans have no doubt been waiting for him to register a big score this series, but in between their celebrations they should take equal delight at the form of Laxman, who has enjoyed an outstanding summer and is quickly establishing himself as one of world cricket's in-form batsmen.
Much of Tendulkar's success in this innings can be attributed to Laxman, who took control and eased the pressure on his batting partner.
Although we were pushing extra hard for a breakthrough, it was hard not to admire the way these two went about their batting, which was highlighted by the manner in which they rotated the strike. When the partnership was finally broken, Sourav Ganguly and Parthiv Patel added some quick runs to ensure that we could not get through to the tail just yet. At the other end, Tendulkar stands undefeated on his highest Test score.
From an Australian perspective, we will probably regret some missed opportunities on the first morning of play, but since that time Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Nathan Bracken and Stuart MacGill have all toiled hard against an in-form batting line-up.
I will admit that our fielding has not been up to the level we expect it to be at right through this series, which is pretty unfortunate since we are playing some of the most punishing batsmen in the world. We beat the bat a number of times on the first day, but just weren't able to take the wickets needed to make serious inroads into the Indian batting.
It has been tough going, and although we realise that the hope of victory is slim, as long as there are 11 Australians out on the field, we will never give in.