Yesterday was not kind to subcontinental teams. India and Sri Lanka bowled almost five sessions between them and in that time took only two wickets whilst conceding 599 runs. I can’t say much about Sri Lanka’s bowling; I didn’t see a lot of it as I have to sleep at some point and by the time I got up South Africa had declared. India’s bowling, however, was abject. They were still very much in the game at the start of the day and a couple of early wickets could have touched off another Australian collapse. They never really tried, however. At no point in the morning did they look like taking a wicket, or even like they wanted to. Dhoni was neither attacking nor trying to dry up the scoring and by the time Australia overhauled India’s first innings total it looked for all the world like declaration bowling.
I was harsh on India after the MCG Test, but they were so much worse yesterday. In Melbourne their batting let them down, but their bowling was at least average. Today it was far, far from average. They were completely flat and uninspired from the moment they got on the pitch yesterday morning. It was probably the worst bowling display I’ve seen since Australia conceded 517-1 last winter, and they at least have the excuse that England’s batsmen are very good. India picked up one wicket, that of Ponting, with the second new ball and did at least make Clarke look uncomfortable for a few overs. It wasn’t nearly enough, however, and Sehwag came on to bowl (in tandem with Ashwin) with the new ball just 18 overs old. It was an utterly pathetic effort all around and they are effectively out of the series now.