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India at the Gabba: Oops, we did it again!

Moments which changed the course of the match:

Number one Day 2 – After a fantastic 144 from Murali Vijay on Day 1, Indian fans are pretty pleased at 311 for 4. Rahane and Rohit are at the crease with Dhoni and Ashwin still to come. The Aussie bowlers are still recovering from their workload on Day 1 and it is the perfect time to bat Australia out of the game by getting close to 500. All India has to do is see off the first hour.

That doesn’t happen.

Rahane gets a beauty. Rohit falls to a rubbish shot. We fold rather tamely for 408 by lunch.

Number twoDay 3 – Having reduced Australia to 247 for 6 in the first hour, Indian fans are pretty pleased again. India is bowling well and Haddin has just been bounced out by Aaron. We are looking at a lead of at least 100 runs.

That doesn’t happen.

Rohit Sharma does something incredibly stupid – at the fall of the sixth wicket, he sledges an unusually subdued Mitch Johnson. Spurred on by the taunts, Johnson scores a swashbuckling 88 to support the Aussie skipper who gets another ton. The Aussie tail wags and wags. We drop catches. Incredibly, Australia take a 97 run lead.

Number threeDay 4 – At 71 for 1, Indian fans are hopeful again. We still have nine second innings wickets in the bag and some fantastic batsman to come. With India just 26 runs behind Australia, a target of 200 on this wearing pitch will be difficult to get.

That doesn’t happen.

All hope is lost after 40 minutes of play. A fired up Mitchell Johnson takes three wickets to trigger a familiar middle order collapse, including a first-baller for the talented orator, Rohit Sharma. He can do all his talking from the pavilion.

Half the Indian team is back in hutch by the time we draw level, effectively 0/5. The BCCI issues a badly timed press release which seems to be defending a pathetic display of batsmanship. The main subject of that press release, an injured Shikhar Dhawan, bats gamely for 81 but India are too far behind the eight ball by then. Australia take on the target of 128 runs and despite losing a few wickets, get there easily in the end.

@Getty Images
@Getty Images

Good test teams win test matches. They do this by sustaining pressure, by relentlessly driving home an advantage (however small) and by winning big moments like the ones above.

But then, India is not a good test team. India have made it a habit of getting into a great position and somehow contriving to lose every single important session/hour of play. Either that, or they fold meekly like we saw towards the end of the England tour.

India is ranked #6 in the current ICC rankings and only New Zealand (to whom we lost earlier in the year) stand between us and the West Indies. If we lose this series 0-4, India slip to #7 to sit just above the Windies.

At 0-2 down, this is becoming a real test of the Indian fan’s patience.

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