India vs Australia 2nd Test Day 2 Live Score, Ind vs Aus 2013
AUSTRALIA'S hail-mary selection of spinners Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell will be put immediately to the test on Sunday, with India in command of the second Test despite the best efforts of Michael Clarke.
The captain's 91 could not paper over the cracks of another poor batting performance in which his only substantive support came from wicketkeeper Matthew Wade (62), playing bravely despite a fractured cheekbone.
Australia, heading for a modest total, declared late on Saturday at 9-237, eager to have a brief shot at India's top order on the same deck its own had capitulated on. They will head to the Ravij Gandhi International Stadium on Sunday on the back foot after another top-order collapse left them in deep trouble.
Much may depend on the performances of debutant Maxwell and third-gamer Doherty, who were late selection surprises at the expense of Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc.
Clarke rescue acts are becoming as dependable as the early morning wailing of a Hyderabadi mosque but even he could not dig them totally out of a hole on day one.
One poster on Twitter observed on Saturday that he may as well change his name to Clark Kent. It was appropriate as he almost singlehandedly kept afloat Australia's increasingly quixotic bid to win this four-match series.
Clarke's latest performance was achieved in 36-degree heat and just a week after his 130 in Chennai gave life to another Australian meltdown.
This time he was called on to resurrect an Australian first innings that had been brought to its knees not just by spin, as it had been felled in the first Test, but by the lively bowling of second-game Indian seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Later, the turn and just as importantly the bounce of Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh, picked up where India's spinners had tormented the visitors in Chennai.
Clarke's lone back-up came from Wade, who had been taken away for scans on Friday afternoon after being struck in the face by a throwdown during Australia's final training session. Wade had taken a bucket of ice with him to his hotel room, hopeful that the swelling would not blow out overnight, and provided Clarke rare assistance in a stand of 145 that was an Australian record for the fifth wicket in India.
Clarke, whose average since taking over as captain 17 months ago has now soared above 70, fell short of yet another hundred by his own hand, slashing at Jadeja as he had almost run out of partners. By then the damage had been and Clarke, with only James Pattinson and Doherty left in the middle, hauled them back in for a three-over assault that India's openers survived.
At 1-0 down in the series, slumping to 2-15 and then 4-63 on the first morning of the first day was not what Australia had in mind.
Benefiting from alarming surface movement Kumar removed David Warner, Ed Cowan and Shane Watson cheaply in a damaging first session after Australia had won the toss and batted. Phil Hughes was then undone on 19 trying to cut India's bowling hero of Chennai, Ravi Ashwin.
Cowan was the most unlucky, hit on the pads fractionally outside the line of leg stump on closer inspection, but due to India's decision-review system boycott the opener had no riposte.
Warner was the first out on Saturday but with an average of 42.81 he is the only one of the top four who can claim to be justifying his place at present. The others - Cowan, Hughes and Watson - are all averaging between the low to mid 30s in Tests and need scores of some note soon. The outlook for Australia's batting order on this tour and the one on the horizon - the Ashes series in the English summer - is not bright. Put simply, without Clarke they are stuffed.
Australia may now rely heavily, on a track already turning, on Maxwell and Doherty, whose inclusion at the expense of Lyon, was eyebrow-raising.
It is the first time since Lyon made his debut in 2011 that he has been replaced by another spinner, and will be a blow to his confidence. The other issue his dropping raises is this: if Australia can somehow manage to win the second Test, who will lead the team song?