In the blink of an over
Dilating pupils and poking fists managed to bring down Ed Cowan's bat in the nick of time. Lunging towards the earth, Cowan managed to keep out a Ravindra Jadeja ball that stayed unusually low on this true wicket. He scrambled up again and completed the single — a run of great significance to the Aussie opener. It took Cowan to 56, his highest Test score outside of Australia.
It had come in a worthy cause. As Jadeja walked back to his mark, Australia were 139 for no loss — this was, quite simply, the best opening stand of the series. It was the third ball of Jadeja's over, the 48th of the innings. By the time the left-arm spinner collected his cap back from umpire Aleem Dar, Cowan's moment had been reduced to being only the third most significant event of the over.
On a day that saw 104 overs being bowled, that particular six-ball set bowled by Jadeja was by far the most consequential. Had it gone any differently, one thing is for certain: Australia would have been in far better health than 273 for seven at stumps on Day Two. We resume with the last two balls of the 48th over. Balls that literally turned things India's way.
The second most significant act of this over was the next to occur, that of the wicket of David Warner. Until then, Warner had gone about his business with sublime ease. He was batting on 71, increasingly looking good for many more. He took his guard, Jadeja rolled in to release the fifth ball. It pitched on middle and spat up towards the left-hander late, catching the thin edge of a willow held by shaky gloves.
The ball then kissed the top of Warner's pad flaps and ballooned skywards. MS Dhoni, hurtling in from the wrong side of the stumps, did the rest. It was a soft way to end a tough stand, one that perhaps no one but fate saw coming. The Indians, however, wouldn't leave the next one to chance. The final ball of Jadeja's over witnessed an entrapment of monumental importance, planned and executed as well as any in Test cricket.
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