Hanuma Vihari drop, teammates snub star, awful blunder, marnus Labuschagne
Jasprit Bumrah had his head in his hands after just two balls on day four of the third Test in Sydney after Hanuma Vihari dropped an absolute sitter at square leg.
Marnus Labuschagne clipped a ball off his pads in the first over and it travelled at an easy pace and height to Vihari, who made a meal of the simple chance.
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Normally when someone drops a catch their teammates will console them, but Australian legend Michael Hussey pointed out in commentary for Fox Sports that wasn’t the case with the Indians.
“The other Indians have not got around Vihari at all,” Hussey said. “None of the other fielders went over to give him a pat on the back and say, ‘Don’t worry, get the next one’.”
India was desperate for early wickets to keep Australia’s lead to a minimum but Vihari’s drop was a cruel blow for a team that surrendered control of the Test on a disastrous third day.
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting said all the talk in the Indian camp before day four would have been about taking any half-chances that came their way but Vihari’s blunder hurt the team’s morale badly.
“That’s an absolute sitter,” Ponting said in commentary for Channel 7. “We’re not going to get an easier chance than that. A straightforward chance.
“It’s a plan that they’ve been working away on for days and almost Test matches to get Labuschagne (caught) in that area.
“I can guarantee the whole chat last night and even earlier this morning with the Indians would have been about being patient, bowling at areas, taking chances when they come and trying to create a couple of half-chances as the Australians did yesterday. That’s as straightforward as they come.
“Generally a very good and safe fieldsman, Vihari. He has good hands and that’s an absolute sitter.”
Labuschagne capitalised on his life to register his second half century of the match, cruising to 50 off 82 balls as he continued to pile on the pain with Steve Smith.
However, their 103-run partnership was broken when substitute wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha — on the field because Rishabh Pant was off injured after copping a nasty knock on the elbow while batting on Saturday — showed Vihari what to do with a classy catch behind the stumps.
Labuschagne, on 73, gloved a ball from Navdeep Saini down the leg side and Saha moved smartly to his left then dived full-stretch to haul in the tough chance.