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Zaheer 3-wicket burst keeps India alive in Sydney Test

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zaheer_khanAnother overseas batting disaster plagued India today at the SCG. If the number of such collapses is calculated from the England Tour, it would only take a couple more to reach double figures. However, despite their batting woes, it was their bowling that was under the scanner heading into the Australian Summer. More so because of the fitness concerns surrounding pace spearhead Zaheer Khan.

When Zaheer limped off on the opening day of the first test at Lord's, it was pretty evident that India could well lose their No.1 Test ranking, which is what eventually happened. To add to the misery, India were quite literally slaughtered in England.

Zaheer Khan's inclusion on this Tour was announced subject to him proving his fitness, and given his injury prone nature, his initial conservative approach in the first test was not surprising. Slowly, during the course of the Boxing Day Test, we saw what the real Zak is all about. It all started with the old ball reverse swinging, getting the scalps of Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey in the post tea session of the first day. If we go by the early signs, it is pretty clear that he will be able to remove this haunting monkey on his back of not completing an Australian tour.

Today, when we saw the so-called best batting line up in the world crumble for under 200 at the hands of some quality seam bowling under 200, India were already being written off.

But, there is one man who still has it in him to change the fortunes of this game and the series. The way Zaheer started his spell today with a wicket in each of his first two overs followed by one more scalp a couple of overs later has re-assured the confidence that the selectors have shown in him. With 10 wickets in just over a test, he is well on his way to being Australia's major stumbling block. And, it's not just about the wickets, but the fact that he almost always seems to have the batsmen in a spot of bother. Add to that, the experience he brings in for the other rookie pacemen is just invaluable.

On a day where the other Indian pace bowlers conceded runs at over 5 an over and struggled for rhythm, Zaheer singlehandedly kept India just about in this test match. If he can maintain this form over the rest of the series, India will always be in contention of keeping the rampaging Aussie batsmen in check.

Now it's over to the Indian batsman to do their job.

File Photograph Copyright: BCB