For a man known by his teammates as Gentle Ben, due to a genial personality, Ben Hilfenhaus introduced himself to day three of the Boxing Day test more in the light of Tasmanian devil.
With the Indians only three wickets down and behind by a mere 119 on Australia’s first innings total of 333, the collective might of Dravid-Laxman-Dhoni on the prowl for innings of substance in India’s exploration of a sizeable lead, the hosts required a porous force to strike with haste.
Just as posteriors were connecting with seats...BOOM... Hilfenhaus knocked over Dravid’s off-stump with a cracking delivery. That it would be nigh on unplayable to a batsman of “the wall’s” ability ten over’s into play was without doubt. But on the second ball of the first over...impossible.
The twenty-eight year old had struck the vital blow his side desired. Fast on the heels of Peter Siddle picking up the prized scalp of Sachin Tendulkar late on the second day, Hilfenhaus had turned the contest on its head.
Tasmanian Devils don’t mind the heat. They’re certainly ferocious little devils with a keen sense of smell when a feeding frenzy is on the cards.
Hilfenhaus could sense the opportunity to go in for the kill. No sooner had he procured the departure of Dravid, than he had the wickets of MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and night- watchman, Ishant Sharma.
That he ended with 5 for 75 was impressive. Not only was his a commanding performance, it was more so for the manner of his fight back after being dropped for a disappointing Ashes series, last summer.
Each of his wickets against the English had cost fifty-nine runs. This, of course, is unacceptable at test level.
But he has fought back. Here he was, producing the finest of bowling spells, putting the cherry on a dime with the sweetest of lengths, and the most sinister of lines.
And if he continues in this vein, no one will be messing with the devil, that is for sure.