Tuesday, November 23

Kanpur Day 4

Well so much for my whining about South Africa's approach. While India's tardiness with the bat today was not in the same league as the display on the first two days, it still fell short of expectations. And, short of match ambition.

Gambhir just missing out on his ton was a tad sad (tad sad? did I just say tad sad?....ugh).
The day, though, undoubtedly belonged to Sehwag. Even if his brief assault was just that- brief- it was the kind that would stick in the mind far more than, with due respect, Andrew Hall's labour of sleep...er, love. Despite a period of inactivity just before lunch, he came out of the break all guns blazing. It was evident from the first ball in the second session that the crazy jat boy had decided he was not going to let things meander along. Possibly most heartening (then) was the indication that it could have been a decision taken at lunch- to go after the South African bowling and explore any chances there were for making a match of this.

Yet, after the 'scintillating strokeplay' and 'master blaster' stuff, you realised there was no real team decision in that direction. At least, not one that looked beyond Sehwag. Once his wicket fell, and Sachin departed after an unhappy 18 balls, the skipper and his deputy retreated into a shell again. Admittedly, the low bounce combined with the bowlers' very effective use of the reverse swing was making it pretty tricky to bat out there, yet the intent clearly lacked. It was not till much later that there was some increased scoring (thanks to the new ball being taken), but it couldn't make much of a dent on the run rate- which ended at a depressing 3 rpo for the day.

As Gavaskar said on the telly later on, it was a case of "behti ganga mein haath dho lo" or 'if the holy Ganges flows before you, wash your hands in the water ' or 'if you have the chance to make some runs for yourself because there is little hope for forcing a result, why take it upon yourself to explore that tiny ray of hope?' or 'just relax and play. they screwed the result in the first two days anyway' or 'I insist on using a Hindi phrase that sounds catchy; and let me accept that the boys played for their form without actually saying so because I am now the batting consultant after all'
Or something like that!

But but but. To be fair, you couldn't have had Dada and Dravid suddenly going for it. A couple of wickets, and we would have said 'oh, here's the familiar Indian collapse', and I would be harping on right now about how they could have used the innings to get back into form instead they were all flashy, what do you know. So while yes, Australia in the same situation would have gone for the runs, Australia does not have a batting lineup that is still shorn of some confidence and looking to get back into some form. Not everyone is a Sehwag, you see. And even he could smash the ball around the way he did given he had played for a quite a while. Ganguly may just have stepped it up a bit more too, if he had not got out.
Oh well. Ifs and buts, and all that...

Meanwhile, I just read, some English reporters (quite afew) have not been accredited for the Zim series by the Zimbabwe govt, at the last minute. That's so ridiculous.
But please, everyone, the situation in Zimbabwe is perfectly normal, ok? (spank) Got it? (spank) Sure? (spank) Good.


Gana said...

Yep..hindsight is always better.! But may be Indians missed a trick by not sending Laxman earlier. He would have been perfect on this pitch to come in at #3. After all ..didn't he play in that position in the previous test match.
- Gana
p.s.: by the way, thanks for the comments on my blog.

shakester said...

Ya well they could have thought of getting VVS in earlier, but this wasn't really a pitch he woudl have liked. The ball was too slow and keeping low too often for him to relish it the way he usually relishes opportunities at no.3, that offer him a harder ball and better bounce and pace.

kappax from Oz said...

The problem as u rightly note comes from the team batting consultant.. with attitude like that no wonder we didn't do everything in our capacity to force a win...

I can understand the plodding in the intial settling down period, but once we were past the follow-on mark, India was in no danger of losing & had a good chance to force a win.. as I said in my blog, we were 338/3 at tea & should have atleast accelearted after tea.. but we got to only 401/4 at EOD..

If we had the right attitude, it would have been some 450-480+... if unlucky it may have been 360 all out... We are the home team, its our job to force a WIN...