Sunday, November 28

Kolkata Day 1

17:23 IST

Even if he is at home, In Eden Gardens, with afew thousand Bengalis shouting hoarse for him, Saurav Ganguly cannot win a toss. And so, Slater pronounced "you're batting" to Smith at the toss interview, before the smiling S'African captain could even open his mouth. Of course, he was going to bat.

After that, one could only hope the Proteas would not 'play safe' like they did in Kanpur. They did play cautiosuly, but the Indians also bowled pretty tight. Unusually, at the end of the day, Kumble was easily the most ineffective of the lot, while Pathan and Khan unsurprisingly, were the key bowlers. Zaheer was particularly good in his opening speel, while Pathan's spell in the final session was crucial. If there is a rivalry between the two (and how can there not be), it is absolutely great for us. This, with Nehra and Balaji both on the sidelines. The latter in particular, I believe, can work as a great third seamer as he is not *another* left armer; and he is, while possibly less spectacular, more the steady sort.

Kallis got his first century against India, which is suprising. He now has 17, which is equal to Dravid's tally. Despite his phenomenal form of late and increased stature in the game, it is a little odd that Dravid has only 17 even now. Langer and Hayden are both on 20 tons, Hayden in the least tests of all these(60-odd), and it is a great record. Mr Sehwag has 8 from 28, and if he can maintain broadly the same form for the next say 6-8 years, he will undoubtedly retire an all time great. I guess *maintaining the form* is they key- much easier said than achieved!

But, Eden Gardens- after all the good performances, we still had 226 runs scored in the day. There ha sto be something that wakes the batsmen from their slumber. Of course, it was nothing like the First Test where they were slow despite a position of strength. The wickets in the final session put them on the backfoot. If India cannot wrap up this innings quickly, hope for a result will nosedive.

Oh- Eden Gardens, it would seem, is one of the oldest Cricket clubs and grounds in the world...(!). The MCC was formed in the 1770s (1776, I think) and while conformed records exist to prove the CAB's existence in 1780-something, it is likely it was around as early as the 1760s. Now that's interesting. (So said Boria Majumdar)

The rest of a lazy Sunday beckons, thank you.

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