Thursday, December 2

Kolkata Day 5

The crowds poured in, the CAB raked it in, and South Africa simply caved in. When Sachin (oh, our sachin!) Tendulkar scored the winning runs, India won their second series of three played this year, and 4th test of 10, losing 3. The problem of course, is not how many we lost but how we lost them.

But that is for later. Today, the team played with ease and skill to make sure there were no upsets. In fact, there were not even any scares, with the 8 wicket margin being an accurate indication of the gap between the sides. Eventually, despite a good accquital by the youngsters from South Africa, they always looked like the the team most likely to lose, and at best draw the series.

The first hour or so, in which the remaining five South African wickets fell with not much of a resistance, was marred by the Pollock dismissal, if one can call it that. You could say that Ganguly's obviously not out LBW and Kallis's nick yesterday sort of made up for Amla's and Pollock's decisions, and everything evens out and all that. But the way Shaun Pollock had to leave was nothing short of shocking. Given out caught at short leg, there was absolutely no contact between bat and ball. What was really bizarre though, was Daryl Harper's decision to not even go to the third umpire with the catch. While Gambhir (let us give him the benefit, he could have genuinely believed it was a clean ctach- and it may have been) claimed it alright, there was no way a third umpire would have been able to rule assuredly that it was a clean catch, there was way too much doubt.

But the spinners bowled really well. Bhajji's guile and flight was showcased never better than in Kallis's wicket. On the face of it a really soft dismissal, he was in fact fooled by the flight, misjudged it entirely and returned such a simple catch to the bowler that it took a split second to realise he actually was out. Kumble's third and their last wicket was a beauty that Tsolikele seemed sure he had covered, till he realised it had snuck past his bat and clipped his off stump. In doing so, of course, he has equalled Kapil's record and will soon be the highest wicket taker in Indian cricket history. It really is a remarkable feat, especially for someone who was so often branded (and sometimes, it must be admitted, was) one dimensional and dependent on conditions.

The Mozzrekar update- Sehwag in the second innings takes a second run to retain strike against Ntini, who got him in the first innings with a snorter.
"What is really good to see is the attitude- Sehwag is looking to get back on strike when he could easily have found it easier to stay off strike against Ntini. It is good to see"
And that's out! V Sehwag caught at slip, bowled Ntini.

India played out their second innings comfortably, if a tad tediously at times. The series was closer to forgettable than memorable, but to say it was a total wash out (in terms of fans or viewers or spectators) would be unfair. The South Africans were truly inexperienced and had no spinner worth his salt in these conditions. I am not sure Nicky Boje would have turned the tide for them at any point had he been around, but surely he would have added more value than those tried out. South Africa go back to play England, and while the latter should be favourites (or at least, have the upper hand) this side could well fightback at home.

For India, Bangladesh beckons. It really should ensure that Kapil's record is eclipsed and Sunny's at least equalled. These two tests really should be all about getting back into the groove, and we better be in for some exciting Indian performances, if not a contest. (Don't speak too soon, ol chap).
Of course the one thing we Definitely can look forward to is being rid of the absolutely depressing and heart rending 'Fourth Umpire' show on DD Sports. I really don't have the heart to go into how it completely depresses you, but believe me it does. After the first few days, when you could see the lighter side and enjoy the unintentional entertainment, it had just been an ordeal I have chosen to not go through. Teh ordeal however continues through the rest of the telecast with the extended ad breaks, cut offs through player interviews and commentator discussions....aaarrgh here I go again, and I couldnt be bothered. ESPN StarSports, save us.

* * *

Meanwhile Ganguly has gone ahead and gotten himself fined again. It looks like he is quietly taking it, and that is just fine. He got lucky with the Castle ruling, and should be happy now. More on this later, perhaps.

England is thrashing Zimbabwe (really?!) and the Hadle Chappell trophy is up soon. Hope the Kiwis put up a better showing in the ODIs. Am moderately excited about the Pakistanis down under though- you just never know what you can expect. So while I dont see them winning the series (haha) or even a test (very unlikely), they might just provide some excitement. After the NZ series, I guess it cannot get worse for the Aussie spectators.

That's it then. The same team heads for Bangladesh soon, with the addition of Gagandeep Singh from Punjab who I have never seen. Unlikely he will get a game- there is no reason to experiment. Except for Sehwag who can check out how long he can stay the crease and ho many different shots he can play. The batsmen had better be licking their lips, and had better play positively.


ze rambler said...

Yeah Fourth Umpire sucks - even the babe on the show does not look good. I like your Manjrekar bit - but to be honest I kind of like his commentary. He is much better than Siva, Robin Jackman (ugh, so boring) and the other usual suspects.

shakester said...

ya I know... Manjrekar has improved, particularly over the last few months or about a year. But his recent attempts at humour (woefully unsuccesful) have put me off the chap a bit. On thw whole its an avg team. Anyway, we miss 20% of what they are trying to say because the channel decides ads are more important.