England: 400 All Out.
Strauss: 128 | Santh: 4 for 70
India: 279 All Out
Dhoni: 64 | Anderson: 4 for 40
England: 191 All Out.
Flintoff: 52 | Kumble: 4 for 39
India: 18 for 1
Fouth Day, Third Test Wankhede
The last update I was guessing that both teams will make something happen and things will roll on. This did not happen. The English were a bit too defensive and went in negative frame of mind. They were just pushing and prodding all the time and seemed like wanted it safe. The Indians maintained a discipline and helped by the English scepticism bowled the whole day to see the English bat at little over two runs an over. They should have been looking to attack the Indian bowling and look to get a few runs and take control of this match.
There was no possibility of a draw yesterday but one feels that there can also be a draw in this match. The required run rate at three runs an over. It is quite an interesting match with both teams have a look in this match. The run rate wont matter much especially after the final O.D.I. Australia vs. South Africa. This is beauty of the test matches, even after four days the winner is still undecided. This takes me back to the Ashe when Kevin Pietersen played a brilliant knock of 158 to steer England to the Ashes Series victory.
Morning Session: Couple of wickets, cricket gets into a “bore” mode.
This Tuesday morning was all about mundane session of cricket. The English were content to conserve wickets and did not worry much about scoring runs. Te Indians on the other hand kept the scoring rate in control and did not worry enough to get wickets. The night watchman did well to stick around for some time but then Irfan Pathan got some swing going and Jaffer took a low catch to dismiss Shaun Udal. The next batsman coming in Kevin Pietersen is a good stroke player but under the circumstances, he foregoes his stroke play for time. The scoring rate never ever took off with Kumble bowling a very tight line outside leg-stump. The English never seemed perturbed and managed to keep Kumble on the bay.
Indian’s negative tactics.
In the last tour Nasser Hussain the then English Captain used the leg stump line by bowling Giles over the wicket. The ploy worked as Tendulkar was stumped first time in his career. The Indians took the leaf out of his book. No, they actually borrowed the whole book and Kumble bowled round the wicket on the pads. The runs were curtailed but so were his wicket taking capabilities. Pietersen tried to flick the ball to leg-side. The ball turned a bit took the leading edge and Kumble caught off a brilliant return catch. The English were four down at this stage.
Tendulkar runs out.
It was an awesome piece of fielding and might help Tendulkar feel good in some ways. He contributed to the fall of a wicket. I thought he could have bowled a spell just to see what happens. Collingwood played down a Kumble delivery behind stumps, Shah called for a run. Tendulkar came running in and threw the ball Dhoni. We all know how good Tendulkar is as a fielder. He has safe hands and a very good arm. Dhoni did the rest and Shah went running towards the pavilion.
Harbhajan, the Flying Sikh?
There were reports flying off in all direction about lack of form of Harbhajan. He was struggling a great deal with his bowling and did not look penetrative enough. He bowled well today. The English did not seemingly want to attack him and dent his confidence further. Bhajji bowled, bowled, and then got this rhythm going. He was making the ball do all sorts of things and asked batsmen interesting questions. The batsmen were dumb-founded on most of the occasions.
He was gearing up well and all his variety as a bowler was on display. He bowled one to Collingwood who wanted o hit it through on side. Harbhajan foxed him with the flight and all Collingwood could manage was a firm push. Harbhajan’ eyes light up when he saw a chance of wicket coming his way. He dived left and caught Collingwood. His dive would have made the best fielders proud. He ran off all around the ground after claiming the wicket. It was an absolute gem.
England 157 for 6.
Flintoff on a charmed life.
Flintoff came in Shah’s wicket and seemed intent on defence. He was certainly living a charmed life. Yuvraj Singh dropped a regulation catch Flintoff offered off Kumble when he was still to open his account. Then Dhoni missed a stumping of Harbhajan. Dhoni also put a difficult chance off Kumble. Flintoff was finding was to get out but Indians did not help him much there. He batted and batted and batted. It would have been his slowest fifty till date. He was finally stumped off Kumble after making a very docile 52, Dhoni making up for the lost chances.
The wicket of Geraint Jones is vital too because like all keepers he too has the capabilities with bat. It was not too much as he pulled a Harbhajan doosra as far as mid-wicket, where Irfan accepted the catch. This was followed by the Flintoff dismissal. The last wicket did not last long as Anderson gave slip-catching practice to Dravid.
First blood to the English.
Sehwag having a back problem meant Pathan would have to open. Pathan could only deflect a full toss to his stumps, India 6 for one. Kumble walked in and held the fort till the close of play. India 18 for 1. They are chasing a score of 321.
The onus of the match is on Tendulkar.
Will he? Or Won’t he? This will be the doubt in the minds of all the cricket pundits. The match squarely rest on broad and now out of form Tendulkar. His dismissal is the key. Can he pull this one off for India? If he does so all what is written about this form will land up deservedly in the waste paper bin. If he doesn’t he should resty himself out of the On-Day series rest for a while and go back to drawing board.
Are the gods listening to the prayers of one billion cricket fans and one Sachin Tendulkar? Will the prayers of his fans bring them some joy? The answer is behind the curtains of time. He is one man who can surely win this match for India. It is time to show the “experts” who is the boss. He can redeem his failures through he second innings.
* Latest news indicate that he will be out of action from the first 3 One Days due to a shoulder injury.