There were two very interesting games of cricket, which were played over this weekend. One of the results stumped the Indian media other wrapped the knuckles on hooligan and racist spectators.
Australia’s tour to South Africa.
It is an irony of cricket. No team sport realise so heavily on individual as does cricket. Ponting and Symonds unavailable for selection due to injuries, Australia is playing some worst than ordinary (not extra-ordinary cricket), for once West Indies vs. New Zealand made a better viewing. The first time I saw the score it was South Africa who were batting with last dozen over remaining and the score was nearing 190. I though the might be able to touch 270. They set a chase of 290 runs for the Kangaroos.
They Proteas (South Africans) received quiet a mouthful while batting as well as while fielding. The captain Graeme Smith also did not have the greatest tour with his scratchy form. It was time to pay the Aussies back. Ntini had to face a racial slur in Australia and as fate would have it Ntini rocked the Aussie batting line up claiming the best bowling figures of 6 for 22 by a South African against the Aussies. The Aussies were defeated by 196 runs.
The English Tour: A tour of missing the bus on the field.
The NEWS channels and their exclusive cricket experts once again humbled by this game of cricket. England batted and then really bowled well to claim a lead of 70 runs. I thought the English score would not have touched 400 had Piyush Chawla played. Then Kaif vindicated my thoughts by scoring a proud and a solid 91. He got able support from Kumble who made 58. I thought the lead could have been very big then they would be lots to think about. The newfound vigour of fielding lacked in the English second inning and helped Pietersen score a very good 87 and Cook who deservedly hit a century on Test debut. Not an easy task to do. However, if one is helped by fielder and bowlers not wanting to hold the catches offered then why shouldn’t help yourself with a century. Flintoff mindset was exposed in their second innings. He also missed in the bus in the sense he could have seized the initiative. He didn’t, this may cost him the series.
He could have up the tempo of run scoring. He should have declared the innings and asked Indians to bat at least half an hour. He screwed up the whole of last session with bizarre fields and ordinary field placements. Wassim Jaffer on a comeback made a century. A tough ask especially in the last innings of a test. However, their were not many much on nervous nineties as there was no close in fielders. The Indian preserved their wickets well up to the pint where Rahul Dravid played a rash shot. There wasn’t as much excitement as the commentators thought. There were some breezy strokes that were played but it wasn’t going to go the distance. It is tough to win a test match with an asking rate of 8 an over no matter who was at the crease. Flintoff could not hold the nerve in the end and Srinath put on a very good perspective by saying the Indian team covered lot of missing ground. The excitement now shifts to Mohali, Chandigrah.
I hope Kaif is not dropped. Yuvraj can wait at least for now. Harbhajan can look forward to do couple of Ads and Bhangra videos he is not looking penetrative at all. No the English front Ian Bell looks like the weakest link. He can be replaced.
This is good start to a series after many commentators had buried England. I hope we are in for treat of some old fashioned Test Cricket. Indian needs to pull up their socks. The English need to repeat their performances and make sure that their bass are covered.