Caution:Long cricket post ahead, discretion advised.
Well done Indians. They managed to win one more “away” test. They have prolonged the series to a in the form of third test which goes back to Colombo. I will remember this test for what the bowlers did and the batsmen didn’t. It will also be remember for one of the “away” test in which Dravid contribution was “limited” to taking few scintillating catches and dropping may be a couple of them.
The Man, the Innings; both in review.
He bats and you watch. There is either some madness that happens which make u tear your hair out or you could hold your nerve as some hammer hits the hot iron on the anvil. Let me introduce Virender Sehwag. His aura is such that there was a ephemeral wave of relief when Sehwag was not included in the original squad to tour Australia earlier this season i.e. late last year. : P
The man has such a clout. There was a piece written by Ian Chappell wondering way he wasn’t selected. I think some one from the selectors while surfing net read it, Sehwag was selected to the trip down under, sat out couple of games, played in the third and since then he is in a roll and perhaps may score runs even if bats with the bat turned around. The Perth test was memorable one in the sense the rocket booster Sehwag gave India much needed starts, suggested Kumble to give one more over to Ishant when he dismissed Ponting. Ponting was beaten all ends up and after than Ishant was all over Ponting even in the ODI. He also took couple of quick wickets that helped scythe Australia and India beat Australia in their own home.
The times have changed a mixed bag IPL a triple century and double for him since then. This 201* where he carried the bat, meaning all ten wickets fell while he was not out. This score was his 15 consecutive score of over 150, now that’s something. He was perceived to be an ODI player but then has a brilliant Test record, perhaps envy of many and ODI is decent at best. He remains danger to the opposition, because pitch don’t matter to him much, he has score runs all round the world under all conditions.
I thought Sehwag blew it up in Colombo when he was out to an innocuous hook shot. He paid the price after a very brisk start and India collapsed to an innings defeat. The tides changed India went to Galle and there was a gale in form of Virender Sehwag that awaited them. He shredded the cunning attack into submission. He and Gautam Gambhir piled on runs very very quickly. Indian openers have looked in great touched, but then there was a batting collapse and things start to get heady again. The Nawab of Najafgarh meanwhile was having a dream run creaming all the bowlers all over the ground. There were lots off hiccups on its way; at one point in time wickets were falling so quickly that Sehwag at the other end would be thinking that he is seeing a highlights package at the other end. It was meant to be and he got another double century. He looked like a man possessed and stood between defeat and his Team.
He looked in command and in control. Jayawardene would have thanked his stars when Sehwag go out cheaply in both the innings in the first test. After his dismissals Indian team just seem to have collapsed trapped with some ordinary cricketing shots, and some reviews which could have gone either way. But it was Sehwag turn to thank the stars and couple on lower end batsmen in his team for his double ton. There was a bit of Sehwag show left, he got out off a rash shot. If he would have carried a bit longer then Jayawardene and Co would have been staring down the cliff. He scored a quick fire 50 in the decond innings and helped India to a decent total.
Not "Showing Now" anymore …
His great Indian middle order never looked so ordinary. I think I have a conspiracy theory on this. Alrite it may just be a hypothesis. Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid and Lakman, have not played well. They haven’t had any scores in any form of cricket to boast of, it is a start of a new season. There IPL performance better not be discussed. It was nothing to talk off. Now then it’s difficult to come into a season and stare down the wicket and find the smiling assassin and the weird bowler looking to rip it into you and then go bang bang boom. I think they have hit the straps, with Sehwag leading the charge; it would make sense for couple of batsmen out of the big four to rally around him till they have scored well sufficiently well to come on the forefront on their own. While Murali was contained in this test Mendis to his credit has had a perfect 10 for the match. I think Murali bowled doosra every second delivery and played it to our hands, mean while other batsmen continue to revel under the sniper’s Mendis’s hair cross. If I were an Indian spinner I would be looking at Mendis more closely then the batsmen because there are a few things to learn from him and one more bowl in the armoury will only help.
I hope to see the big four coming to their own, provided we win the toss and bat first on turning Colombo pitch. If we get a good start I can expect at least one of the big four to get a century if not two.
It is just the big four the majority of players are coming after some indifferent form, Zaheer after injury, Ishant after an ordinary IPL, Bhajji after slapping Sreesanth, and perhaps the echo of the slap he smacked on Sreesanth still echoes in his ears. Dinesh Karthik after being out of limelight due a now Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna recipient Dhoni. I think Parthiv may come in instead of him. He will be under pressure to perform well with the gloves. The last test series he played was years ago when he dropped more catches then he scored runs. He has to perform or parish because Dhoni will come in sooner rather than later.
Help from unexpected quarters.
As Indians have won the match one can savour it was a “in-the-balance” test match. The Indian seamers let the charge. Ishant Sharma and Zaheer led a brilliant fight back, with three Lankan wickets down and team score within double digits, the spell was cast, the mould was formed, the packaged was stamped for India. It was more so because of the fact that two names out of the three wickets that fell are called Sangakara and Jayawardene. These two bat well. These two bat really well together and reminiscent of Madmax, Arvind DeSliva and jog along Arjuna Ranatunga. It wasn’t meant to be. Ishant got the first opener with a beauty that moved across and could have tested any top left hander on top of this form. He did really well to edge it to second slip. Zaheer “Zak” could have one in his opening over as well but Rahul Dravid missed a catch. It was a screamer, as he tried his best with his right hand but Wandort did not do much damaged and stayed on for eternity. Zak goes for top order batsmen all the time. He had done well in England and coming out of injury, he looked in total control and rhythm. But that rhythm went out too soon I guess. It was a fourth day pitch and Zak the Ox could have got some more purchase had looked to take more wickets. But then Zak bowled another cock-a-hoop to Sangakkara. Sanga looked bewildered as he edged one and Indian were ascending and piling into Lankans. Ishant mean while was coming to his own and was lured into a cut which Jayawardene failed to keep down. Dravid caught that stinger and made up for the earlier chance which had gone begging. Lankans three down for nine runs. The writing was on the wall.
Wandort had resigned as he hardly scored anything. Indians liked him there. Ishant had him covered as he continued to look at sea. His misery was soon ended as Harbhajan quick sliding delivery wrapped his pads. Four down.
Kumble meanwhile start bowling I don’t know what. A line on leg stump and length full. He was trying to emulate Ishant. Did he wanted to contain the batsmen? The idea was good but the timing wasn’t. He was better off attack. Meanwhile Bhajji just played on Singh is King theme song. He kept the pressure on working out the batsmen dismantling him ball by ball. Ishant mean while was serving red hot thunderbolts. Dilshan pulled some momentum back but then the lanky pacemen produced one which lifted from length and Dilshan gloved it to keeper. This wicket meanwhile was all credit to the keeper as he pouched one. The fat lady starting to clear her throat. Kumble and Harbhajan just ran through the Lankans.
The probable fall guy.
Jaywardene's prophecy was turned into a hum dinger. He is such a great player and made some handsome runs all over the place. He should be first to understand that the game is always coming around to kick some butt. It is better to just keep boasts out of your mind. I saw his interview after the second test and thought he is still under the spell that Lankans scoring 600 and Indians losing by an innings. I hope when he reaches back to Colombo and before the last test starts that India has a (at least a hypothetical) chance of winning the series. If suppose India wins the next test and hence the series will head roll in Lankan camp. There have been at least a couple of heads that have rolled in the English camp after SAfs won the test and hence the series. Jaywardene should mark his words well and mark his crease better than his words. I wish he may never have to rue the words he said. This is a game of cricket and it is never over till the last run scored or last wicket taken.
Long Living Kishore.
Its been almost two decades since he passed away. He was a legend in a life time. Kishore Kumar the most versatile artist Hindi cinema ever saw. A deserving blog on Kishore Kumar and also on Firendship Day/week likely soon.
Song: Mere Meheboob Qayamat Hogi,
Movie: Mr. X in Bombay