18.12.08

Cricket: Ghosts laid to rest.

Disclaimer: A long cricket post.

India laid many ghosts to rest. One of them was crumbling in the last innings of a test. Tendulkar’s poor show in last innings, Dravid poor form, Yuvraj being the question mark. It need to cricketing expert to know that English bowling attacking becomes potent many a times, when the dawn white and have a red cherry in hand. Flintoff, I wonder if he can open the bowling, but opening the bowling isn’t an issue of English, Anderson or Broad and Harmison use swing and bounce in various combinations and a decent first class record only helps.

Strauss just managed to clutch on to straws.

I feel for Strauss, poor guy made century in each innings, and ended on the losing side. Paul Collingwood challenged himself and earned a century but in vain, so focuses and reliant were they on Flintoff boosting the score that seem to have lost the plot in Chennai’s blistering sun. Yes the held on to their wickets for too long. You can say this in hindsight but I believe if Pietersen would have declared that just before tea irrespective of the lead and Flintoff could have a short burst of 3-4 overs, Rahul Dravid not in best of form, who know if India would be reeling at tea with couple of wickets down, not a good position to be in compared to what happened when India raced to 134 for one with one day to play and over 250 to get on the last day. The boost with which India had felt it was just the matter of seeing off the first session on the last day. There were a still few ghosts lingering though.

Few people who mattered but were not noticed.

Bhajji and Dhoni’s partner ship in the first innings saved face for Indians. Or else things would have been really be gone. Dhoni meanwhile would have been very pleased coz he scored when things were really hot under the collar and dawn was really far away. Bhajji is scoring runs while not being able to pick wickets but then Dravid and close in catchers aren’t in best of catching form, but Bhajji looks out of rhythm. Hence we don’t see his deliveries jumping and turning. Zaheer Khan well, you facing a problem you go to Zaheer Khan and he gets you wickets. Dhoni would be really happy to exclude himself out of the spot light but we can say now that captain cool showed the way. As a have said that Dhoni has a heart and mind of a gambler, he always have something up his sleeve, he slowed the over rate and English did not bite the bait and continue to trudge along and after tea It is sad to see Dravid woefully out of form, I shall pray him in hope of he scoring again. So also Laxman, what’s with him getting out to spinners, I mean caught bat pad not something that Laxman would want to see. Ishant and Zaheer got it swinging, I wo der if other reserve bowlers can also reverse the old bowl in the maner Zaheer and Ishant can. I wonder if one of the two can be tested or what the point in changing the winning combination. i dont like to see too many changes.

Virender Sehwag the rocket booster fuel, lifts off India.

Man can do two things either you run away trying to save face or you jump up and down the seat laughing hilariously at this marvel. I hope India bats tomorrow and he scores a century; he started this year n song and hasn’t stopped. He is one of the top run getters in this year the other being Greame Smith who lead SAfs against Pom to a series victory, SAfs look to struggle with Johnson getting seven in an innings. Meanwhile back to Sehwag, he has scored a 150 a double and a triple ton all this in this year. He saved a match with a score of over 150 in Adelaide, a double ton where is batted right through and helped India come back by providing enough for Ishant and Zaheer to defend. His 300 was purely a highlights package. He had two double century partnerships in that innings, Dravid just rotated the strike and eased himself a century. He may confess about this innings if he were to write his autobiography.
This innings not only punched the winds out of English sails but also changed the course of Indian innings in this match. Sehwag came to the fore in a quick jiffy and hammered everyone to the boundary and India looked to score runs very quickly. I thought with Gambhir defending Flintoff all the while thereby denying Sehwag strike when he was in some flow hampered him scoring runs and taking a fresh guard. But his six against Monty that went sailing down the ground was a pick of lot. He was on 83 when he got out, all of just three strokes away from a century. If here were to be there on the fifth day I think the game would have been wrapped up before tea. But there were more twists in the tale to follow. He deservingly got the man of the match.

Sachin lays his painful memories to rest.

I have been critical, one cannot have enough of him can we. He struggled for last couple of years. He along with Zaheer, Sehwag, Bhajji, Yuvraj all have made “comeback” of sorts and have written a wonderful stories of sort. Tendulkar after having tough times with injuries has slowly build upon his innings. He goes back to the ground where he broke the record for most runs in Test Cricket. Perhaps one more century? Everyone will remember his epic century and a monumental loss. India set to win in access of 270 on the last day, Ganguly and Dravid getting woeful decisions but he carried on and fall short when India was on doorstep and just 17 runs away. Pakis won by 12 runs. It all started with Nayan Mongia dismissal that triggered the collapse. A ghost that kept lingering on his mind for nearly a decade. It was the start on up and down times, with Tendulkar grappled with form and fitness. It came to rest with another century effort this time leading on a winning note. India came from behind and Sehwag had already wrested the initiative for India. The fifth day was in balance. Tendulkar looked to lay each bring at a time and keep nibbling away each run as English blowers did have come success after Dravid went early, Laxman played a flash in the pan innings but took off pressure with flurry of boundaries. He kept himself in check and looked good for a century, cutting out on risk and making sure goal is in sight. I wonder if Tendulkar would have had his moments after Yuvraj cut lose with not too many to get. I think he had to get 17 out of 30 that India required. He ended the match with a lap sweep and India wrapping the match with 6 wicket in hand.

Yuvraj keeps Tests.

I doubted Yuvraj, I still do, but that’s restricted to 5 day format of the game. He is vital clog in ODI and T20. He is phenomenal in these two formats of game. When it comes to test he has more weakness than he would confess, one of the most unlikely is facing the short delivery and playing spin. But he has Dhoni’s confidence. He had one day to prove that he is worth to Test side as well. He had one day to prove it, metaphorically Yuvraj is phenomenal in ODI, and Kirsten also suggested Yuvraj to play it like a One Day. He did and creamed the English attack with Tendulkar holding one end Yuvraj seem to have blossomed. The next match is on his home ground and perhaps Yuvraj would score more, but the real test is away from the country i.e. overseas. So as off now Yuvraj did well and co-scripted a famous win.

Dravid shalt make comeback

Dravid was out of form, some say it was good he got out early or else he would have batted India to a draw. A lame argument considering he is perhaps one of the chief architects of India’s major wins including one in Eden Gardens, West Indies, Australia, England, Pakistan you name it he won it. It is not that we want to sing only of his past laurels. The point I wish to make writing anyone off who has more than 10000 runs in two formats of the game isn’t the wisest thing to do.

6 comments:

sathyamurthy said...

Its right that Dravid has a huge history. But it is just that, history!

He cannot prolong the career when there are youngsters knocking the doors.

I personally feel he should take some time off from playing at the highest level and then come back rejuvenated.

To me he still has two years of cricket left. But, he should go on a high and not by scratching like this. He looks desperately out of sorts and the pressure of non-performance and cries for his ouster is telling on him.

(Allow me a self promotion, you might want to read what I posted about Dravid in my blog - http://sathyamurthy.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/fun-on-the-run-breaking-newsfun-on-the-run-breaking-news/)

sathyamurthy said...

Tarun,

As you liked India has lost Viru early today and so The Wall has been raised early on.

Let us see if this test will be different for him.

Tarun said...

@ Satya: I am loving it Dravid in rubbing it into England, more so on his detractors.

Nagu said...

hi tarun.......liked the tile of ur post.........true many ghosts laid to rest...........infact it was a great win.......i was always thinking that we will try to save the match.........but sehwag innings changed all.........Sachin i think has still lot to offer....especially by being around in the middle with young guys in test cricket like yuvi........Yuvi played well but i still beileve he cant play spin well in longer format of game and he is not the same yuvi of odi or t20 against seamers also ...;away from india.........i would be happy if he can prove me wrong.......becuase india needs player like yuvi at no 6 in tests who like sehwag can run away with matches..........and most imp thing very happy to see wall doing things which he does often....;sccoring big runs.......hope he contiues and would like to see india NO 1 in tests............very soon.........

Tarun said...

@ Nagu: I agree with u on Yuvi.

Arvind said...

Dravid is a great player.. a legend and all that... I admire him.. but I am not too sure whats the plan giving him soo many chances.. yes we still need him but how long can he contribute? If the same chances were given to Raina, Rohit, Manoj.. and if they clicked.. but then Rahul deserves a nice exit. hope this century clears his mind - while batting and fielding.

I am not at all confident about yuvi. talent is beyond question but the skill and temperament for the tests... too many questions.. would he have played the same innings if there wasnt a senior playing with him? would he have controlled his temper against Flintoff? even I'd be happy if he proves my doubts wrong. India's reply to Symonds!!!