Its end of day three and possible twelve wickets or 200 runs and more would decide a keenly contested test match. It looks at least for now that it is Indians match to loose. I would also add that Aussies have their noses in front. It wont be a cake walk for India. It is always tough when u have runs on the board. India looked really good at one stage with the score reading 214 for 2. They finished with 282 all out within the first session of day three. You can sing bravado about Indian bowling, but the fact is we are against the odds and Aus camp will be a bit more at ease. Indians have a tendency to collapse in a heap, ref: first innings of this test. The fans on the other end would feel the other team has the upper hand. The uncertain cricket to follow has just pumped up the nervous excitement.
Sachin and the magic number.
The hundredth hundred may be playing on his mind, it may not. One more century would make him superlative. He is the best of his generation. He is the best Indian batsman ever. He is a genuine gentlemen and there is very little that public has seen of him that they didn't like. He has lived under an undiluted spotlight for better part of his adult life. He got into cricket at an age when you and me seek freedom without responsibility. He gave up both. I have this amazing sense of gratitude towards guys humility. It is simply impossible for anyone else to pull it off when you have earned so much fame and praise, all deserving off course.
I have seen a few centuries of his and seen him play since I can remember. But I hardly remember any century in which he starts flourish, you string of boundaries, punches on the off side, blistering square drive and flicks and get his century. I long to see centuries, when he is a bit circumspect and builds on his innings. Tendulkar settling in first and then decimating the bowlers, collecting boundaries and growing in confidence. It almost seem unacceptable to me that he will get a century with gusto and flourish like the one which was on display on day two of the Melbourne Test. It was delighting never the less.
Deja Vu in Melbourne
The Indian fan is witness to a collapse of Indian batting previously at The MCG too. It was a nasty one, Sehwag was brutal that day. India all out when they look to drive the advantage home wasn't to be. Aus cruised to victory. Indian bowlers however are looking good. Umesh Yadav is taking wickets, Ishant Sharma will get paid for hard-work sooner rather than later. Indian bowlers riding on self destruct tendencies of Aus batsman capitalized. It was 24/4 at one point before Ponting & Hussey chose to perform rather than parish. The tide turned the runs flowed.
Yadav had claimed first three wickets to fall in the first innings, accounted for Aussie top order again in the second innings. Cowan, warner and Marsh came saw went. Ishant had Clarke. This bought the two people like to face axe (but shouldn't). Ponting and Hussey attacked and defended and restrained the Indian bowling and set course for a competitive fourth innings total for the Indians to chase. . The target is approaching 250. Aussies would like to add a bit more. Indians will look to restraint. It makes for a good Test series.
Sore thumb rule
If two innings have been completed by the end of the third day, you tend to get the direction in which test is likely to head. It is hard to decide those. Indian collapse followed by Aus collapse makes for a jittery viewing if you are an Indian fan. Sehwag will do everything to amplify these jitters. Aus will try to push it beyond 250 may be beyond three hundred. If it is 275 in last five sessions of play to remain. Its just the tendency of collapse that you need to guard again.
Reemphasizing the change in The Menu.
It can be easily concluded about what kind of life you have by the priorities we follow. One we set the goal it is easier to aim. If scoring runs is the goal for the team than batting order should be one of the priority, the right batting order should be one of the priorities. I would love to see Laxman at three, Dravid at four and Tendulkar at five, Dhoni at six and Kohli at seven. It guards against possible collapse, it covers Kohli fallibility it adds to Dhoni since he would have at least one experienced batsman to play with. Tendulkar and Dravid would provide solidity. It would challenge Laxman to add a bit of caution and tightening up his game.
I wish to see changes in Aus line up as well. Hussey is there best bat for sometime now. He like Dravid has a complete game, well suited to play of either foot against all kind of bowling under various condition and score runs competently. He should be batting at three, Clarke at four, Ponting at five. Marsh at six.
It is easy to say Indians will come all out blazing. They need to dismiss Aussies as soon as they can and then chart a course where each batsman should take responsibility to be at the crease when the time comes to finish the game. I hope Yadav gets five tomorrow. I hope its a good match and it sets the right tone for the new years. It will be a good test match to follow.