India won the first test at Motera, Ahmadabad with 9 wickets to much delight. It look obvious on the end of the second day, probable of the third day, wishful at the end fourth day and finally on the fifth day with more than a session to spare. The Indian camp saw performances from Sehwag, who with a run ball century deflated a flagging English attach, Pujara scored a commanding and comprehensive double century, Ojha, toiled for more than 460 deliveries, got 9 wickets, finally stamped and concluded the script that Indian batsman write. The English camp meanwhile went in with weird selections, and came back with not too many performances. Captain Cook had a good match with the bat, but will have to do more going into the series.
Surely they didn't read anything from Shane Warne's column.
The Great Indian Rope trick, cricket version.
Well , Indian cricket equivalent of the Great Indian Rope trick. If you win the toss, at first, bat long, bat once, get the Indian batsman to cheer the crowd and let Indian bowlers rest their feet for first four session if not more. Indian batsman will come up with brilliant, sparkling magnificent poetic centuries, double centuries, and compelling, fifties. These were batsman would have only edged to ellipse of keeper when sailing beyond the high seas. The repeated failure against one kind of bowling in one kind of pitches and its repeat is daunting for the Indian fan. If Indian Team were in a position that Poms were in while traveling, we would have ended the test match by lunch on the fourth day. This is a premise of Great Indian Rope trick, Foreign Edition.
However the Oracle came true, Dhoni woke up on the right side of bed, got down at the right time from the bus, place his right leg on the ground as he went out for toss, stood on the right side of Cook while tossing up the coin, made the right call, India won the toss, made the right call of batting first, Sehwag and Dhoni, said to each other. “Right, Here we go.”
Alright, the same bowlers who were bowling 85 miles and above and swinging it like Beckham, look military medium, something like a canon fodder for phlegmatic Sehwag. I think Sehwag would have prayed for this kind of bowling. He would sleep walk to a century on this type of attack. The English bowling being as uninspiring as English weather. The quicks queued to bowl, Sehwag skewed it over deep point, they kept coming, he kept dispatching. Sehwag scored and Gambhir got some good time in the middle, he too like Sehwag has been off the boil. One of the first on endless reasons, of India's debacle on overseas tours. It got rectified though, a good meaty partnership, and an hour into the second session, England were looking like they lost the plot even before deciding to looking at one. Sehwag knock was interesting and uncharacteristic, because he didn't decide to go jogging by getting into a car. He warmed up and then went to beat leather with willow, runs flowed on their one. The tone was being set, rhythm was there, everything is fine when Indian Openers score a century partnership, Indian don't loose. Sehwag finally getting out on 117 for a very poor shot.
Swann song, Indian batsmen worries against finger spinners.
Graeme Swann had taken just four wickets against the SAf when SAfs toured England, four wickets. The worlds best spinner, playing in his own backyard claimed four wickets against a spin reluctant SAf batting line up. Indian batsman seemed to got stuck into Swann, before Swann decided to get stuck into Indian batsman.
Spinners, get wicket by inducing a stroke which is not to be played, be deceiving the batsmen, by varying the flight, pace, spin imparted on the ball resulting in batsman to gauge which shot he has to play. Swann at one point claimed all the four or five wickets to have fallen. These are big names. Any spinner will vouch for the fact that Indian batsman are hard to bowl to on Indian wickets, let along claim their wickets. Swann proved his class, claimed the top wickets. Gambhir went to cut one to a delivery that hurried, bounced low and disturbed the off stump. Sehwag was out sweeping again an uncharacteristic shot played at a time when he could have held the fort so to speak for some more time. Kohli's dismissal was the best of the lot, the ball was flighted, inviting Kohli to drive
Marathon runners – Cook and Pujara.
They build there innings and struck boundaries with percentage shot, hitting the boundary with a shot they was natural for them. Pujara and Cook kept rotating the strike and kept building the partnerships. Pujara has like camping in with his bad and pads, Cook, we know can bat forever. They seem to be unfazed almost ignorant about batsman coming and going at other end. It seemed they played the delivery rather than a situation of the match. Pujara scored a double ton. He has everything running for him, including comparison with a behemoth Rahul Dravid. The comparisons will also be there, but for that to happen, first few knocks and first matches especially at home (India) is unfair to Pujara and Dravid. Pujara has lot to prove and has enough ability to do it. I just hope we compare Dravid and Pujara after later has has played in Aus, Saf and England at least once especially in those places. Cook showed glimpses of resolved and kept chipping away, but injudiciousness of strokeplay of Trott, Pietersen, Bell failed to compliment Cook's efforts. Cook came back to bat again, as Dhoni asked England to follow on. Cook just dropped the anchor. This time a more authoritative display against spinners. on a fourth and fifth day pitch when Indian spinners were expected to run through the English batting line up. A few unimaginative strokes did seem to help Indian cause but, Cook then with Prior bought some respectability to English scorecard and made sure Indian will have to bat again. A fine 176 by Cook. He like batting here.
Ojha tweaks England.
Indian pitches are frustrating for the bowlers. Ojha bowled more than 70 overs, 9 wickets. I think he deserved a Man of the Match. 9 Wickets, is a lone effort, especially in the second innings when he held one end up and took wickets when required. Ojha and Pujara did well for themselves in the match as young guns. Ojha claimed Pietrsen wicket in both the innings, Pietersen may be guilty of getting out playing strokes which he didnt have too. It would have been embarrassing getting bowled, with middle stump flat or getting bowled second time over round the legs. Pietersen dimissal kept England in check.
So did Cook and Prior and Swann. Sehwag need to continue to do well. Yuvraj looked good for a century but got out caught in the deep of Samit Patel full toss.
England need to realign their selection template and game to the pitch on the ground. In India set template or set game plan don't work.