Cricket: Two up in Hyderabad

India in Aus had no clue, went on to lose the series 4-0. Aus are touring and perhaps facing the similar kind of result. Indian teams performances lie somewhere between, the ebb from the massive loses in Australia (and England) tour and stupendous highs from the wins in this series. Dhoni had drawn lot of flak for string of poor performances. Captains form reflected and amplified his team’s (poor) performances. But that stupendous double by Dhoni in Madras and commendable team performances in Hyderabad would have made his detractors mumble under there breath. We as fans are assured considering his performances and carry his team along, that Dhoni know much more about things and how to deal with them. Dhoni has done well, he delivers, get more choices in the team. Jadeja’s selection along with Murali Vijay would have raised a few eyebrows before the test began. Indian now has an unsalable lead with their hands on Border Gavaskar trophy. The geniuses who were critical of Dhoni as a captain and keeper have moved on to graze on greener pastures.

What can Clarke do?

There are many things Clarke can do which he hasn’t done till yet in the series.

Not win the toss (some how)

Consider to bowl first if and when you do win the toss

Look to bat once and only once in the test.

Bat yourself in top four, if not in top three? Perhaps open? Watson, Warner and Clarke have to click, TOGETHER.

Identify the top spinner in the squad. Play him in for the rest of the series.

My Aus XI (in Batting Order) – Watson, Warner, Henriques, Clarke, Cowan, Hughes,Wade, Pattinson, Doherty, Lyon, Johnson.

All those wondering about where Aus will go from here… especially the Ashes, don’t worry, English condition are not alien to Aus players. England have the core of players have a good core But SAf beat them at home. You got to play your hand with the cards you got. Clarke forgot conventional rules of how the game is/was played not necessarily apply in India. I think Clarke ability (read agility) as a Captain seemed to have been exposed. You can't have Haydens, Gilchrist, Martyns, Waughs, Warnes, McGraths with you all the times. They are once in a generation cricketers. Aussies want the present players to impose themselves. Warner and Watson have to perform. Batting and Bowling has to click.

Dhoni has his (sleeves and) pockets full.

I am not sure we have a better man to lead Indian cricket team on the field as off now. Dhoni is the best thing to have happened to Indian cricket in last few years. He performs or perishes, get his own team, set his own standards and excels them in process. Often what people see as achievements he sees them as milestones and simply moves on like someone driving on highway on a clear day. There would be lot of noises on inclusion of Viijay and Jadeja,ut we must now applaud Dhoni's decision. Jadeja and Murali both had important contribution. Sehwag has Bhajji for company to plot their futures as to what they want to do next.

Pujara, Murali and Ashwin Relay-Marathons.

Clarke won the toss, which was high point of the day and before the first session, Aus seemed to be focusing on what was written on a nonexistent wall. Four wickets down, in first session. An Aus fight back in the second session and Indian rope trick, that saw Aussies declaring after five wickets fall in the last session. The declaration seems foolish one but if they would have taken couple of wicket than it may have been looked brave indeed. But wasn't to be. Pujara and Murali Vijay both under various bars of pressure, came to gather, to hold the Aussie bowling charge at bay in the first session and then blossomed for the rest of the day. They scored a combined of 294 runs in the day. The helpless Aus bowlers struggling to even create chances on their own. Pujara has the great skill of building big scores based on temperament and poise. In many ways Pujara reminds me of Michael Vaughan. He fought a hamstring to get to his hundred and pave the way for massive first innings score for India. Sehwag contemplating what would have been.

It was more restrained and stoic innings for Murali. He was subdued and played well within himself, giving up panache' to get a very well compiled and almost a stoic century. I hope this gives him some satisfaction to pursue innings different from his natural style. He should look to collect more runs in the series. Vijay looked more at ease as the innings went on and complemented Pujara, stroke for stroke. But also looked happy to play second fiddle to Pujara for extended times of better part of the day. Pujara went on to get a very good double, a second double for the Indian team in two matches. Vijay kept going forward. His dismissal triggered a collapse of sorts as Indian tried to bat Aus out of the game. Dhoni smashed a few although Virat and Tendulkar should have done that. Indian got out for 500 plus and A crumbling pitch waited for Aus to surrender.

Ashwin. He was nearly the man of the match in the Chennai test where Dhoni just too the game away from Aus. 12 wickets in the first game, six in the second. 18 wickets in four innings, three five wickets haul. The flight and loop is back. There is visibly less reliance on variation and more on control . The wickets are there the taking, hopefully Bhajji has got his cue. Ashwin well supported by Jdeja through the series. Ashwin averaging less than 17 and Jadeja at 19. the virtues of spinning a ball on driving length along with natural variations bringing rich hauls to the lesser spinners.

The road ahead with is clear, claim the third test and hopefully and faster pitch on the fourth test for the more even contest.

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