Monday, October 4, 2010


Wow, what a brilliant Test match we are having! The last Test played in India was the 2nd India - South Africa Test at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. And now this one! Test match cricket is alive and kicking, biting, turning and doing all sorts of things even in India...

Today (Day 4) was the best day in this test so far... I love days that see heaps of wickets falling... and 14 was more than I bargained for last night!

When Watson began the attack this morning, it was good to watch. I think that innings shows, more than anything else, that scoring is still not too difficult on this pitch if the batsmen are looking to score. If they get bogged down, it will be extremely difficult.

Ishant's match-turning over was exhilarating to watch. Watson's wicket was gifted, not earned. And then Ponting and almost Clarke. What can I say about Ricky Ponting. In the lead up to this series, there was a slightly subdued talk about Ponting's new ailment called the 'short ball'. Subdued because short pitched stuff in Indian conditions was very unlikely to trouble a puller of the caliber of Ricky Ponting. But if Ponting is so keen to trouble himself with that shot, then so be it.

Tendulkar loves his cover drives and punches through the off side. They are the biggest run-generators for him. But he gave them all up in Sydney 2004 because they were letting him down. Once his confidence was restored, they were back. Ponting, who saw Tendulkar play that innings, should have learnt his lessons by now. Its not as if Ponting does not have any other shot in his repertoire... he has more than most other batsmen around. If only he could use them judiciously, he would increase his Test career by 2 years at least... that's a guarantee!

The second session was also panning out nicely before we saw an Ian-Gould-howler! Harbhajan should have been embarrassed to even appeal for it... instead, we had Mr. Gould raising his finger. Katich and Hussey had added 16 in 6.4 overs and were looking good... but after that, the next 5 wickets went down for just 38 runs in 13.4 overs. Target 216.

A tricky target... but manageable. And then came the second howler of the day - this time from the crooked finger of Billy Bowden. If anything, this was an even bigger howler than the first one. The big edge and the ball going outside off... what on earth was Bill thinking! Ben Hilfenhaus then bowled an inspired spell to skittle out a few more... and India ended at 55 - 4 with Sachin on 10* and Zaheer on 5*.

Oh man, I just can't wait for the Day 5 to commence. Though most believe that the balance is tilted towards Australia today, I still feel that India is not too far behind. The key is the fact that there are only 161 more runs to go. Two expensive overs tomorrow and Ponting will be forced to spread out his field a little... it may happen even earlier since he is known to be a defensive captain these days!

A lot will depend on Laxman's fitness tomorrow. If he can bat, it will be a huge thing for India. Because just the sight of Laxman walking out to bat (maybe with a runner) will help shift the momentum towards India. He's had a good history of 2nd innings scores and a good history of scores against Australia. Add the two together, and Ponting will be dreading the sight of Laxman walking out tomorrow. Plus, there is a small matter of Sachin Tendulkar still batting... he's looked comfortable against all bowlers in this Test, maybe except Marcus North ;)

An intriguing, exciting and exhilarating day of Test cricket awaits us tomorrow. Sad that there again won't be too many people witnessing it live from the stands!

P.S.: And yes, I was delighted to see Pujara make his first mark in Test cricket with the two catches. Does anyone know if they will be credited to him or the player on whose behalf he was fielding?

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