Friday, December 17, 2010


Two pretty quick pitches, two captains winning the toss and inserting the opposition in to face the music, and two batting units failing. Eventually, the Australian lower order did enough to drag them up to a decent 268, but it would be an achievement if India even manages to touch 150.

Anderson, Tremlett, Steyn and Morkel were all brilliant. Finn, Swann and Kallis were decent. Tsotsobe was pathetic. Despite the large difference in scores, in my opinion, Australia should be just as disappointed as India. Because most of the Australians gave away their wickets, whereas the major Indian wickets were earned by some fine bowling.

Sehwag fell needlessly, and I have already expressed my disappointment with him over here. Ponting, Clarke, Gambhir and Raina fell due to their own tentativeness. Hughes, Hussey, Harris, Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman fell to good deliveries. But whereas a lot of assistance was expected and available to the quicker men at Centurion due to the overhead as well as pitch conditions, it wasn't quite the same case at Perth.

It was a pretty quick pitch at Perth (despite the fact that a few strokes went well in front of the wicket). Prior was regularly collecting balls with fingers pointed upwards. In fact, coming to think of it, there were just four balls that I can remember from the entire first innings (and I did watch the majority of it) where Prior collected the ball below his knees.

But despite its pace and the control that Anderson and Tremlett operated with, it wasn't quite as difficult to bat at Perth as it was at Centurion. This, though, is no excuse for the Indian batting collapse as 136 - 9 is not acceptable in any conditions for a batting lineup as good as any.

Both Australia and India should have done way better than they have done today. As a result of their lack of application, both these teams now face an upward task against English and South African teams on fire... buoyed by their own performances.

The chances of fightback look slim to me... for differing reasons. In case of the Perth Test, Australia just don't look strong enough to me to fight back and come storming back into the Test. They may win a session or two... but eventually, England will prove that they are a much better side. And in case of the Centurion Test, though India is a strong team, they are in a much bigger hole right now... and with a bowling attack without its leader, India might just find it beyond them to force their way back.

But then, I will hope, for the sake of the game of cricket that we see a bit of fight before these matches end.

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