Sunday, November 25, 2007

India 171-3 chasing 203 - Day 4 at the Kotla

Pakistan scored 70 odd runs less than I expected and India scored 10 runs more and lost 1 wicket less than I had predicted last night. I didn't watch the match today but followed it ball-by-ball on cricinfo. I was disappointed to see Pakistan blow away the advantage they had by losing their last 5 wickets for 30 odd runs in the morning. And unlike yesterday, the wickets fell to the seamers.

India should easily be able knock of the 32 runs required in the morning. Many like me will be hoping for a miracle with Tuesday morning headlines reading "India lose last 7 for 27", but the way Sachin and Saurav batted today, it is highly unlikely.

A few points on some of the players.

Saurav Ganguly - Many critics and bloggers wanted him to be replaced by Yuvraj Singh for this test, but the man has given a man of the match performance, and the way he batted today has all but won the test for India. The Aussies will be looking forward to seeing him walk out at 5 for India in a months time, but they shouldn't forget that on India's last tour down under, it was he who was responsible for the drawn series.

Shoaib Akhtar - Whoever had doubts about his fitness (including me) will be gulping down their words after the way he bowled today. He bowled 6 over spells unlike the 1st innings, was fully charged, and looked like the only bowler who could run through the Indian innings. Haven't seen the ball he got Dravid with, but I've heard it was a beauty and I'll catch the highlights just to see this.

Sachin Tendulkar - He consumed 80 odd deliveries for his 32 runs. This was probably the kind of application that was required by the batsmen on this pitch. I'm expecting him to get out early in the morning, but if he doesn't it will be a rare occasion for Sachin to take India past the finish line.

Mohammad Yousuf - In the 1st innings he had a strike rate of 63 scoring 27. In the 2nd it was 85 for his 18. Combined, that is the fastest any batsman has scored in this match. What was the hurry? Either he is still in ODI mode or he was seeing the ball better than any other batsmen, apart from Ganguly today. He seems to have forgotten how he got all those runs last year, but 1 test doesn't take the class away - hopefully he will realise how much Pakistan needs him to fire, especially after no Inzi to follow.

Rahul Dravid - He got bowled for the 2nd time in the match in the 30s. Is the wall breaking? I have sensed that Dravid hasn't been himself during the match. I know he came into this match after a double hundred and a hundred in the domestic games, but something about him has been missing. He has played and missed quite a lot of deliveries, has been very quiet on the field, and hasn't been seen chatting to his batting partners. Resigning from captaincy and being dropped from the ODI squad is definitely hurting him.

About 40-50 minutes of play remains in the match and India look likely to go 1 up. But what brilliant advertisement for test cricket this match has been. It'll definitely go down as one of the classics!

Make your pitch on this post...



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9 Pitched:

  1. NAzhar said...
     

    Shoaib bowled really superb and really was giving it his all. The delivery to Dravid (I saw it) was one of the best I have seen in recent times.

    However, I still think he was not fit enough to give us longer spells...we need 10 over spells from him and he couldnt because of a combination of his fitness and stubborness (cut down your run up!)

  2. NAzhar said...
     

    Our batsmen completely did not apply themselves and all got out playing unnecessary shots...really gifting their wickets.

    I also think Kaneria was under bowled in the match and Malik should have bowled some overs himself too.

  3. Q said...
     

    Shoaib bowled only 3 over spells in the first innings and followed that up with 6 over spells in the second. Thats very good improvement I think.

    He was definitely charged up in the 2nd innings - Ive never seen him bowl like this in the last innings of a test match.

    Although I agree with Nazhar that he is still not super fit, but he is improving as the tour goes on. I hope he continues in the same vain and doesn't lose hope after losing this test.

    I thought Kaneria was used well by Malik in short spells. Longer spells would have resulted in batsmen getting after him. In shorter spells he could attack more.

    Whenever Kaneria used to come on under Inzi, he used to continue throughout the day without change bowling up to 25-30 overs per day and up to 40-50 in an innings. That wore of the suprise of his googlies and straighter ones as he bowled them more often than not.

    Totally agree on Malik. He needs to develop confidence in his bowling. He should have come on especially when the left handed Ganguly was in full flow in the last session of the 4th day.

  4. Soulberry said...
     

    Dravid got out to beauts. One could certainly grant MoYo the odd test! He's not finished with this series yet and neither is Pakistan.

    It does look like Yuvraj will have to wait longer. I did mention that ganguly edged past him due to his bowling ability. However, I am yet to be convinced if this is how India's bowling should be. With RP and Sreesanth being out (Sree for this series and perhaps even Oz due to shoulder surgery), it does look like India have limited bowling options in case things go awry.

    Shoaib has been the "find" of this series. I say so because this is a new Shoaib at work. More dangerous too.

  5. Q said...
     

    Definitely a new Shoaib.

    Agree with mostly what u say Soulberry but Dravid. Agreed he got beauties...BUT he had been slightly restrained in the field - quiet, alone, etc...

  6. Straight Point said...
     

    he is still finding his groove post relinquishing captaincy...one good outing and you will find him right up there...

  7. Q said...
     

    Straight Point - I don't think Dravid will get that one good outing in this series. I also sense something is definitely wrong in the dressing room regarding Dravid...

  8. Straight Point said...
     

    i genuinely see no problem in the dressing room with him for he and kumble are good buddies...his place in the team is unquestionable...

    and the way he prepares and look at his innings i am sure the big inning is not far away...

    also i would like to see Malik going for the kill in next match both for himself and pak coz otherwise this series could well turn out to be dud...

  9. Q said...
     

    You're probably right Straight Point but I do think that Dravid resigned from captaincy by force rather than choice and he is also hurting over being dropped from the ODI scheme of things. Something somewhere is wrong.

    As for Malik. I do hope he comes good for Pakistan's sake and for his won sake as u mention.

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