FB Group

Share the Passion

To exchange links with me, please send mail to madhusudan (dot) gr (at) gmail.com.
Session-dashboard - Tracking Test Matches as they progress.
Tracking T20 run-chases in an innovative manner - See here.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The win after the Great Escape

History shows that whenever India has not lost the first test of the series in England, it has gone on to record a series win!!! This happened in 1971 and 1986. Will it happen again in 2007? One should wait and see. But, the Indians are sure to emulate their performance the last time they came to England (1-1 was the series result). I am sure the ones who are drawing up the iterinary for touring teams to England will look at having the Indians early in the summer (May rather than July) - in order to make it tougher for the subcontinental teams. The Indians also, must be guarding themselves against complacency in the final test match. They have made it a habit of losing a test match as soon as they win one.

All this, should however, not deflect the great effort that went in winning the second test against England. Of course, it was Zaheer Khan's bowling that tilted it the Indians way mainly. The ability to move the ball both ways is something that Zaheer picked up recently. He has been overshadowed by the gifted ability of Irfan Pathan to swing the ball in to the batsmen. There must have been some effect that rubbed onto Zaheer from Pathan!!! His bowling from round the wicket and still being able to take the ball away from the right-hand batsman, indicates that he has come a long way in increasing the variety in his bowling. Zaheer was supported at the right time by RP Singh. The youngster has been having the measure of Kevin Pietersen in this series. His incoming balls are causing a lot of headache to the English batsmen. The English have not been used to the left-hand bowling line still, inspite of having Sidebottom in their ranks. Anil Kumble might have been expected to take more wickets than expected, but he has done his bit in ensuring that the tail doesnt wag too much. This has been an area that India traditionally fail every time. Sreesanth should be dropped in the next test match, to ensure that he gets his basics right and head straight. Success might have gone to his head and this is not the first time he has been wavering in his concentration. Only by dropping him, the Team Management can send a strong lesson to the entire team that they will not resist any behavior from the team members, that does not follow the expectations of the Management. Ramesh Powar would be the right choice to replace Sreesanth in the eleven.

The batsmen came to party, as was expected even in the first test of the series. Of all the players, Sourav Ganguly seemed to be the one who was most comfortable during his time at the crease. Sachin Tendulkar huffed and puffed his way to a big score - but he was upset at the umpire not letting him score a hundred. VVS Laxman and Rahul got starts but couldnt proceed beyond. But, the stars of the show must surely be the openers - Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthick. Another Greg Chappell's strategy (Dinesh Karthick to open) has been working so successfully. The opening pair issues are sorted out for the time being. Both the openers have shown that they can handle the new ball effectively and lay a platform for the rest of the lineup to dominate the bowling. One only wondered why Rahul Dravid let the batting continue on Day 3 after VVS got out - there was no point on spending more time in having the likes of Sreesanth bat in the middle - instead they might have used the time to bowl additional overs at the end of the day to the English batsmen.

For the English, the batting seems to be an issue. Strauss and Vaughan have got scores but not consistently. Pietersen has been erratic in this series. But, the likes of Cook, Bell and Collingwood have not come to the party. This is affecting England more than anything. The Indians have done well to target the weaknesses of the batting lineup. Though the bowling has been decent, there are worries about the batting skills of the bowlers in the English lineup. The last 4 have made a token appearance at the crease during this series. The loss of Hoggard, Flintoff, Harmison has dealt a big blow to the England team, though their replacements have done a good job considering their inexperience. Monty Panesar has been ineffective, as was expected against a team comprising players who bat well against spin.

So, what will happen in the final test match of the series? The Oval has typically helped the batsmen and sometimes the spinners. If the Indian batsmen again can make a big score, they will have a chance to even notch up another win. But, a draw seems to be the best bet, as of now.
Post a Comment