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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Weaker Batting skills

From what is on display in the 3-team series in Australia, it is pretty evident that the bowlers have an edge over the batsmen. This is not true in case of India alone. Even Australia and SriLanka have benefited from their bowlers good form as compared to their batters. Is it a new trend? The return of the battered bowlers? Or is it confined only to the true wickets of Australia? Let us evaluate each teams to see if it is indeed the fact?

The hosts Australia have lost quite of their frontline bowlers last season - Shane Warne, Glenn Mcgrath being the most prominent. Brett Lee, however, has risen to the occasion and proved that he is indeed the leader of the current pack. Nathan Bracken has been miserly in all his spells and benefited from the Lee-effect on the other end. Batsmen usually try to take advantage of Bracken's slower pace and lose their wickets. The supporting cast of Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clark have done a decent job in ensuring the opposition batsmen dont get away after the initial spells. The batsmen, however, have not been so consistent. Gilchrist has been scoring in spurts, in what is his last ODI season. Ricky Ponting has been going through one of the rarest slumps for a long time. Clarke, Symonds have done well but not continuously enough. Michael Hussey as well, must be feeling that the rest of the world are getting to know his style better. Hayden has not been able to repeat his test form as of now. Maybe it is just a matter of form before Hayden and Ponting start firing again.

The Indians had a good test series where the Famous Five ensured that the Australians were given a tough fight. Things were expected to be different in the ODI series as only Sachin Tendulkar remained in the squad. RP Singh and Zaheer Khan as well, were not part of the ODI squad. But, who would have imagined that Ishant Sharma would rise to be the leader of the pack. Sreesanth has provided the aggro at the other end, so that after a long time India has 2 fast bowlers - the word fast actually reflecting the pace they are generating off the pitch rather than just fillers. Irfan Pathan has offered swing at a decent pace, which has unsettled most of the batsmen. Harbhajan Singh has performed better in the ODI matches than the test series. The Indian batsmen have done better than what was expected - the standout performers being Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni. Sachin Tendulkar and Viru Sehwag have got off to good starts but not gone on to score heavily. Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa have not fired as of yet.

The Lankans have managed to restrict the Aussies to manageable scores in the matches against them, particularly Vaas and Malinga. With variations in pace, they have done a good job. Their supporting cast of Maharoof, Amerasinghe, Kapudagera have done damage control - in fact, ensured that Murali's bad form is not felt by the team. The batting has not blossomed just like the bowlers. Sanath Jayasuriya has started off like a runaway train but in only short spurts. Sangakkara and Dilshan have shown glimpses of form, whereas the others in the batting order have struggled to get off the rails.

The pitches have made sure that the batsmen cannot score heavily, like the subcontinental pitches. There is equal chance to both the batsmen and bowlers on these tracks. This makes the contests more even, unlike high-scoring boring matches. The ones that do well in this series, are definitely the ones to watch in the near future.
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