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Saturday, February 13, 2010

India look forward to the Eden for revenge

A picture of the Eden Gardens stadium before t...Image via Wikipedia
Eden Gardens - the first memory of this ground was the 1987 World Cup Final that was held at this very ground - a brand new stadium was released to the public who occupied every inch of it during the final even when the match did not feature the host country.

The next memory of course, is the 281 of VVS Laxman - no Indian would probably forget this match for the determination, guts of the Indian fightback. VVS has made this ground his second home - his stats at this ground better than any other in India. Harbhajan will also like coming to the ground where he made magic against the visiting Aussies during the same 281-series.

Thanks to the politics that is common-place within BCCI, the test matches have been a very rare occurrence at this ground. One-day matches have returned and one is happy to see that a test match is played after 3 years. The last match was played recently between India and who else, Sri Lanka - Gambhir and Kohli scoring centuries each as India chased down a 310+ score successfully.

So, what can one expect to see in the 2nd (and strangely, the final test) match of the series? Ex-coach John Wright suggests that VVS be pushed to the No.3 slot - a good move which will have the best batsmen of the team occupying the first four spots in the lineup. With MS Dhoni coming in at No.7, the 2 relatively younger players (most probably Vijay and Badrinath) will occupy 5 and 6. So far, so good but what India will hope is for the players to fire all guns blazing. Win the toss, bat first and chalk up a big score in the first innings to put pressure on the Proteans.

Then, the bowlers need to come to the party. Zaheer and Sreesanth will have to swing the ball in conditions that might help them (the wind in the afternoon thanks to the Hooghly river might make things interesting for both sides). But, it is Harbhajan who has to come to the party in this test. He has to make a difference to the team with incisive spin - Pragyan Ojha seems set to make another replacement of Amit Mishra.

Last year matches at this ground saw huge scores being put up in the Ranji matches with no result at the end - Bengal playing against Saurashtra and Baroda. Will this test go that way as well? Do not think so. Spin will come to play during the 3rd and 4th day of the match - hopefully, India will take the steps required (as suggests their No.1 spot) to win the match and draw the series. Then, only can they claim to be rightfully No.1 team.

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