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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Mohali Test - VVS, Ishant take India home

It was a sunday - January 6, 2008 at Sydney - India having scored more than 500 in their first innings lost to Australia with six minutes to go for close of play (the match would become famous more for the Harbhajan-Symonds incident). The last man at the crease spent few minutes at the crease, refusing to move, even though he was clearly caught at first slip - it was not that he was unsure of the catch. It was more of dejection that Ishant Sharma had let down his captain in getting a draw result (which we know in Australia, is as good as a win).

Fast forward to October 5, 2010 at Mohali - the same player combined with a proven legend against the same opponents to take the team past the victory line. His batting has improved in recent times and he showed enough spunk in the first innings as a night-watchman. He hadlet down the team in the first innings as a bowler but came back well to take 3 wickets in the 2nd innings that turned the Oz onslaught upside down. He still had a role to play with the bat - and a match to win.

What about the legend himself? VVS Laxman is one of only eight batsmen in Test history to score more than 2500 second-innings runs at a 50-plus average. In his last 7 second-innings, he has scored 2 hundreds and 5 fifties - what more can any team ask? What Sachin Tendulkar couldn't do, VVS has been doing well and consistently. What more, he has been playing like a dream against the Aussies - one was surprised at his early dismissal in the first innings - the pain must have hurt him real bad then.

Despite the first session being equal, the Indians equalized the number of sessions won in the final session. With both teams having won the same number of sessions, the scorecard had to be very close. The umpiring was not top-class but the teams will not complain - both had decisions go their ways. It is time the ICC starts introducing UDRS in all test matches. The test series moves to Bangalore for the 2nd (and final) test - the inclement rains will probably result in the match being drawn. Again, can the ICC not mandate a minimum three-test series for all countries? Anyway, we dont have any reasons to complain today, do we? Well played India.

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