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Thursday, January 06, 2011

SA Series - India come away with honors

Gautam Gambhir at Adelaide Oval    Gutsy knock
1st test match in Chennai between India and England in 2008 - the Indian team chased down a target of 387.  Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh put on an unbeaten 150+ partnership to take India home against an English attack on the fifth day. But, the match was setup nicely by Virender Sehwag on the fourth day when he hit 83 off 68 runs.

This was one of the reasons probably why Greame Smith did not take any risk yesterday and declare the innings - the "Sehwag" factor was a big one to ignore, even though his scores in second innings or in this series has not been anything great. If only Smith had declared and gave the Indians few overs to bat, the Indians would have been under much more pressure.

But, today, the story surrounded the best Indian opener after Gavaskar, according to Sehwag himself - Gautam Gambhir. Carrying an injury into this innings, he emulated Jacques Kallis by playing his way in and settling down. He was very careful in selecting the right balls to leave and those to play. He had carried the Indian team to safety once in Napier - he knew how he could do it again, even though this time it was against a more potent attack. As Sanjay Manjrekar tweeted, this was one series where he has matured and stood out as a man among other other legends.

Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman contributed their bit to ensure that there were no alarms after the dismissal of Gambhir. This series must have given them a good sense of comfort, especially today. Test series wins in England, West Indies, Pakistan, New Zealand have materialised - a drawn series in South Africa is definitely a step above for the Indian team. With this result, there should be no more articles about their performance outside the sub-continent. They have also shut everyone's mouths about their eligibility of being the No.1 team in test cricket. Later this year, they will have a chance to play England overseas - another chance to increase their rankings.

The final result was definitely the right one for two teams that competed equally well. All cricket lovers were eyeing a five test series that would have served the purpose of finding which team was better - would the respective cricketing Boards listen?          
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