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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Australian tour - Planning was key for Oz win - Part I

The 2011-12 series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has been finished. 4-0 is the verdict in favor of the Aussies. Convincingly won with two innings victories. There have been many talks going on about the veterans in the Indian team and how they were ineffective in the entire series. But, let us take this opportunity to congratulate the Oz team for their planning.

Let us look at the dismissals of certain players in the series and the planning becomes evident. Gautam Gambhir is the focus of this first part. His weakness outside the off stump was well exploited by the bowlers. Look at the way he has been dismissed (text courtesy Cricinfo):

  • 1st Test at Melbourne - first innings - Gambhir once again perishes to an indiscretion outside the off stump. Top bowling from Hilfenhaus, but aided by an average shot too. Short of a length, at least a foot and a half outside off stump to start with. The ball then seamed away, and Gambhir had a good enough sight at it, to leave if he wanted to. He chose not to, and fiddled to produce a faint edge through to the keeper. Aus have a wicket. 22/1

  • 1st Test at Melbourne - second innings - outside edge and gone, Gautam's problems outside off continue, Siddle letting it rip from just short of a good length, finding bounce, the angle and away movement taking it away from the left-hander, but importantly, making him play, would have taken a very good leave to let it go, but he ended up jerking his hands slightly to the left to poke at it, the edge loops to second slip 39/2

  • 2nd Test at Sydney - first innings - That really squared up Gambhir, landed on middle and slightly shaped away off a good length, Gambhir was squared up with the extra bounce and movement, thick outside edge to Clarke at first slip 0/1

  • 3rd Test at Perth - first innings - Australia in command here, they remove the set batsman, Gambhir plays a nothing shot, no footwork hangs his bat in response to a ball outside off that moves away a hint, a tickle down to the keeper, and the familiar failings of the Indian batting come to the fore once more 63/4

  • 4th Test at Sydney - first innings - there's the outside edge, and Haddin takes a neat catch tumbling to his left, excellent line, made him play the pitched up delivery just around the off stump, and Haddin did the rest, it moved just enough away after pitching to take the edge 14/1

  • If the bowlers couldn't get Gambhir nicking to the slip cordon, they got him with a perfume ball. Witness these 2 dismissals
    • 3rd test at Perth - second innings - What a scorcher! Banged in short and that darted away, Gambhir was taken by surprise, got on the back foot and tried to play it into the leg side, almost trying to fend it away, the ball pops up towards gully and Hussey takes a comfortable catch, an excellent short ball by Starc, India under greater pressure now. Came off the handle 24/1
    • 4th test at Adelaide - first innings - Siddle all over India, Gautam falls to the bouncer, incredible delivery on this flat wicket, must have taken so much effort, Siddle bangs it in short, it gets way too big on Gautam, close to head high, he hops in the air as he has been doing all morning, wanting to bring it down, but ends up fending it away well in front of gully, Michael Hussey races forward and dives full length forward to hold on to it, what a delivery, what a catch, top stuff 87/4
    The support staff of the Australian team has done their homework alright. Persistence as well as execution of the well-thought out strategy is the hallmark of great teams and this one seems to be on their way if handled well. The question that comes to mind is why the Indian support staff could not do the same? 

    Next post will be about Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar's dismissals in this series.
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