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Thursday, December 19, 2013

SAF Test 1 - Satisfying day for Indian team

It has been one of the most satisfying days for an Indian fan like me for years. The pride with which the Indian team responded to the challenges posed by the No.1 test team (definitely the best bowling attack in the world, including the Aussies) was a sight to watch. Planning was evident in the way the team batted and implementation was spot-on.

Right from the start, Vijay and Dhawan (to lesser extent) chose to play the balls that were going to hit the wicket only (or the bad balls of course). Vijay was instrumental in calming the nerves of the dressing room after MSD had won the toss and opted to bat - his knock was similar to the one played by Sanjay Bangar in Headingley when Dravid and Tendulkar had prospered because of his tenure. Dhawan has a new challenge ahead of him now - the short ball darting into his body. How he can counter this challenge in the unique way only he plays is critical for his near future.

Pujara looked solid, more than Kohli in fact. The two repaired the ship and started to attack the easy pickings of Imran Tahir when disaster struck. It was Kohli's mistake and Pujara had to pay the price (it looks like Pujara was ready to bat on for the next 2 days). Kohli would make up for his mistake by scoring a century but got out just when he had the attack at his mercy. Kohli's century had 18 boundaries (which means 72 of 119 runs) which meant that he was not letting the bad balls go a waste.50 of his runs came of 44 balls of Imran Tahir and JP Duminy - again showing that he did not let the chances slip when it came.

Rahane has shown so far that his prolific scores in domestic cricket is true reflection of his potential. Though 23 of his 43 runs have come against the spinners, he looked comfortable against pace as well. How well he combines with Dhoni on the 2nd day will be critical for the Indian team to score a good total. Dhoni has started well, scoring a boundary of all the three quicks. Will he carry the good form again?

Again, to repeat, a good performance by the team with the sessions shared on the first day. The Indian team should capitalise on the good start and make it count. Only then will they get into a good position on a ground where they havent lost in the four matches so far.
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