Saturday, March 04, 2006

India vs. England: T1D4

Highlights of Day 4:

  • Indian Fielding - An inexplicable drop by Sreesanth in the covers, an even simpler caught and bowled put down by Harbhajan, a tough but routine slip catch fluffed by Rahul Dravid, and Kaif's poor technique at short leg resulting in a chance going straight through his legs. That was the story of the day, and you certainly can't win Test matches playing that sort of cricket.
  • Sachin Tendulkar - And that's 280 now. I have to call it out, simply because I cracked up when he did it again. Throw, miss, react as if completely stunned by it all.
  • The Third Umpire - Pathetic - take it from me, The Fourth Umpire!! I can't possibly imagine what convinced him to give Kevin Pietersen not out. There's already a story doing the rounds that he's a Ganguly fan, and didn't want to give Dravid a sniff of a victory, but that's about as likely as Hansie Cronje being a match-fixer. Hmm.
  • Alistair Cook - Sublime. This kid has some future ahead of him. His composure against all-comers, even when he was troubled by the spin early on, and when he played a poor shot or two and was dropped, was remarkable. England must find a way to keep him in the side from here on. He'll be thankful for one thing though - the West Indian pitches of the 90's and 00's. Twenty-five years ago, the transition from a Caribbean pacy greentop to a barren and dry Nagpur surface would have been quite a challenge. Last week, the pitch he was playing on in the West Indies was turning more than the one here.
  • Trescothick, Vaughan and Giles - Let's look at this carefully. Vaughan's replacement, Paul Collingwood, scored 170 runs, was dismissed once, and set up the game for England. Trescothick's replacement, Alistair Cook, scored 164 runs, was dismissed once, and set up the final charge for England. Giles's replacement, Monty Panesar, bowled with even more control than Giles himself, and took two wickets that Giles probably never would have, particularly the wicket of Mohammad Kaif. So were England really weakened in their absence? In current form, there's little doubt that Collingwood and Panesar contributed more than Vaughan and Giles would have. Trescothick certainly looked good for some runs - but at the very least, Cook made sure he wasn't missed. Fascinating dilemna for England now!
I think the one mistake England might have made was delaying their declaration and not having a few overs at India in the evening. Having said that, India are well known for collapsing on the final day, so they won't be worrying too much. An Indian win looks very tough from here - it would take poor bowling and the sort of innings none of these Indian batsmen, including Tendulkar, has ever played. An English win is probably evens with the draw - the key I think being Monty Panesar, the debutant. Either way, Day 5 is going to be fascinating for at least 5 hours.


worma said...

Good points dude..been following your take for a while. And your take on Sachin's 'miss' is hilarious. In fact, having seen his shy today, I was immediately reminded of your take yesterday.

Dravid surely needs to re-think on fielding strategies.

Fourth Umpire said...

Thanks Worma. That thing with Sachin has been bugging me for years :-)