Saturday, March 11, 2006

India vs. England: T2D3

Highlights from Day 3:

  • Nasser Hussain - his comment that Harbhajan and Chawla had been underbowled was shocking coming from a former captain. It goes without saying that when a game stops and starts, any captain worth his salt is going to use his leading bowlers to attack the opposition. Dravid did just that, and there's no reason to fault him for it.
  • Munaf Patel - continued to impress, and this time around looked the part with the new ball as well. I wonder how many people have started their careers with a pair of caught and bowleds?
  • Sachin Tendulkar - well, I commented before the Test that India was playing with just one batsman in Dravid, and sadly I appear to have been proven right thus far. The remainder of the top 5 have failed to contribute, and much as I hate to get on the bandwagon, we have to start looking at Sachin's contributions. An average of 37 in his last 27 innings (15 Tests) is nothing to write home about. And if you take out the one substantial score, 248* against the might of Bangladesh, you see that he has averaged 27 in that period. Worse yet, his record is littered with 10s and 20s - the signs of a batsman not out of form, but just not quite up to it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not fit to even comment on his batting really - but at some point, you have to ask questions. For the record, Saurav Ganguly averaged 33 in his last 15 Tests, 27 if you exclude his top score (that ugly 101 in Zimbabwe). I'd give Sachin plenty more time yet, and I expect him to stamp his class on the game as Lara did when he was once written off. My concern, as an armchair analyst, is that he hasn't looked hopelessly out of form. I would be happier with that. He just hasn't looked able to get a score.

Onto Day 4, and England will be thinking that with some early wickets, they could get right on top in this game. A few more Ian Bell style catches, and it'll be all over in a flash. India's chances of forcing a victory look to be long gone at this point - I suspect only an improbable Dhoni special could change that.

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