Sunday, March 12, 2006

India vs. England: T2D4

Of course, the whole world is talking about the South Africa vs. Australia batathon, which was remarkable indeed, but there was still some good stuff at Mohali:

  • Rahul Dravid - yet another 90, and yes the ball kept low, but how many times has he chopped onto his stumps in his career?
  • Steve Harmison - superb. Pace and bounce, with a hint of movement off the seam. High class fast bowling, and he deserved more than he had to show for it, including the wicket of Pathan.
  • Munaf Patel - cricket just got that much more entertaining. How he has ever scored a 50 in domestic cricket I don't know, but he certainly stunned all and sundry when after running away from his stumps half a dozen times in succession, he suddenly smote one straight back down the ground for six.
  • Anil Kumble - what a bowler he continues to be. He still suffers from people's insistence on trying to classify him. He simply defies it and deserves to be viewed as a bowler - one who thrives when there is a bit of juice in the wicket, and one who has done so for 16 years. It doesn't matter how much he turns it, or what pace he bowls at - why do we insist on forcing conventional wisdom on an exceptional bowler?
  • Kevin Pietersen - alright, so it didn't look out to me either. But with the good fortune he's enjoyed in this series, including a ludicrous third umpire reprieve, he ought to have kept his thoughts to himself and marched off without a hint of complaint. Or perhaps Darrell Hair gave him out lbw?
Okay, so I do have to say something about the game at Johannesburg. As someone who doesn't overly care for one-day cricket as it is played these days, in a twisted way, I think that game did a lot of good. If it's going to be all about the batsmen, then we need more pitches like that, and more 400+ scores. At least then at some level you can say you were entertained.

I don't mean to detract in any way from the sheer awesomeness (is that a word?) of what happened there, but for my money the wonderful contest between bat and ball that we have seen at Mohali, and down in New Zealand as well - now that's what cricket should be all about, and that's what I will pay money to watch. Granted, sometimes a contest arises out of a lack of competence, but even then, at least it's a battle. Jo'burg was a pair of solo performances.

Back to Mohali, and quite out of the blue, this has become India's Test to lose. And in a match in which England fielded the 361st youngest team ever seen in the Test match arena (and the youngest ever English team), and India played it's second youngest debutant in history, it is two veterans, Rahul Dravid, and Anil Kumble, who have defined the course of the game. Perhaps the Aussies are onto something with bringing back Damien Martyn and Kasper.

2 comments:

Ragu said...

No comment on Bell? The guy looks like he is class when facing up to the quicks(I know, I feel like being (overly)generous to Pathan for all his heroics with the bat in the last few months). Showed a fair bit of mental fortitude and seemed far less shaky than Pietersen(who must have hit the ball in the air in the direction of a fieldsman every alternate delivery) yesterday. As you mentioned, Kumble continues to confound detractors who insist on orthodoxy over efficiency. Re. Dravid, of the three(RD, SRT and VVSL), he has the least incredulous look on his face when he is out bowled of a ball that keeps low:). Fabulous innings though without which this game would've been lost. I really wish he'd have given(and hopefully will give today) Harbhajan a darn silly point though, especially with the line that Harby has got going in I2.

Here's hoping we finish the job this time!

Cheers,
Ragu

Fourth Umpire said...

Fair point on the expressions on SRT/VVSL faces when they get done in by one that keeps low (or in some cases they mistakenly believe has kept low).

Do agree with you on Ian Bell - I think it was Derek Pringle who said yesterday that he was the closest thing England had to their own Rahul Dravid.