Highlights from Day One:
- Rahul Dravid - his 100th Test match, though only his 99th for India. He was appointed Indian Captain until the 2007 World Cup. Not a bad day, and for some reason he chose to celebrate it by bowling first upon winning the toss. Of course, it's very easy to second guess. If a captain bats first, and his team collapses, we say the batsmen failed. If a captain bowls first, and fails to take wickets, we say he made the wrong decision. Wonderful being an armchair media critic, isn't it?
- Owais Shah - I have to write about him, because as a former hero-worshipper of Mark Ramprakash, I have followed that mercurial talent's heir apparent for a decade. I think Shah's natural ability can be summed up in the first three deliveries he faced from Harbhajan Singh. The first, he came down the track and drove sweetly to mid-off. Bhajji was having none of this, and next ball, tried to fire one in wide off off stump, hoping that Shah would dance down the track again. He didn't - instead rocking back and cutting beautifully past point. Next ball, Harbhajan overstepped in frustration.
- Sachin Tendulkar - As reported by Mike Atherton in the Daily Telegraph, even Vinod Kambli thinks that Sachin is a little bit slower these days. His performance in the field yesterday was certainly poor - but then so was everyone elses. In a conversation with Nasser Hussain, he said that he believes that he is batting well, but just making one mistake every innings. Unfortunately, that's all it takes.
- Dhoni - Yes, he pulled off that smart stumping the other day, but his keeping, as I've said before, really needs to step up a gear. Parthiv Patel was jettisoned for not much more, and is now a much improved keeper, and a far more likely Test match batsman. Dying your hair black (how funny is that for an Indian cricketer?) isn't enough to retain your place in the side.