Monday, March 20, 2006

India vs England: T3D3

Highlights from Day Three

  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni -- you know, I'm still not sure about his batting skills, as opposed to his assault skills. However, I have to hand it to him for showing remarkable character and restraint after getting smacked on the back of the skull. His technique is questionable at best, and his attempted duck into the Flintoff bouncer was a joke, but he came out after lunch no doubt fortified by some sage advice in the Chappell Way, and battled it out for his country. Full marks for that.
  • Sreesanth -- speaking of spunk, this guy has it in large quantities. He bowled a beautiful probing spell in the evening, despite seeing Yuvraj drop an absolute sitter, and he was desperately unlucky not to have Shaun Udal caught behind. His batting was a revelation - probably to himself as much as to anyone else.
  • Hoggard, Flintoff and Anderson -- all were thoroughly impressive, particularly Anderson on his return to the side, given that he pretty much had one shot at staking a claim. They used the pitch intelligently, allowing it to help them, bowling in the right areas and mixing it up, never afraid to have a real go at the batsmen. Of course, in contrast to the Indian attack, they can all get up there in pace, and that makes a big difference. Duncan Fletcher must be thrilled to bits to realise that he has 5 seamers of top quality to work with.
  • Srinath and Gower -- their attempted conversations at each break in play are an utter joke. You can't help but wonder if they actually dislike one another. Srinath insists on rambling on and on without letting Gower get a word in edgewise, and Gower is constantly trying to shut Srinath up. Six of one, maybe, but my vote is with Gower, and not just because he was a classy batsman and fielder. That said, Srinath criticising Monty Panesar's fielding was a right hoot!

So what does day 4 hold in store? It's all gone to plan for England thus far. 150 in front, Owais Shah at the crease, and Flintoff and Pietersen yet to come. They'll be looking to bat 60-70 overs, and set India a target of around 375-400, which will be unattainable. India's only hope is to bowl England out by lunch or shortly thereafter. A 4th innings chase of 200-250 could give them a hint of a chance. The draw has got to be the outside bet, given that Sehwag is no Atherton (think South Africa a few years back).

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