Thursday, March 02, 2006

Change of fortunes

Well, I don't like to crow about predictions, but England's late-order fightback today was almost a case of "I told you so". This sort of one-top-order-bat plus one-stubborn-tailender combo has held up India so many times in the past, that I would have been very surprised if they had blown through the tail. (I sensed a touch of arrogance in most Indian reports on the first day, as if taking seven wickets had ensured that India would win the match; to be fair some English reports were a bit gloomy too, and my English friend wrote to me with a subject line "oh, dear oh dear"). In any case, those stands in the morning, and then India's need to hold the fort after Sehwag's dismissal, have for the first time, introduced, dare I say it, the possibilities that England will a) give India a decent workout in this test and b) draw the match at least.

While Jaffer and Dravid have batted solidly enough to take India to their comfortable -looking score, India is still 257 runs behind, the pitch is a bit slow, and not too conducive to rapid scoring. Lots could happen tomorrow, including an early wicket or two that once again pushes India on the defensive. (Idiotic commentary portion of the day: Sivaramakrishnan waffling on about India's 200 run lead; mercifully Atherton reminded him that that was a long way away).

India could still win; but they'll have to play awfully well, and England will not gift them the game (I'm not all that sure that predictions of raging minefields being created by the fourth day are all that accurate, and Kumble and Harbhajan never seem to take wickets on anything else but turners).

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