Wednesday, June 14, 2006

False alarms

While Lara has just gotten out to a dodgy decision (struck outside the off-stump while playing a stroke), things still look drifting to a draw at St. Lucia. This skepticism about the possibility of a result is matched by my renewed skepticism about pitch reports by commentators. Over the years, I've noticed commentators carry on, roughly around the 2nd or 3rd day's play, about "the pitch breaking-up". Usually, this tends to be accompanied by dramatic slow-motion replays that show a puff of dust, or a scrap of grass, flying off, or perhaps the odd ball that stays slightly low. I've yet to see, the sort of dramatic collapse that these dire prognostications seem to predict. This test has been no exception. Plenty of talk about how the pitch was breaking apart, its odd-bounce and carry and so on. Well, its the fifth day, its late in the tea session, and I don't see any signs of mine-field. The spinners can turn the ball, yes, but thats because Sehwag is giving it a real tweak. The pacers had true, slow, bounce. It played true, it played consistently, and it gave the batsmen plenty of time. Pitch break-up reports make for good drama, but thats about it.

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