Monday, October 20, 2008

Interesting developments

I have been a bit crook the last couple of days and as a result both my blogging and cricket viewing have suffered. I missed watching all of the 4th day and only caught up on highlights. To say that I'm stunned by the Aussie collapse from 49-0 to 58-5 yesterday would be an understatement. Hayden's bizarre rush to get to 516 by stumps was something to behold, as was Sharma's ball to dismiss Ponting. As an Indian fan one learns to never take anything for granted, but even then I would be amazed if India didn't win this match by a big margin. The only way I can imagine that happening is if the Haddin-Clarke pair survives till lunch and the Indians fall apart in the field as a result. Stranger things than that have happened in cricket, so I'll just be waiting to see what happens (for what its worth, being 141-5 with a partnership of 83 on the board is a better situation than being 141-5 with wickets evenly spaced out, or so I think).

In any case, plenty of things had gone right before that for India. Despite the failure to wrap up Australia for less than 225, the right thing was done in not enforcing the follow-on, in changing the batting order, and in taking the lead past 500. Enforcing the follow-on would have been extremely dangerous given that Australia had batted for 100 overs or so, not changing the batting order would have brought Dravid to the crease, who with all due respect, seems to have lost the ability to move the score along in tests, and lastly anything less than 500 would have induced nervousness in the Indians had any big partnerships taken hold. In the end, everything clicked: the openers got off to a flyer, the run-rate was maintained, Australia blew up (and Sharma was blowing up, yo).

Lastly, the news about Ponting and Lee having an on-field spat was unbelievable. That sort of visible disagreement has got to be so dispiriting for the rest of the team. I'm sure its been sorted out in the dressing-room, but its strange stuff, and ties ever more into my opinion that Ponting does not know how to handle bowlers. All too often, he overbowls and underbowls members of his bowling attack and makes his disdain for them all too apparent (his usage of White is a case in point).

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