Friday, October 31, 2008

What are all those fielders for?

I missed out an opportunity to make my early call for this test, which right now looks like going the way I thought it would: toward a draw. Last night, when Australia began batting, I saw that Ishant Sharma, our premier strike bowler, was beginning his bowling spell with a score of 613-7 up on the board, but with a field of two slips and a widish gully. A big yawning gap lay where third or fourth slip might have been. Sharma would have been bowling his favored slanting line to (and across) the left-handed openers. Right there and then, I gave up. If India's captain cannot set attacking fields when he has 600 runs up on the board, then when can he? And then, this morning, when I awoke, Australia were 251-2, and the Indian team seemed to be doing something I'd seen them do many times in the past: drifting as the opposition held off their advances on a good batting pitch. The third wicket has fallen, but the captain still cannot give his spinners sufficient close-in support. Mishra is bowling without a silly-point! A leggie, with 600 runs on the board, with the opposition more than 300 behind, is bowling without a silly-point. I think I'll go back to sleep. (And this with Dhoni captaining!)

But more broadly, criticisms of the captaincy aside, this Australian batting performance is taking them closer to what could be safety. Work remains to be done, but the work required to force a win by India is steadily growing. Unless there is a cluster of wickets tonight.

2 Comments:

Anonymous S.Siddharth Vodnala said...

I think it is necessary to set attacking fields right through the match. Attacking fields should be the norm for tests except in the rarest of circumstances. I think kumble, though a great cricketer, never really believed in his team most of the time as captain. His talk about victory alone being the team's strategy would not always translate into actions on the field. India really should have won that test in bangalore against pakistan. Kumble was the decison maker and he chose to delay the declaration. Having said that, kumble did make some sound decisons, especially on that tour to australia. He'll be remembered as an attacking bowler but a defensive captain.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous S.Siddharth Vodnala said...

I think it is necessary to set attacking fields right through the match. Attacking fields should be the norm for tests except in the rarest of circumstances. I think kumble, though a great cricketer, never really believed in his team most of the time as captain. His talk about victory alone being the team's strategy would not always translate into actions on the field. India really should have won that test in bangalore against pakistan. Kumble was the decison maker and he chose to delay the declaration. Having said that, kumble did make some sound decisons, especially on that tour to australia. He'll be remembered as an attacking bowler but a defensive captain.

9:01 AM  

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