Friday, August 06, 2010

A fine balance

Numerical symmetry demands that eight wickets fall per day in a test match in order to get a result (actual test matches have their own way of securing those forty dismissals of course). As an Indian fan, one hopes that the third India-SL test doesn't need all of them for a result, just, say, a few less. For as far as averages go, we are on track. 32 wickets are down.

As Sri Lanka staggered to 8-125 in their second innings, Sehwag's thoughts might have turned to his opening duties, and whatever Mendis' capabilities with the cherry, Viru wouldn't have thought that the young spinner would have been the one holding up the Indian charge on the fourth day. That ninth-wicket stand is looking better and better now as Sehwag went for a duck, and Dravid, continuing his miserable run of form, has played on. Randiv has done all the damage, and in the annals of inspired captaincy moves, his early introduction by Sangakkara must count as a particularly distinguished entry. It robbed Sehwag of the chance to go hard at eager quicks and instead put him into a fatally tentative frame of mind. Dravid's dismissal spoke, too, of a similar mental frame.

As far as classic test tussles go, this one has cooked up nicely; the game couldn't be better set-up for a tense final day. What a pleasant change from the second test - and what a pleasant contrast now, from the potential no-contest developing in Birmingham. How the pendulum has swung.

Oh, and a chance for glory for both Vijay and Raina: early days in test cricket, and they have the opportunity to show whether they are capable of holding their nerves in tight situations.

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