Saturday, October 02, 2010

Mohali testing, testing

From 224-5 to 428 is a job well done. Pity I didn't write a post yesterday saying something like "Australia's 224-5 could easily turn into 425 all out", because that was on my mind, and this morning, when I staggered out sleepily into the kitchen, my fears were confirmed. A few seconds later, I had that thought which most Indian fans must have had: "So long as Viru is there, all is not lost". Well, that little comfort was gone by the end of the day, and Australia had inched ahead just a bit.

When battle resumes tomorrow, India will hope they can score enough to exploit the seeming degradation in bounce in the Mohali pitch. Under these circumstances, all bowlers will be a handful in the second innings so it is crucial that a decent lead be obtained for some scoreboard pressure to do its usual magic. On the plus side for India, Laxman, Tendulkar and Raina are all capable of scoring quickly, and the Australian attack is still not as threatening of years gone by. Game very much on.

Lastly, despite the slow pace of scoring on the first day, there was plenty to cheer about for the old-fashioned fan like me. Australia's defensiveness in the third session meant that a wicket would really set them back, and it was fascinating to watch them walk into a trap of their own making. Had Dhoni held on to the chance from Paine, the cat would truly have been amongst the proverbial pigeons. Test wickets are precious; as each falls, five percent of the task is done. A skipper should do better.

A good test promises many, many swings in momentum and advantage. This one has already had two subtle shifts. An early wicket tomorrow might not swing it any more Australia's way, but two definitely will. And another very intriguing battle awaits: Suresh Raina goes up against the Aussies. Go forth, young man, and meet your Antipodean foes. The stage is set.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Shridhar Jaju said...

The slow pace was no worry... it was intriguing cricket all the way.

And despite the fact that India could not really get the Aussie tail quickly, a word or two must be mentioned in appreciation of Zaheer Khan's efforts. He was truly phenomenal (as was Tim Paine)!

3:18 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

SJ: Definitely. This test has been a grind at times but a good test, set up nicely.

Zaheer is going to be very crucial in the second innings; I hope he doesn't have to do it all alone.

As for Paine, if the Australian selectors have any brains, they won't let Haddin back in.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Shridhar Jaju said...

Samir, I think selectors all over the world lack brains these days. And so I am sure, Haddin will find his place back!

2:21 AM  

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