Sunday, July 31, 2011

Careful Man, Thats My Initiative You're Handing Back

Over at Trent Bridge, India have managed to play themselves into a position, where they could lose by a day to spare. On the first day, they had England by the throat at 124-8 and then, thanks to a Stuart Broad counterattack and a rather depressing reappearance of what I can only term "the eight-wickets-down-blues" saw them get away to 221 (by this I mean bowlers stopped doing whatever it was that had gotten them the eight wickets thus far, the captain's field lacked imagination and the fielding grew ragged). Yesterday, thanks to the Dravid-Yuvraj partnership, India looked like building up a 150 run lead, and then suddenly, spectacularly, everything went pear-shaped. Broad was back again; this time with a hat-trick, sparked off by the Indian captain's dismissal. Dhoni continues to have a poor series; one wonders how he is going to dig himself out of this hole.

A lead of 67 with more than three days left in the game is simply not good enough (as I write this, England are already 57-1, and have been rattling along at almost a run-a-minute this morning). Chasing anything over 200, given the flakiness in the current line-up, is going to be supremely difficult. More to the point, the team chasing is going to have to work hard to move their minds on from the thought that they never should have been in a sticky situation.

This is a test match; strange things happen. Initiatives are gained by hard work, and handing them back is never a good idea. Especially away from home, and especially when you are 0-1 down.

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