Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Aha, there you are!

India versus South Africa in tests is pretty compelling stuff. Its a shame that very little attention is paid to the tests that start tomorrow, what with all the hubbub about senior-junior divides, IPL scheduling blues and the usual South African selection fiascoes. Because, when these two sides get into the middle, the cricket is hard and competitive, with India not quite being able to put one over South Africa as they do over most touring teams (Cronje's team in 2000 even managed to win the test series, no mean feat). And Indian batsmen rarely manage to rack up the scores against touring South African sides the way they sometimes do against other bowling attacks (indeed South African spinners like Pat Symcox, Paul Adams, Nicky Boje and Paul Harris have never been disgraced in these encounters). Part of the reason is that South African fielding, infected by the need to keep up with Jonty Rhodes' standards has rarely fallen to any level below 'excellent'. On the batting front, South African batsmen, often castigated for stodginess (a not entirely undeserved reputation) have at least managed to show the appropriate patience in dealing with slow Indian pitches and persistent spinners. All in all, while India might be favored at home over the South Africans, they'd be silly to think they are clear favorites. I don't dislike the South Africans as much as some of my Antipodean friends do(I suppose some of this comes from having visited South Africa and enjoyed that country's wonderful hospitality) and am glad to see them show up for what should be a good, tough contest. Its a pity Andre Nel is not here, for his Spinal-Tap theatrics make for good television. But there'll be plenty of edginess out on the field, and hopefully, the pitches will co-operate by not being complete dodos. As usual, the hours are terrible for us folks on the East Coast but watching the post-tea session with an early morning espresso doesn't sound so bad.

Phew, test cricket, I'm glad to see you again.


Blogger The Atheist said...

You think you have it tough - try watching cricket when they play in New Zealand.

This should be a fantastic series, I'm really looking forward to it. For some reason, I'm starting to think that India are on the downturn. I think that it will be a draw, maybe even a Saffer win?

11:37 AM  
Blogger David Barry said...

I don't understand why there's not much hype about this series. Two really strong teams in what should be some good Tests.

The Australian summer saw a lot of antipathy towards the Indian cricket team built up, but I still want South Africa to lose. Go India.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Gaurav Sethi said...

SAF lacks stars that the media can love or loathe. No Nel was the last nail.
Cricketwise, if India rocks, this series will soar, otherwise the media will resort to that Srs vs Jrs crap. Don't put it beyond them to dig out a Jumbo vs MSD angle too. Keep your barf bags handy.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Atheist: I won't be surprised if its a draw myself. I'm never happy about Indian pitches and I'll be surprised if Chennai does not pay host to at least a few downpours. Oh, and aren't my hours for cricket in India the same as yours for cricket in New Zealand? I.e., they both start around midnight?

DB: Precisely. It should be good stuff, even though I suspect India will look awfully rusty in the first test.

NC: Barf bags locked and (currently ) unloaded!

12:46 PM  
Blogger Pontings_baldspot said...

Whats up with the Indian pitches for test matches lately?? Those sleeping beauties prepared for the India-Pak test series late last year and now this belter in Chennai. Bring back the curators who prepared those sporting wickets for the India-Australia test series in 2001?? Now the BCCI can sleep on their IPL cash-beds while watching these snore-fests..Im glad they didnt yank one test from this series and add some 7-8 ODIs instead..

12:02 PM  

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