Saturday, November 08, 2008

Looking back and ahead

The 8-1 field employed yesterday by India was not so surprising in the end. As pointed out by one and all, Australia had neatly positioned themselves to put some pressure on India if they could continue at the same rate of scoring they had maintained on the second day. Both batsmen were set, and both are very hard to dislodge. If they had stuck around till lunch, India would have been sweating hard. Given that, a new captain suddenly facing the burden of heightened expectations (its all very fine captaining India as a substitute, things change quickly when the post is yours), and a dead pitch (sigh, double-sigh), India had to go on the defensive. What that defensive strategy was going to be wasn't clear but it turned out to be the most extreme one of all: a packed offside field, and an outside-offstump line. I detest this sort of stuff, as it doesn't make for good watching and more often that not, the side employing that tactic is resigned to drawing the match. But, somehow it turned out well in the end (India did after all, in the end, take eight wickets and a lead of 86 runs) largely because Australia got suckered in by a couple of things. For one, Australia didn't try and shake anything up by unconventional batting; some pressure from that end, and India might have panicked a bit. Secondly, once a couple of wickets has fallen, and the fields had become more conventional, Australia stuck to a meandering sort of strategy, not going on the attack even when it had become clear that their best chance of coming back into this match would have been to get stuck into the Indian batting (Australia could have landed up giving up the same lead and a few more awkward overs at the Indian openers).

All said and done, I still think the game will be a draw but Sehwag could change all that (how many times have we said that?). If India don't get bowled out on the 4th day, I'm not sure they will declare till after an hour on the 5th day.

One last point: just like Sehwag can move this innings, unfortunately, Dravid can bog it down (for as long as he is out there, which might not be very long). Still, whatever happens to the openers, I don't think we will see Dhoni come out at #3. But I'll be looking forward to Dada's last innings. Hopefully, he'll go out in style.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure, what Aussies were upto...

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't agree with your assessment of Rahul Dravid bogging down the scoring .Hell I don't even agree with your dig about him not being there for a long time! Unfortunately we have an extremely short memory and yeah we're
unforgiving in our criticism. Man, this 'Rahul Dravid' is the dude who has won us many games and take my word will continue to do so... this is a temporary blip and the best have had this and he is right up there with the very best. Very shortly I will be reading your reviews on him in which you will be found praising him after a match winning performance. Take my word again...and then you will hear from me yet again. Just as I was going to post this, I took a look at the score and yes Dravid went early, but then shortly Sehwag went to and if Tendulkar goes now, this match is open. This is where Dravid is important because in spite of what you think of his slow scoring, the fact remains that as long as he is there the match stays with us.

2:40 AM  
Blogger Poshin_david said...

The aussies are always upto sumthing.

visit my new post on two lengands of cricket at

I spent alot of time on it and looking forward for your thoughts.

4:42 AM  
Blogger Trideep said...


Dada just did a DON... out for a duck.. :-(

4:59 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Buzz: Yes, it seemed a bit strange.

Ogu99: Welcome to the blog, thanks for your comment. Believe you me, I don't think you will find anyone who admires Dravid more than me. I'm speaking of the present Dravid, not the hero of a couple of years ago .

Chris: Welcome, and thanks for the comments and links. I"ll check them out.

Trideep: Yeah, sad ending, but suitably dramatic.

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Maxwell on ABC radio in Australia:

"l believe the reason the part timers are bowling is to save Ricky Ponting from being suspended for a slow overrate. I can't believe they are taking the interests of one player over winning a test and ultimately the series. Who has made the decision, the captain or the team?"

6:03 AM  
Blogger Tifosi Guy said...

Well it took till the last Indian innings of the series for Australia to show their' new age' cricket :)

While previous Aussie teams would have killed off a team down for the count, the present one just backs of totally :) :) Case of the hunter becoming the hunted!!

Punter will have some explanation to do for what transpired after tea. Can't wait for his next ' foot in mouth' comment.

As to the test - what I would dearly love to see is for the Aussies to be something like 360/4 with 5 overs remaining and then Dhoni employs the 8-1 field and they end up at something like 375.

Then the Aussies newspapers and players would be fun to read and hear.

9:17 AM  

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