Sunday, October 03, 2010

Advantage Australia Fair (just a bit)

354-4 to 405 all out. With that slide, India handed back the advantage again to Australia, especially as they (the Indians) will bat last. Truth be told, I don't understand Manjrekar's claim that this game is "petering out into a draw". Really, Sanjay, really? First innings completed by the end of the third day on a pitch that is playing a little unevenly low, with one flaky batting side (Australia) and another one carrying an injured bat? I don't think so. In fact, I'd say all three results are possible right now. Australia could very easily set India an awkward chase of 280 on the last day (if Australia are bowled out, I don't think they will declare in this game). And Australia could fall to Ojha and Zaheer tomorrow (I'm not optimistic about Harbhajan).

Still, in fairness to Manjrekar, a draw is perhaps just a little more likely than the other two options just because I think Australia will not a) score quickly enough to set India a target that they will comfortable with given that Sehwag is in the opposition) and b) get bowled out quickly enough to give India a target that they could chase without Sehwag firing (and unfortunately, Viru hasn't come through often enough in fourth innings for me to feel confident that he will come through here).

From a purely cricketing perspective the best thing that could happen is that Australia get bowled out for 280-300 tomorrow setting India a target that they *might* be tempted to chase, and yet that would be awkward to keep Australia in the hunt as well. As before, I don't think we'll see a declaration tomorrow. If at all, one on the fifth day for a 75-over squirm.

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