Sunday, November 14, 2010

How appropriately fourth-day

This has been an interestingly old-fashioned test in terms of scoring rates. New Zealand made 258 on the first day; the two teams combined for 270 runs on the second; and then, on the third, India made their own 258. Wickets too, have fallen in old-fashioned fashion: test cricket likes its first innings to be completed by the third day so that things can get nicely cooking on the fourth and fifth day. In keeping with that, India are batting with just one wicket left, striving to push this rather unlikely 86 run lead into the ever-more respectable territory (as of now, it is up to 101, which is handy, even while not as threatening as the one that looked possible when Sehwag and Gambhir had put on 160 for the first wicket).

Much depends now, on whether India are capable of taking 10 Kiwi wickets quickly and cheaply enough to give themselves a chance of winning. In my mind, that equation works out to: don't take more than 100 overs to dismiss New Zealand. The numbers work out then. A significant postponement beyond that will make the run-chase a bit more of a stretch.

Meanwhile, what about Harbhajan Singh the batsman? Already the highest run-getter in this series, he is on 99, looking for his second ton. And he's done it with a quick single, followed up by a typically flamboyant celebration and a hug-laden encounter with Sreesanth. An almost perfect 10th wicket partnership.

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