Daily Archives: 19 May 2007

Tendulkar and Ganguly squander position

December, 10 2005. That was the last time Tendulkar scored a test ton. Ten test matches and 17 innings later, he managed to score another century – but he just managed to get there. He got out for 101 trying to go for a pull shot to a ball bowled outside the off stump.

Ganguly also got to a hundred before he got out in similar fashion. India have squandered what would have been a wonderful position if both wickets had remained intact. At the time of writing this post, Dhoni was looking good having scored 34 of 29 balls. It remains to be seen if Dhoni and the tail can take the score to 400 and beyond.

Quite disappointed, actually. I was expecting big hundreds from both Saurav and Sachin…

-Mahesh-

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Is Dhoni overrated?

Mohan raised an interesting point about Dhoni not having done anything special in tests. Quickly looking at the stats, it indeed seems to be the case. His match saving 148 against Pakistan when India were 5-281 facing a mammoth 588 was truly a remarkable innings. He has had only 2 scores over 50 in the 18 innings since and I believe he is not been playing to his full potential. Dropping Laxman for the 1st test must have surely sent strong signals to everyone else in the team and with Karthik breathing down Dhoni’s neck, I hope he does lift his game… 

 

-Mahesh-

Job only half done…

At the end of the first days’ play in the 1st Test between India and Bangladesh, India sits pretty. The batsmen have done their job, one may feel. But, given the incongruous team selection (despite Vish’s comments to the contrary) I feel that Bangladesh is still very much in the game. As Mortaza commented at the end of the days’ play, a few early wickets — even one early wicket, in my view — will expose India’s tail (which would make Hanuman proud!).

I am happy to be proved wrong, but I still do not rate Dhoni as a Test batsman. He hasn’t done anything special to convice me of his standing as a genuine ‘keeper-batsman in Tests — which is the main reason why I am miffed at the Yuvraj-Laxman combine warming the benches in this Test! Dhoni is not quite in the Gilchrist-Sangakkara-Boucher mode in Tests, in my view. And now we have Matt Prior joining the ranks of genuine ‘keeper-batsmen!

So, in my view, the job that Ganguly and Tendulkar have commenced is only half done. India need at least another 100 from this pair. The combine batted sensibly to first gauge the wicket, blunt the attack and then cut loose for a while. They certainly moved into 1st gear, as I had predicted. However, the difference between past occassions (notably the 3rd Test against South Africa) and yesterday was that the two batsman did not stay in 1st gear! While the quality of the Bangladesh bowling and the pitch certainly had a role to play, Ganguly and tendulkar certainly seemed to be batting to a plan.

And it worked.

However, their job is only half complete. They need to work on this foundation, bat out the first hour and score runs at pace to cement this foundation. A distaster scenario would see India lose a few quick early wickets. This could see India all out for 350 or so. I know this is sheer pessimism but surely we’ve all been there, done that!

— Mohan

Good first day’s play

On a flat, slow track where the ball occasionally kept low, India won the toss and decided to bat first (which was a no brainer, really). Taking the hot, humid conditions and the pitch into consideration, India went with five bowlers and a long tail that even Hanuman would have been proud of.

The Indian batsman had to deliver and in spite of a golden duck from Jaffar of the first ball of the innings, the batsmen did deliver. Dravid and Karthik scored half centuries, but threw away their wickets. With three wickets back in the Pavilion and only Dhoni to follow, both Sachin and Saurav batted cautiously at the start, but eventually opened up to remain unbeaten on 80 and 82 respectively.

The job is only half done though – India need to put a 500+ on this flat track playing first and both players in the middle will have to score well above 100 to put India in command.

Here are some links to reports on the day’s play –

-Mahesh-

Afridi 32 runs in an over

Here is the CricInfo commentary from that eventful over. Kamran Akmal had just played out a maiden at the other end before Afridi went berserk –

38.1
Bandara to Shahid Afridi, FOUR, This is too easy now, Bandara flights it outside off and Afridi jumps down the track yet again, tries to go over cover but the thickish outside edge flies away over point for a four. Boom boom

Around the wicket from Bandara now

38.2
Bandara to Shahid Afridi, FOUR, change of angle matters little now. It’s tossed up and Afridi arrives, even before the ball is delivered, and creams it down the ground for a blistering four. Straight and hard – the best way we guess. Boom boom

Over the wicket this time

38.3
Bandara to Shahid Afridi, SIX, Shot of the day. must be, a flat-batted six to beat all flat-batted hits. Flatter this time and he charges again, tonks it sensationally through extra-cover for a six. Boom boom boom

38.4
Bandara to Shahid Afridi, SIX, And this is bigger, much bigger. Thrash, bang, wallop. Similar formula, down the ground and blasts it way over extra cover for a huge six. That’s massive. Thunder bolts flying around now

38.5
Bandara to Shahid Afridi, SIX, Miscued and that’s six more, he tries to whack it over long-on but the thick edge howitzers over long-off for another six. The fielder can’t get to it

38.6
Bandara to Shahid Afridi, SIX, What an over. Ends with a flourish, down the ground and plasters it back over the bowler’s head for a huge hit. 446666 – the second most expensive over in one-dayers. Only behind Herschelle Gibbs. Blitz, boom, bash, bosh. Bring them on

-Mahesh-