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!