Daily Archives: 23 July 2007

England Vs India — Test 1: India’s chances and take-homes…

The last day of the 1st Test in the ongoing England V India series promises to be a cliff-hanger. Both teams will think that they can win. David Lloyd is confident that England will win. Ravi Shastri thinks that England have their nose in front but believes India can win if they go into the last day in a positive frame of mind. Shastri believes that Dinesh Karthik is the key!

Like David Lloyd, I think we are in for an excellent last day’s cricket.

The weather could play spoil sport though. The forecast for St Johns’ Wood is for rain with a high of 17 deg C and a low of 14 deg C.

If we get a full days’ play, there should be a result in this game. I don’t think India can win. With Dravid and Tendulkar back in the pavillion and with Jaffer, India’s 1st innings hero, back in the hut, I believe the task will be huge for Karthik, Ganguly, Laxman and Dhoni. India may salvage a draw if the weather helps out too.

I would be most happy to be proven wrong though.

Jaffer’s was a really soft dismissal. He was playing well — albeit with the IBRADM (India Batsmen’s Recently Afflicted Defensive Mindset) — and Karthik was playing with positive intent. A lapse in concentration combined with laziness cost Jaffer his wicket. Dravid was unlucky to be given out as the ball pitched outside off, but these things happen in cricket. But the worst dismissal of the day, from an India point of view, was Tendulkars’. He should have stayed on till the end of days’ play and he should have been looking to score runs. If he had been looking for runs, he would have played that ball with his bat! Instead IBRADM meant that there was a defensive malaise about his game. I believe it cost him his wicket.

It is an uphill task for Karthik, Ganguly, Laxman and Dhoni. India needs a further 243 runs to win. This is not going to be easy on a 5th day wicket. I say this even though Karthik is playing well and Ganguly is playing positively. Panesar is bowling well and the other England pace bowlers are bowling well. I can’t see any of them having a bad day at the office. So, I don’t believe India will make it. Laxman is in a strange no-mans’ land. Dhoni is out of sorts. So, unless either Karthik or Ganguly score a big hundred, I’ll be looking to the weather Gods!

But there have been some good take-homes from this gig for India:

  • Karthik appears to improve with each dig. Yes, he did get out in the first innings and he dropped a sitter to let off Strauss. But the lad appears to want to be there. He seems to look at each opportunity as a gift and wants to make the most of it. His batting in the second innings has been a treat to watch.
  • R. P. Singh has been a terrific positive too. In only his 5th Test match, this young 21-year-old player from Uttar Pradesh has shown tenacity and guile. He has taken his first 5-fer and I suspect that, provided he does not travel down injury-lane, there will be more of these before he hangs up his boots. He has 22 wickets from 5 Tests at an average of 26.90! So these are early days yet, but to get on the honours board at Lords’ at such an early stage of his career will give him much confidence.

All in all, it promises to be a fascinating day-5.

— Mohan

What an opportunity, Dravid’s captaincy and all that!

I write this as I watch RP Singh clean bowl Pieterson for a magnificant hundred and clean up the innings with a 5 fer. Well done, RP!!!!

However, my beef is against the captaincy during the day. While some of my comments may be interpreted as sheer venting in frustration, there must be some truth in it. I was completely baffled by the fact that RP Singh was brought on more than 90 minutes after lunch. He was by far the best bowler before lunch bowling absolutely beautifully. I could see the rationale of bowling Zaheer Khan at one end because he was special as well but to see Kumble get such a long bowl was strange to say the least. Kumble’s bowling was ordinary, mediocre and lacking purpose. But he continued on….

And there was more than the occasion where Dravid’s captaincy was remarked as being reactive and not proactive, one such comment coming from the mouth of one Mr. Ravi Shastri…..Dravid is a strategic thinker and a “big picture” man, but I am beginning to suspect that he lacks the sharpness required on the field to make key operational decisions. I thought Ganguly was better at it….Mohan, I suppose we agree to disagree again?

With respect to the state of the game, what an opportunity for the “fab three” to sign off their greatness. A realistic target with not necessarily perfect conditions to bat on, a Lord’s test match, first in the series, you couldn’t ask for a better situation to deliver! All the very best to them.

– Srikanth