India win to even series


India won the match and managed to even the series. And, Dhoni won his first game as captain.

After the game, I tried to look back at the turning point of the game. Was it Ganguly’s 87 in the first innings, the 46 runs India added for the last wicket or even Sehwag’s double strike of Kallis and Smith? I think what contributed to India’s win was all of them put together – combined with the return of Ishant Sharma and India’s overall bowling effort. Even the part time bowlers chipped in with five wickets.

It hasn’t been a great series, though. I didn’t quite enjoy it the way I enjoyed the series played in England and Australia. I wonder if anyone else feels the same way. In any case the series is finished and IPL is scheduled to begin shortly. Can’t wait for that to happen…hopefully it won’t disappoint.

-Mahesh-

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27 responses to “India win to even series

  1. Even though the series is drawn, India should have won the series handily. I think the 76 all out within 1 session in the second test was the turning point.

  2. Pingback: India win by spin; England struggles with Twenty20 - Cover Points

  3. The Player of the Match was Sourav Ganguly. This mans’ resolve and tenacity continues to amaze me. I am not sure, however, that I’d have gone with Harbhajan Singh as the Player of the Series! I thought McKenzie and Amla were, perhaps, more deserving candidates.

    I do, however, agree with Mahesh’s comment. This hasn’t been a gripping series in the same way as the series against England and Australia were. I think much of the blame for this must lie at the feet of the Chennai curator. In a grotesque manner, more suited to that famous Count from Transylvania, he sucked every drop of interest/blood from an interested fan’s body! 🙂

    My interest in this series dissipated then. Even a 76 all out could not bring me back from that somnambulic stupor.

  4. The turning point for me, if it can be described as that, was the appalling wickets in the 1st & 3rd tests.

    The 1st denied any chance of a result & made India safe in that game & the wicket in 3rd was designed to guarantee an India victory.

    On the only wicket that gave some chance of real cricket being played India was flogged.

    Ian Chappell once said that if Test cricket died it would be an inside job.

    A wicket where there is no contest between bat and ball is what turns the fans off. This probably accounts for your hollowness

  5. Thank God no one has said yet that it was a “match-fixing” because the series was between India v SA !!! SA played almost the same way India played in the second test on day 1 morning, except the wicket in Kanpur was a bit more helpful to our bowlers. Yes Ishant added fire with a bit more skillful bowling from Sreesanth and of course part time help of Sehwag .. I think Yuvi is not yet ready for test at all and we should have given a chance to Kaif. Above all Dhoni is a real “gambler” in trying different things in bowling Bhajji to open in the second innings and continuing him with long spells .. All in all another series end with even marks !!! Let us wait for the IPL take off end of this week and more for cheer crowd rather than skillful game either with the ball or bat ….

  6. Don’t agree with you entirely Pav — not surprisingly.

    We all agree that the 1st Test was played on a crap wicket. That’s because it did not give the bowlers and batsmen an equal chance.

    The 2nd and 3rd Tests kept bowlers and batsmen in the game. In the 2nd Indian batsmen played horribly and in the 3rd RSA batsmen played terribly.

    I thought the wickets in the 2nd and 3rd Tests were both awesome.

    The 1st Test wicket was awful not because it made “India safe”. That’s your jaundiced view of the world and you are welcome to it.

    The wicket in 3rd, you say, was “designed to guarantee an India victory”. That’s crap. If a team is good, it will play spin as well as it plays pace. After all, the last time I looked in the rules, there is no rule that says, “Only India will play spin”. Spin is as much a part of the game as pace is.

    I think the world should just shut up and accept that. If it is ok for South Africa to produce Kingsmead and for Australia to produce Perth, surely it is ok for India to produce a Kanpur.

    Who says “real cricket” is one that only involves pace bowlers. If the South Africans had an iota of ability at playing spin, they would have thumped India in Kanpur.

    Indian groundsmen have been listening to nonsense from Ian Chappell for far too long. They should continue to do what they have done well for yonks.

    There was a terrific contest between bat and ball in the 3rd Test. Except that the ball wasn’t travelling at 140kmph!

    — Mohan

  7. Why didn’t the Match referee take any action on Bhajji pestering Prince at the end of an over–chatting, patting on the shoulder and contnuing the chat even after the batsman shrugged the Bhaji’s arm away vigorously in disgust and Dravid tried to pull Bhajji away from further trouble.

    It can’t be just the midday sun! Something genetically wrong.

  8. Ganguly’s Innings was awesome.. he is a class player who can help India at the need stage..

    He played some brilliant stroke against harris.. Even the pitch is favor for the spinners .. he attacked him well and gave India hope .. I am looking forward IPL …

  9. Times of India reports that M S Dhoni thanked the curator for preparing a turning pitch and gave Rs 10,000 in cash!! Just as well, he didn’t do this before the match!!!!

    This could set a precedent for other curators–an anticipatory gesture of made to order pitches!!

  10. I think the under-prepared third test pitch is NOT good for test cricket. Same for Chennai flat track is also not good.

    You can not have a dust bowl of a wicket for a test match that ends in 3 days – uneven bounce from day one.

    The second test wicket is probably a good test pitch. It is unfortunate that India folded within one session for 76. But SA seemed to amass runs 400+ on the same wicket.

    A wicket should play even true bounce for the first 3 days.

  11. @gnbmdr

    I can think of several Perth Test matches that have finished in 3 days. The batsmen were labeled “incompetent” then. Why is it that when matches end in 3 days in the subcontinent that we start hearing the words “under-prepared” and “dust-bowl” and not the word “incompetent”?

    The Kanpur match ended in 3 days because the South African weakness against quality spin bowling was rudely exposed.

    I think people have to start to accept that bowling is still bowling if the ball travels at 80kmph and not 140kmph!

    Let’s not forget that India made over 300 runs on this pitch. Also, on the day that South Africa collapsed, Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma put on nearly 50 runs!

    — Mohan

  12. Lords is always a batting wicket, possibility of turn on the 5th day.

    Headingly swinging conditions, suiting swing bowlers – Zaheer Khan or

    Perth – a fast and bouncy wicket – suits fast bowlers – McGrath or Ambrose or Ishant Sharma.

    All these wickets have “true” bounce and give even chance to batsman and bowler.

    If the ball turns square from outside the off to outside leg, or bounce from a good length, the batsmen have no chance.

    I do agree- the last wicket partnership was crucial for India.

  13. An “even” chance helped India score 330 in Perth, and an “uneven” chance made them score 325 in Eden Park.

    Batsmen had no chance in both places, or they did have but didnt fulfill their potential. Either ways … gnbmdr can stop cribbing ….

    This was cricket at its tantalising best !!! One side couldnt understand how to come trumps on this pitch. The other was an expert. Its under extreme conditions that the best survive … Alas, SA still remain No.3 !!!

  14. Bowlers doesnt mean a crop of guys hurling cherries at 140k plus … they also mean guys who hurl the ball at close to 40 mph … hope people do recognise this … learn to play spin the way Indians are slowly learning to tame the pacers elsewhere.

  15. Mohank,

    I think it is good to have this discussion.

    Firstly there will be bad wickets. Any thing to do with nature always runs this risk. However these should be in the minority & accidental.

    There will be three day test. Humans fail. This again is the way of the world.

    If every test was in doubt until the last ball on the last day we would tire of this.

    I am not arguing against variance & contrast.

    I am arguing against a deliberate process to produce a ridiculously lopsided wicket

    My position is that wickets should reflect the nature of the home country but not exaggerate them. For example Indian wickets should turn more than the WACA and the WACA should bounce more than Indian wickets. This is good.

    When a wicket is an exaggeration or carricature of the home nation then this wrong and bad for test cricket.

    My views on the first test are reflected by Homer. His pre-match comment was along the lines that a draw in the 1st was acceptable but a loss would be a disaster. What was produced? A featherbed. Seems like Homer was not the only one to make the same assessment.

    In the second test the wicket was not to Kumble’s liking. Why a captain should have an input into wicket preparations is beyond me. All credit to an independent minded curator. Who was the bowler who got India back into the game? I believe it was one H Singh.

    A wicket for quicks, spin & batsmen.

    But a wicket where the same bowler opens the bowling on the third day merely makes a mockery of the game. I rest my case on this fact alone.

    Not only that it devalues the victory as people can point to the deficiencies.

    To compare the 3rd test wicket to the WACA debacles is fallacious. Those wickets were accidental and against Australia’s interest. Just ask the batsmen who faced Curtly Ambrose!

    The last series against Australia nearly every test went most of the distance. Kumble got his 600th wicket & Sharma was a revelation, SRT was his sublime self & Sehwag was allowed to be Sehwag. The canvas was there for all to show their wares. We could marvel at their skills & artistry

    Yet in two of the three tests just played this was denied

    I agree the Saffers should have done better & they need to learn to both bowl & play spin but the wicket they were asked to play on was a travesty , a deliberate travesty and thus the Saffers emerge with a moral victory and we, the fans are deprived of two days of cricket.

    Two days we can argue about, theorise about, speculate about, argue about. Two days in which we return to mundane reality earlier then we should need to.

    Yes we know India can win on spinning wickets. Lets learn something else that proves Perth was not just a random result

  16. pls link my blog onto your site as I have done regarding yours.tks a ton..TC

  17. @The Pav

    I think Kumble was upset with the curator of the 2nd Test because the guy has been listening too much to Ian Chappell.

    I think Indian curators have to do what they have done for yonks — prepare terrific spinning tracks that suit the environmental conditions and the soil that are prevalent in that part of the world. Let’s face it, cotton cannot be grown in Siberia! So why should India stretch itself to prepare the kind of unnatural surface that is akin to local conditions? Similarly, why is is not possible for Perth to bring in a drop-in pitch from Mumbai that turns on day one?

    As I have said for a long time, the Indians have been listening to Ian Chappell for a long time and people like gnbmdr start believing that that myth is a reality!

    I just don’t think that Kanpur was a bad wicket. I think the Saffers were bad batsmen on that pitch.

    Tell me, why is it wrong for a track to turn on the first day? And while you are at it, tell me why is it wrong to open the bowling with a spinner? Because Ian Chappell says it is wrong?

    Time to explode these myths that we start believing ourselves without questioning too much.

    There is nothing wrong with the ball turning from ball-1 and there is nothing wrong with opening the bowling with a spinner. People like Ian Chappell have been saying that that’s wrong because they could not play spin very well and they were heard by the likes of gnbmdr because the Chappells talked the loudest!

    Time to put a lid on all that crap.

    I am sure as night follows day that Kanpur was a terrific wicket. One team scored 325 and her tailenders scored 50 runs on it.

    Pav, you say that there was a “deliberate process to produce a ridiculously lopsided wicket”. Where does that come from? Who said it was deliberate?

    I agree that captains should not have an input into pitch preparations. But I guess what Kumble was asking the curator was, “Don’t be a gnbmdr. Think for yourself” 🙂

    You say, “But a wicket where the same bowler opens the bowling on the third day merely makes a mockery of the game.”

    Why? And what “case” are you resting? I don’t see one.

    And just as Australian batsmen have faced Curtly Ambrose in Perth, Indian batsmen have faced Shane Warne in Mumbai and Abdul Qadir and Iqbal Qasim in Bangalore. Just ask Michael Clarke who spun the ball a mile in Mumbai!

    If Paul Harris could bowl well he would have got wickets in Kanpur. As far as I could see, the Indians did not tie his arms and legs!

    You say that in “two of the three tests just played [the ability to show class] was denied”. I agree and that was because of the incompetence of the Indians (in the 2nd Test) and the incompetence of the Saffers (in the 3rd Test) and NOT because of the pitch, which is the conclusion that you are rushing to.

    Let’s not forget that in the 2nd Test we saw some brilliant batting from de Villiers and Kallis. In the 3rd Test we saw some awesome batting from Ganguly and Laxman.

    My only point here is: Do not blame the pitch. And when you are in Rome, you are in Rome. If you want to play at Kingsmead and Perth type pitches, well, stay at Kingsmead and Perth. Do not step out.

    — Mohan

  18. Taking this issue of doctored pitches further, why don’t the playing countries agree for a series to be 6 tests–3 at home followed by 3 away

    England has to be an exception in their winter.
    India, Pakistan, Windies, NZ, SA and australia can play this home and away series from October to March without footy or rugby games on the big stadiums. Bangladesh can have 1 home test and 1 away test–that is all they deserve

  19. Hello,

    With the matches in India played during our night time, I barely get to watch an hour or two. So, I am not influenced by Ian Chappell.

    OK, it is fair to have spinning track, that assists spinners. That is a good measure of how well a batsman can play spin bowling.

    1. What about uneven bounce. Rahul Dravid was injured and Laxman got out to an impossible ball.

    2. Will Kanpur wicket be the same for the next test match to be played a year or two from now ?

    Lords is the same year after year .

    I understand home field advantage to suit spin bowling. That is fine. But it is good to have well-prepared wickets with true bounce.

  20. @gnbmdr

    So what if Rahul Dravid got out to an unplayable ball? That’s what Test Cricket is about. More power to the bowler!

    All I am saying is that it is about time people around the world stopped talking about pitches and started talking about technique instead.

    This is not about home-pitches and away-pitches either.

    And unless Perth imports a drop-in pitch from Mumbai, let’s please stop talking about home-team advantage.

    I personally do not want Kanpur to be the same year after year! Lords’ is the same year after year? Well, that would be boring and predictable wouldn’t it? We could send 11 robots to play there then!

    — Mohan

  21. Cant agree more with Mohan. I’ve been a great fan of both Dravid and Laxman, but their dismissal shouldnt force anyone to say that the pitch was bad. A ball which is unplayable for someone can only mean that the bowler deserved his fair bit of credit.

    Its a “test” — as the name goes, a test of one’s skills and talent. It would be really boring to imagine every wicket to behave like that in Perth, there is a loss of variety out there.

    Its plain crass that we ought to imitate what Ian Chappell would tell us. He is a legend, but he too is a mortal … lets not forget that.

    And Pav, your case states that you have been deprived of two days of quality test match cricket. Why don’t you say the same at Jo’burg — you had a little more than 3 days of cricket there ? Or mebbe Motera ? Its as even a contest as it always has been. All those matches which have been drawn have been as unequal as those which finished early (this is to make things simplied in your thought).

    Rest in peace … its was a good series … and there’s no way that one can devalue any of the victories anywhere !!!

  22. pls link my blog onto your site as I have done regarding yours.tks a ton..ciao

  23. I believe the series was not as exciting as it could have been. The last test seemed very predictable. Anyhow, even I cannot wait for the IPL to begin. If you are interested in IPL, then you will definitely like IndianFantasyLeague.com. Check it out registration is free and prizes are awesome!

  24. Mohank,

    Thanks for you reply.

    I’ll mull over your points before I continue the debate but one thing about your reply is the reference to Ian Chappell. He certainly seems to have given you a bad case of the irrits

    As much as I respect his knowledge & skills in regard to cricket I can assure my opinions are all my own work. Unskilled labour perhaps but definitely my efforts.

    I would also suggest that you check out his record against spin. As I recall with a sprained ankle against Gibbs on a dusty “fifth day” turner in the Windies he got Australia to victory. In recognition the crowd chanted amen.

    He could play spin.

  25. @Pav

    I wasn’t clear and apologies for that. I used the term “Ian Chappell” to signify a class of people that whined about spin pitches being detrimental to the game and coined phrases such as “doctored pitches”, “dust bowls” and “dry vicious turners”. These were guys that were traditionally “incompetent at playing spin but spoke loudly”.

    Loud enough for a class of people called “gnbmdr” to start believing the myths that they had so created without thinking things through clearly enough for themselves.

    There is nothing wrong with a slow-low-turner or a dust-bowl. Just as there is nothing wrong with a “grassy, juicy pitch that offers true bounce”.

    There is nothing wrong with opening the bowling with a spinner just as there is nothing wrong with opening with a pace bowler who hurls the ball at 900kmph.

    The “Ian Chappell” will earn his whine-rights if he starts calling for a new pitch at Perth that is dropped in from Mumbai.

    Indeed, we ought to be celebrating these varied differences and the “gnbmdr” ought to think for themselves, no doubt after listening to, BOTH the “Ian Chappell” as well as the “Gavaskar”.

    — Mohan

  26. mohank,

    What have I done to deserve such broadside – can not think independently, …

    Let me reiterate, I rarely do have the opportunity (due to time zone diifference) to listen to Ian Chapppel. If our opinions coincide very good. BTW, I wish I could play the front foot hook shot like Ian Chappell.

    Headingly has been a great pitch for swing bowlers over the years – with the overcast conditions. IIRC, Sunil Gavaskar considers his century at Headingly against John Snow as one of his best centuries.

    Perth happens to he a bouncy track that favors fast bowlers over the last 30 years.

    Once upon a time, Chennai was a spinning track. EAS and BS Chandrasekar took a lot of wickets. Now Chennai is a flat batting track like the Faisalabad wicket.

    Mumbai produced a track for Australia home series in which the much maligned Murali Karthik took 6 wickets. Is that wicket representative of Mumbai wicket over the years.

  27. Hello..could u pls link my blog onto your site as i’ve done regarding yours…tks a ton..TC

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