Daily Archives: 21 October 2008

India Vs Australia :: 2nd Test :: Mohali :: Day-5

Australia started Day 5 needing well over 350 runs to win the game – something that they were never going to do. Even the odds of Australia saving the Test by batting out the 3 sessions were very very low. India on the other hand needed 5 wickets to win and it was not a question of if, but a question of when India would wrap up the game – as it turned out it was well and truly over before lunch.

Morning (and the only) session

The wicket at Mohali had held out quite well for the first four days of the test and the fifth day was no exception. Except for balls pitching on the rough created by footmarks, the bounce was quite even and there weren’t too many cracks on the pitch. It was still a pretty good batting track – after all 355 runs were added on day 4.

Clarke and Haddin had added 88 runs together the previous day, in what was the best Aussie partnership of the game and they strode in confidently to the wicket. Their game plan would have been to see through the day one hour at a time.

But Zaheer Khan had other plans. He was earlier charged by the match referee for giving a send-off to Hayden on Day 4 of the test and that must have had him fired up. He predictably opened the bowling for India.

In the last ball of the very first over, Zaheer pitched one up, which cut in sharply into the right handed Haddin and crashed into the stumps. Haddin had offered a defensive prod without much foot work and the ball managed to avoid both bat and pad. Only one run had been added to the overnight score, one wicket already lost and the Indians moved one step closer to victory.

In the second ball of Zaheer Khan’s second over, White edged a fuller delivery over to Dhoni, leaving the Aussies reeling at 144/7. Brett Lee walked in, and was bowled out the very next ball – this time, the ball pitched on leg and moved further away clipping the off stump.

In just 4 ball, 3 wickets had fallen and any semblance of an Australian resistance disappeared – that too in just the 3rd over of the day. Johnson did his best to hit his way out (he did play some handsome strokes) and Clarke went on to complete his 50 – but these were just academic. They managed to put on the second biggest partnership of the innings, though -  adding 50 runs before Mishra had Johnson caught and bowled. The score at that time was 194. Siddle came in at No. 11, but couldn’t manage a single run on his debut – Clarke at the other end tried to hit Mishra out, only to find Tendulkar at mid-wicket. They were all out for 195 and even with their first and second innings totals put together, couldn’t cross India’s first innings score.

Dhoni (after collecting his Man-of-the-match award said that this was almost like a perfect match and that every thing went their way. This was a great team effort and India will take a lot of confidence into the Delhi test and are now one test win away from regaining the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

-Mahesh-

Will the Match Referee step up to the plate please?

From where I am seeing things, Chris Broad, the Match Referee in the ongoing Test series between India and Australia, appears to be sitting on his hands on three issues in the Mohali Test match. He probably doesn’t realise that the only thing that he can guarantee by sitting on his fingers is the acquisition of ring marks on his backside!

Before getting to the specific issue, I must say that I was quite shocked to see Chris Broad openly criticise one of the playing officials when the match was still in progress! When commenting about the non-referral of the Sourav Ganguly stumping episode, Chris Broad commented to “The Australian” newspaper, “The policy is for umpires to make as many decisions out on the field as they possibly can. Of course, no one likes to see umpires being criticised, me of all people. Ideally, I would have liked for [Koertzen] to call for the third umpire. But he made his decision with what he saw, and you can’t argue about that. The only thing you can argue about is the fact that it was possibly wrong, in hindsight. But at the time, if you look where he was standing, and the camera from behind him, you would also think he didn’t lift his foot.”

Since when has a match referee started commenting on specific dismissals? Is it appropriate for a match referee to comment on specific dismissals while a Test match is in progress? I’d think not! In my view, this was somewhat inappropriate behaviour on the part of the Match Referee.

However, there are three things that Chris Broad ought to do right away, in my view.

1. Censure Ponting:

I think Chris Broad ought to censure Ricky Ponting for carrying on like a spoilt pork chop when Virender Sehwag was not given out, caught behind by Asad Rauf. I think a wrap on the knuckles and a severe warning will be in order here. As a Team India fan, I hope Chris Broad does not ban Ricky Ponting — although he does deserve one in my view — for, Pontings’ somewhat weird captaincy in this series appears to be benefiting India right at this moment!

On the 4th morning, Asad Rauf did not detect what was a loud nick off the blade of Virender Sehwag off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson. Bowler and ‘keeper Haddin could not believe their eyes, but got on with the job!

This is how Jon Pierik from The Herald Sun reported the events that unfolded:

Ponting’s animated on-field style has been a worry among Cricket Australia officials for some time.

While former skipper Mark Taylor was the master at making his point discreetly, whether to teammates or the umpires, Ponting’s emotions too often spill over.

That was evident in the incident with Lee, and earlier when a caught-behind appeal off Virender Sehwag was knocked back.

A disbelieving Ponting rushed in from mid-wicket with his hands waving about, when he could have just saddled up to umpire Asad Rauf quietly at the end of the over.

Rauf had made a blunder, but Ponting didn’t need to act in the manner he did.

Ponting is a passionate cricketer but, as captain, he must remain composed as often as possible, for that helps to spread calm among his team.

As Australia enters a daunting new era with several raw players, there’s bound to be more days like those experienced in Mohali.

Ponting needs to at least portray that all will be well.

If Ponting cast his mind back even for a second to Sydney this year and remembers a mate of his that went fishing recently, he would not have charged in the direction of Sehwag to converse with him.

2. Censure Matthew Hayden

I wonder why the Match Referee should not censure Matthew Hayden for remonstrating with Indian fielders as he was making his way to the pavilion, after getting out in the 2nd Innings at Mohali.

It is most likely that an Indian fielder enquired about Hayden’s health and said something like, “Enjoy your shower mate” or “Where are you off for dinner?” or something like that! That doesn’t call for an Oscar-award winning show with spread arms and feigned hurt! After all, Hayden’s been dishing it out for as long as one can remember! And, as Mark Nicholas would say, a person that is so used to making his own bed ought to learn how to sleep in it!

I do wish Chris Broad censures Matthew Hayden for the his unsportsmanlike behaviour on getting out. I am not saying that I like players saying sweet nothings to departing players. But I am saying that Matthew Hayden, as one who dishes it out regularly, ought to know how to accept it occasionally when it comes flying back at him! The Oscar-award winning performance was so totally unnecessary and, in my view, brought the game into disrepute.

As I write this, we have learned that Zaheer Khan has been charged! I guess this is to be expected after Matthew Hayden’s Oscar performance.

3. Report Rudi Koertzen

I think Chris Broad has to report Rudi Koertzen. The aging umpire has made one mistake too many in this Test series and, before long, we could have a Bucknor on our hands! I can point the mistakes out, but this has already been chronicled heavily in several blogs and articles. I still feel that Rudi Koertzen has a few years of umpiring in him. But instead of tainting him in public, like he has done this week, Chris Broad could report him to the ICC, ensure that he is looked after through remedial training, coaching and more.

With all of the above going on, I am not sure what the Match Referee is actually paid to do! Will he please step up to the plate and do something about this caper?

— Mohan

Indian heat too much to handle?

Is Ponting finding the Indian heat too much to handle? And I am not talking about the temperature. There is the saying that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Ponting, the tough character that he is, hasn’t handled the situation well, though. Here are the signs that all is not well –

  • Ponting’s captaincy: Ponting has earned praise for his captaincy in the past. But in this series, it has been uninspiring. The Australians have been very defensive in this tour so far – whether it is their batting (defensive and slow) and their bowling (again, defensive and spread out fields) – and that is a direct reflection of the captaincy. IMHO, this is the main reason they couldn’t win the first test after being on top for the most part. And it is again the main reason, they are so much behind in this test.
  • Ponting losing confidence in his main strike bowler: For one whole session yesterday, Brett Lee didn’t get a bowl. He may not have had the success with the ball in the series so far – but bowling Hussey before Lee? Australian papers have written about this in detail (see Herald Sun, The Age and everybody’s favourite The Australian) and I don’t intend to go over it again. The sooner they resolve their differences, the better it is for the team as a whole.
  • Talking the walk: Did Ponting expect Sehwag to walk when he edged it? Surely, he doesn’t expect that. Or maybe the situation changes when you are close to 400 runs behind, desperate for a wicket and the opposition player nicks it. Ponting’s reaction seemed to be just that. Coming from a person who has always defended the players right not to walk, it comes across as a bit hypocritical. Or maybe Ponting was just wishing Sehwag on his birthday and we misunderstood everything…:)
  • Does Ishant have the wood on Ponting?: Ponting’s excellent century in the first test not withstanding, is Ponting struggling against Ishant. Yesterday’s dismissal was a classic. He set him up by bowling to him a bit fuller and dragging him forward. The one that got him out was a beauty pitching outside of off-stump, just short of good length and cutting back in sharply beating both bat and pad, thudding into the stumps. He had him plumb in the first innings too with a similar delivery. I am not sure if Ishant has the wood on Ponting (yet), but there is some vulnerability there and I am sure Ponting doesn’t enjoy the first few overs when he comes into bat and finds Ishant and Harbhajan bowling in tandem.

-Mahesh-