Daily Archives: 2 October 2010

What’s all the hullabaloo about?

The batsman is out of the crease – the wicket keeper takes off the bails and as he walks back to the pavilion, someone from the opposition says something. The batsman turns around from his walk, points the bat at the player and a heated exchange follows. No, I am not talking about the Ponting run-out incident on the 1st days play at Mohali – I am talking about Harbhajan Singh being stumped of Clarke’s bowling in the 2nd ODI in Cochi the last time Australia were here in India.

Do you see a pattern? Its the same thing being enacted again, only the actors are different this time around. Was Zaheer out of line? Without a doubt. Should Ponting have turned around to exchange words? I don’t think so…

These two teams have a history of having a go at each other – and although I am not a big fan of this, I am not completely surprised by this incident either. But I found it funny that the Herald Sun calls Zaheer a “serial sledger”. What a laugh! The last time the incident happened, Harbhajan was portrayed as the bad guy, as he turned around to point his bat at the opposition after he was given out (the fact that someone said something to trigger that was somehow left out). Harbhajan is no saint, and neither is Zaheer – the point is, the Aussies aren’t either. So, I don’t see what all the fuss is about Smile

Coming back to the actual game, Australia made a mess of a really good position. They were 153 for 1 in the 42nd over, with both Ponting and Watson playing quite well, and then boom – the run out happened. Suddenly, the whole match turned around. The Aussies went into a shell, the runs stopped coming and by the end of the day, they had just added another 70 runs! If that wasn’t bad enough, they also lost another 3 wickets in the process. The Indians would definitely be happy with the opposition’s score of 224/5 at the end of the days play. It is not a bad achievement considering the fact that India were one bowler short (Ishant got injured) and  Harbhajan wasn’t really that threatening with the ball. The Australian tail can wag though, and India should be careful not to let them off the hook – particularly as they will be batting last in this match.

-Mahesh-

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Cat and Mouse

It’s been a hell of a week. Since last Sunday, my Facebook wall has been peppered with posts and comments on the Chennai Super Kings’ triumph at the Champions League, A.R. Rahman’s Jai Ho tour of North America, the Commonwealth Games howlers & the feverish excitement of the build-up towards the release of Endhiran! Just in case you put us down to be a group of hedonists, we’ve been quite concerned about the Ayodhya verdict too. Finally, last evening, amongst the babble of “Gummthalakdi gumma vaa”, Kalmadi jokes & Rajni punch dialogues, a friend put up a status that simply said “Ah! Test cricket.”

Is it just me, or did the Aussies slip in unnoticed? Sure, there’s been some chirp. Hauritz threatens to target Sachin & Johnson promises to pepper Sehwag. Ahem guys, you’d do better to ape Pidge on the field! Clarke is wary of Harbhajan. Shouldn’t he be calling him an obnoxious whatsits? Ponting looks to Tendulkar for inspiration. Whatever happened to Gilly’s autobiography? Where’s the rancour fella? We signed on for blood and gore, not a peace summit.

The anticipation amongst fans has been muted too. Anaesthetised by a deluge of India-Sri Lanka cricket? Or disappointed with a 2 match rubber? Harsha Bhogle calls it a quickie. I’d say it’s just a striptease. Millimeter from 3 Idiots might have a more colourful description, though not very parliamentary!

I settled down last night (9.5 hours behind IST), armed with a combination of Cricinfo, Test Match Sofa & live streaming, playing the highlights of Chennai 1998, Eden Gardens 2001, Adelaide 2003 & Perth 2008 in my head. I could not have been more disappointed. Mohali resembled the last day of the Asian Test Championship match at Kolkata, when most of the stadium had to be evacuated. Things got worse with the pitch report, and Ishant’s first delivery, which bounced twice on its way to Dhoni. Creeper for lbw, as the commentator from Test Match Sofa put it! Attrition is not a pleasant word, whether it is in context of the software industry or Test match cricket.

Catches were dropped, Ishant broke down, and the Aussies strung together a stand. Was it getting worse and worse? Not quite! It was a grind alright, but it was also intense Test cricket action. The passion simmered beneath the surface. Not high octane, but definitely not low voltage. The restraint of a Mani Ratnam terror flick, as against the celebration of violence in a Quentin Tarantino offering. Then Ponting got out. A send-off, an exchange of words & frayed tempers.

Clear your diaries people. The Border-Gavaskar is back in town!

(Guest post from TS Kartik)