Daily Archives: 6 October 2010

WHADDAPLAYA

Somebody please get V.V.S. Laxman a dictionary. He needs to be sat down and told that once-in-a-lifetime knocks are not supposed to be played more than once in a lifetime! Not after that 281. And you definitely don’t do it twice in 2 tests running. On 2 difficult pitches, against 2 competitive attacks, and on either occasion, a good strike rate & a bad back. At Mohali, he even overcame the absence of pedigreed company.

Any literature on Laxman is under obligation to make special mention of his record against the Aussies. With due respect to Messrs Border & Gavaskar, the marquee standing of the eponymous trophy is due in no small measure to Laxman. In recent times, India has been served well by Sehwag running away with the game in the first dig (while batting first), with Dravid & Tendulkar providing sound consolidation. Laxman reserves his best for later, the 2nd, the 3rd & the 4th innings.

Allow me to indulge in a sample of Indian victories against the Aussies over the last decade featuring Laxman specials. Starting with the 2nd innings, Dravid’s moment in the sun was put to shade when the Hyderabadi illuminated the Adelaide Oval in 2003 with his radiant brilliance. The  3rd innings of a Test belongs to him, as the theatre does to Naseeruddin Shah. On a Wankhede pitch with more spite than a spurned maiden, Laxman conjured 69 miracles. As with most of his teasing cameos on tricky surfaces, he seemed to be performing a ballet on a different plane. The veneer of pristine virginity in his art often facades the sheathing of steel underneath, an exception being the famous Perth victory. Bartering silk with sinew, and sacrificing finesse for fibre, his 79 was pretty much the margin of victory. And oh of course, the epic at Eden Gardens…enough said. The Chennai Test of the same series set a precedent for the latest 4th innings effort; his final day 66 almost sealed the deal, before it was terminated abruptly by a Mark Waugh blinder.

Laxman has taken people’s minds off Ram. And Rajnikanth! No mean feat this.

Post-script

My previous post is testimony to my theory that in Test matches with high first innings totals, with the team batting second finishing slightly behind, the 3rd innings usually witnesses a jittery collapse, facilitating a victory for the team batting last. A short list of such instances (by no means exhausting):

Thanks to Laxman, the Mohali Test proved to be yet another case in point for my theory. But only just.

-i3j3Guest (TS Kartik)

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Abhinav Mukund in Team India side!

Within a year of our prediction, Abhinav Mukund has made it to India side. Replacing injured Gautam Gambhir, Abhinav Mukund has overtaken other possible contenders including Ajinkya Rahane, Shikar Dhawan or other makeshift openers like Dinesh Karthik as the best option for an Indian opening slot. Having said that, it is more than likely that M. Vijay will open the innings with Viru Sehwag in Bangalore. The status on VVS Laxman is unclear. Even if VVS is unfit, Cheteswar Pujara might take his place. In any case, it is a wonderful achievement for Mukund. This is a proud moment for him and all his supporters including some of us at i3j3 are extremely excited about this well deserved promotion. Our best wishes to him and hoping to see him don India colours soon.

– Srikanth

Some random thoughts

  • Ricky Ponting had never won a Test match as captain in India. He looked appeared to break that draught, but it wasn’t to be. Will it happen in Bangalore?
  • After his first innings performance with the ball, injury and no-balls, it appeared that Ishant Sharma would be dropped for the second test. Surely? But after that 3 wicket blast and the best 31 runs of his career, he may have done enough to save his spot. But wait! He has been left out due to his injured right knee.
  • Is anyone else curious as to why Michael Clarke wasn’t given a bowl in this test? I expected Ponting to have thrown the ball to the man with the golden arm as a last resort at least on day 5, when India was getting close to victory. It never happened. (And Katich can bowl too)
  • Marcus North – Has he done enough to get dropped from the team? If he gets dropped, then Hughes probably needs to play in the middle order. But Australia lose a spinner – I thought North even bowled better than Hauritz, who is their first choice spinner. Tough call!
  • Nathan Hauritz hasn’t done enough in this test and didn’t really trouble the batsmen. Is it time to give Steven Smith a chance? And if Bollinger can’t play the 2nd test, then Peter George may make his debut. Or maybe Smith replaces Bollinger and Australia play two spinners and two fast bowlers – a combination they very rarely play. Shane Watson gives them the luxury of doing it though. It is going to be very hard to pick the team for the second test.
  • Gambhir is injured and won’t play the second test. It is more than likely that Vijay will take his spot although Abhinav Mukund has been drafted into the team.
  • Will Laxman play the second test? If he doesn’t, will Pujara replace him? Or will India send an SOS to Yuvraj Singh (who just scored a double hundred in the Irani Trophy).
  • Will Dhoni ever win the toss? Dhoni hasn’t won the toss the whole year! It is time he won the toss and batted first.
  • -Mahesh-