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Sight Screen

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Paper Rounds -- India

1. On Cricinfo, there is Ranajit Dam with the match report; Dileep Premachandran with the Wisden Verdict which in equal parts admires Mahela Jayawardene and Upul Chandana and slams the top three in the Indian batting lineup for their inordinate number of dot balls; and a round up of the post-match press conference that suggests Saurav Ganguly crossing the 10,000-run mark in ODIs is no consolation for the outcome of the game.
2. In the Indian Express, Trevor Chesterfield applauds Mahela Jayawardene; K Shrinivas Rao looks at the latest entrant to the 10,000-club (which, among other things, perpetuates the urban legend that Saurav Ganguly quit his number one slot purely out of magnanimity and focus on the larger cause); Rao also produces the match report, which focusses on India's inability here to shut out the game.
3. For the Hindu, Sanjay Rajan writes the match report; and the Hindustan Times has an extended but unsigned match report.
4. The ToI presumably has its own report too, but in my fever-ish state, I decided that I wasn't strong enough just now to take the possible contents of a piece titled 'Who were the villains' or some such.
5. In the Telegraph, Lokendra Pratap Sahi has the Ganguly report aka match report. Rather amusingly, this piece suggests that SG's innings today underlined the folly of his omission from the Asian XI. Another comment in this piece made me sit up a bit:
He didn’t list the most satisfying innings en route to 10,000, but did say the “hundreds” in the last two World Cups and the ICC KnockOut/Champions Trophy gave “huge satisfaction.”
Sourav, however, made the point he prefers opening. “It’s at the very top that I’ve been most successful... I would like to bat there and, perhaps, renew my partnership with Sachin... Whether or not I get to do that depends on who gets the captaincy (after Sri Lanka)!”
*sigh* No it doesn't, Saurav -- if the implication is, you become captain and the perk is you get to decide where you bat. What really decides it -- or should -- is team composition, balance, the team's overall strategic needs (for instance, if it needs your ability to accelerate against the softer ball in the middle and end overs more than it needs you in the opener slot. My problem with comments like this is it signals a throwback to the days, during the latter part of the John Wright tenure, when personal interest -- of various players and outside interests -- dictated the team's agenda.
Okay, make that *appeared to dictate* the team agenda.
(In passing, I wish Saurav -- so articulate about his angst in missing out on the Asian XI, and on his spot in the batting order, and on captaincy -- had in his comments indicated that his most urgent priority was to get back into top form; surely all else, including the question of captaincy, follows from that?)
The various reports talk of the batting, the bowling, the umpiring and much else -- to my mind, the real difference between the two sides, in both games, boils down to one word: hunger.
Did India put up too little on the board? Probably, given the platform -- but it still had enough on the boards to force the win.
Did India miss a fifth regular bowler? Probably -- but it still had the bowling to do the job; when picking a team, you are presumably picking players capable of performing at the highest level; you don't then go, oh, I have four regular bowlers, but only any three of them will really bowl well today (Bajji's 1/49 on this track was clear underperformance on the day) so I might as well have five and hope any four of them might turn up. (Which is not to say I disagree with the fifth bowler theory -- merely, that the lack of that fifth bowler is not a valid excuse for today).
Did the slow start decide the ultimate outcome? The player versus player stats indicate that the top three -- especially Ganguly -- could have added valuable runs by converting even one fourth of their dot balls into singles; this bit in fact put me in mind of a column we had done for Rediff earlier. Was that the key determinant, though? Keeping the nature of the pitch and match tempo in mind, I think it was one factor worth considering, but not necessarily the unanimous choice when it comes to handing out the blame.
What then? I think in both games, the factor that made the difference was this: both times, one member of the winning side had the gumption to put his hand up for the job, and at least one other member exerted himself in support of the winning effort. Here, it was Jayawardene in the lead role and Chandana in superb support; in the first game, it was Sanath Jayasuriya, batting on one wing and a prayer, and Maharoof in unexpectedly competent support.
Till date, no member of the Indian side has shown that fire, that grit, that determination to rise above their own limitations (injury in SJ's case, consistent underperformance in Mahela's) and put in that extra bit for the team cause.
You can bring in five bowlers for the next game (and then suggest that it weakened the batting to where we couldn't put up a decent score), or keep this composition (and continue to lament the lack of the extra bowler), or rotate more personnell (and suggest that maybe the guy who was axed was axed too soon) -- but any and all changes will still not produce results, till this one factor kicks in. IMHO.
There's an Ashes Test beginning tomorrow, but I don't feel well enough to go browsing and blogging -- so will leave all that to tomorrow, when I am up to getting out of bed again. For now, guys, cheerio -- will keep an eye on your comments as they come in, via email, though I likely won't be logged on to respond till tomorrow.


  • I am not sure whether SG did say the following two:

    From Shriniwas Rao's column: "I had left my batting position, as a captain, in the interest of the team. It hampered my run-making but no regrets"

    From the Telegraph: "It’s at the very top that I’ve been most successful... I would like to bat there and, perhaps, renew my partnership with Sachin... Whether or not I get to do that depends on who gets the captaincy (after Sri Lanka)!"

    If SG were made captain, wouldn't he let Sehwag open (instead of he and Sachin) in the interest of the team? Going by his first statement, what he might have meant in the second statement is: "... I might get to do that if I am not made captain (after Sri Lanka)!"

    By Blogger Hari, at 18:50  

  • Prem,
    Do you think the Indian think tank missed a trick by putting both SG and VVSL together at the fall of first wicket when it was obvious that SG was trying to play the anchor role? The slowed the momentum of the innings further down.

    By Blogger Jai, at 19:03  

  • Well! I agree some of the stuff was way overboard and uncalled for. It might just reduce people w/o blogger identities but it is worth creating one just to be able to read this one. I made a summation on today's game on my blog. One thing that struck me as odd while watching Ganguly bat is that he tended to take a couple of steps towards middle as the bowler ran in. A Ganguly in good form is usually still and just makes a last minute adjustment as the ball left the bowler's hand. Another wierd habit I noticed was that for leg side balls, he tended to plonk his right leg on middle and then try to work the ball around that front leg. Thats why he just tended to fall off a little. Wonder if thats an indication of his lack of form or just some habits he picked up at Glamorgan

    By Blogger Ashwin Ramachandran, at 19:04  

  • Aswhwin: Good catch; one of these days someone must make a list of all batsmen who, facing loss of form, hit on the shuffle across the stumps as their preferred way back. Not sure it is productive to so radically change one's batting style, but hey...

    Cheerio, guys, see you tomorrow

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 19:08  

  • I would look for the following changes in the next game:

    1) JP Yadav against Windies for Raina. So far, the following are the stats of the 5th bowler for India:

    9/45/0 (today)
    8.2/49/0 (first match against SL)
    10/62/3 (last match against Windies)

    Both the teams are targetting the 5th bowler of India and have exposed it 3 games in a row now. India has to make changes as Sehwag, Ganguly, SRT, Raina, Rao, etc. are not skilled enough to be regular 5th bowlers. We need to try out Yadav to see what he offers (after all this chap was top-wicket taker last year in domestics)

    2) Give Kumble a game against Windies by dropping Balaji.

    3) Out of 110 balls, Ganguly had 76 dot balls and only 34 scoring balls. That is pathetic. No other team in the world would allow this. So, Ganguly for all his experience was useless for India today. Ganguly's SR for last year around 69 and this year in the 5 ODIs he has played would be even worse probably somewhere in the range of 50. Does Team India really need this guy in their lineup?

    Aside: The selectors who picked the Asian eleven should point out to Ganguly that his SR last year in ODIs was 69. And he has the guts to come out in the media and whine about it non-selection. Forget the Asia eleven, he is not even good enough to make it to a third string eleven based on his form

    By Blogger AA, at 19:42  

  • I just came across your blog today, and I wanted to say that you do a very good job.

    Now for my angst...
    I have never understood the reasoning behind the ideology that Harbhajan is better than Kumble. The only time that Harbhajan performed consistently well was during the famous Australian tour of India. If you take out that achievement (which in itself is a few years old), Kumble definitely looks like the better bowler. Even then, the continued insistence of the Indian team management to persist with Bhajji, an average bowler, at the expense of a champion cricketer like Kumble is atrociously frustrating. I can only hope that some sense gets knocked into the Dravids and the Chappells, and that such mistakes are not repeated again.

    All of this is, of course, my humble opinion.

    P.S: Does any one know of any links to audio and/or video coverage of the Indian Oil Cup on the internet? Thanks!

    By Blogger Varun Kaushik, at 20:01  

  • Few questions prem, please answer them honestly
    1) Do you think that defeats really hurt the Indian team or are they pretentious in saying "a defeat like this is hard to swallow".To many defeats of late should have made them immune to it.
    2) Do you think our cricketers really want to win or do they treat cricket like another business: a mode of making money
    3) I think Ganguly was lying when he said he was disappointed with the defeat. I am sure he must be delighted. I think captaincy is coming back to him at the end of the series. And surely, gangs can't be happy with the way he batted today. He lied twice in one sentence :)

    By Blogger Ridham, at 20:27  

  • that's better way to avoid anony...

    By Blogger srilu, at 20:42  

  • Prem, the cricinfo report seemed pretty harsh of the present opening combination. Do you think an opening stand is what we're missing? I doubt it, but it sure would help to consistently get a good start. I'm surprised at how in the midst of all this shuffling, sehwag remains the only guy who keeps his spot. Is this a reflection of the management's immense faith in his abilities or is it a lack of faith in his ability to do well at another spot? In recent times it seems that the lack of a player anchoring the innings has led to the team not scoring as much as it should. The few victories and big scores we've had owe themselves to VVS, Sachin and Dravid anchoring the innings. Dravid still does his rock-against-the-crashing-waves bit but a lot of times, it's not been enuff cos he's had to do too much.

    I'd be really interested in going back to the old starting combo with sachin and saurav given the brief that one anchors the innings and the other takes the risks. In the past we've had enormous opening stands but no middle order to ram home the advantage. With Dravid having cemented his legacy in the middle order, we seem to have the potential to scale heights again.

    With all the shuffling, that's happening, I think this is something that should be tried out once Sachin comes back. Until then Sehwag must be yelled at the way John Wright did when he was told that having taken Sachin's spot at the top, he had to do as well as Sachin did to prove himself worthy of it.

    By Blogger Abe, at 22:09  

  • i think SG did play a reasonable innings - if he had stuck around and scored a few more runs, it would have shut his detractors but that was not to be.

    I think SG has said enough number of times that he must score runs and contribute to India's winning. But why should be say that while he is questioning the Asia XI selectors? Defeats the whole idea of questioning, doesn't it?

    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 23:22  

  • Prem, Yesterday Ian chappel mentioned ganguly will suffer if he is not the captain because of his poor fielding skills. Thats a good point though. The same goes to VVS too.

    By Blogger Ananth, at 00:39  

  • hi test

    By Blogger Reverse Sweep, at 00:48  

  • Prem.., you're absolutely right about the 5th bowler theory crap that people lament about. I think India defintely missed a trick by not having picked up Ajit Agarkar. Believe me, I'm not a big fan of him. But, he is one of those who bat/bowl extremely well against an opposition that don't have "big names"!! He is definitely a poor man's Kapil.., and in a tournament that lacks the big names, he would've been a sure hit. Just check out his batting performance against the minnows Zimbabwe, and you would know what I'm talking about!

    By Blogger Sudhakar Govindarajan, at 01:44  

  • Prem...I'm not sure these LPS columns are Ganguly statements. These are his 'answers' to what LPS asks, and that can be to follow whatever agenda LPS has. So, maybe its wrong to say that Ganguly should have articulated on 'getting back to form as his top priority' in that article. And btw, hasn't he already stated that clearly, quite a few times ? This is the impression I got. But still, I am also a little disappointed in the captaincy comment.

    Btw, yeseterday after the match, in the state of shock, I also realised that the main problem with India today in the lack of matchwinner from diff quarters. Barring RD, no-one is standing up in the need of the hour. Even the good performers are just doing their job in their required slot, not rising above. I mean, it could have been one of the bowlers (Pathan, Bala etc) to say, okay I'm going to break this partnership. Although Pathan did rise up to batting challenge to some extent.

    But all said, I would still think that Jayawardane played really well, and it may be a coincidence that SL had these exceptional performers in both matches. So maybe we don't panic too much ?

    By Blogger worma, at 02:30  

  • As Yuvraj always says - this Indian team is Ganguly's team. ASll these talks of Ganguly being uncomfortable without the captaincy is baseless. Yuvraj, Kaif, Harbhajan, Sehwag, Balaji, Zaheer, Nehra, Pathan and very recently Dhoni have been groomed and nurtured by Ganguly. Win to this Indian team gives Ganguly the greatest happiness, who so ever may be the captain.

    By Blogger Dennis, at 03:08  

  • Prem,

    I am sure Rediff can do better than this


    The runs are updated but the avergae is given as before last match, now thats not being professional.
    FYI, and for the guy in rediff who made that post, Runs/In-NO gives average ..

    By Blogger Kalpana, at 04:09  

  • Prem,
    I'm a little uncomfortable with Rahul Dravid's persistence with Sehwag. In just about every match that he's played in this series, he's made waste some excellent spells by Nehra and Pathan. Perhaps we need to try give that bowling all rounder a shot: surely Raina should make way for J.P. Yadav in the next game.

    By Blogger Nikhil Pahwa, at 04:25  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger -L-L-D-a-s-u, at 04:45  

  • Hi Prem
    Your blog is meant for those sane souls who are passionate about cricket and want to share meaningful discussions with like minded bloggers. So don't worry about the intruders - I love reading your posting.

    After Greg Chappell's arrival, I thought things were changing e.g. the selection of Kumble for ODIs. But no, after three ODIs things have gone back two steps. What's Bhaji's record in ODIs against Kumble? Can't understand why they don't play Kumble? It's a known fact that the pitches are not meant for big scores and so only the team that bowls better wins. I also believe that Raina has had enough chances - 3 in a row. Why not try Yadav, Venu and Kumble in place of Laxman, Kaif and Raina? Collectively, that will improve both batting and bowling based on contributions so far in the series from those that are being replaced.

    By Blogger Rambam, at 05:18  

  • Prem: form the comments of ganguly vis-a-vis the captaincy, i think it is clear that he very much wants it back.

    For me the bottom line is: if Ganguly is good enough to be in the eleven (for every match) then he should be the captain, atleast in the one dayers.

    Reason 1: All experts, observers and critics (including yourself) have always maintained that you choose the best team and choose the best man to lead from among the team.

    Reason 2: RD might turn out to be good as a captain, but we know Ganguly is great as a leader, so why mend something thats not broken.

    of course all this makes sense if SG is good enough to be in the playing eleven for all ODIs.

    my 2 cents

    By Blogger pg, at 05:50  

  • Prem, here is a cricinfo piece about Asian XI selection. Majid khan, representing the selection panel speaks out (a lot of BS !..) here are excerpts :

    "Sourav Ganguly's omission was a unanimous decision of the selectors and his recent performances were given due consideration,".. Now did they really study recent ODI performances ? And as Ganguly asked(when he shouldnt have spoken, but still)..was it for the past 4 ODIs only ?

    "We carefully studied the performance of all the players, including Sourav Ganguly."

    and little later he says..** Majid said that the players had been chosen solely on the basis of form. "The team has been selected purely on merit. I don't think any selection panel would have selected a different team,"**

    and then further down : Shoaib Akhtar, for instance, was included in the Asia XI based on his star value, said Majid. "The only question mark against his name was fitness and now since he is playing County cricket, he gets a place in the side, He has also been included because the selectors thought the team needed a genuine fast bowler for South African conditions."

    ..so...some players are 'more equal' after all :-) ..btw did they check who was the most successful asian ODI batsmen in SA conditions (for example, did they check Ganguly's record there)

    Further .. **"The selection was basically from three countries and Mohammad Ashraful, the Bangladesh batsman, got into the team because of his excellent performance against England." He denied claims that the national boards had nominated players.**

    ..so Mohd Ashraful in Eng ODIs...hmm 3 matches against Eng for 94 runs at avg of 31.33 (highest score also 94!)...and overall career avg of 19. There's also Mashrafe Mortaza in the squad, and even Marvan Atapattu. And this guy is saying its all based on form.

    By Blogger worma, at 05:54  

  • Forgot to mention the link http://content.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/214967.html

    By Blogger worma, at 05:56  

  • Hi everybody...

    I am following the second Ashes Test. Two major surprises before the got on the field.

    First, Mcgrath is out because of freak injury while warming up in the morning. Second, Ponting decides to put England in. The pitch is playing a little slow...experts feel that a draw is out of the question - result oriented pitch

    By Blogger Jiet, at 06:04  

  • Ashes update...Aus without McG. Won the toss and decided to BOWL ! Whaat !!...Yess...suprisingly Ponting chose to bowl. They have two match winners, and one of them is out. RP is trying his best to make Warney also ineffective. Waugh used to blindly choose batting, just to let Warney use the pitch on last day. I dont know, whatever the conditions, this is bad move. Eng can still make it justified by lousy batting, but its bad.

    By Blogger worma, at 06:04  

  • Yup, England on top in the 2nd test. Let's hope they can sustain the momentum over 5 days than just a couple of sessions in the morning. Guess McGrath's absence has a huge effect. After all Kasper is nothing more than a "Friendly Ghost". He won't do to much damage :)

    By Blogger Ridham, at 06:23  

  • Drinks at Birmingham.

    England 60 without loss after 13.4 overs.

    No swing for the bowlers...just a hint of seam movement but nothing to justify bowling first.

    Strauss was dropped by Warne at first slip. Difficult low chance but a slipper of Warne's calibe would be expected to take those. Trescothick was caught of a no-ball, but it looked like he heard the call.

    Key stat...37 off the 54 runs were scored in front of square on the off side. Clear indication of two things. there is not enough movement for the Dizzy and Lee. Balls pitched on middle did not straighten at all. The other thing is that pitch ahs no pace to speak off.

    By Blogger Jiet, at 06:44  

  • Its a pity that McGrath is out injured. Else, the Poms would have been crying by now. Hope the injury is not serious. I hate to see the Poms win and suddenly, all their media hails the "second best team" in the world. Which is worse, the English media or Giles' spin bowling skills?

    I read the article in TOI titled "Villains who let Team India Down". Don't ask me why I even bothered. It starts with RD and mentions every possible person. TOI online is such a poor effort. I wonder how the actual paper is nowadays.

    By Blogger Toney, at 07:13  

  • I think Ganguly played a reasonable innings . You can't expect more than that from a person who is just coming out of his bad form and suspesion . Congrats Ganguly for achieving 5 digit runs ..

    By Blogger -L-L-D-a-s-u, at 07:30  

  • But if keeps on scoring, I'll be disappointed that there won't be anymore Ganguly Jokes (like the ones-how to make noodles , Anniyan Vs Ganguly , Ice cream.. etc..)

    By Blogger -L-L-D-a-s-u, at 07:33  

  • Boy, the Ashes is waaaay more entertaining than the Indian Oil Cup.

    England 132/1 at Lunch. First of all the conditions - it was a bit overcast to start today but it was a lot brighter by the end of the session. Tresothick and Strauss looked comfortable as the Lee, Dizzy and Kasper struggled to extract movement or life. The pitch is playing a lot like subcontinent track...easy paced without the extra bounce. Warne had to brought on in the first hour; clear indication that he blundered at the toss. Trescothick and Strauss though were aggessive against Warne and it took a ripper of a delivery to beat Strauss' cut shot. He hit 10 fours

    The innings ended with 18 run fiesta off Lee's final over as Trescothick finished the session with 77 off 89 that included 13 fours and two sixes.

    By Blogger Jiet, at 07:45  

  • 3 points to make :

    1) We nearly won yesterday's game.

    2) A game is never lost by individuals. It can be "won" by individual acts of brilliance.

    3) Constantly changing teams will not help. There should be a core group around which the team should be built. 4 top batsmen (Sehwag,Ganguly,Dravid,Kaif) 4 bowlers (Nehra,Pathan,Bhajji,Zaheer Khan) should be the core. Then we select the remaining 3 (a wicket keeper, and 2 players) based on current form and ground conditions like the pitch, humidity etc.

    Keep the faith Fans. The Indian team loves a bit of drama. We always end up in a do or die situation and then somehow reach the Finals.

    At least they are not as boring as the Australians who predictably reach most finls and win them. :-)

    By Blogger Ani, at 08:05  

  • Prem,

    Missed all the negative excitement on the thread the later part of yesterday's match.

    Anyway, I'm a bit depressed after yesterday's match.

    I feel the match was lost between the fall of our 1st wicket and around the 45th over. I think the new ODI rules would have made a difference as we could have substituted VVS or SG when they weren't going so well in the middle of the innings. They would have also forced Attapattu to use the powerplays that may have shaken things up a bit.

    Anyway hope you're feeling better by the next match.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 08:24  

  • I know I am going to piss off a lot of people by saying this, but if we think about it, two players really messed up at crucial moments.Gangs while batting, Bajji & Gangs while bowling those crucial middle overs. Its really inexplicable how India lost from a seeemingly strong position. Did we miss anything? is it intentional?
    Who gains if we lose?

    By Blogger flute, at 08:39  

  • Prem, surprisingly sane comments by Ranatunga for a change ! http://www.rediff.com/cricket/2005/aug/04rana.htm

    By Blogger worma, at 08:58  

  • SG form is pathetic

    By Blogger Shyam Prasad, at 09:19  

  • Prem,
    India has to still continue RD as Captain after this series.They should not give it back to SG.SG form is pathetic. I readlly do not agree his recent scoring 51 off 110 balls from the opening slot.He failed to rotate the strike.Eventhough he got settled very much, He failed to have a big score under his belt.The Only thing he concentrated on is to clear 10k mark and to have a decent score.

    I don't agree that in one of his statement, it is not a easy wicket to bat on. Pathan played well and Jayewerdene also played fluently.

    I have not seen SRT or Shewag scoring 51 off 110 balls. The 59 dot balls (11 overs) made the difference between the teams.

    By Blogger Shyam Prasad, at 09:26  

  • Anyone watching the Ashes?

    By Blogger Jiet, at 09:34  

  • Prem - your blog forced me to get a blog of my own! I just suspect the number of comments might go down now that your blog requires posters to have a blogger profile. Not that its a bad thing, though. It will get rid of the imposters!

    By Blogger Tiger, at 09:40  

  • anyone in here watching the ashes?
    Peterson and flintoff are turning up the heat on the aussies; going at 5.2/over.
    is this an indication of how the future is gonna be once McGrath retires

    By Blogger JD, at 09:44  

  • 'Morning everyone. Just logged in and voila - Eng has put in a fairly decent 1st day performance. McGarth's absence could be a big reaon, but at least they didn't mess it up. Flint and KP going great guns here... RR over 5.20 in a test, that too against Aus... amazing.

    By Blogger saum, at 09:49  

  • I'm listening to the ashes on bbc and strange things are happening this day.

    First Pointing puts the opposition in after knowing McGrath was injured.

    The openers bat at blistering pace.

    Vaughn shows signs of revival in form before falling.

    Bell plays in his last test for a while (barring a great 2nd innings performance).

    KP and Freddy are playing extraordinary shots to gets abunch of 4s and 6s to get the run rate to close to 5.5!.

    The aussies dropped a couple of catches today. An easy one by Warne from Strauss earlier. A tough one by Kasper from Freddy.

    Very interesting day.

    It'll be interesting to see if Eng go one to get 500 or will the candle burn out and they fall for 300.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 09:51  

  • JD...

    Ashes puts the Indian Oil Cup to shame.
    248 after 48 overs.... Whoa!! What a shot by Freddie = checked pull over deep square leg!!

    By Blogger Jiet, at 09:52  

  • wondering if anyone who is watching the game live could share some info on - how is the pitch behaving? i.e. batsman friendly? did Eng bat really well? Aus bowling under attack... are they bowling poorly? Is Ponting showing any nerves? how is his captaincy?

    By Blogger saum, at 09:54  

  • Freddy shows no sign of stopping here;the bowlers are being taken apart at more than 6 other than gillespe, who is going at around 4.5/over
    wait and watch how long they can keep it going

    By Blogger JD, at 09:58  

  • The pitch is playing a lot like an Indian pitch. Easy paced, very little movement off the pitch and not a hint of swing. It is a bit two-ended I think...so bowling from the Pavillion end does give you some extra bounce.

    By Blogger Jiet, at 10:00  

  • When Nasser Hussain put the Aussies in for the first test in the last Aussies, we all ridiculed it as a defensive decision. The miseries were compounded when Jone got injured sliding for the ball.

    Please tell me... Ponting knew very well that the Aussies had no McGrath. He knew it was a slow pitch. He has Shane Warne, the best leg-spinner the world has ever seen to bowl in the 4th innings. His batsmen are in reasonable form. Did he put the English in because he wanted to have an entertaining Ashes series or because he was defensive?

    The Aussies might go on to win the match because they are so bloody good. But if any other team captain did what he did, they would have been buried by now.

    By Blogger Toney, at 10:01  

  • Strauss and Bell got good balls so they can't complain. Trescothick, you know, plays a lot like Srikkanth. Never know when the fun will end. Vaughan was caught hooking...he will be given a lot of crap for that...but hard to resist on a pitch like this

    By Blogger Jiet, at 10:03  

  • think it might have been a combination of underestimating eng and beleiving that the resources he had would be enough to handle eng that led to ponting's decision

    By Blogger JD, at 10:05  

  • cant beleive whats happening out there. Freddy dealing in sixers!

    Got to mention though ,tea's coming up in 7 overs and u can rest assured aussies will regroup and come out with a plan after that

    eng gotto gaurd against that

    By Blogger JD, at 10:08  

  • Good morning Prem,

    I read on rediff where Dravid said batsman let down,whoever was set did not went on to make big score,then saurav said he can't believe they lost even after SL was 95/6. Same stuff again on this bit --http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=75626

    I don't believe they are pointing each other but unfortunately if they are then i guess it's harming team agenda at great extents even bigger then what harsha expected in his earlier column.Win/Loss happens (Just few days back Aussies had such bad taste,no body blamed anybody from inside)but if seniors will start picking up phones after every match then its dangerous.
    Meanwhile i dont watches match (not available) so dono Is Dhoni a bad keeper??

    By Blogger MAHER, at 10:08  

  • Lee taken to the cleaners here... what a contrast in Eng's batting performance compared to the 1st test. 4s & 6s seem to be raining.

    Thanks for the pitch info guys. Sure seems batsman friendly. But, as Toney rightly pointed out, Ponting may have missed a trick by shooing to bowl first. The only argument I can think of is that Ponting may have been hoping to scar the Eng batting line up even more... kind of rub salt into their wounds from the 1st test. The move seems to have backfired... at least it seems to have so far.

    By Blogger saum, at 10:08  

  • Toney...

    There was an explanation for the decision to bat first. Ponting decided yesterday that they were going to bowl if they win the toss. Reason being that there was cloud cover expected. I suppose he felt that Brett Lee would be a handful by himself, even if Mcgrath was not there.

    It is not the first time that Ponting has read a pitch wrong.

    By Blogger Jiet, at 10:10  

  • should read as *choosing* not *shooing* :) in my earlier post...

    By Blogger saum, at 10:10  

  • Both dravid and gang are correct in their own way.
    What dravid said does not apply only to gang; lax was reasonably set or he'd used up enough balls to be. Sehwag too though out of form was able to middle the balls on or around the stumps; it was the balls outside off stumps that he was missing constantly(he did not learn from that and got out to a similar ball)

    we should have won from 95/6 gang is right coz it is the duty of the coach and the captain to utlize the resources effectively. Its not dravid's fault that bajji turned up a pathetic bowling display although i've got to admit dhoni's keeping has got a lot to do with it. He gave away 2 boundaries after which bajji looked unsure as what line to bowl

    By Blogger JD, at 10:17  

  • Test

    By Blogger rahul, at 10:19  

  • one more comment on gang/dravid for those who are not sick of reading about it :)

    i beleive gang established himself as the leader of the team but as a captain he was not too convincing.
    Dravid has started off well as a captain and its too early to comment on him being a leader

    By Blogger JD, at 10:29  

  • JD: One remarkable thing during Ganguly's early days as a captain was that none of the other senior players in the team - Sachin, Rahul, or Kumble - would speak with the media to comment on a particular game or performance. There was a lot of unity and it slowly rubbed off on the team that they are one unit fighting to establish themselves as serious contendors in the cricket arena.

    Hopefully the recent comments by Ganguly or Dravid are nothing more than that - just comments and not the sign of any infighting.

    By Blogger saum, at 10:41  

  • Ranatunga's column seems to suggest that the Indians are back to familiar ways against SL. But his sentence is very correct:
    "I am afraid it is increasingly looking the old familiar tale for the Indians IN Sri Lanka."

    What happens outside SL, Ranatunga?

    By Blogger Toney, at 10:48  

  • Damned if you do Damned if you don't!!

    I think some quarters of media, fans and us bloggers are reading more than necessary. Ganguly's comment of opening is of course linked to captaincy. As capt he opted to drop down the order. He sure enjoys batting at the top and so captaincy maybe the trade-off. Frankly though you play where you perform best for the team. And if he believes playing as opener is his best - then that is also best for the team, whoever is capt. So on that count Ganguly may not be 100% accurate.

    Further, the blame-game by Dravid to put everything onto the batsmen is pathetic. I can understand if SL sauntered home with 10-15 overs or 8 wickets in hand. The issue here was they struggle too with the bat at 94/6. Maybe that is where we lost the game I think.

    Also to comment that 59 dots balls were wasted - who knows if Ganguly got out earlier having scored little or nothing maybe the whole XI would've have been out earlier?? This is all guess work in hind sight.

    If anything I think RD is feeling the heat - to refer to his team (top order) as "people" in commenting on not converting starts is lacking as a leader. A true leader is one who can accept blame for team selection. Maybe he should take the blame for lack of 5th blower and including Laxman and Ganguly in the team. If he is just a great leader as many of us make him out to be then let him axe whomsoever he thinks not fit for the starting XI . Somehow yr best XI includes the likes of SG and VVS currently - so guys we have to live with it.

    By Blogger LAWRIE, at 12:47  

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