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Sight Screen

Friday, November 25, 2005

Overs 1-10

India apparently took a look at the wicket and decided that there was a more than even chance that if Graeme Smith won the toss, he would opt to insert. Ergo, Gautam Gambhir in the playing XI, and Murli Karthik moved down a rung into the supersub position -- good prediction by the management, that worked thanks to the spin of the coin.

There's grass on the wicket (btw, how long before the conspiracy theorists -- who reckoned Nagpur got grassed for the Indo-Aus Test so the Pawar faction could pay back the Mahindra-Dalmiya faction -- come up with an explanation of grass, for perhaps the first time in its history, at the Gardens?) but it looks to be a hard deck, which means whatever impact the grass has is not likely to be diminished by much in the second innings. Dew here is historically not as heavy as at Bangalore, bence not likely to be as big a factor. Taken together, bat first, put the runs on the board, and let pressure work on the bowling side was my call ahead of the start of the game.

Irfan Pathan opening with Gautam Gambhir was a gamble that went awry -- the best guess is the management fancied letting two left-handers square up to the Proteas, unsettle planned lines a bit especially for Pollock, the best of the Proteas, who thus far have bowled noticeably better to right handers.

A second factor is that even in helpful Hyderabad, the Proteas' effectiveness pretty much lasted for about 10 overs; again, that first ten overs were the only real competitive ones from SA in Bangalore. Given that, India probably figured on letting Pathan, who increasingly is being treated as a proper batsman by the management, weather that spell.

The move backfired, with Pathan driving (ironically considering the grass, to a ball that didn't really get up -- keep an eye on that tendency of the pitch to occasionally 'sit' the ball down; could come into play more as the game goes on) without moving his front foot, to under edge onto his stumps. Can't blame the theory, really -- that was batsman's error.

The bigger wicket though was Sachin Tendulkar, for an unconvincing 2 off 15 deliveries. When he returned from his elbow injury, he played with refreshing freedom; that however lasted two games, before SRT reverted to his earlier mindset of 'building' his knocks.

He has, IMHO, paid dearly for that since those two opening games -- not least here, where he pushed forward in totally unnecessary defense at a ball that, given its line just outside off, and length on the fullish side, he would in his other mindset have driven on the rise through extra cover (Sehwag, in fact, later in the same over got the identical ball, and promptly clubbed it for four in that same direction).

With this dismissal, his form is increasingly in question; it will be interesting to see whether the management backs him for the final game, irrespective of how this goes, or takes the logical, if contentious, option of resting SRT or, interestingly, using him in the supersub slot for that game.

Gautam Gambhir's fall was against the run of play -- outside of an extravagant swing and miss at Nel, he seemed in touch when he, like SRT earlier, opted to push defensively at a ball that asked to be clipped off the pads. Consider the line, Pollock over the wicket, landing middle and leg, consider too that GG reached well forward in that push -- a clear case, IMHO, of a batsman caught between the twin stools of a naturally aggressive intent, and a thought at the back of his mind that with two wickets down, he needs to be particularly careful to Pollock.

39/3 is not where the Indians want to be, but against that, Nel is off, Hall is no terror, Pollock has one more over at best. The Proteas lack of confidence in the support bowling is in fact evident in the delaying of the power play here.

Langeveldt's bowling form after missing the previous game will have a bearing here; if he is on song, SA can keep the pressure; if not, IMHO, the Indians have the game in control if they put their heads down -- there is Kaif and Yuvraj to come, followed by Dhoni, behind this pair -- and play sensible cricket.


  • Not long Prem...apparently Ravi Shastri already mentioned it on tv??..also in reference to SG :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 04:58  

  • Disgusting Parochialism
    Some excerpts on the odi today:

    Makes me disgusted at the parochialism prevalent in India. The Calcutta board/curator want India to lose because the non performing asset of the Indian team for last few years (ganguly) has not been picked.
    These people are traitors who put the interests of nation below petty political interests.

    This can happen only in INdia. Proves that even today we have several 'Mir Jafar's and 'Jaichand's (who betrayed Prithviraj by supporting the enemy Ghor).

    No wonder Indians were ruled by foreigners for almost 1000 years. With petty politicking and parochial interests, internal bickering will ensure the foreigners win.

    Calcutta odi:
    There is a lot more grass on the wicket than we expected. It looks like a home match for us," South African skipper Graeme Smith said.

    Rahul Dravid sounded sarcastic when he said: "I told the groundsman whatever wicket he gives us, we will play on it."

    "All wickets are different and this one’s even different from the ones I’ve played on in Kolkata," the Indian captain said

    Some Indian players were spotted chatting with Mr Mukherjee, who made gestures to indicate that he had not much of a role in the preparation of the pitch. Dravid too made his displeasure known to Mr Mukherjee going by his actions. East Zone selector Pranab Roy, who pitched in for Ganguly at the selection committee meeting on Wednesday, was also seen speaking to Mr Mukherjee at the strip

    By Blogger Kiran R, at 05:01  

  • Sending IP as opener was strecting it a bit...SRT was low on confy..should have opened with VS and GG.

    By Blogger Rajg, at 05:06  

  • we may have in theory lost 4 wickets, but, with this batting line-up, two good partnerships can take us to 260-270...which is a winning score, with Harbhajan and Murali Karthik to bowl 20 overs...

    By Blogger theesra, at 05:10  

  • This conspiracy theory is stretched a bit too far.If India had won the toss...the story would be different.And Shastri, as most know, is know for his 'sensible' comments

    By Blogger Ravi1010, at 05:17  

  • over rate is 12 per hour. At this rate Smith will finish in 4 hours !!!! And will not play the next game :D

    By Blogger Ravi Krishnan, at 05:20  

  • You just need a stick to beat someone...if there is no stick, invent one. :)

    By Blogger DDirector, at 05:21  

  • 4 for yuvi, is L siva regular commentrator for DD? seem to more balanced, than sastri

    By Blogger Cool Dude, at 05:22  

  • yea LSiva is a regular. Shastri is a free-lance.

    By Blogger Ravi Krishnan, at 05:24  

  • dd...and if u have the stick..pick up anyone ...preferably SG...that seems to be the order of the day.Sad people with sadder minds

    By Blogger Ravi1010, at 05:24  

  • This is disaster !! RD Out

    By Blogger Ravi Krishnan, at 05:25  

  • India in shambles...off to shopping..black friday...cc needs some excercise. Enjoy.

    By Blogger Rajg, at 05:27  

  • I tend to think that there is always some conspiracy that goes on with these kolkatans. having born there and spent good part of my childhood in kolkata, i can judge them somewhat.
    poor batting dravid gone simple straight ball, just fuller not even a yarker and dravid manages to get bowld.
    so coming back to conspiracy,
    if you are against their line of thinking then they will always try to get you. no matter who you are. kolkata and bengal always come first for them.

    By Blogger Cool Dude, at 05:28  

  • You mentioned resting Sachin - in Mumbai? The crowd in Kolkata will seem super mild in comparison!
    Also am not sure about the super sub for Sachin. I believe he has a lot to offer on the field as well, with his cricketing brain, maybe an over or three, and general enthusiasm and bustle on the field. Methinks he should just go with the flow - and now with Lara scoring a double, expect Sachin to score a big knock in the Test series against Lanka!

    By Blogger ze rambler, at 06:20  

  • Com'on Prem,

    With the WC 2007 in vision and the cancerous SG not in the team, we should win under any condition, be it grass or no grass :)

    By Blogger dapolice, at 06:38  

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