Monday, 4 February, 2008

Early Bird...

Last time rain had interrupted an ODI match between India and Australia, at Bangalore, Adam Gilchrist had accused India, and specifically MS Dhoni, of chickening out of the run chase. Australia had scored a huge 307 runs and Gilly was referring to the fact that Indian batting was top heavy with Ganguly, Dravid and Yuvraj making up its middle order.

Given its weak batting this time around, India could not have asked for a better start to the ODI series. One could well argue that having lost three wickets Australia was in real danger of losing the match. But with frontline batsmen like Clarke, Symmonds, Hussey and Haddin and non-so challenging total to chase, India will thank rain gods for their mercy.

A split verdict has enabled India to open their point’s account. I am expecting a close finish to this triangular contest and these points in the early stages will stand them in good stead.

Having made an opening, India will have their best chance to build upon it against Sri Lanka tomorrow. On paper, Sri Lanka looks the most balanced team of the three, but they also head into this match with just two practice games under their belt and we all know how difficult it is for touring teams to find their feat straightaway, especially in Australia.

India’s middle order faces the same difficulty – of acclimatization - as their opponents. Gambhir, Sharma, Uthapa and Tiwary aren’t exactly the names that would strike terror in the opposing camps, atleast yet. Which is why Sachin Tendulkar’s yet another attempt to ‘please’ Sir Don would not have gone too well with them. It was on this very ground sixty years ago that Sir Don got out hit-wicket for the first (and also the last) time in his test career. Lala Amarnath had unwittingly found his name in the record books then. Indians will hope that like Lala, Brett Lee is the only bowler to find a mention in the score sheet, thus.

If this Indian team is overtly dependent on Sachin Tendulkar, then Sri Lanka’s ace in the pack is undoubtedly that old warhorse Sanath Jayasuriya. I say this inspite of the presence of class players like Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. He has often taken a huge liking to Indian ‘medium pace’ bowling in the past. Ask Venkatesh Prasad, who won’t wink before vouching for it.

Murali, the other great player in this SL team, may live another day to play in Australia once again. For Sanath, this definitely is his last. And like Tendulkar, he will be keen to stamp his authority on this series. India would have won half the battle if they prevent him from doing so.

With India’s bowlers finding the right form, this is also India’s best chance to take an early lead in the point’s table.

8 comments:

Uncle J rod said...

How spicy was the pitch after the rain, Hopes should have raised a complaint on the fact that one day pitches arent supposed to have any life.

Golandaaz said...

Couln't help but notice 2 hit wickets in that innings Morris and Bradman. How wierd is that?

Golandaaz said...

Both India and Sri Lanka will find it tough to take point off Australia; so I agree these 2 points India collected are extremely valuable

Cricket Guru said...

Glad that you picked it, Golandaaz.

I am not aware of any other test that featured two hit wickets in an innings.

If you notice carefully, this test closely resembled the one played four years later at Old Trafford, where Indian score in two innings was 58 and 82!

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