Friday, October 24, 2008

India crush Aussies to go one up

India crushed the world champions to win the second test and go one up in the series. The Indians will be really pleased with the win as this was a total team performance and was not achieved on a typical dust bowl. Almost everyone in the team contributed to the win with Dhoni brilliantly leading from the front. Dhoni had temporarily taken the responsibility of captaining the team in the absence of injured Kumble and proved that he is ready to take over the reigns when the great leggie steps down.

The Indians dominated the proceeding starting with the toss on the first day. A great start by the openers, fantastic century by Ganguly, good batting from Sachin and Dhoni made sure that India got to a competetive 469 in the first innings. Sachin and Sourav both reached singnificant landmarks during their respective knocks in the Indian first innings as Sachin became the higest run getter in tests and Sourav passed 7000 test runs.

The Indian bowlers complemented their batsmen splendidly by bowling out the Australians for 268 giving a lead of 201 runs. Zaheer and Ishant were impressive at the start with Mishra and Harbajan running through the middle and lower order. Amit Mishra had a fantastic start to test cricket grabbing 5 wickets on debut. He finished with 7 wickets in the match and seemed ready to take over the baton from Kumble whenever he decides to call it a day.

The Australians chasing an impossible 516 for a victory after yet another great batting display by the Indians in the second innings collapsed to a dismal 195 to hand a 320 run victory to the host. Ishant and Zaheer again among the wickets with Harbajan and Mishra combining well again in the second essay. Australians though will be really dissapointed with their performance as none of their top order batsmen were able to stay long enough to string a partnership and their bowlers were clueless against the aggressive Indian batsmen.

All in all it was a excellent display by the Indians to go one up in the series. It seems like Kumble will be back in the third test which means that Mishra would not be playing. Mishra has taken a gaint step towards the Indian test team with his performance which will stand him in good state once Kumble decides to hang his boots.

Even though the Indians have handed the Aussies their largest defeat in over a decade, they should not let complacency to set into their games. The Australians are still the number one team and it requires just one good innings or one good spell to reverse the situation for the visitors. Indians should continue their same ruthless approach in Delhi too and make sure that the series is won when the reach Kanpur for the final game.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bangalore test ends in a hard fought draw

India managed to achieve what they could not in Sydney earlier this year and managed to save the first test in Bangalore against the Aussies. The test match ended with a slight advantage to Australia as the dominated for the most of it. The Indians though would be happy that their batsmen got a good workout on the final day and almost everyone made some runs in the match.

The Australians would be dissapointed with their efforts in the Indian first innings where they allowed India to escape from a 232/7 to 360 reducing the lead to just 70. Australia’s major concern would be their spin department as Cameroon White did not pose any problems to the Indians on a wearing pitch. The Indians too would be worried about Kumble, who did not pick up a single wicket in this test match and has problems with his shoulder. Harbajan’s performance also was below par, even though he bowled well in the second innings.

India’s star this test match was undoubtedly Zaheer Khan with his gritty 57 in the first innings and picking up 6 wickets in the match on top of that. Zaheer deservedly won the man of the match award for his allround performance. The other top performer for the Indians was Ishant Sharma who constantly troubled the Australians to fininsh with 7 wickets in the match. The batting which failed to Impress in the first innings held their own in the second.

The Australians had a good match. Ricky Ponting finally scored runs in India with a superb hundred in the first innings. Hayden’s failure would be a worrying factor for the Aussies as he is their best in Indian conditions. Johnson bowled beautifully and troubled the Indians in the first innings taking 4 wickets in the process. Australia’s only worry would be their spin department.
All in all it was a gripping 5 days of test cricket. Both teams would be hoping to put up a better show in Mohali to go one up in the test series. Indian would be hoping that Anil Kumble recovers from the shoulder injury. Sachin would be hoping that he will reach the milestone in the next test match which he is currently behind by 13 runs.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ganguly to quit after the Australian series

The decision by the new selection panel to include Ganguly in the test squad for the upcoming series against the Australians was received by everyone with lots of speculation. Lots of media members even described it as a chance for Sourav to make a dignified exit from the International scene. Looking at what has eventually transpired I wouldnt be surprised if that news did not contain an element of truth in it.

Ganguly’s decision to quit after the Australian series has given him a chance to make a dignified exit from the Indian team which not many of his seniors have enjoyed in the past. Indian team always had its players either kicked out or banned in the past decade or so. Ganguly though has made a smart decision by announcing his retirement before the series has begun. Ganguly has been a wonderful player for India and most importantly was a great leader of men.

He took over the reigns in the year 2000 when the Indian team was plagued by match fixing scandals. He along with John Wright instilled lot of self belief in the team. Under his captaincy India improved their dismal overseas record and started winning on the foriegn soil. He deservedly still remains India’s most successful captain. Ganguly’s decline started somewhere in the mid of 2004 and continued till couple of years back till he made an inspired comeback in the series against the South Africans.

Sourav deserved one last hurrah in the Indian team and I hope that the selectors play him for the entire series. I salute Sourav for his great contribution to Indian cricket. He was a great batsmen and an important cog in the Indian batting wheel for more than decade. It will be hard to imagine a team without our Dada. I wish Ganguly a great last series and hopefully will it be a winning one. I wish that Ganguly will have what Steve Waugh did not have in his last series, a win.

Good Bye Dada! Thanks for everything.