Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Black Day for Indian Cricket - SCG Day 2

What an abysmal performance by the Indian cricket team at the SCG! After an indifferent batting performance, India went into Day 2 with a more than even chance of winning the game. At the end of the day, there is only one team that can win this game. It was an abject surrender by the captain and the bowlers. Don't forget, the Aussies went into the 3rd day of the MCG Test in a similar situation and managed to get the last 7 Indian wickets on the third morning for next to nothing.

Zaheer Khan came into his spell wishing he was somewhere else. Although Ishant and Umesh bowled a few good balls, there were always one or two bad balls in every over. All the batsmen had to do was to wait for the gift. Dhoni's field setting was abysmal - one was left to wonder whether he was attacking or defending. After scoring 191, India had only one option and that was to attack! They needed to look for a wicket every ball and try and restrict the lead.

Instead one saw extended spells from part time bowlers - Sehwag and Kohli, that too with a defensive field. If Dhoni was trying to break the partnership, I wonder how. Ravi Ashwin, India's strike spinner did not merit an attacking field. The entire Indian mindset was to let the Aussie batsmen make a mistake and then we will see. India needed one or two wickets in the first hour or atleast in the first session to make a mtach of it. This, on a pitch that produced 13 wickets on day 1 and against two under pressure batsmen. This Aussie team has a history of batting collapses in the recent past and all it needed was a trigger. The Indians were found wanting! Our strike bowler could not even hit the stumps with his bowling arm to run out Ponting on 99 and our second strike bowler could not hold on to a catch of his own bowling!!

I for one aleast expected a 5 to 10 over attacking spell from the frontline bowlers prior to the second new ball so the Indans could get new batsmen. Instead we had an extended spell from the part-time bowlers. This bordered on ridiculous. And then it was back to the part timers once the second new ball barely was 20 overs old. Are the Indians now playing for the 3rd new ball? More likely, Dhoni is waiting for the Aussie declaration.

Full credit to Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey for delivering a fantastic batting performance under pressure. This shows the difference between a great team and a good team, and the difference between match winners and batting geniuses and the differnece between a team that wants to win and a group of players who hanker for personal glory.

The Indians keep going back to Eden Gardens 2001, but guys this was 10 years ago in a home ground and the Aussie lead was 271. The lead is already 291 today with 6 wickets in hand with the Indians not even trying to get the wickets. More likely than not, the ball will start doing something once the Indians get to bat later today and we will see an abject surrender and an innngs defeat by the end of today's play. I hope I am proved wrong and am forced to eat my words but that is not going to happen!

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