Sunday, January 1, 2012

SCG Test - A Preview

As I am preparing myself to go the hallowed SCG Ground tomorrow, I can't but think that this is a make or break Test for India. Despite holding the No 1 position in Tests for more than a year, India's record way from home is dismal. Just have a look at the record in 2011. After taking the advantage in England's first innings, India still managed to lose the series 4-0.

India's inability to remove the tail after scuttling through the top order seems to have become a habit. If you have a close look at the MCG Test, India lost the match in just 2 session, the final session of the 3rd Day and the first session of the 4th day. According to me, Dhoni and the team management made a conscious and strategic decision to let the Aussies bat through till early on the 4th Day. The reasoning behind this could have been that the Indians wanted to avoid batting during the difficult sessions. They probably wanted to restrict the Aussies to 240-250 and start batting after the first hour of th 4th batting. This strategy might hold merit, but it portrays a defensive and negative attitude. Also, the strategy backfired and the Aussie tail got 50 runs too many.

If India are to have any chance of having a better winning record overseas, regain their No 1 position and win their first ever Test Series in Australia, Dhoni and co need to throw away their negative attitude. When you are ahead, you need to press the advantage and attack every player including the tail. India have given away the initiative to Australia by letting the fledgling Aussie bowlng attack taste first blood and by allowing Pontng and Hussey to regain form. But all is not lost. More often than not Test Series are won and lost in the mind rather than on the field. The Indians need to back themselves to win the series. There is a precedence for this in 1992-93 when the West Indies went on to win the series 2-1 after losing the first test at MCG!

India are yet to win a Test Series in Australia and, in my 9 years in Australia, I am yet to go to a game which India has won! Both these records to need to be broken! Here's hoping that Sachin scores his 100th century at the 100th Test match at the SCG and India goes on to win the Test Match and the series!!! Jeetega bhai jeetaga, India jeetega! Aaj nahin to kal, kabhi to jeetega!

Sai Mahesh

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