Sunday, November 25, 2007

India, down under

Great Oz summer coming up with India starting on boxing day test match. Already there are talks about India's batting might taking on the void created in Australian bowling attack. With ever cunning McGrath and Warne retired, it would be interesting to see how Indian batting handles the attack. We will have to wait and see...

The more things change

In theory the arrival of a strong batting side like India should signal imminent danger for Ponting's winning ratio. However, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman are fading stars rather than rising ones and Ponting has the ideal weapon to challenge slowing reflexes - pace.

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India look all set to win at Delhi.

[photo courtesy:]
A great day of cricket with India now almost certain to win the first test in Delhi. Its been already been an exhilarating contest. Day 4 started with Pakistan in the driver's seat but great bowling by Zaheer (to be more precise, very disciplined) brought India back into the game, just too quickly. Pakistan batsman on the other hand lacked application and intensity coming in on 4th day. Coach has to tell them that test match is won by playing good cricket session on session and day on day. Pakistan seemed to relax and loose focus after couple of sessions of good cricket.
[photo courtesy:]
Ganguly surprised everyone in this match but again he is a fighter and loads of experience. I was not too surprised by his contribution. By the time Pakistan finished their innings, the target for India looked comfortable. But previous run chases at kotla suggested that it is going to take huge effort to be able to win the match and more so live up to the expectations from a great batting lineup. Despite a brilliant (after a long time I have seen) performance by Shoaib Akhtar, India is sitting pretty. Ganguly and Jaffar played excellent and positive cricket with Sachin looking comfortable. First match provided a great entertainment which was evident by crowd's presence, just goes to show how the next two matches will be played.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Best of Test cricket...

Cricinfo - A tale of missed chances Annotated

The article discusses an interesting aspect of the test match - Loosing advantage. Day 4 of the test will start with Pakistan in driver's seat. Having a lead of more than 150 and Misbah at the crease, Pakistan needs another 100 runs to put Indians almost out of the game.
If the article holds true for the remaining of the test match, Pakistan would soon loose the advantage and India will be left with 230 odd runs to chase in the last innings. That would be a huge task for India but a perfect platform for Indian batsman to script a memorable victory. Be it Sachin, Saurav or Dhoni, a match winning innings will be the one to remember for a long time. I still think Pakistan has a better bowling attack and they can win the test match if they can put that score on board.

Seeing the match and the wicket's behavior, I think, this wicket is the best to test a batsman's or a bowler's character. The one who has great patience will surely win the battle. I am sure Pakistan will be able to do that in their bowling, I am not sure about India's batting. Pressure and a grave requirement of patience is a danger sign for India. No need to analyze batting order or capabilities of great batting lineup, this is the time to show some charater. I would love to see this test match go down the wire. There is nothing like seeing a re-play of Chennai classic. Come on India!

Monday, November 19, 2007

One of the very best..

Australians won yet another test match (14 in a row). Nobody expected wonders from SL. But there were questions around Australia's bowling attack that had a void created by departures of McGrath and Warne. To a certain extent it did get exposed but SL was not the team to exploit it. Well except one man - Kumar Sangakkara. I have not seen such a great knock by a sub-continent player in a long long time in Australia. In his blog some time back he did mention that bounce is not his problem and should not be for the team. He proved himself by playing amazing innings of 192 but rest of the team struggled to make a mark against Australian attack. Some glimpses of brilliance from seasoned batters like Marvan and Mahilla but that you can expect from greats in any series, any time.
Talking about Australian bowling, I think chinks have begun to emerge in this Aussie lineup. MacGill was a disappointing show and while Stuart Clark was very very economical, he is the slowest in the pace attack and sometimes tend to take things easy (he did against Lasith Malinga. He does not have a grit of a fast bowler. People are going to clobber him if he continues to bowl like this. He certainly did not have to same hunger as it was against England and South Africa, recently. Johnson had a good start but he too showed signs of fatigue in final innings when the bowlers struggled to keep Sangakkara in check and take last 2 wickets. You would expect McGrath or Warne to finish it off in no time. Johnson has a long way to go and has to learn art of swinging both ways. Get some tips from Akram boy.
Having said all this, it is a great time for India to tour down under and win a series. They have to lift there bowling and they are in contention. My two cents, just choke the flow of runs and you will get Oz wickets. Its just plain and simple.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

One who enjoys the game

Yuvraj Singh walks back after being caught in the deep Annotated

Yuvraj Singh walks back after being caught in the deep, India v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Kanpur, November 11, 2007
Yuvraj seems to be in his prime form. He is bowling ok, batting superb and fielding excellent right now. Most importanty, he seems to enjoy being in the field a lot. He is total control of his game. Just to see where he is in his career -
Yuvraj's record
My favorite video on you tube-

Sri Lanka punched by Lee

Cricinfo - Lee spearheads a big Australia win Annotated

Brett Lee helped Australia beat not only Sri Lanka but also the unpredictable Brisbane weather as the hosts rattled out the last five wickets between rain breaks on the final day. Lee claimed 4 for 86 to confirm Australia's 1-0 lead ahead of the second Test in the two-match series, which starts in Hobart on Friday.

To me, secret of winning a test match is first innings lead and bowling that can dismiss the opponents twice. Well that is hell lot of a task but then we are talking about Test sides. They should be able to do it. Well Srilanka never looked to be doing any one of these at Gabba. Their batsman lacked that supreme touch and their bowling was let down by lack luster Dilhara and poor fielding.

Mallinga's exclusion over Dilhara was a blunder I guess. He would have enjoyed the conditions. Dilhara's performance was a disaster. He had no clue how to bowl and never settled in. Murali was let down by lack luster performances from other bowlers. Teams have to understand the importance of pressure from both the bowling ends. By the time, SL lost their openers in the second innings, it was all south from there.

Brett Lee was amazing and is now a standard on how to bowl fast but disciplined. This wicket was not super fast yet he bowled with aggression and immaculate line and length. Any bowler going down under should take some lesson from Lee's performance. You have to bowl long spells of tight line. Only that is what can trouble aussies. You have to choke the flow of runs. And don't fool your selves by bowling short balls at them. Just an occasional and well directed bouncer can do the trick. Waist height won't give you results.

SL's next game is in Bellerive Oval, which is a fantastic venue to watch a game of cricket. I hope they will not get disheartened too much and think of the fact that most teams meet the same result when they come to Australia. They should look forward to play aggressive cricket to win the match and level series. A 2 match series has a big advantage. Even a 2-0 result won't look too bad.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Test cricket back in Australia - SL vs AUS

I have been watching SL bowling to Australia. I have to say they are not following the basics.
Fast bowlers are not using the bounce and Murali is bowling occasional short balls. The very basic thing to do against Australia is to choke the flow of runs. Dilhara is too too expensive. Very interesting analysis going on with the Jaywardena's missed chance against Phill Jaques. But the real battle is going on between Ponting and Murali. Murali should look to bowl even slower. It might be a good idea to try Jayasuriya to slow things further.