13 August 2007

Fourth day of the Third Test

It was a compelling day of cricket, made intriguing by a tough decision from captain Rahul Dravid. He decided not to enforce a follow-on. Roundly criticized on television as a defensive move, one had to say that at the end of the day, it is difficult to make a comment either way. As someone (Imran Khan, I think) said about cricket a long time back, the more nuanced your understanding of the game, the less certain your criticism is. Dravid knew a bit more that he let on, and Zaheer finally showed visible sympoms of the injury he'd been carrying for a while. Even Kumble, on a fourth day pitch would have needed some support to keep England down to manageable proportions.
Okay, so the decision meant that India lost out on the best bowling conditions in this Test match. But so what? All India needed to do was to put the match absolutely beyond England's reach - about a 150 runs. Credit must go to Ganguly for continuing with a fantastic series. Again he played a knock of such silken aggression that England never realized they were getting bullied, till he got out.
Today, the last day of an incredible Test series, Ganguly will need to break partnerships, and so will Sachin. Kumble will keep bowling from the Pavillion End. Sreesanth needs to stand up and be counted. RP and Zaheer have already done their bit for the series. You can trust RP to put in another good spell, but if India need to win this Test without Zaheer, then Sree and RP need to bowl out of their skins.