08 December 2007

Pakistan in India, Chinnaswamy, Days 2 and 3: Ganguly, Pathan make hay, looks like it will be a batathon

After an eye-catching partnership between Ganguly and Pathan competing among them for the best sixer against Kaneria, it fell to India to slowly wrench the Pakistani batsmen out before they reached the follow on score. At the end of Day 3, India will be disappointed that they do not have more runs to play with. Misbah and Kamran, the duo that thwarted the Indians at Eden are batting and there is Mohammed Sami to follow. Only 58 runs are needed to avoid the follow on.

It was sexy stuff from Ganguly. He looked awesome, and as a person who has always been frustrated with his lack of urgency between wickets, I was really really happy that he ran 78 singles and 13 twos. Pathan too, turned it on, but I hope his selection will be determined by his bowling alone.

I don't think India bowled as well as they could have. Salman Butt had it quite easy, and I think young Ishant found the right hand-left hand combo tricky. Butt hit several boundaries on leg side, behind and in front of square.

Younis Khan is a bit of a stud. I did not think much of him when he came into the game and was stunned when Pakistan decided that he was their best number 3. But eventually he did rewrite the rules of the game in his own small way, much like Dhoni did later. That dab to third man got him thirty percent of his runs today. Like Dhoni, like Sehwag, there is not much we can complain of when he gets out. All we can mutter is, "but that's the way he plays the game!" Sad part is, Pakistan rely on him much more than we ever did on Sehwag or now rely on Dhoni. They rely much more on Yousuf, and he played a shot that he will rue, to get out.

Misbah is slowly becoming a master at the attritional game. Even today he ate up time and made the runs that will almost certainly save Pakistan from the follow-on. Kamran is his pocket-sized ally. Neither put away the shots, but managed a risk-free game.

Day 1: India go ahead, the Left turns it.
This was Chinnaswamy, and it wasn't too long back that Balaji and India fell with fifteen balls left. The Bangalore jinx had to be broken and India came close to giving Pakistan the test on a platter on Day 1. Laxman was unlucky maybe. But Jaffer, Dravid and Gambhir made errors in judgment. Gambhir flirted with one outside off, and did not do much to dislodge Karthik from the opener's slot. Jaffer misread the line and got hit right in front. He did not look anywhere near as fluent as he did in the two innings at Eden, and looked ridiculous going like that after facing 62 balls. So, questions still remain at the top. Did Dravid play one shot too many? Arafat may have put in some extra shoulder into that ball, and Dravid did not see that coming. It is a shot he plays well, so he'll be ruing his bad luck. Four down on the first session of the first day of a Test match. Though Arafat was getting the ball to move, he was not that hostile.Subsequent events showed the pitch for what it was, and had the top order shown a little more application, the heroics that followed would not have been necessary.

Yuvraj Singh has all but torn down the walls of the Test team with a counterattacking innings of real confidence. It is not the first time he has scored a Test century, but every time he has showed us that he belonged, he would paly a one-day stroke too many and get out. Ganguly rode out a stupid feud with the childish Akthar early in the innings and then hardly gave a chance through his innings. Yuvi's runscoring abilities took the pressure of Ganguly and he followed Yuvraj to a century in the third session. Gaping holes in the Pakistan bowling became apparent. Akthar was taken to hospital again, but Sami soldiered on and that certainly was not enough. Yuvraj and Ganguly played Kaneria quite easily. Younis Khan, Yasir Hameed, Salman Butt all had a ball. Three hundred runs and the new ball later, Yuvraj was out.

Karthik did not look very confident. His situation is dicey and he will need to push his claim against a ball that is still new, tomorrow. India would want to bat till tea, but if Akthar is back to bowling well tomorrow, the innings could fold before lunch and set up and see saw.

10 comments:

Ottayan said...

John,

Ganguly's fearless batting calmed the nerves of Yuvraj.

In the context of the days play how do you rate Ganguly's innings?

Homer said...

Whats wrong with RD anyways? Ever since he has been dropped from the ODi side, he has approached Test cricket like it is a Twenty20 game...

Its bad enough trying to play 2 shots a ball, the guy even got hit by a bouncer.

My take - RD has one innings to set things right else I do not see him making the starting XI at Melbourne... It will be a waste of a Test spot.

Sam said...

time up for KKD...And for Dravid axing, i m shocked to see him being dropped for scores of 34, 38, 50, 10*, 19 and KKD still finding him in the team with scores of 9, 1,0,28, 24..

when was KKD supposed to be of greater price tag than RD ? And on basis of one wrong shot (besides good balls and horrors from wretched Billy finger) RD is being called for axed....

doubt cricket sense of people who suggest this.........

Soulberry said...

There was a time when he was dictated to; then, when not playing itself, Yuvraj had altered team dynamics and performance; now, he's setting the rules of the game.

Soulberry said...

Dravid to open?...Or Ganguly, and play Irfan along with four other bowlers? It does look dicey for a few others too.

John said...

Soulberry,
Do you think either Irfan or Ganguly has a technique that is tight enough to handle Lee and Mitch? If at all we have a makeshift opener, it has to be Dravid.

Homer,
Dravid's gotta be feeling the pinch too, sooner or later. My guess is that it will not be as soon as you estimate it. I don't think DK will lose his place too soon either. Gambhir came in purely as a replacement/aspirant and has not done enough to dislodge DK.

Final analysis: I think DK will get at least one Test in Oz, before Yuvi plays at his expense, with Dravid opening.

Straight Point said...

although dravid has moved on from captaincy but i feel that he is yet to make up his mind as player in the team...he looks too aloof...lost in his own world and uncertain about his approach...and hence the shot...its too unlike dravid to get out in this fashion he would have not liked his dismissal even after scoring double century...

i am of the belief that tougher circumstances ask for tougher decisions so although dravid will not like it (or some others) but i think it only add value to out batting if he opens (one off, for oz tour only)...

John said...

Thanks, Straight Point. It is not an easy decision, and we can only make theoretical arguments about whether or not your best openers should play at the expense of a better batsman. At the end of the day, it is a gut decision.

Tarun said...

John,

I wonder if people are giving enought thought to Dravid opening, as that does not free up a spot in the middle order. All it does is owen up the number 3 position, which all of Sachin, Ganguly, Yuvraj, Laxman and Dhoni are going to be uncomfortable taking on. I wonder who is going to take up the battle at 3. My line up would be Kartik (Dhoni if he has the guts), Jaffer, Dravid, Sachin, Ganguly, Yuvraj, Laxman, Irfan, Kumble, Zaheer and RP. The only way to solve the conundrum is for Dhoni to sit out or open. And if Sehwag must be a part of the playing 11, then we have a larger problem at hand. Ofcourse, we could always repalce Irfan with another strike bowler (if we can find one).

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