11 August 2007

Jumbo's Test?

All of Test cricket's theatre of irony came together in a few seconds. Anil Kumble, a veteran of 117 matches, three wickets shy of overtaking Glenn McGrath, and number eight batsman. The genial Bangalorean was at the crease on 97, having already overtaken Dhoni in a batting symphony where every batsman went into double figures and five had already made fifties. He comes down the track, looking ungainly as usual, nicks the ball through Prior's legs and reaches 100. England will lose a series at home. The only question is whether they will lose it 1-0 or 2-0.

Laxman was magestic, Tendulkar was patience personified and Dhoni was clinical in dismantling the English bowling attack. And along came Kumble, rubbing it in as he started off with rotating the strike, but building an innings of great quality after Dhoni left in an entertaining blaze. And then there was the 75 run last wicket stand, that helped Kumble to his hundred with Sreesanth helping himself to some Anderson lollies.

Now Kumble has given himself three days to bowl England out twice. Despite all the bytes coming out of the English camp, the batsmen will be intent on face-saving survival. How can Peter Moores seriously believe that all three results are still possible? Anyway, a defensive English mindset will suit Kumble just fine! Hopefully Zaheer, Sreesanth and RP can keep pegging away at the other end.

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