India vs Australia, 3rd Test, Day 3

The 3rd Test is poised similarly to the 2nd after India have just spent the first 2 days grinding the Australian bowlers into the ground. Here are all the gory details from day 2:

Ricky Ponting has captained surprisingly defensive - it's easy to attack when you have Shane Warne bowling at one end and Glenn McGrath at the other. But what does a captain do when he doesn't have two of cricket's best ever bowlers in his attack? Set defensive fields, bowl part timers and remove all pressure off the batsmen, apparently seems to be the answer.

The big question now is how will the Australian batsmen respond? Will the pitch suddenly morph into a raging minefield a la the 2nd Test? Will Kumble exploit the conditions more successfully than Katich, White and Clarke? Hard to see how not. But this will be a good test of Australia's character in this post-Warne era. Fight boys!

Posted by JC on Fri 31 Oct 71 comments

India vs Australia, 3rd Test, Day 2

Australia took 2 wickets in the first hour of yesterday's play. For the next 5+ hours, we proceeded to take just one more wicket. A bleak day for Australia's bowlers. Gotta feel for Cameron White - after getting caned, Punter only gave him 4 overs for the whole day. He sure knows how to show faith in his bowlers (I'm remembering 3 overs for Shaun Tait over an entire Ashes Test). How will Day 2 fare? Live score courtesy of Cricinfo.

Posted by JC on Thu 30 Oct 57 comments

India vs Australia, 3rd Test, Day 1

Can Australia turn things around after their shambolic defeat in the 2nd Test? In a word, no.

Okay, just kidding, I haven't thrown my team under the bus just yet. They may somehow, miraculously slow the inexorable Indian momentum. Matt Hayden is in shocking form a la Ashes 2005 but maybe he's due. Michael Clarke has developed a nasty habit of getting out in the last over of the day - three times this series if you count his wicket falling to end the 2nd Test. But even if the Aussie batsmen can turn their form around, it's hard to see where their 20 wickets are going to come from. When Cameron White is your frontline spinner, well, I know Shane Warne and Mr White, you sir are no Shane Warne.

As for India, the only bright spot seems to be Harbhajan Singh isn't playing due to a toe injury. This is unusual - usually it's him who does the stepping on others' toes. On the other hand, that brings Anil Kumble into the side who by all reports seems to have taken a few thousand wickets in Delhi. Now if only Ishant Sharma could miss the game due to split ends. Live score courtesy of Cricinfo.

Posted by JC on Wed 29 Oct 38 comments

Aussie fans threatened with jail

If this is as controversial as it gets during Australia's tour of India, consider ourselves lucky. Several Australian cricket fans were arrested for wearing offensive T-shirts and threatened with jail time. After a press conference where the fans thoroughly apologised for the shirt and promised to never, ever wear them again (at least while sober), they were released. The damning words on the shirts?

Beers with Mahatma, bets with Gupta, dancing with Indira and still getting the runs

I could understand Indians getting huffy at these words even if they aren't designed to offend. I could even see fans getting evicted from a ground although such a reaction is a bit extreme. But are these words so offensive, they warrant jail time? Is political incorrectness a criminal offense in India? I confess I'm having trouble understanding the depth of such a reaction.

Perhaps my confusion is because I just can't see something similar happening in Australia. For starters, I struggle to think of any famous Aussie as venerated as Gandhi that isn't involved in sport or movies. Whatshisname, the eye surgeon... Charles Kingsford Smith... Dick Smith... nope, drawing a blank.

But there is one crime that deeply offends Australians. Our batting in the 2nd Test. Our batsmen scraped and crawled their way over two innings to 460 runs while India amassed 783 runs for the loss of only 13 wickets. While some credit must go to the Indian bowlers, the pitch was as flat as week old coke and yet we made it look like a minefield. Now that's offensive. I'd be willing to entertain some jail time for our batsmen if they give a repeat performance in the 3rd Test.

Posted by JC on Wed 22 Oct 46 comments

India vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 5

I said on Day 3 that I wasn't hitting the panic button just yet. Now on Day 5, I'm jabbing away at the panic button like Mr Burns frantically pressing for security after Homer asked for money to operate on his dog. Obviously, Australia are going to be crushed and crushed big time in the 2nd Test. The big question about Australia's performance - is it a blip or a trend?

In other words, has Australia come back to the field or did they just have a bad game? After the 2005 Ashes loss, many concluded Australia had already come back to the field. The 2006/2007 Ashes whitewash showed that it was more a blip than a trend. Or more accurately, a blip on top of a trend. Has our golden age finally ended?

Anyway, let's see what happens today. Hopefully Australia will muster enough backbone to last till lunch. Batting through the day is extremely unlikely. The cruelest result - Michael Clarke bats through the day then with 9 wickets down, he's dismissed in the last over of the day. Live score courtesy of cricinfo...

Posted by JC on Tue 21 Oct 51 comments

India vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 4

Australia sunk further into the mire on Day 3. Surrendering a 1st innings deficit of 201 runs then India adding an additional 100 runs without loss has taken this game completely out of Australia's reach. With a full two days to play, it's difficult to see Australia playing it out for a draw. It would require more steel in our batting line-up than has been seen yet.

So the next two days should give us an insight into this upcoming era in Australian cricket. Will our experienced top order lay the platform that used to be the foundation of our batting strength? Can our inexperienced middle-order rally around Mike Hussey and hold out the persistent Indian bowling attack? Hard to see it happening but an Aussie fan can hope. Live score courtesy of cricinfo...

Posted by JC on Mon 20 Oct 65 comments

India vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 3

The match is evenly poised - 70:30 in favor of India. Yeah, that underlines how difficult it has been to beat an Australian side in the last decade. An Australian team is capable of winning from a situation that is 90:10 against them. Till you have won, however bad the situation might be for them, however close you might be to winning, the match is always evenly poised.

But alas, the Tyrannosaurs that romped in the region in the last decade, most have become extinct. The few that are left, are waging rather personal battles. The profound impact of the retirement of Mcgrath, Warne, Gilchrist, Langer, Waugh, Martin is telling on this team. Hayden looks stale, Ponting has a few personal worries, Symonds is in rehabilitation, Lee is injured. Now that leaves out 10 out of 11 players that make a cricket team.

But that has never been an issue in Australia. They have had players who bettered the players they replaced. Now is the time to carry forward that tradition. Haddin, Watson, Clark, Johnson, White, Siddle are all youngsters. It's their test today - a test that would keep afloat a tradition they prided on so much.

As of now, this team looks so shaky that the bamboo huts in earthquake prone Japan would seem more rigid. Honestly, they have not shown an urge to win. Prove me wrong, please.

Posted by Zapper on Sun 19 Oct 35 comments

India vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 2

Yesterday was a day of milestones. Sachin Tendulkar went past Brian Lara as Test cricket's highest run-getter. Sourav Ganguly went past 7000 runs, passing The Don. Peter Siddle, aka "who the hell is that guy", took his first Test wicket - dismissing the Little Master, no less. And the biggest milestone of the day nearly went by unnoticed - Ishant Sharma achieved 100 Test runs.

India are in a strong position but this match has draw written all over it. The wickets that fell were more due to poor forcing shots than fiendish bowling or demons in the pitch. Is this going to be a Test series of no-results? After the high drama when India last toured Australia, that would be a shameful anti-climax. Fingers crossed for a result... going Australia's way, of course. Live score courtesy of cricinfo...

Posted by JC on Sat 18 Oct 77 comments

India vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 1

The 1st Test was an engrossing game between the two best Test teams in the world (come on, we all know that's true). Most surprising of all - most of the talk about the game centred on actual cricket! While the game was a draw, Australia had a slight edge. Can they eke out a win in the 2nd Test? Live score courtesy of cricinfo...

Posted by JC on Fri 17 Oct 65 comments

The Spirit of Test Cricket

From George Orwell's "Raffles and Miss Blandish" (1944)

Cricket is not in reality a very popular game in England -- it is nowhere near so popular as football, for instance-- but it gives expression to a well-marked trait in the English character, the tendency to value "form" or "style" more highly than success. In the eyes of any true cricket-lover it is possible for an innings of ten runs to be "better" than an innings of a hundred runs: cricket is also one of the very few games in which the amateur can excel the professional. It is a game full of forlorn hopes and sudden dramatic changes of fortune, and its rules are so ill-defined that their interpretation is partly an ethical business. When Larwood, for instance, practiced body line bowling in Australia he was not actually breaking any rule: he was merely doing something that was "not cricket." Since cricket takes up a lot of time and is rather an expensive game to play, it is predominantly an upper-class game, but for the whole nation is it bound up with such concepts as "good form," "playing the game," etc., and it has declined in popularity just as the tradition of "don't hit a man when he's down" has declined. It is not a twentieth-century game, and nearly all modern-minded people dislike it. The Nazis, for instance, were at pains to discourage cricket, which had gained a certain footing in Germany before and after the last war.

(Thanks to SH for bringing this to my attention)

Posted by TA on Thu 16 Oct 42 comments

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