Thursday, January 24, 2008


Australia v India: Test 4, Day 1


I'm sure if Team India had been asked where they'd liked to be at the end of Day 1, they would've said 300-odd for three - or something in that region. Right now, they will take the position they're in. As an Indian supporter, not much more could have gone in Team India's favour. The Aussies dropped two catches. Virender Sehwag played a good knock. VVS Laxman pulled out some off-the-planet shots. MS Dhoni has survived to make hay while the sun shines tomorrow. And last, but not least, that man Tendulkar played the most fluent innings he's played in the last four years and survived to do it all over again tomorrow.

309/5 is an impressive first day in any conditions. It goes without saying that Team India should be looking to bat once, and only once, on this deck.

Brad Hogg proved once again that there is not a single Test-quality spinner in Australia. More importantly, he showed the kind of purchase and bounce that is on offer for Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. If Harbhajan, in particular, slows it down, rips it hard and bowls a foot outside the off-stump he'll create havoc.

There are some, like Dinsa Sachan, that believe Dhoni doesn't deserve his place in the team on the evidence of his previous three outtings. I have a feeling (at least I hope) that they have spoken too early and will live to swallow their pride at the end of this Test match.

Just as an aside, what's wrong with Sourav Ganguly? He is one guy who manages to look so out of sorts early on in his innings, even when he's enjoying a purple patch. Some of the more sensational among us will point to his axing from the ODI team (more on that in due course), but I just cannot convince myself to buy it.

Lets wait and watch to see if Ricky Ponting puts any faith in Stuart Clarke tomorrow. He has done everything to indicate that he won't. Why would a captain under-bowl a bowler who has taken 68 wickets in 15 matches at a tick over 20? Could it possibly be the ghosts of one Shane Warne and one Glen McGrath haunting the Australian captain?

Tune in tomorrow folks, wherever you can, for this is cricket right out of the top drawer.

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