Ind. vs SA – A battle for title

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India’s successful tour to Australia, albeit loosing the test series but, earned some respect by winning a test and finally winning the CB series must have raised their confidence sky high. They will not hesitate to challenge South Africa on their own home ground and in front of their own home crowd with all the heat and humidity that will be against the South Africans.

The most successful among all the Indian bowlers in Australia was Ishant Sharma, unfortunately he is unfit and hopes to join the squad in the remainder of the matches. It is definitely a setback for India that he is not in action. Also, there is no Zaheer Khan but, RP Singh and Shanta Kumara is back. RP has just recovered from injuries. But to get back into full rhythm is not an easy task, especially for fast bowlers.

Although Indian pitches are tailor-made for spin bowling and one of their spinners Murali Karthik is also injured and he is ruled out too, a lot depends on the old duo of Harbhajan and Kumble. The former is expected to trouble the South Africans more than anyone. Especially Graeme Smith in particular is very vulnerable to spin and he plays a very dominant role in setting up big scores for his side. Therefore getting him early should be the aim for India.

It is not the batting sides of both teams that are any weak, in fact both teams have got very good batsmen. It is the bowlers on both sides who needs to play an important role. Smith believes that his team is very formidable and his bowlers are good enough to bowl out Indian batsmen twice.

Dale Steyn the ‘Phalaborwa Express’ has already created fear in the minds of the famed Indian batting line-up and he is in great form and he is very lethal with the new ball. Therefore, Andre Nel or Charles Langeveldt’s absence may not be felt much. Because, Steyn would be ably supported by Morné Morkel, Makhaya Ntini and Monde Zondeki.

Although, Makhya has not been very successful in the sub-continent but, there are two spinners Paul Harris and Robin Peterson. Indians and Pakistanis both cannot forget Harris he troubled the Indians last year in Cape Town. According to Zaheer Abbass he has “Harrised” the Pakistanis a lot in their own back yard and even got the prized wicket of Inzamam on his last appearance and defied him from breaking Javed Miandad’s record.

Chennai test is not too far away its just a matter of two days and the battle is on. Historically it is a batsmen paradise and a lot of runs have been scored at Chennai. The city was earlier known as, Madras and now it is called Chennai. The stadium was known as Chepauk and now it is called Chidambaram.

India has a good record at Chennai beating England twice in 1951-52 and again in 1983-84 and ending up a historic tie against Australia. Also, India’s leg spinner Narender Hirwani has a test match of his life when he took 16 wickets for 136 runs in Chennai. But, at the same time India also has lost against Pakistan, once during the Independence Cup series in 1997 when Saeed Anwar scored a record 194 in ODI. And they also lost a test match against Pakistan in 1999 when Shahid Afridi scored a century.

The interesting thing emerging from this series is the winner of the India-South Africa series will take the second spot in the ICC official Test rankings, behind Australia. And South Africa have already notched up the first spot in the ODI rankings and must thank India for helping them. Because SA mauling Bangladesh was expect, but India winning the CB series in Australia wasn’t expected by many and that let the downfall of Australia.

Therefore, India have to stop SA from climbing up the rankings by allowing them to use their shoulders. I am sure neither of the two teams will take this 3 test series lightly, it is not just about winning and losing a test it is also a matter of titles now. Hence it is a battle for title.

Now, it is up to the bloggers to discuss and debate the strengths and weakness of the players of both sides and make their own assessment and predictions as to how the series will end.

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  1. #1 by Abdul on March 24, 2008 - 11:03 AM

    It should be a really intresting series from 2 of the greatest sides in the world currrently. Yes both teams will be eying the secound place ranking. I think Southafrica are favourites to win the series because I feel India will be affected by the absence of some inform players. There may even be a player burnout because India have been travelling alot in the last year and have just completed the lenghty 3 month tour of Austrlia. Also Southafrica have won the last 4 test series and have got DALE THE LETHAL SYEYN who I’m sure will play a key role in the series with his formidable form and track record .And you may think the subcontient conditions will favour India . However Southafrica outplayed Pakistan and Bangladesh in the their backyard in the last year.

    Therefore I give Southafrica the edge to win the test series. Never the less it should be a thoroughly entertaining series. Let the battle of the titans commence !

  2. #2 by khansahab on March 24, 2008 - 11:15 AM

    Great thread by Javed A Khan.

    It will be interesting to see how the pitches play. Ultimately I think India will find the pitches more docile because any moisture will deplete within the first 15 overs knowing the Indian climate. Of course India has the quality in spin bowling such as Harbhajan and Kumble himself.

    But something we can say with confidence now which we could not, a year or two ago, is that India’s pace bowling is now feared across the world too. RP Singh was amongst the leading wicket takers in 2007 and Sreesanth is also in good nick. Pathan will also probably be utilised because of his recent good showing.

    The only thing going against India in my opinion is possible player burnout and complacency on part of the youngsters. If you think about Dravid and Ganguly haven’t played international cricket for more than a month or so, so I think they will be feeling fit and fine.

  3. #3 by Abdul ( ICL ANLYSIS) on March 24, 2008 - 11:18 AM

    5/5 for the Lahore Badshads-the invicible line up whoose record has been undefeatable and performance has been admirable. With 5 clean sheet victories the badshads are firmly on track to reach the grand final. This team are the rebels who ahve been rejected and neglected by the PCB and have have proved to everyone during this tournament fo there outstanding abilities. This is a line up which is invincible from the word go. From the attacking opening patnership in two Imran’s, to the stylish and experienced middle order to the semears whoose suttle variations are so decieptent to the wizzing mysterious spin doctors who are always a threat to any oppostions. With the valid amount of experience and talent this team has the badshads are a dream team who are so exciting and admirable to watch and I hate to say it but I wish this was the current pakistan team.

    I request the LS management to upload videos of the ICL and other cricket series on this site so you can view highlights and therfore leg slip can be more than a blog.

    Meanwhile overnight England are in total command and on track for a series victory. The series has been boring and ongoing and lets hope for a more exciting series when Newzeland tour England this summer.

  4. #4 by khansahab on March 24, 2008 - 11:51 AM

    Abdul,

    Thanks for your suggestion but currently our plans are to stick with the idea of being a blog as opposed to a “site”. This is because we want to be the best in what we can do and offer the best to our visitors. We can never match the resources or clout of commercial sites like Youtube, Cricinfo or Sky Sports; hence we are reluctant to upload videos etc.

    However in terms of writing about cricket and offering opinions on cricket we are unmatched. Therefore, it is in this area that we would like to concentrate.

  5. #5 by Awas on March 24, 2008 - 12:32 PM

    My interest and support for India will only enhance once the series is underway. The visiting teams to subcontinent are definitely improving lately as they seem to have learnt how to cope with conditions and slow and low pitches. SA recently won a series in Pakistan for the first time and Aus did the same in India in their last tour. This is definitely going to be an interesting contest and I can’t wait to see the action.

    India now-a-days is definitely what Pakistan were in the 80’s and 90’s. In ‘them’ days Pakistan was the only country other than perhaps Australia who was able to give WI run for their money.

    Abdul, interesting comment on Lahore Badshahs. They are definitely looking invincible. Even thought the team is composed of rejects and retirees but by virtue of the fact that they are from one country alone the mentality of the team suddenly changes as they are all representative of that country even though by proxy. Hence their performance is miles better than others.

    After poor showing in the first test match, England is definitely on course to win this series against the Kiwis.

  6. #6 by Rohit on March 24, 2008 - 1:42 PM

    although india has a dependable batting line up with rahul,dada,VVS,sachin etc one thing we will be skeptical about is wasim jaffer. jaffer has been haphazard of late and definitely doesnt come across very confident playing quality pace bowling. south africa has ntini, steyn, zondeki and morkel so there is definitely that extra pace element.

    my line up would be:

    sehwag
    sachin
    dravid
    VVS
    dada
    yuvraj
    kumble
    bhajji
    pathan
    sree
    rp

    what is your lineup? lol

  7. #7 by khansahab on March 24, 2008 - 3:20 PM

    Dear LS visitors,

    Please see our new feature called “LS ANNOUNCEMENTS” which is placed on the menu bar of the site. This will be used by us to notify you of important announcements in the future- we felt we should have a dedicated page just to inform our readers of any special announcements. The first mention on this page is dedicated to Mukul Kesavan who owned the blog “Men in White”.

  8. #8 by amit. p on March 25, 2008 - 5:23 AM

    @rohit
    who is going to stand behind the stumps ? lol

    Indian team is going to have selection problems in test squad and this scenario wont change for this season too. 5 bowlers on indian track is sort of waste …. and choosing 4 bowlers in line-up is tidy job, specially when zahir and ishant are unfit. I wud prefer pathan over bhajji … and let sehwag do the offspin job. Bhajji is not doing any wonders in test matches anyway. For opening slot i wud like to see jaffer once again at the top …. he was bogged down in aus … true … but on indian pitches i wud like to give him another go. So my line-up is

    sehwag
    jaffer
    dravid
    sachin
    ganguly
    vvs
    dhoni
    pathan
    kumble
    rp
    sree

    12 man — yuvraj 😉

  9. #9 by Rohit on March 25, 2008 - 11:00 AM

    lol

    amit i was trying to put dhoni’s name where yuvi’s name is supposed to be 🙂

    i think yuvi is expendable for this series. i totally agree about the 5 bowler and 4 bowler problem but i still feel that india performs better under 5 bowlers. esp when the batting is in good touch

    but realistically speaking i think your line up will be chosen ahead of mine because you are going with 4 specialists and sehwag/dada/sachin who can also bowl

  10. #10 by Abdul ( ICL ANLYSIS) on March 25, 2008 - 4:28 PM

    My indian 11 to take on the Proteas will be ……………………………..

    Sewhag
    Jaffer
    VVS Laxaman
    Sachin Tendulkur
    Sourav Gangually
    Yuvraj Singh
    MS Dhoni
    Anil Kumble
    Bhaji
    Sresanth
    RP Singh

    Dravid and Pathan miss out for me beacuse of their poor form of late. The pitches are predicted to spin and therfore I include the reliable spin duo is Kumble and Harbajhan. I am a fan of Yuvraj Singh and belive he should be a permanent member of the test side.

  11. #11 by samy on March 25, 2008 - 9:03 PM

    Here is my XI for the first Test:

    Sehwag
    Jaffer
    Dravid
    Tendulkar
    Ganguly
    Laxman
    Dhoni
    Kumble
    Harbhajan
    Sreesanth
    RP Singh

    I would have included Gambhir in place of Jaffer. I feel Gambhir was unlucky to have been dropped, after his showing in Aus.
    However, Jaffer’s recent domestic performances could not be ignored. But this series will probably be the last chance for him to cement his place in the team.
    As for the bowling, I think India should go with 2 spinners. Harbhajan has not been in good bowling form off late, however his experience might prove to be vital. M.Kartik however should have been the first choice and it is unfortunate that he got injured. Chawla is a rookie and will not bring variety to the attack, and I don’t think India should use pace against a team like SA, so it’s Bhajji for now.

  12. #12 by khansahab on March 25, 2008 - 10:46 PM

    I agree with Samy. Gambhir should have got a place ahead of Jaffer and even, dare I say, Sehwag. Jaffer is an overrated player, he is a flat track bully in my opinion.

    Actually Rohit, I like your line up and the obvious change it merits is the replacement of Harbhajan by Dhoni. I would concur with Amit P as to Harbhajan’s relative lack of expertise in the Test arena.

    If Karthik was not injured he would have proved a formidable bowler. The divide between 4 specialist bowlers or 5 is a very sensitive one indeed, as enunciated by Amit P. In my opinion India are safe to go in with 4 specialists (not including Harbhajan that is) because India’s pacers have been in imperious form recently and Kumble of course is ever reliable. Either of Ganguly, Tendulkar or Sehwag can prove difficult to play in patches.
    If even 3 of your 4 bowlers are in good form, you can shatter the opposition’s batting line up for a reasonably low score. That is what India’s management think tank will be considering, in my view.

  13. #13 by Awas on March 25, 2008 - 10:52 PM

    The forecast is thunderstorms for the first match. That’s a shame. Unpredictable and un-seasonal weather is playing havoc everywhere these days. What have we done to the world?

  14. #14 by amit. p on March 26, 2008 - 4:41 AM

    @samy, khansaab
    Agreed with u guys ab’t gambhir …. he must be injected in test squad … but as someone pointed out, jaffer shud also get his last chance to cement his place …. if jaffer dissimal performance continues then gambhir will surely get his chance.

    Finally bhajji is there and pathan is left out. And SA are off to a flyer .. scoring 30 odd runs in merely 7 overs. As predicted pitch is flat and dry … where medium pacers got to sweat hard ….. lets see how spinners are going to response in the first inning. High scoring test match on the card undoubtedly.

  15. #15 by amit. p on March 26, 2008 - 4:52 AM

    Finally england have shown some fighting spirit and won last two test matches to win the series ….. this kinda away win will give them lots of confidence in their rebuilding process … though their batting core is almost intact their bowling department have gone lots of changes over the years …. i always believe their side is good in test format ….. they only lacks responsibility from their batsmen ….. bell, piterson, vaughan all are good batsmen but recently they are not scoring big …. getting out in 40s and 50s … thats not good for test matches.

  16. #16 by Mohammed Munir - Sharjah, UAE. on March 26, 2008 - 10:18 AM

    Great work guys……. this site ROX !!

    This is my first time here and I was just cheking out the new site. It surely looks presentable and really ‘cool’.

    Best wishes to Javed Khan, Khan Saheb and Awas for this venture and many more successes in futrue.

    See you around………

  17. #17 by Rehan Khan on March 26, 2008 - 10:22 AM

    Amit,

    I will agree with you about England, they are a good test side because the way cricket is played in england is suitable to the test format. The english people have never been aggressive in their bodily actions as well, so that tells you why they lack aggression which is needed so much in ODIs.

    Yes they also have problem with long term concentration, getting out too much in 40s for example. But that can be tied with the fact that as a people they are patient, but not very mentally strong and aggressive.

    Im surprised South Africa have started really well against India. Im confused about the pitches because I read Chennai would be a sporting pitch, but it has turned out as dead rubber. The trend in recent years has been that in Subcontinent the pitch favours bowlers in the first 15 overs and then totally favours batsmen. I also read that Mohali is the only sporting pitch in India. But maybe Amit P, Rohit, Samy can help me on this?

  18. #18 by khansahab on March 26, 2008 - 10:24 AM

    Mohammad Munir,

    Sir, thanks so much for your kind words. We are lucky to have you here on Legslip because you were one of the best commentators on Pakspin.

    All the best to you and hope to see you making comments on LS!

  19. #19 by Abdul on March 26, 2008 - 4:37 PM

    Today was a packed day of enthralling cricket covearge. Tom Sothee played a BLITZ innnings of 77 to restore some pride in Englands victory. England won the series 2-1 and Ryan sidebottom has been to key figure in the series success and deserves him man of the series award with his signifgant contributions and performances.

    Today was also the opening day of India vs Southafrica. India had a flat day picking up only 4 wickets and as I predicted earlier Southafrica are in a commanding position in the match as they cotinue there good form in test cricket.

    Meanwhile in Guyana the Westindies are looking to fight out for a draw against the Srilankan’s and mirale magican Muttiah Muralithran. Don’t underestimate the Westindeis as they have got the Guynaise left hander Shiveranane Chanderpaul who can just bat for hours and hours. What will be the fianl outcoome ?

  20. #20 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 26, 2008 - 5:26 PM

    AT the end of the first day, South African top order clicked except for Kallis and Prince and they have posted a decent score on board 300/4 on the first day is not bad at all, especially Hashim Amla is still there along with AB with Boucher and Morkel to follow for big hitting.

    Although all the 4 wickets went to the spinners yet Harbhajjan Singh is complaining that the wicket is very flat. Who is to be blamed for that? Both teams preferred to have a strong batting side, rather than a strong bowling side.

    India has two regular fast bowlers and two spinners and their part time bowlers in, Sehwag, Tendulkar and Ganguly to support them. I think dropping Pathan is not a good idea, he is such a useful player. But, thats their decision.

    SA has three fast bowlers, a spinner and one all-rounder in Kallis to support them. In other words they have 4 fast bowlers and a spinner in their team.

    So, what is to be seen here is where Sreesanth and RP failed, whether Styen, Morkel and Ntini can capitalize with the new ball? And leave the rest for their solo spinner to “Harris” them?

    England somehow managed to win but, NZ played a fantastic second innings especially the 19 year old Southee was unbeaten on 77 in 40 balls with 9 sixes and 4 fours. On the western front, the West Indies is struggling to salvage a draw against SL on the last day and Gayle has gone defensive and did not open the innings.

    Good to see you Mohammad Munir. Keep dropping in a line or two regularly.
    Thanks.

  21. #21 by Javed Kazmi on March 26, 2008 - 9:50 PM

    Javed Khan sahab,

    I would beg to differ on the point about Pathan. I do not see Pathan as a Test player; I perceive him solely as something of an ODI specialist. Test match is a game for the specialist batsman or bowler.

    Pathan is a good bowler but I would still choose Sreesanth and RP Singh over Pathan. Sreesanth for his pace and RP for his general impeccable form.

    Other than that, your website is really commendable; keep up the good work. Best wishes to Khansahab and Awas, as well.

    Javed Kazmi

  22. #22 by Awas on March 26, 2008 - 9:52 PM

    Now was I right or was I right when I said above “The visiting teams to subcontinent are definitely improving lately as they seem to have learnt how to cope with conditions and slow and low pitches. SA recently won a series in Pakistan for the first time and Aus did the same in India in their last tour”?

    SA were lucky though that they won the toss and batted first. If they were to bat in the fourth innings Kumble and Harbajan would have run riot on the fifth day pitch.

    Mohammed Munir

    Thank you for your good wishes. We like frank open discussions and value comments from you, Amit P, Rohit, Samy, Rehan Khan, Addul and all others. We still like commenting on Cricinfo blogs and would continue to do so but like many people, our gripe with them is they often censor and even delete comments and above all after the first few days the blogs go into a long deep slumber. Whereas, here we upload comments at least twice a day.

    Rehan Khan

    You made a very valid point that England are a good test side, however I disagree that they are “not very mentally strong”. Generally, Goras whether from Australia, England or SA attain mental strength at much early age than Asians. Late Bob Woolmer once said to an English journalist that the Pakistani players are really talented but it surprises him how childish they are sometimes. It is hard to point out which ones amongst Goras are not mentally strong rather than which ones are but what is quite easy is to pick is the ones that are mentally strong amongst the Asians. Players like Tendulkar, Dravid, Imran and Miandad immediately come to mind who attained this trait at an early age. Irfan Pathan, for example, impressed early on but then there was a prolonged period he lacked confidence due to immaturity basically. This is not to say he will not improve later. He is showing signs of improvement already. On the other hand a young Stuart Broad is already showing a lot of maturity and mental strength. His body language says it all.

  23. #23 by JAVED A. KHAN on March 27, 2008 - 2:45 PM

    With the second day coming to an end and India scored 80 odd runs without any loss of wicket, anyone would say that the match is heading for a draw as the pitch has nothing to offer to the bowlers. But, cricket is a funny game and sometimes miracles happen and a dead boring game goes down to the wire and becomes a thriller. Lets see if that happens in the next three days.

    After the match, Sehwag was saying: “It was hard work for our bowlers but Hashim was a surprise. We did not expect him to play the way he did.” I don’t understand why the Indians are surprised at Hashim Amla’s performance? Amla is a very solid batsman and he is proving to be a very good test player with a very sound technique and good temperament and he has already scored 4 test hundreds and six fifties with an average of about 35 and every year his performance as well his average is improving.

    His contribution in this match is a very vital one especially after a good start by the openers and two sudden wickets could have triggered a collapse but, he stood there like a wall and also kept on scoring runs. Also, it was expected from Boucher and Morkel to go for big hitting and take the total beyond 450 they surpassed the expectations and posted a daunting total of 540 runs. And definitely India is, and will be under pressure till they post 341 on the board and after that they need to minimize the lead. Sehwag is hoping to take 100 runs lead, which needs to be seen, who takes the lead?

    If the South Africans take a first innings lead of 100 odd runs that will be too much pressure on the Indians because, 4th innings is always very difficult and not many teams have posted more than 400 runs in the 4th innings, the recent run chase of 400 plus was a futile, yet a very courageous effort from New Zealand against England just 2 days ago.

    The way Sehwag is playing, if continues to play like that on the 3rd day even up to lunch time, then the chances are he will take India to the shores. Especially with players like Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, Tendulkar and Dhoni are behind him. But, Sehwag also has a record of getting out early and cheaply on the following day. Jaffer is usually a slow starter but Steyn struck him on his upper arm with a short pitched delivery and shook him up. He needs to forget about it and make a fresh start on the 3rd day.

    Harbhajan took 5 wickets at 164 which is not a very good effort as he gave away too many runs. Whereas, Kumble for the same number of overs (45) took 2 wickets for 106 runs. We need to see how Harris performs, there is a tendency among the sub-continent batsmen that they struggle against slow left arm orthodox spinners. He bowls at a very nagging length and frustrates the batsmen. Inzamam ul Haq will never forget him. So, now let us see how Tendulkar & Co. will tackle him.

  24. #24 by Abdul on March 27, 2008 - 4:24 PM

    It’s a falt track at Chennia and despite India conceding over 500 runs in the first innings the Proteas remain wicketless and end of the days play. This match is very predictable it’s heading for a high scoring ,dull draw. Even steyn with his magical form of late is struggling to pick up wickets on this track.

    Yesterday Westindies failed at the last hurdle to save the match and Srilanka take a 1-0 lead in the series.

  25. #25 by praveen on March 27, 2008 - 10:09 PM

    write a post on IPL TEAMS. WHICH TEAM DO U THINK WILL WIN THE INAUGURAL EDITION OF IPL?

  26. #26 by Rohit on March 27, 2008 - 10:38 PM

    please dont tell me this will be another run fest? its disappointing to see bowlers taking a beating like this. it seems india’s decision to play only 2 specialist fast bowlers didnt pay off, you could ask whether playing an extra hand would have helped on such a flat surface? good to see sehwag back in form- hopefully its a permanent blessing!

  27. #27 by khansahab on March 28, 2008 - 9:47 AM

    Super knock by Sehwag. India will probably go on and outscore South Africa and the match looks like it’s heading towards a draw. It’s not the nicest thing when the first match of any series results in a draw because it loses interest of some fans who want to see a proper result.
    So far Harris has been tidy but he has only managed to take 1 wicket. It will be interesting to see how the spin plays on the 4th day.

    In my view India should declare once they have gone past South Africa’s score- who knows South Africa may give India a sporting target of around 300-350 runs on the final day?

  28. #28 by khansahab on March 28, 2008 - 9:50 AM

    Sehwag might go on and break Lara’s record of 400. He should be encouraged to do that as much as possible because there is a 75% chance this Test will be a draw anyway.

  29. #29 by amit. p on March 28, 2008 - 12:26 PM

    Well … sehwag fast paced inning has brought some hope in this match …. if india continue to score at 4+ next day then SA might find difficult to save this match ….. india shud bat as long as possible ….. and try to put as much runs as possible on the board … this is the only way to put SA in pressure …. 200 in 90 overs wont work for india on this dead track … preffereable score is 350+ lead and 70 odd overs to save the match.

    Btw … how many guys out there believe that sehwag is going to break lara’s record tomorrow ?

    increase ur count by 1 😉

  30. #30 by Abdul on March 28, 2008 - 4:29 PM

    92 RUNS AWAY FROM BRAKING THE WORLD RECORD WHICH BRIAN CHARLES LARA CUREENRTLY HOLDS. THE PITCH IS STILL VERY FLAT AND THE SOUTHAFRICAN BOLWERS LOOK EXHAUSTED. I FEEL SEWHAG MIGHT BREAK THE RECORD AT THE MOMENT HE’S ON 303 NO.

  31. #31 by khansahab on March 28, 2008 - 8:52 PM

    I believe Sehwag will break the record. Count increased to 2.

  32. #32 by khansahab on March 28, 2008 - 8:55 PM

    I wonder why Dravid is playing so slowly? Have India already made their mind up that they want to draw the match?

    Or maybe they will only go for the attack when they surpass South Africa’s score.

  33. #33 by Awas on March 28, 2008 - 9:36 PM

    Now that Sehwag has set the platform so nicely for India, they need to ‘up the ante’ and score at a fast pace. I am not meaning to criticise Dravid but he needs to come out of his shell and be aggressive or get out.

    As khansahab mentioned earlier there is however a case for a declaration as well. Rather than looking at the records, a real BOLD step would be to declare overnight, let SA decide on a suitable declaration when they bat. India should then be comfortable chasing a target as SA don’t really have a quality spinner to worry them. Runs scoring records on a pancake of a pitch are just that. There is nothing like a test match victory.

    The grounds men need an award to conjure up a pitch where really potent bowlers like Ntini and Steyn have been rendered impotent.

  34. #34 by Salman Khan on March 29, 2008 - 4:07 AM

    I never understood (and most of the Aussie commentators concurred ) why Sehwag missed the first two test matches of the recently concluded India-Aus series. I suppose he did have a patch of bad form prior to him being dropped from the Indian team but who doesn’t?? His last 11 test centuries have been 150+ scores , a truley amazing statistic. Any way he is back and he is badder than ever. He also appears to be more fit , however , he needs to see Shane Warne’s Hair advisor.

    Ideal scenario for India would be to carry on at a rapid pace and give SA 325 – 350 runs to chase on the 5th day pitch . This will happen only if Sehwag breaks Lara’s record. If not, India will struggle to score quickly.

    Jaffer is a good batsman but unfortunately there is no place in this lineup for him . Gambhir deserves to be the opener . India’s batting lineup is becoming a bit like Australia’s. Guys like Katich , Craig White, Dave Hussey and Rogers are test quality players but who do they leave out!!! Similarly Yuvraj and Gambhir are good players but are unable to get in. And we have not even begun talking about Rohit Sharma , Uthappa , Kaarthick and Yusuf Pathan. The long forgotten Parthiv Patel (thanks to emergence of Dhoni) has now developed himself as a specialist batsman and is scoring runs by the buckets in domestic cricket and Kaif is not doing too bad either.

    India’s pace bowling has done an OK job given the unhelpful conditions. I do not think that Brett Lee could have done any better in these circumstances. Spinners could have done better though , they took the wickets but were too expensive. Also , SA are no spin bunnies any more .

    One of the bloggers commented that on current form India is a bit like the Pak teams of the 1980s-90s. I reckon it is a reasonable comment on balance but with two differences. Pakistan had some very good batsman at that time (Miandad , Mohsin , Mudassar , Qasim Omar and later Ijaz , Salim Malik in his honest days, Inzi , Rameez , Aamir and Saeed ) BUT with all due respect to them, I reckon India’s batting line up (Test and ODI) is better. On the other hand , despite India’s recent bowling successes especially the emergence of a line up of fast bowlers( some with genuine pace) , I do not think they compare with Imran ,Sarfraz , Azeem Hafeez , Akram , Waqar , Aaqib and Shoaib. In the slow bowling department both the teams would be equally matched but I think that the combo of Mushi and Saqlain may have a very slight edge over Kumble and Bhajji. And Qadir , IMO , was better than all of the above mentioned . The wicketkeeping is equally matched , though keeping in mind that cricket teams has moved on from having wicketkeeper- batsman to batsman-wicketkeepers. Some would say that Dhoni is a better overall player than Saleem Yousuf or Moin / Rashid and they may have a point.

    Sorry , I wavered form the topic. Well it’ll be a good day of Cricket and I hope that Sehwag scores the 2nd quadruple century in the history of Cricket.

  35. #35 by khansahab on March 29, 2008 - 11:20 AM

    While one great batsman achieved a historical feat of 300 runs in an innings, another became only the 6th batsman in history to garner 10,000 runs in Tests.

    Rahul Dravid may just have gone past his prime this year, but his contribution to Indian cricket has been nothing short of legendary. For half a dozen years he has remained as the most dependable Indian batsman. The magnitude of his skill in batting can be seen from his awe inspiring consistency and record against good bowling attacks, on difficult pitches.

    Salman Khan, sir I fully agree with your statement that Jaffer despite a good talent does not deserve to open for India and that Gambhir should replace him. And definitely, India always had a better batting line up than Pakistan whereas Pakistan traditionally has had a more able bowling line up. Until recently both sides were almost equal in terms of fielding and it was only due to the fact that Pakistan had better all rounders, that they used to prevail more frequently than India (although not by a tremendous margin). But now the tables have turned. India definitely has better batting and even their bowling is better now. If Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul and Mohammad Asif were fit and in form we might have opined otherwise.

    Finally I agree Dhoni is a much better quality player than any of Saleem Yousuf, Wasim Bari, Moin or Rashid. Not only is Dhoni fitter and a much better batsman, he is also a shrewd captain and knows how to handle his players.

  36. #36 by Abdul on March 29, 2008 - 2:13 PM

    The lahore badhsads have won yet another game . Hasan Raza was the man of the match with his camio of 40 and Mushtaq Ahmed was stepping in to captain in the absecnce of Inzamam Ul Huq. The badshads have one more game left on on Sunday before the semifanals. They remain unbeaten in the competetion and are completely ruthless. They are just 3 games away from winning the ICL !

  37. #37 by Abdul on March 29, 2008 - 2:17 PM

    Wonderful fightback from Southadfrcia today. Vinder Sewhag I feel wil be guted missing out on the world record,it was such an ideal oppurtunity to break history on the flat wicket in Chennia.

    However the game is 90% heading for a draw.

  38. #38 by Rohit on March 29, 2008 - 6:02 PM

    looks like the match will be a draw. but this match will be remembered most for a superb triple hundred from Sehwag. you can say its a flat track but the bowling attack was pretty good and a triple century on any track is a once-in-a-lifetime feat. virender sehwag has achieved it twice.

    now it seems it was wrong to drop sehwag in the first place. as a batsman he is a lot like afridi, you can’t tell just when he will explode and do something remarkable. abdul is right when he says sehwag will feel gutted not going on to make 400, lets hope he plays many more knocks like these.

  39. #39 by Shahid on March 29, 2008 - 10:02 PM

    this may be battle for no 2 position in world cricket but every team has to think about being no 1. i personally dont care about ranks, but every team has to perform consistently. which i think is the most important thing. teams have to dominate and strike fear in the heart of the opposition, like how australia has done for so long. as far as india is concerned, it cant be the no 1 team if it cant get this south african team out for less than 300 even on this track. i will watch the next matches with interest and i hope the pitch is more lively.
    good innings by sehwag, he is back in form, but his real test is whether he can play like this on australia and south africa pitches?

  40. #40 by Awas on March 30, 2008 - 12:29 AM

    After the departure of Sehwag and Dravid there was no need to continue batting. The aggressive step would have been to declare straight away after that and let SA decide on a declaration. Taking a bold step like that is what aggression means in cricket not tit for tat bad mouthing the Aussies.

    This match is heading nowhere but towards a boring draw. Playing for a draw is only justifiable when a series has been decided one way or the other.

  41. #41 by samy on March 30, 2008 - 12:59 PM

    So the Test ended in a draw. The triple hundred by Sehwag was brilliant, as were the knocks of Amla, Dravid and McKenzie. However, amidst the hype over Sehwag’s innings and Dravid’s achievement of 10000 Test runs, the dreadful quality of the Chennai wicket should not be forgotten.
    Ahemedabad and Kanpur might be even worse. India are hoping to become the No.1 team in all forms of the game, but such placid and dull wickets are going to help their cause, and neither will they help the youngsters who will form the core of future Indian Test teams.
    This is where the BCCI should be more proactive. Unfortunately, they seem to be far too busy counting the IPL money.

  42. #42 by Abdul ( Pakistan odi squad) on March 30, 2008 - 1:48 PM

    Pakistan squad Shoaib Malik (capt), Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal (wk), Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Fawad Alam, Bazid Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk).

    14th April-5th May vs Bangladesh

  43. #43 by JAVED A. KHAN on March 31, 2008 - 7:50 PM

    At the end of the second day of the first test match when Sehwag was not out for 50 odd runs, I wrote: “The way Sehwag is playing, if continues to play like that on the 3rd day even up to lunch time, then the chances are he will take India to the shores …….. But, Sehwag also has a record of getting out early and cheaply on the following day.”

    It is too late for me to comment on the subject now because, the match is over and I wasn’t able to comment due to some personal reasons, but as you all can see he did play a very good innings on the third day and took India to the shores. And, then the pressure started to build up by the end of the third day when he was 309 n.o. The media and the fans started to speculate whether he can break Lara’s record or not?

    Shewag denied even before taking on the challenge on the fourth day he said: “Lara’s record is NOT on my mind.” He was lying. How can he not think of that? After all he is human and to have such feelings at the back of your mind is very normal. Anyways, the fourth day, like always he got out cheaply. But, it was a mammoth innings and a good one too. He deserves the due for playing a gritty innings.

    Resting Tendulkar for the 2nd test on the grounds of fitness or whatever is a good idea, but instead of Mohammad Kaif, Irfan Pathan should have been included in the side, he is an inform all-rounder. Kaif, coming in place of Tendulkar after a big gap would be under tremendous pressure and may not be able to score. But, the selectors see it differently.

    Talking of selectors, the Pakistani selectors are a bunch of jokers, they have not included a very good all-rounder Rizwan Ahmad and also excluded a very good middle order batsman, Saeed bin Nasir. The PCB should stop going round like beggars and dispose off with their “Kashkole” there is no self respect or dignity in begging in front of every single cricket playing nation to come in and fill in the void created by the Australians who abandoned the tour. Apart from Bangla Desh, the PCB approached Sri Lanka and they turned it down nicely because of the IPL commitments and then they approached South Africa. They refused it too, its hardly a few months ago that they were in Pakistan and beat them in test and ODI both. So, why would they be interested in playing against them?

    This is ridiculous, how can the PCB officials be so disrespectful towards their own country? They should have thought about it before approaching these teams or their officials. But, beggars can’t be choosers they will always be like this and their actions are always pathetic and deplorable. It is about time Nasim Ashraf should resign. Enough of humiliation.

  44. #44 by Abdul ( Pakistan odi squad) on April 1, 2008 - 4:17 PM

    Shoaib Akthar has been banned for 5 years after being found guilty at a disciplinary meeting today.The rawalpindi express said “i will appeal to the court about this” . Another extrodinary controversy in the speedstars career.

  45. #45 by Awas on April 3, 2008 - 6:59 AM

    I just can’t believe India got shot out before lunch in just 20 overs by two pace spearheads especially Steyn, a rising star no doubt and a bowler to watch out for future. A pitch just a little more conducive here for the quality pacers and the result is for all to see. There were no real demons in the pitch, other than helpful morning dew but the fast bowling was a treat.

    A treat of an innings it may have been also from Sehwag but blunting the fast bowlers was even a better effort in the previous match. I wasn’t far wrong when I said that the grounds men needed an award for conjuring up a pitch, where really potent bowlers like Ntini and Steyn had been rendered impotent.

    Forget about Shoaib saga, this is real cricket.

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