Posted by: nestaquin | October 10, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy: First Test, Day One. Stumps

An enjoyable first day of the Border Gavaskar Trophy ended with Australia batting well throughout posting a conservative score of 254/4. Wickets were taken by Zaheer Khan in the first and last overs, Ponting scored his maiden hundred on Indian soil, ably supported by Katich and Hussey, while the umpiring by Rudi Koertzen and Asad Rauf was at times incomprehensible and mostly inconsistent.

Ponting, in accumulating his 36th century, reminded the cricketing world of his tenacity, leadership and overall class. Returning to cricket after a long lay-off from a serious wrist injury that required surgery, Ricky played the consummate captain’s knock after entering the fray with his team a wicket down without score in the first over of an important away series.

With Katich, he saw off the opening bowlers with expert judgement and mature patience leaving anything on a length outside off and nudging anything straight or short into the gaps for hard run singles and twos.

He was circumspect in his placement and shot selection until lunch but after the break his confidence grew and his backfoot attacking shots, especially through the off-side, were a sight to behold. One shot that sears into the memory was the boundary that brought up his fifty; A classical backfoot cover drive that clattered the boundary while the sweet echo of leather on willow was yet to reverberate through the stands at the Chinnaswarmy Stadium.

His reached his hundred in the first over after tea and Ricky thoroughly enjoyed the moment. As did I and many other supporters who are often perplexed at the lack of respect Punter generates among his many legions of detractors.

Ricky, in scoring the ton, has now scored more centuries than any other Test captain in history, surpassing the record he shared with two other Australian greats, Allan Border and Steve Waugh. It should be noted that he has achieved this feat in fewer innings than both these living legends and that Ponting deserves to be in such company.

Conversely, the Indian captain, Anil Kumble, had a day he would probably rather forget. At times he lost his way with field placements and bowling changes, his body language was exceptionally poor and he probably took the new ball several overs too late.

He did, however, bowl well most of the time but his appealing was excessive and counterproductive. It was understandable for he was frustrated with his team’s progress and he had more than one close decision turned down by perturbed and increasingly bewildered Rudi Koertzen. Still, the captain must set the example and Kumble failed in that respect on day one.

He wasn’t helped by ‘keeper MS Dhoni who lacked energy in his own appeals and in one particular instance, when Ponting was given not out when caught and bowled on 110, was calling for a drink from the stands while Kumble jumped up and down screaming for the finger to be raised.

The umpiring was wretched on the first day and one can only hope that it improves as the match progresses and becomes tenser. Hayden and Ponting’s dismissals were questionable and the Indians had more than one LBW decision turned down which if given wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow.

Ponting’s dismissal was the worst of the day although in all fairness, he should have been given out 13 runs earlier. Harbhajan delivered a ball from wide of the crease that hit the outstretched front pad adjacent but it was clear to most that with the angle and spin it would have missed leg stump by quite a margin. Umpire Raul thought otherwise and Ponting departed weary and bemused for 123.

The pitch is being described as a good batting wicket and while that is probably true to some extent, Australia’s pedestrian scoring rate wasn’t the result of Indian miserly bowling and fantastic fielding. The pitch is two-paced, varying in bounce and difficult to score freely on. As the game progresses these anomalies will certainly exacerbate and if Australia’s bowlers play with the same determination and discipline as their skipper, India will find it very difficult to win, and possibly save, this match.


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Responses

  1. It was the most boring day’s cricket.

  2. If watching one of the best batsman in the world compile a century under enormous personal pressure is boring I suggest you find another sport to watch.

    I suspect your boredom stems from your lack of curiosity and self-respect.

    Eric Hoffer wrote in The True Believers that ‘When people are bored, it is primarily with their own selves that they are bored.’

    Perhaps you should read it instead of wasting time expressing your unsubstantiated opinion at 99.94.

    Or alternatively, enlighten the rest of us on why you didn’t find the day’s play enjoyable.

  3. A nice tight day test cricket. India need to dismiss Aus for less than 350 or this is going to turn into a real exercise in survival.

    Re: Kumble’s body language. Its not great for a captain to be acting so frustrated on the ground.

  4. That was delightful to read, it was an absorbing days play no matter what angle you look at it from.

    The mini plots in the game were what made it more interesting to me.

    -Pontings form in India
    -Ponting v Ishant
    -Ponting v Sharma
    -Hussey trying to live up his astronomic avg outside aus.
    etc etc.

    Im not sure what shaaakspsyco is on about really.

    Hussey is consolidating nicely after the early loss. And hadding is sticking aroud..Aus look set for a big total!

    Ps- How about a link exchance nestar
    http://fly-slip.blogspot.com/

  5. It looks like the kind of pitch that isn’t easy to score off and might give you the odd shooter, but that good batsmen should negotiate well. Patience the key.

    It was good to see Punter mix his game up a bit – his batting may be successful, but the relentless going forward to every ball (so even back foot strokes are played after a forward lunge) can get a bit dull. He was more still at the crease yesterday, then moved forward or back. It made for better watching and, in India, covered the only blemish on his CV.


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