Posted by: nestaquin | October 14, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy: First Test Day Five Stumps

The final day at Bangalore started with a bang and tristfully ended with a whimper as India parried Australia’s surge to be only four down when the players mercifully shook hands ten overs earlier than the scheduled close.

In the first session the visitors exploded from the blocks setting the total they sought in five overs. They then removed Sehwag and Dravid before lunch with Lee and Clark taking the wickets by bowling a full length and inviting the drive.

During the interval spirits would have been high in the Australian dressing room and they performed after the break and throughout the session with energy and purpose yet were only rewarded with the wicket of Gambhir when Mitchell Johnson snuck a slower one through his usually tight defenses.

The major stumbling block was Sachin Tendulkar who defended stoutly, building extended partnerships with Gambhir and Laxman to take the wind out of Australia’s sails.

By tea, the match seemed headed for a draw and Ponting acknowledged this fact by bowling Clarke and White in tandem for most of the last session, only throwing the ball to his faster more accomplished bowlers after White claimed the wicket of Tendulkar and briefly again, in one last futile jab at victory, shortly after the first interruption for bad light.

With the second Test due to start in the Punjab on Thursday Ponting mostly rested his pace quartet during the second half of the day and considering their workload and the state of the match, it was probably the correct decision.

India would be pleased to escape with the series still level and if it wasn’t for the enterprising and pugnacious eighth wicket partnership on the third afternoon the result may have been different.

Considering Australia only need to draw the series to retain the coveted Border Gavaskar Trophy they won’t be too disappointed about not bowling India out on the fifth day. It was always going to be difficult when the pitch didn’t misbehave as promoted. In fact, the turf seemed little changed from the third afternoon onwards after deteriorating markedly from the beginning of the match.

Although not winning, Australia gained plenty from the match. They have another five days tough cricket in India under their belts, their part time spin twins bowled plenty of overs, Ponting discovered the technique to succeed in sub-continental conditions, all the bowlers took wickets, and the three middle order rookies made telling contributions.

The Australians will be an improved outfit in Mohali in three days and after controlling most of this match, a confident one as well. On the other hand, India have some work to do and very little time to arrest their weaknesses.

They will need more resolute application at the top of the order, an extreme improvement in fielding attitude and technique, as well as a far better performance from their famous spinners.

It will probably surprise some to know that during this match the Indian slow bowlers took an equal amount of wickets and leaked more runs per over than their Australian casual counterparts. Either Harbhajan and Kumble bowled poorly or the Australian pair are up to the task. I’ll let you be the judge.

Tomorrow: The Tooting Trumpet returns with a story of sore feet and enormous heart.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Harbhajan was poor and Kumble dismal.

    Lee, Clark and Johnson bowled only 52% of the Aus overs in the match – no wonder Aus couldn’t get twenty wickets! Punter is playing a dangerous game if he thinks he can be within a wicket of an out of form Dhoni and then, despite their spirited showing in the first dig, four tailenders and hold back his trump cards for Mohali.

    You’re right to think that both sides take something away from the match – Aus showed well and were “ahead” for most of the five days; Ind showed spirit, look difficult to bowl out twice and have a penetrative pair of seamers in Zaheer and Ishant.

  2. Ponting saw the writing on the wall and decided to keep his powder dry for the next Test.

    I’d call that mature captaincy in this era of back to back matches especially in the knowledge that Stu Clark isn’t fully fit and Brett Lee is returning after a long emotional lay-off.

    If I was an Indian I’d find their happiness with the result slightly disturbing. Apart from Ishant, Zaheer and and a relaxed Ganguly, no player looked in great touch.

    It’s seems they would rather believe the hype than have a good hard look in the mirror.

    I’ve no idea about the pitch in Mohali but if Ponting can win the toss I think Australia will have learnt enough from this match to push through for a win and almost certainly retain the trophy.

  3. I suspect the abundance of overs afforded to Clarke and White were more due to fading light than Ponting holding back the trump cards.

  4. We really want to bat first in Mohali.

    The experience from this match will be invaluable for the remainder of the tour, with our Pakistan tour cancelled and just one tour match we were really underdone. I’m surprised he didn’t give Katich a few overs, perhaps wants to keep him a surprise.

    Of course we could just draw the next three matches and still retain the trophy!

  5. Oh, is it too late to get Symonds over for the third test? His medium pacers and off spin would have been more than handy options, plus he seems to have hit a spot of form for the New Texas Bulls.

  6. Moses said

    I suspect the abundance of overs afforded to Clarke and White were more due to fading light than Ponting holding back the trump cards.

    ————————————————————————-

    I would have thought that in the past Mo but after The Ashes in 2005, where light was again problematic to results, I investigated the rules and apparently the speed of the bowler is supposed to be irrelevant when the umpires make these decisions.

    It’s no longer about danger to the batsman’s limbs, they have plenty of protection, but about a danger to their wickets.

    Indirectly Shane Warne was the agent for the change in interpretation.

    Late in the day batsmen complained they couldn’t pick him because of the light. Complete bullshit, I know, but the ICC works in mysterious, some would say, nebulous, ways.

    It rips off the spectators and since the match is played over five days and the series over twenty both teams will eventually have to deal with a bit of dull light.

    It should be part of the dynamic of Test cricket like worn pitches on the last day and rough umpiring decisions. The captains may be mighty but even they cannot control the skies!

  7. Symonds will be lucky to ever wear his BaggyGreen on the field again. Of course, he can still wear it when mowing the lawn.

    I wish he was there but he seems destined to go the same way as Mo’ Matthews and Dean Jones. His career cut short because the coat holders couldn’t control him.

    Hopefully, we won’t lose the series but if we do, every Australian should blame the administrators for being gutless power hungry skirts.

  8. That is interesting. I suppose Warney did take a lot of wickets late in the day, but then again he took a lot of wickets in the morning as well.

    Any thoughts on why the Indians didn’t turn on the lights, apart from it not being in their interest?

    Oh, and any thoughts on the outside the line law?

  9. Concerning the lights I think an agreement needs to be made before the series.

    I know Toots reckons it doesn’t help and perhaps even hinders the batsmen but I’ll allow him to extrapolate when he rises later on from his warm bed in London.

  10. it doesn’t help and perhaps even hinders the batsmen

    Oh, I don’t give a rats about the batsmen, it’s the light meters that concern me…

  11. Rudi was checking his meter with such regularity yesterday that I thought it was another device and he was text flirting with his Indian mistress!

  12. Moses, plonking your bat down behind your pad is not playing a shot, and I’ve seen players given out LBW when doing so (off-hand, I can only think of Tim May against South Africa in 1994, but I hope there’s a more recent example…).

    Nesta, Law 3 is a bit weird. The light (and state of the ground etc.) is either a) suitable, b) unsuitable, or c) unreasonable or dangerous.

    In the case of c) the players go off immediately, and the umpires would take into account the speed of the bowler. In the case of b) it’s up to the batsmen, and the speed of the bowler is unimportant.

    So if the batsmen want to go off for light, they can do so as soon as the light becomes “unsuitable”. If the fielding side wants to go off, they bring on their pacemen and hope that what would be unsuitable with a spinner on becomes dangerous with a quick bowler.

  13. I don’t see any particular reason why we would want to bat first in Mohali. I expect it to be a high-scoring draw, but of the three results there, two have come from the side batting second. And one of the draws had India skittled for 83 on day 1 before making 550 in the second innings.

  14. Dave,

    I’d take a high scoring draw with two to go. I do think, however, that if Australia can win just one Test they’ll bring home the trophy.

    Thanks for a fuller explanation of the laws. The ambiguity of them will always cause consternation and controversy.

    The ‘unreasonable’ bit in c) is the recent amendment and while I can understand what dangerous is, unreasonable is way too subjective a term for my liking.

  15. Yet there is no set limit for bad light despite the emergence of accurate light meters. It seems each match the umpires have to rediscover the limits at which they’ll offer the light.

    Why can’t they do some testing in various light conditions with a standard meter and set a level that is consistent across all tests in all countries. They could set a level, and when the light drops below this amount then it is offered to the batsmen. The could, if they deem it necessary, set a secondary level at which point it is offered to the fielding captain.

    The ICC could even have a bunch of light meters made up with these two thresholds built into them and when it’s time to go a light could come on.

    And finally, Cricket World Cup Final, 2007. That is all.

  16. It must have happened more recently than 1994, even still I’d rather see it as the norm rather than the exception – had Ganguly escaped that example he should consider himself lucky rather than crafty.

  17. Your light meter suggestion makes perfect sense to a layman like me Moses but I would enjoy David’s opinion on that proposal considering, I presume, that he would know far more about the nature and dynamics of light than most.

  18. Considering Australia won the toss, and batted in the best of conditions, had five operational bowlers compared to India’s three, and were in positions of strength on more occasions than India, I am at a loss to see why India should not be pleased with the result.

  19. Stuart Clark was carrying an elbow injury, while Michael Clarke and Cameron White are batting all rounders (Clarke only against India!), and Watson a bowling all rounder.

    India conversely had Khan, Sharma, Singh, Kumble (may have been injured but still bowled 51 overs!) and Sehwag who provided a similar role to Michael Clarke.

    India also batted in favourable conditions, yet the top 7 batsmen combined for just 186 runs, this after most of them got starts.

  20. Thanks for popping in Sameer, your comments are appreciated and respected.

    I could probably write a couple of articles on why India should be less than pleased about their performance but for brevity I’ll state the obvious.

    In these days of fly in fly out jaunty tours with little time to acclimatise a winning first Test performance by the home side is very important. It’s an opportunity to crack open the series while the visitors are still settling in.

    India missed that chance and will undoubtedly encounter a better prepared Australian team in the next Test.

    There are other aspects of the Indian performance which should concern, some included in the article, and others not mentioned like leadership, certain individual’s poor form and the lack of unity both on and off the field.

  21. My guess is that fixing lux values would make life easier and avoid ambiguity (as I understand it, the umpires don’t even look at the light meters until they’ve decided that the light’s unsuitable; when they decide this, they look at the meter to get the reference to be used for the rest of the match).

    But I’m not sure. eg, a ground without a good sightscreen would get dangerous faster than a ground with a good sightscreen.

    It would be interesting to know what lux values the umpires actually use in practice.

  22. You learn something new every day at 99.94.

    I always thought lux was a brand of washing powder.

    Thanks David.

    The curious can find a definition of lux at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lux

  23. I’d also say that I’d like some leeway when it comes to bad light. eg, Pakistan v England around 2000 or so, England chasing a target late on day 5, light getting a bit dim.

    Pakistan deliberately slow the over-rate down in the hope that the light will get too bad for play. It got very dark, probably dark enough so that on any other day, the umpires would have taken the players off. But the umpires knew what Pakistan were doing, and ignored the Pakistani captain saying that his fielders couldn’t see the ball, etc.

    And England went on to win.

  24. Good example there David, I’m surprised the PCB haven’t had the umpire disbarred and the result overturned for this abomination of the bad light policy…

  25. thanks nestaquin for the welcome! I have read this blog in the past and find it well written and mostly fair.

    Its easy to write articles stating your point of view, if i was a better writer i might have written one too.

    Australia had decent preparations for this tour, getting a full game against the board eleven plus one more game I think. And many of their players are no strangers to Indian conditions.

    India has a history of starting series badly, this one was no exception. If anything India is at its most vulnerable then, and Australia were in great position to make it count, having won the toss.

    As you yourself mentioned, none of our top order had a decent stint, unlike Australia, where Ponting and Hussey contributed big. This is bound to change.

    The other points you mentioned I completely agree with, including Kumble’s form as a bowler and as a captain. You could not have expected a more insipid performance from him than in this match. And yet the score remains 0-0.

  26. In England we have had a summer of bad light, and, while everyone complains, few appear to have any solutions. On lights, there is a widely accepted, but never explained, view that in the twilight or under low cloud cover, the lights don’t really help. The feeling is that the lights work best against a dark sky not a dull sky.

    But it is also clear from T20, that fair cricket (with a white ball) is playable in all but darkness and on grounds that are wet – as with any game of cricket, players need to adapt to the environment in which they find themselves.

    I suspect the real reason is that very few grounds have permanent lighting and turning them on would be an advantage to some counties and not others.

    I’d just amend the rule to read, “When the umpires consider conditions to endanger the players, they should suspend play and return as soon as possible within playing hours”

  27. If the Australians could not win this game, then sadly, I don’t see them winning a game for the rest of the tour.

  28. agreed, the Indians played pretty much the perfect Test, were just unlucky with the toss.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: