Posted by: nestaquin | October 17, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy: Second Test Preview

Back to back Tests matches are tortuous affairs for bowlers. It is akin to asking an elite athlete to run two marathons in a week. Sure, they can compete and complete the journey but they are rarely in better physical shape the second time round and thoroughly exhausted afterward.

Any niggles or strains are exacerbated and it is for this reason above any other that much depends on the toss at Mohali. Batting first and batting well enables a team to give their bowlers an extended rest which is obviously advantageous to the cause. No guarantee of a positive result, but preferable and propitious nonetheless.

Back to back Tests aren’t immediately fascinating for discerning spectators either. While still savouring and pondering the contortions of one match suddenly you are recklessly in the midst of another before you can surrender the mind to the last.

For some, who lurch from moment to moment insatiably craving entertainment in a maddening, fruitless attempt to not peer within, this may satisfy, but others view time like holding a handful of sand. The tighter you grasp it, the faster it runs through your fingers but if you caress it, it will leave in its wake memories of its gentle flow rather than the coarse granularity of its stones.

Attempting to leave my disdain for impetuosity aside for a moment, reports suggest that Stuart Clark has failed his fitness test and that 23 year old Peter Siddle will debut.

The Victorian, who has only a dozen First Class games under his reconstructed wing, was brought on the tour basically as a net bowler with a view to blooding him for the future. Something Australia has done with some success and one horrible failure on previous overseas tours.

Suffice to say, he was not expected to play a Test and the selectors, and consequently the team, may pay a high price for not choosing the very best 15 to tour. Australia’s only losing series in 26 contested was in 2005 and a similar situation occurred when Glenn McGrath was hastily replaced with an overawed and wholly inexperienced Shaun Tait.

With Nathan Bracken, Ashley Noffke and a fit Ben Hilfenhaus playing State matches this weekend it is as if history is repeating.

Unquestionably, Siddle will give everything for his country, team and legendary cap and perhaps even set himself up for the approaching summer and beyond but with Australia’s bowling stocks in India already low it will be an enormous task to dominate.

Considering Stuart Clark’s absence I think that if India win the toss and bat they will be very hard to defeat, especially if Kumble is rested and the flamboyant MS Dhoni leads.

Tomorrow: A review of all the key moments of the first day’s play at Mohali.

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Responses

  1. In a weird way, Peter Siddle is more likely than Noffke, bracken and Hilfy to take wickets in India.

    He is very suited to these sorts of wickest.

  2. Experience really counts on the sub-continent as does patience (which is much the same thing). Punter and Hussey showed that with the bat and Zaheer showed it with the ball in the First Test. That Aus have left Noffke and Bracken at home is extraordinary – if Bracken had delivered anything like his standard in the Champions Trophy (had it gone ahead of course) surely he would have been retained for the Test series over the border?

    Siddle may be the next McGrath (and I don’t want to damn him without giving the lad a chance) but I can’t remember a less threatening Aus attack since Packer, and even then the ACB XI had Rodney Hogg who was very good indeed.

  3. Best odds in England

    Draw 5/4
    Ind 12/5
    Aus 5/2

    So they’re calling it an even match.

    Frankly, India should be 11/10 and Aus 5/1. For Aus to win with this attack would be an all-time great achievement.

  4. Toots is an expert in reading the odds, and who am I to argue? However Aussies know how to dig deep and I don’t feel that MS is on form at the moment.

    He is class and that is permanent, but there are wobbles.

    I know nothing about Siddle, but I think Cam White is out to prove his selection was no injury-ridden decision.

    So Punter’s boys to win is my bet.

  5. Nesta, any idea what Doug Bollinger’s done wrong? No-one seems to be talking about him any more.

  6. I’m talking about Doug!

    No idea what he’s done wrong, maybe Punter is threatened by his hair?

  7. Here’s to Anil being fit and Rick winning the toss..

  8. I wouldn’t be so apprehensive if Siddle replaced Brett Lee because they are similar types. Both quick that like to bowl full.

    However, I’m struggling to see any bowler that can contain the batsman while continuing to give him a thorough test of technique and patience.

    It’s been a long time since we haven’t had a clever back of the length bowler in the team – McGrath debuted in ’93 – and although the Indians have problems too, this is the least confident I’ve been about a winning a Test since petrol broke the 50 cent barrier.

    Despite my fears, we love a woodchopper in Tassie and I hope he takes five in each innings and pressures Brett Lee into a permanent role as a ODI specialist.

  9. Sizzle did not really impress that much in the warm up game. But I hope he can put that right. A good performance will give Australia all kinds of right problems when it comes to picking the quicks. They might not even go for a spinner if Siddle gets his act together in the 3rd test.

    Im with Moses, Bollinger got a roughie nesta.

  10. Can David Foster bowl?.. that would be a sight to behold..

  11. I’ve been trying to make sense of Siddle over Bollinger and the only solution I can create is that Andrew Hilditch is the tour selector. Add the eccentric G.Chappell to the mix and you can begin to understand the nonsense.

    Hilditch, known in my parts by the title, The Solicitor, is primarily a selector because he keeps the meeting minutes neat and up to date, thereby ensuring his tenure as the coat holders at Cricket Australia love his work.

    He isn’t usually allowed to make cricket decisions! That’s left to Boon and Merv. The Apprentice, Jamie Cox knows his place and just agrees with whatever the Mo Mafia suggest.

    Australia’s new defacto coach G.Chappell doesn’t have the greatest coaching record and why he is even in the dressing room and given a voice at meetings is beyond my reckoning.

    My only explanation is that Nielsen adds nothing to the side and that because he is under contract and a good bloke they decided to replace him while he was in the job. After all, someone’s got to feed the bowling machine!

    I never thought it would come to this but I’m starting to miss The Professor.

  12. Mo,

    Big Dave bowls leggies off no steps. Like a giant Warnie. But his real prowess is with the bat. He carves one with deft axe the night before each match and with it in hand smashes anything loose into the carpark.

    It’s a poorly kept secret in Tassie that Boonie is his twin and they were separated at birth.

    Another story is that they were created in a Tasmanian eugenics experiment but we won’t go into that here!

  13. Sounds like an Aussie version of Dwayne Leverock.

    I’ve been wanting to bring up David Foster in conversation ever since I read about him in Nosedog’s top aussie guide:

    David Foster is a top Aussie. He is a World Champion woodchopper from Tasmania. Foster was won so many woodchopping events that some people reckon he’s the most successful sportsman in history, which sounds about right because he’s an Aussie. In fact, if you put all of his woodchopping medals together in a pile, it would make a bloody big pile.

    David’s success as a woodchopper is partly due to his technique, partly due to his equipment, but mostly due to the fact that he is a huge massive tank of a man who could proabably drink a whole keg without getting a shine. His facial hair is also in compliance with Tasmanian moustache legislation, which states that all men must endeavour to look like Boonie. David Foster is a top Aussie.

  14. Big Dave Foster also raises plenty of cash for sick kiddies when he isn’t swinging the axe. A top Aussie through and through.

    His son is just as big and he’s following in his old man’s footsteps winning medals all over the world.

    Growing up in Sydney my favourite part of the Easter Show was the woodchopping. It never failed to entertain!

  15. The nightmare scenario has emerged.

    No Kumble instead a bloke called Mishra who has taken over 300 First Class wickets at 24.91.

    Dhoni will captain, won the toss and decided to bat.

    A steep uphill task for the Aussies. India should be rejoicing!

  16. and Siddle opening the bowling? WTF!!

    To his credit it sounds like he’s had some chances, but surely Johnson would be the senior option.

    And don’t say it’s cause he’s a new ball bowler cause Ponting only gave Tait one over before lunch in Perth..

  17. He sconed Ghambir with his first ball which was an impressive start to an international career. Bounced Sehwag first up to. Unfortunately, it looks his best delivery.

    The pitch is very flat and hard, the outfield slick, the ground small. After losing the toss the best Australia can hope for even at this early stage is a draw.

    30/0 (5)

  18. This is looking like pain personified. India are on track for 350… that is if they were playing a ODI they’d be looking at 350!

  19. It’s hard to swallow and if Sehwag prevails they will be that many by tea.

    52/0 (9)

  20. a maiden would be nice… sounds like a batsman’s paradise out there…

  21. Australia’s biggest problem is the inability to contain the batsman through finding a consistent length. The exact job Stu Clark provides. Perhaps Watson can do the job. We’ll find out in the next hour.

    Drinks 63/0 (13)

  22. Watson only went for 7 off his first over, so better than Lee (10), Johnson (9) and the same as Siddle…

  23. Johnson to Sehwag, OUT, Johnson had set him up the previous ball and now he has his reward, he bangs it in short of a length down the leg side again, Sehwag this time shuffles and tries to nudge it down the leg side, there was a sound before the ball reached Haddin, he was confident, Koertzen was convinced. I need to see a replay of that

  24. Dravid should slow down the scoring rate for us…

  25. Very lucky for Australia. Haddin took a fine catch. Justice really. Sehwag should have run two off the final ball of the last over but decided to hog the strike instead.

    70/1 (14.2)

  26. I doubt if this is the batting paradise it is being made out to be. Remember that the groundsman has not had enough time to prepare it because of unseasonal rains.

    My take on the wicket is that because of the grass and the little moisture on the wicket, it will bind. And with the new ball on day 1, it will come nicely on to the bat..

    Once the ball gets soft, run making will get more difficult and if the weather does not intervene, I actually expect the top to go by Day 3.

    There wont be cracks, but the ball is going to grip the surface more as the match progresses.

    Cheers,

  27. Thanks for the insight Homer, no doubt spin will be a weapon in the second innings.

    On another topic, news has filtered through that Phil Jaques is returning to Sydney immediately for urgent treatment for a recurring back injury.

    His obvious replacement would be Shaun Marsh but Brad Hodge may be a chance too.

    More on those developments after stumps.

    Lunch 104/1 (25)

  28. Johnson and Lee doing magnificent work, but you kind of knew they would. It’s the others who have to step up and take wickets now. Surely the series will turn on the Aussie support bowling’s ability to take wickets or not. If they can’t, it’s 1-0 or 2-0 isn’t it?

  29. So what do people think of Greg Chappell’s role with the Australian side. He was one of my absolute batting heroes. And I guess he has a decent understanding of Indian players and conditions. But his record in coaching leaves a lot to be desired.

  30. Conditions are so conducive to batting that the Indians have been lulled into a false sense of security and Australia have taken their chances well.

    Considering the pitch, weather and outfield a par first innings score should be 550-600 and to have lost four wickets by tea and lose 73/3 in a session is a terrible indictment on India’s ability to knuckle down.

    They still have a chance but they should have put this Test beyond Australia today and instead Ponting and his men are on top and in front.

    If conditions are similar when Australia bats I guarantee that they will value their wickets and put a very good score on the card.

    Tea 174/4 (51)

  31. Pete,

    I wrote somewhere above about why he is with the Australian team.

    I find it worrying to be honest because he is an aloof, fractious character who finds it very difficult to admit he is wrong even when the evidence suggests otherwise.

    Obviously, Ponting has him there for a reason and so far so good but Greg rarely ends his relationships amicably.

  32. Toots,

    Australia’s batting is so strong and runs so deep that the likely results are 0-0, 1-0, 0-1 or 1-1. I can’t imagine a situation in this series where Australia would lose 2-0. India will struggle to bowl them out just as Australia will struggle to bowl India out.

    Of course anything can happen and we’ll all need to be patient and see what eventuates.

  33. Nesta – I’m yet to see much, but I doubt that fifth day batting will be straightforward. I’d have 480 as par and if India get above 400, Aus will have to bat well (although they should) to secure the draw or win on the fifth day.

  34. A win hasn’t crossed my mind as yet and India will have to bat pretty poorly not to get 400. The pitch on offer today makes the Adelaide Oval look like a minefield. Combine that with a tiny ground and slick outfield and the only way to dismiss a batsman is to be patient and wait for an error.

    Drinks 236/4 (65)

    First over back Ganguly is stumped and Rudi doesn’t call for the replay. Sourav better cash in on that piece of fortune.

  35. The spreads have India big favourites, but I’d have called that a pretty even day.


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