Posted by: nestaquin | October 18, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy Second Test Day One Stumps

Surprisingly, on a day when runs were easy and chances few, it was the Australians that left the arena smiling at stumps while the Indians appeared a touch rueful after their day’s cricket.

The hosts had everything in their favour after new captain MS Dhoni called correctly at the toss and decided to bat on a flat, lifeless strip with a lightening fast outfield and small playing area that allowed players to hit confidently through the line and gain full value for their shots.

Additionally, the opposition’s bowling stocks were decimated after first choice bowlers Bryce McGain and Stuart Clark suffered injuries leaving only Lee and Johnson with any real experience of Test match cricket.

Even with these advantages India were not good enough to put Australia away and at the start of Day Two it will be the home team that need to produce if they are to pressure Australia into a loss for you can be certain that the visiting batsmen will put their heads down, build partnerships and not throw their wickets away carelessly.

Sehwag and Gambhir enjoyed the early conditions and inconsistent bowling of Lee and Siddle, lashing the new ball mercilessly in the first hour and even Rahul Dravid played with purpose after Sehwag’s demise to Johnson shortly after the first drinks break.

After a comfortable lunch, India were sent reeling soon after, losing three wickets for 17 runs when Lee and Johnson combined dismissing first Dravid, then Gambhir and finally Laxman with deliveries that did nothing except bounce truly.

Every batsman enjoyed enough time at the crease to get a start and yet none scored a century and all were to blame to some extent for the loss of their wickets. The lack of application by India’s batsmen, Sourav Ganguly excepted, is alarming and it is the primary reason why they have failed to win their last three Test series.

Only the most fanatical and optimistic Indian would laud Day One at Mohali a success unless they would prefer to ignore the match and focus instead on the accumulative individual records that were created by Sachin Tendulkar.

The Little Master overtook Brian Lara’s all time Test run scoring record, passed 12000 Test runs and scored his 50th half century during his stay and while all worthy achievements, the fanfare that followed his breaking of the Lara record from a glide through gully off the first ball after tea was fanciful for it’s crudity and clumsiness.

Hundreds of fireworks were ignited in bright sunshine and the effect was an extended cacophony of loud bangs and a large plume of smoke but I assume that the bussed in school children, the thousands of grim, turbaned police and the smattering of paying spectators enjoyed the ten minute delay in play immediately following the twenty minute tea adjournment.

While Tendulkar did have a day to remember, he might want to forget his dismissal ten minutes before close when on 88. After hitting debutant Peter Siddle for consecutive fours he went to the well one time too many and edged the next ball to Matthew Hayden at first slip who grasped a sharp low catch.

If he would have survived till stumps I can assure you that the Australians would not have been backslapping and joking as they entered the dressing room after play. For the most experienced player on the ground it was a reckless error and it could conceivably cost India their chance of going one up in what is developing into a very tight series where neither side appears to have the ability to deliver the knockout blow.

Tomorrow: More insight and reflection from the Punjab.


  1. Pretty painful reading all this Nesta, but I’m hard pressed to disagree with it.

  2. The score might be slightly better than it looks, but India must make the most of winning the toss by batting until tea at least.

  3. Nicely written nesta, Anything under 375 and the Aussies would count them selves as having done well.

    Par on this pitch with the situation as it is would be around 450.

    Another good day ahead!

  4. Thanks Damith,

    Perhaps it’s because Australians have very high standards but I would think 500 is needed by India to put Australia under pressure.

    However, if India can do what Australia couldn’t, that is make the ball swing, then 425 will be a very defendable score.

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