Posted by: nestaquin | October 18, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy Second Test Day Two Preview

Assuming that the perfect batting conditions continue at Mohali today, India will need Sourav Ganguly to continue with his patient innings, playing an anchor type role initially for the attacking MS Dhoni and then taking charge in building valuable partnerships with the tail.

The way the retiring former Indian captain has played this Test series is highly commendable. Setting the example for his less cerebral team mates he has prized his wicket and played within himself and if he continues in this vein for the remainder of Border Gavaskar Trophy the selectors, the same people that were ready to discard him, may be begging him to continue for he is at this stage of the series India’s most reliable batsman.

With over 300 Indian runs in the bank and a true surface, the stage is set for MS Dhoni to do what Gilchrist did many times for the opposition. Attack the bowlers and physically and mentally destroy them in a session. He enjoys the captaincy and in his debut match as leader expect something special from the man with the Midas touch.

His decision last night to delay his innings and send out Ishant Sharma as nightwatchman, one of the many benefits of captaincy, proved sound and the tall fast bowler, who passed 100 Test runs yesterday has the opportunity to annoy Australia to distraction if he can hang around and blunt the new ball with Ganguly for the first hour.

Unless India keep Australia in the field until tea or beyond it is doubtful that the Australians will be overawed by the task ahead of them with the willow. They are a professional unit and despite the shallowness of the bowling attack, the batting line-up is deep, committed and powerful.

Most of the batsman will be licking their lips at the opportunity of plying their trade on such a belter and if the hosts don’t remove Matthew Hayden early he will surely dominate. The short boundaries, quick outfield and reliable surface with ball coming onto the bat are just the sort conditions where the burly Queenslander excels.  Ditto for Ponting.

After losing the toss the Australian plan will be simple. Constrict the Indians by setting defensive fields and when it is their turn to bat, value their wickets and keep India on the paddock for as long as possible.

Unless something truly remarkable happens, it would appear we are in for a long day of Test match cricket where bat will dominate ball throughout.

Later: A wrap of the day’s proceedings.



  1. I’ve always been of the opinion that a pitch should be as true as possible for three days, only then giving something to the bowlers (and not much). In recent years, Lord’s has started true and stayed true, and been criticised for that. I’m more inclined to criticise the bowlers and captains for not thinking their way to wickets – that is the heart of Test cricket.

    This Siddle reminds me of Craig McDermott. They’ve just shown Hayden’s catch from last night – what an effort late in the day.

  2. And by going round the wicket and bowling short, Siddle has just done that thinking and been rewarded. Well done to him and to Punter.

  3. I also like a good batting surface Toots but I prefer something for the bowlers in the first session Day One. A few early wickets always sets up a good match.

    Without Warne and McGrath, on wickets with virtually nothing in it for the bowlers, Australia will come back to the field a bit for the foreseeable future. But because of their batting they’ll still be hard to defeat.

    With no spinner and competent bats, juicier pitches are much more preferable for the BaggyGreen machine although if Bryce Mcgain can regain fitness that might change for he is a fine wrist spinner and very good if you compare him to mere mortals and not Warne.

    Sharma gone. Well done to the new McDermott (a very good comparison Toots). Set him up with lots of short ones.

    Dhoni in. Whatever happens an entertaining period awaits.

    326/6 (90)

  4. Shot a ball from Dhoni so far – can’t see that lasting.

    Yes – a hour on the first morning for the bowlers is fair enough.

  5. Siddle has outbowled Lee comprehensively this morning, which speaks volumes about the young man. Ishant should watch with interest and may be a handful on this pitch if Punter and Hussey ever get out..

  6. Australia are bowling short and it’s a good tactic with the hard ball. With the pitch so true the batsmen can hit through the line too easily. This way they can use the full one as a weapon by forcing the batsmen on the backfoot.

    Lots of thinking early on Toots.

  7. Siddle outbowled Lee yesterday too.

    I think I wrote about it earlier but Siddle is in competition for Lee’s place. Brett may be relegated to ODI’s only – where he is very good – if he doesn’t produce this southern summer.

  8. Yes Nesta – I was surprised to read that Lee’s Test spot would be threatened, but I can see that now. Punter didn’t waste last night’s team meeting then!

    Brendon Julien has just come on commentary and rubbished the short stuff. That’s not fair. Dhoni has been roughed up and was hooking as soon as he got to the crease which has to be a risk on a pitch where a century is there for a batsman who balances risk with endeavour appropriately.

  9. The tactic was worth a try as you say and there were a few false shots. Brendan appears on a travel show in Oz and rarely gets near a mike at the cricket!

    I’m pleased to see Johnson on after drinks.

    I can’t get the idea out of my head that Hayden will be at his bullying best if gets set on this pitch.

    372/6 (100)

  10. Watson looks like the Bad Harmison, always with a knock when the going is tough. His first over was embarassingly bad in a way that Harmison can be. Punter himself was a a better bowler before his back stopped him.

  11. I’ve been really impressed with Ganguly this series. He really has kept his head and done a perfect job for his team.

    I’d like Watson taken out of the attack at the moment and take the risk of a few sixes and put White on. A wicket could open it up before lunch.

  12. I agree with you on both counts.

    Ganguly has had a bit of luck, but it’s what you do with it that matters.

    Bringing White on for Watson makes sense, but if Watson doesn’t bowl when the ball has a bit of hardness and a seam, when does he? Which is to reach the conclusion that Watson is a batsman and his bowling almost incidental – what surprises me is that he doesn’t seem to have any variation – both Waughs had a lot more to their bowling.

    White on now – Watson needs some runs or Clark will replace him for sure.

  13. More likely Symonds will replace Watson when he gets home.

    Unless down 0-1 in the series Australia will play 6 batsmen no question.

    Just heard that McGain is now ruled out for the whole summer.

    It’s hard to be too critical of bowlers on this track. It is, as we say down my way, a road. And considering the pressure Test cricket is under outside our respective countries, a poor advertisement for the game.

    I may be being slightly presumptuous considering both sides haven’t had an innings but to get a result on this playing surface you’d need a timeless Test.

  14. Good batting by Dhoni (45*) and Ganguly (91*).

    Australia did little wrong in the field.

    Look for some aggressive batting after lunch. India are going to need as much time as possible if they are to win.

    Lunch 401/6 (111)

  15. Dhoni and his bowlers will have to make something happen. The disparity in experience between the Aus bowlers and the Indian batsmen means that we’ll have to see how the Indians bowl, although the same disparity is there!

    Can’t help feeling sorry for McGain – all that waiting and then injury.

  16. Thanks Toots. Catch up when play resumes. It’s stinking hot here and I’m off to the beach to cool down. Cheers Mate.

  17. You won’t be surprised to learn that it’s not stinking hot here – and it’s coffee not beer!

  18. Ganguly and Dhoni are batting very well. But this Aus bowling…? With Lee out of sorts and Johnson fading too quickly again, it looks like a county attack I’m afraid (and with White and Watson on, not even that).

  19. Ganguly looked a bit tired, but well done to Cameron White for tempting him with a wide one. I might have wanted to get to 460 before giving it the charge.

  20. Shocking shot from Harbhajan, but well done again to Cam White for hitting the stumps. That might be a little bit of a worry for the Aus batsmen come the fourth dig.

  21. Just returned salty and fresh and am yet to see the wickets. Glad to see two wickets have fallen. Great innings by Dhoni and plenty more boundaries to come I reckon from the skipper.

  22. India are just throwing wickets away here. Stupid and selfish cricket from Dhoni to run out Zaheer.

  23. I thought Zaheer was asleep and didn’t seem to realise what was happening. Ponting just brought up mid off and mid on after two big boundaries in that area knowing exactly what Dhoni would try.

    Dhoni OUT! 92.

    Some stupid cricket by India. Really dumb stuff.

    They only scored 40 more than Australia did in Bangalore and that pitch was far more difficult.

  24. Pathetic cricket at the end from Dhoni. Poor decision (not diffficult to get full toss LBWs right) but why give the umpire the chance? Siddle has been magnificent.

  25. Toots I just did some maths and our county attack took 158/5 today on a featherbed. Not bad for a bunch of pie chuckers!

  26. Zaheer wasn’t clever, but he was probably thinking about the trap and thinking that Dhoni wouldn’t fall into it.

    Aus might need to make 600 to put India under pressure. Mustn’t lose Punter and Hussey by the close.

    The spreads are 430 – 450, which might allow India to Sehwag their way to a lead of 350 on the last day. Aus might be advised not to score too quickly

  27. They’ll be doing it without Hayden. Shaun Marsh can’t get on the plane quick enough.

  28. Nesta – Siddle is a good ‘un. White showed some ticker. But yes – decent effort from the pie chuckers, helped by brainless cricket under no pressure other than a personal milestone.

    Hayden undone by a bit of poor technique – is this the beginning of the end? I guess he gets at least the rest of the series with Jaques at home.

    Punter’s wicket is huge now.

  29. You can forgive a bloke going before he has faced a dozen balls, however, if they get a start and get out that’s different.

    Not everyone is going to get runs but you are right, if they take Ponting before tea Australia will have a huge task to get out of trouble.

    Still looks good for batting and you would expect Australia to take few risks and grind out a decent score.

    If they bat for four sessions or more it doesn’t leave much time for a result.

    It’s good for the match that Australia are one down early. Exactly as they were in Bangalore.

  30. Spare a thought for Ponting.

    He’s just spent near on five sessions in the field trying to work out fields and bowling changes in an effort to find a wicket on a flat, flat track and before he can even draw breath he is back out there.

    Very tough mentally and it will be a Herculean effort to be still there at stumps.

  31. I do spare a thought for Punter, especially as he’s getting used to not having McGrath and Warne to toss the ball to. Maybe Hussey should walk out at 3?

    Of course, the captain under mental pressure is a benefit of 450+ on the board. If anyone can deal with it, he can.

  32. well.. at least Mattie can get back to the dressing sheds and whip up some samoosas to go with drinkies before dinner.. oh dear.

    OH DEAR!!!!!… Mattie Mattie Mattie.

  33. I reckon he’d probably smash a few plates and kick a few cupboards first Pepp.

    With batting conditions almost perfect Hayden would be very disappointed at missing out. He hasn’t many chances left I’d say. Competition is fierce for the opening spots at the moment.

  34. Nesta, you were right about the mental challenge for Punter, but that is magnificent bowling by Ishant, perfect line and length – twice! This kid is the real deal all right.

  35. He was out both times!

    India now have a great chance to push for the win although Australia do bat themselves out of trouble regularly.

    Saying that, they do look very shaky at the moment and it wouldn’t surprise to see another wicket or two or three go before stumps.

  36. Whoever coached Ishant knew about the mechanics of pace bowling – at the crease, he is perfect. If he fills out to Siddle’s strength, he’ll be 10kmh quicker and a frightening sight.

  37. When I first saw Ishant in Sydney last year I was reminded of the young Curtly Ambrose.

    Ishant is much better at the same age and if he turns out anywhere near as good as the big West Indian he’ll cause batsmen trouble the world over for many years to come.

    India have some fantastic young batsmen too but they are currently relegated to only playing ODIs and T20.

    Rohit Sharma is one example. A class bat with all the shots and a calm temperment. I was relieved when he wasn’t selected.

  38. I like Rohit Sharma too. The young guns time will come.

    Ishant reminds me of Jason Gillespie – either one of those two are decent role models!

  39. Ishant reminds me of Gillespie when he bats!

    Zaheer is bowling the spell of the match at the moment.

    Mishra might cause trouble as no AU bat has seen much of him.

    46/2 (17)

  40. This leg spinner looks handy – where did he come from?

  41. I recall Ishant at Melbourne, nesta. he looked lost and awed, didnt get a wicket at all, but by god he looked like he would be trouble and trouble he is indeed. I have concern about his endurance, but this is based on mere observation , no substance at all to it. I want him around in 10 years, even 15. He is a walking wicket with the bat, but that is fixable.

    oh DEAR oh DEAR oh DEAR.. hehe. Test cricket can break the heart and addle the mind, but is there anything better?

  42. Know very little about the leggie but he has over 300 wickets at under 25 in First Class cricket and he is picked in front of Chalwa so he must be doing something right.

    And you are right Pepp, for some reason mothers all over the continent took Ishant into their hearts even though he was from the opposition. I’ve never heard him speak and know nothing of his life off the pitch but he comes across as humble, polite and never gives up and Australians admire those qualities in any sportsman no matter where they are from.

    54/2 (20)

  43. Tooting,

    Mishra made his ODI debut against BD in 2002-03.. Then he went off the radar for a while but has worked on his bowling in domestic cricket..


  44. plays for Haryana in the Ranji Trophy.. Is a Delhi boy but never could break into the Delhi team. Plays for Delhi in the IPL.

    Has 9 50’s so is handy with the bat too.


  45. The way Dhoni batted with him this afternoon you’d have to think that the captain didn’t know about his 9 half centuries.

  46. These two spinners will be very difficult on Day Five. I feel Hussey and Clarke need tons here and Watson, Haddin and White need two fifties between them.

    That front on shot of White and Mishra was like seeing an English spinner and Aus spinner, except the Aus spinner was the “English” one!

  47. He probably doesnt Nesta :)..I thought it was an ill thought out plan.. Dhoni needs to learn to bat with the tail..

    But then again, he has been so short of runs that I can understand if he was a little selfish in his approach while batting


  48. Homer – Thanks for that. Mishra looks a player now!

  49. Day Five!! It looks pretty difficult late on Day Two.

    Dhoni cost himself a century by not trusting his team mates so I guess he learned the lesson the hard way.

    65/3 (25)

  50. Hussey dropped! Bring in Patel to keep! Captain, batsman and keeper is one role too many and that’s just on the field.

  51. Technically, it was a chance but virtually impossible to catch. I wouldn’t judge Dhoni too harshly for that miss.

  52. Nesta – Only the very best would take a catch like that and even they would need a bit of luck. My concern is that Dhoni will never take a catch like that, because his feet don’t move to the right place and his balance is always wrong. Hence, like Matt Prior for England, he jabs his hands at the ball, rather than the ball moving into the gloves.

    I’d back Healy to have taken that chance about half the time, Gilchrist 25% of the time and Dhoni never.

  53. Fair points Toots. I’d add Knott 75% of the time to your analogies. But then again he is the best I’ve seen.

    Perhaps Dhoni will give up the gloves when Ganguly retires at Nagpur but I doubt it.

    He’ll back himself to do all three jobs and I doubt he has the sense of Gilchrist who knew that long term two is taxing enough.

    If Dhoni is lucky – and he does seem to have plenty of good fortune – only one part of his game will suffer but it is conceivable that all three may be diminished by his workload.

  54. Dhoni will need someone to prise the gloves off his hands, but he really should give them up in Tests. Patel is a decent bat, so he could back up Dhoni at 6 as a decent 7.

  55. wailin, howlin, barkin, yippin, sniffin.

    Test cricket. .

    great stuff, nesta..

  56. Brilliant bowling and captaincy at the end there. Clarke must be sick to be suckered by a wrong ‘un.

  57. Thanks everyone who kept me company today. You’ve been fantastic.

    Check back in a couple of hours for the Day’s review.

    Stumps 102/4 (40.5)

  58. Best odds in England

    Ind 11/10
    Draw 11/8
    Aus 20/1.

    Amazed that India can be had at odds against. I guess it’s the depth of batting and the Hussey factor.

  59. you are great sachin

  60. Thanks for dropping by Devinder but I’m sorry to inform you that Sachin doesn’t reside at 99.94 and that he spent most of the day sitting on his arse reading magazines and signing memorabilia.

    However, he did stop a nicely hit drive by Pup Clarke but failed to stop the single.

    We obviously agree that he is great for such an altitudinously challenged individual but in the context of today’s play, he did very little indeed.

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