Posted by: nestaquin | October 20, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy Second Test Day Four Preview

India are in such a dominant position on the fourth morning at Mohali, that captain MS Dhoni is spoiled for choice when it comes to manipulating the match and ensuring Indian victory.

Obviously, India would like to have the maximum amount of time to dismiss the opposition but they must be carful not to give Australia even the slightest chance of victory. It is a conundrum every captain is faced with when declaring and if Dhoni and his brains trust misjudge, they may live to regret it by the end of the series.

The first question MS Dhoni must answer is how many is beyond Australia’s reach. With two full days left, which equates to about 180 overs, India must get to their target as quickly as possible.

It would not have eluded Dhoni that although Australia batted very poorly in the first innings they still occupied the crease for almost four sessions. Therefore, India’s batsman must play for the team, take risks and look to score quickly with little concern about their wickets or average.

Every over that India use in their attempt to set an unachievable target is one less they have to bowl themselves to victory and with that in mind, I expect a declaration sometime in the first hour after lunch.  Delay it any longer and Australia will be confident of batting out the match.

If India are truly bold they would play the first session like a T20 match and try to score somewhere between 150 and 200 allowing themselves a few overs at Katich and Hayden before the break. Dhoni understands that fortune favours the brave and this aggressive move is a possibility if Sehwag settles early and unleashes his fury.

No team in Test history has scored more than 420 to win a match in the fourth innings and considering Australia’s frazzled mentality they are unlikely to set any world records. Obviously, India may want a few more but anything over 500 is likely to be superfluous.

Australia will fight hard in the field to restrict the scoring and I don’t expect them to be rushing through their overs.

In fact, with India 301 runs in front with all wickets in hand the score is almost irrelevant from this point on. Time is the most valuable thing and India must value it highly and spend it wisely if they are to set up the match and achieve a well deserved victory.

Later: A summary of the day’s events.



  1. Can’t we just laugh at the kiwis or something? This sort of game reminds me too much of Indian tours in the 1990’s.

  2. I’ve considered it David. I don’t enjoy masochism either. They are smashing White at the moment. I’m sure he feels much worse than I do.

    125/0 (27)

  3. We can always laugh at the Kiwi’s !

    Katich for mine is the guy who can bat for 4 sessions, if he can retain his patience this match could be saved..

  4. What a start.. so far there’s been two missed runouts and a dropped catch..

  5. India are doing as they please. It’s all too easy. No swing and no idea on how to restrict the Indian openers. They both will have centuries in 15 minutes.

    Drinks 171/0 (36)

  6. it’s all part of a plan.. make them think it’s easy to bat out there so they wait longer before declaring….

    unfortunately it’s only easy to bat out there for them..

  7. Sehwag given not out caught behind and then plumb off a no ball. He’s having more luck than a lotto winner!

    180/0 (38)

  8. Not that it would make a huge difference to this game… but both Rauf and Koetzen have been ordinary at best.

    Siddle makes the breakthrough, 1/182. Yay

  9. did Ponting really tell Sehwag that he should have walked?

  10. no surprise to see Dhoni up the order either..

  11. Ricky wasn’t happy and had a few words but it’s all irrelevant now. Dhoni gave himself a promotion. Good move. India doing everything right.

  12. Any ideas why Lee hasn’t had an over?

  13. Superb stuff from dhoni to come out. and totally smash the aussies into a hiding. the more i see this man , the more i like him. not in a gay,meterosexual way but u gotta love the guy leading from the front.

    no wonder india answer to him more than jumbo jet.

  14. It must be noted that Sehwag did not wait for the umpire and walked when he was out.

  15. Mo,

    I’d guess Lee hasn’t fronted because he bowled so badly last night with the new ball. Ricky can hold a grudge you know. Alternatively, maybe he has a niggle. If he does bowl I reckon he’ll go for plenty.

  16. I’m starting to understand how the Poms must feel, this is what we normally do to them – where the pitch turns from immune to potent in the change of an innings

  17. Damith,

    Lucky for Australia Kumble is back next match!

  18. Homer, it was a big edge and I doubt that even Raul could of missed that one. Still, well done Sehwag for his 90 and for helping the umpire. And the umps in this match need all the help they can get!

  19. Mo, this is how the entire world has felt for the last 15 years when playing Australia. One positive of a thrashing is that it develops empathy and humility which are usually in very short supply when referring to Australia!

    Huusey’s bowling. That is desperate!

  20. Pretty solid grudge when he’s bowling Hussey before the strike bowler..

  21. Hussey looks the best bowler today in his first over. Taking the pace off the ball is probably a good idea!

  22. lol Nestaquin..Given how the umpiring has been , you could never be too sure..

    btw,what is Ricky Ponting thinking, if he is thinking at all? I think his captaincy all day today has been poor.


  23. I mean, it is one thing to stop the bleeding, its another to fold up like this..

    Aussie bowlers are not bowling half as badly as made out to be..But when u have a wide slip and everyone on the boundary, there is going to be no one to take the chances when they come..

    I can think of atleast half a dozen chances that a slightly aggressive field could have snaffled.


  24. Homer,

    This is a very unusual position for Australia and really what else can he do?

    India have all the momentum, the pitch is true, the bowlers can’t move it in the air or off the pitch, he doesn’t trust his spinners and he has to somehow restrict the scoring so to lessen Australia’s time in the fourth innings.

    They are conceding 4 or 5 an over because they don’t want it to 7 or 8. It’s all about time I’d suggest and India should be bold and attack more and declare when they get to 300.

  25. Nestaquin,

    On the other hand, there is a completely demoralized Australian team out there that is expecting a declaration an hour after lunch… India can just keep them on the field for 15 additional minutes just to prolong the agony.

    Now, about the captaincy – you have a guy like Siddle giving his all. And you have Ricky POnting who is not, in anyway, shape or form supporting his young quick.

    I am not talking of 3 slips and two gullies, but 5 boundary riders? Come on!


  26. White gets Ghambir caught..

    Time to take Hussey off surely, he’s still gotta bat!

  27. Your right Homer, psychologically India have Australia where they want them and it wouldn’t surprise to see Australia fold pretty quickly when batting.

    Australia aren’t interested in taking wickets because really the scoreboard is irrelevant, only time matters. It doesn’t look good but it is about the only part of the match where Australia have even a smidgen of control.

    There’s a wicket. Good knock from Gambhir. Exactly what his team needed.

  28. Lunch 230/2 (49)

    First hour 71/0
    Second hour 59/2

    Lee is sulking about Ponting snubbing him. He’ll get the first over after lunch, I guess. Not happy campers in the BaggyGreen.

  29. Nestaquin,

    Maybe it is just me but I would have thought that choking off the easy singles and forcing the Indians to take a few risks would have been the way to go…India obviously have a target in mind, and if they are delayed in reaching that total ( because of wickets and/or choking the easy runs), arent you buying yourself time ?

    If the Indians take longer than reqd to get the total they have in mind, they have to rethink their numbers or strategy. If the Indians get out, it gives Australia time to get the runs..

    Ricky Ponting looked like an Indian captain on the field today… very disappointing.


  30. Just catching up here. Was Hussey bowling instead of Lee in order to drive the over rate up?

    Dhoni should declare at a lead of 500, but I suspect he’ll want 550. Captains are usually too conservative in their declarations.

    The Aussie fourth innings and the reaction from the bowlers in the next Test will tell us a lot.

  31. Homer,

    It takes four balls in singles to get the equivalent of a boundary and while I do agree with you to some extent I think Sehwag and Dhoni frightened Ponting into his ultra-defensive attitude.

    Really, all he is doing is delaying the inevitable and as I mentioned earlier this is foreign territory for an Australian XI.

    Either field setting carries risk and I think Ponting decided on protecting the boundaries knowing what would happen because if he had the field up and the Indian batsman fired it could have been even uglier.

    Better the devil you know, I guess.

  32. Well Dhoni’s out there batting so I guess he’s in the best position to judge the conditions…

  33. Toots,

    Hussey was bowling in an attempt to take the pace off the ball. I guess, the Australian XI are in such a quandry that they are taking the lead from the Kiwis and bowling dibbly-dobs when in a crisis!

  34. I have to go back to Sydney 2003-04 to think of an Aussie attack so hapless as this one. I cannot agree more with Nesta that Ponting is in foreign territory as far as strategy is concerned. He had a window of opportunity to attack early in the second innings yesterday. 30 for one or 60 for 2 would have been an entirely different proposition. However, he had no choice this morning but to cut his losses.

    Dhoni has been very positive in promoting himself. Another 120 in 15 overs and then declare?

  35. Saurabh,

    120 in 15 overs appears a tad optimistic. That would require a lot of sixes when 6 men are on the boundary. Although, it would be good entertainment to witness.

    I’ve been lamenting the loss of Stuart Clark all week, not only for his control and cool head in a crisis but for the balance he offers the attack. After he was unavailable and the toss lost, this sort of match was expected. Except I thought India would be slogging at the end of day four not at its beginning.

    Jaques is going home and I hope, although it is a forlorn one, that Andrew Symonds is forgiven and gets on the plane to India. At least he will provide some variety and can be relied upon.

    An exciting session is about to get under way!

  36. Did Ponting appeal for obstruction of field?

  37. If he did Homer, I didn’t see it. He might of been appealing for mercy!

  38. As I commented elsewhere…

    Seems like Ponting practised playing Bhajji’s spin so much, that he forgot how to play Ishanth’s fast bowling…

  39. The delivery that bowled Ponting was of such high quality that he can hardly be held accountable.

    Ricky did everything right. His head was still, his bat was straight, his footwork was correct. The ball was so good in the context of the over that it would have probably bowled Bradman, Pollock or Tendulkar.

    Ishant produced probably the best delivery of his short career to date and deserves all the accolades coming his way.

    Whoa! Now he has Watson with another beauty.

    59/5 (17)

  40. Cursing myself for coming to office today… :(. Should have been home enjoying this…

  41. Rahul,

    You could schedule tomorrow off but there’s no guarantee Australia will make it to stumps today!

  42. nesta,

    If Clark and Haddin stays put, I just might

  43. Clarke and Haddin are delaying the inevitable. Let us see if they can remain undefeated by the end-of-day. The only thing they can do now is better some personal milestones.

  44. and will Clarke survive the last over?

  45. He has to navigate the next hour first, Rahul.

    Baby steps, mate!

  46. In the context of the series, maybe even world cricket’s power hierarchy, it’s important that Clarke, Haddin and White show some fight here. There are parallels with the Adelaide defeat of England, not in terms of how the match has played out, but how it may impact on the players. Get through to around tean tomorrow, and India wll know that not an inch wil be conceded in the last two Tests. Fail to do that, and they’ll be thinking that one wicket brings two (an often self-fulfilling prophecy).

  47. The openers’ batting this afternoon was the most ridiculous batting strategy I have seen (or followed on the radio), with the possible exception of England’s go-slow at Adelaide.

    4.5 sessions to bat, and they blaze away at 7 an over. Slashing from the very first ball. It wasn’t just Hayden trying to hit himself into form, Katich was also scoring much faster than usual. That was a plan.

    What a horrible, horrible plan. You can’t sustain that sort of scoring rate.

    It’s even worse than our attitude at Kolkata 2001 in the fourth innings. There at least the team had the excuse that they’d won 16 on the trot based on hyper-aggression. The current team has gone to grafting mode, battling away at 3/over. Then, when given a day and a half to save a Test match, the openers suddenly go berserk.

    I don’t understand it at all.

    Not that it’d change the result – India would have bowled us out anyway. But there’s some seriously wrong thinking somewhere, presumably with Ponting. Does Tim Nielsen have any input on strategy? Hopefully not, otherwise he’s deluded as well….

  48. It was crazy David. And someone needs to take responsibility. If it happened in Australia the media and public would be howling for someone’s head.

    I’ve seen bizarre behaviour before in teams that Greg Chappell has been involved in. He is meant to be the batting coach and as you stated there is some weird, inconsistent thinking going on.

    My fuller thoughts in a few hours.

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