Posted by: nestaquin | October 21, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy Second Test Day Five Preview

Approaching the home stretch of this Test match, one in which India have become stronger each day passed, it appears a forgone conclusion that the home side will capture the five wickets necessary for victory and a vital one-nil lead in the series with two Tests to play.

However, someone has forgotten to inform Australian coach Tim Nielsen, who was heard on radio across the continent this morning claiming that Australia will be pushing for victory on the last day in Mohali.

While I give Tim full marks for bravado, I’m left wondering if he has been watching the same match as the rest of us. Australia have, to coin an infamous phrase, mentally disintegrated before our eyes, with yesterday’s performance a telling example of the team’s descent into the hitherto unchartered territory of overwhelming doubt.

Even the most parochial Australian spectator would have to admit that India have performed far better with bat and ball, Dhoni has been more inspiring and imaginative than his direct opponent and considering India’s bowling strength on home soil, Australia have only a very slim hope of saving the match let alone scoring 375 runs to win it.

In times of stress madness can be a tonic and it appears Tim Nielsen is rather invigorated by his complete lack of cricketing sanity. To succeed men must know their limits and by encouraging the Australian team to aggressively chase 516 yesterday afternoon, Nielsen has shown that he is no longer cognisant of his or the team’s abilities.

If Australia were one down in the series in the last Test, throwing caution to the wind would be a wise strategy but Nielsen’s attempt at sporting immortality yesterday, in the context of the series, was hubris at its worst and unfortunately, if his confessions on the airwaves this morning are any indication, he expects Haddin and Clarke and those that follow them to score at four an over throughout and pull off an almighty win.

As we say in Australia, they’ve got Buckley’s! (Translated for our international guests, that means literally, no chance at all). One can only hope that sanity prevails and the players ignore the coach’s fantasies and buckle down and attempt to save the match with patient and intelligent batting. That would be far more courageous than going down swinging.

Shifting back to matters of reality, today is an important moment in Cameron White’s brief Test career. He identifies as a batsman and he will get an opportunity on the last day to prove that he is more than a lower order slogger.

This is the sort of situation that he needs to excel in if he wants respect and if he fails, Tasmanian off-spinner Jason Krezja should be given an opportunity to show his worth at Delhi in 8 days time.

White was always an experimental selection and while he has picked up a few wickets he hasn’t pressured the batsmen for any length of time and without a significant contribution with the bat he is an exuberance the BaggyGreen team can ill afford if they, as expected, go one down in series this afternoon.

Later: The final summary of the Second Test.


  1. If as you suggest Nielsen is behind the push for the largest victory in 1st class or Test history, surely he could have let Hussey have an over to play himself in?

    It’s still possible I guess, Clarke could get 151, Haddin 100, then Lee and Johnson with 50 each… and best of all Siddle could hit the winning runs. I haven’t seen someone dominate like Siddle did to Mishra since Warney was bowling to Hoggard and Harmison…

  2. I can’t blame Nielsen solely for he used the word ‘we’ when he was speaking but he is the man in charge and the buck rests with him.

    He said, “Whatever India made we thought that to be successful we had to have the mindset to chase it down.”

    And, “We had some success for a short time, but unfortunately we weren’t quite able to get through”

    He was very bullish on the ABC this morning and sounded as though he didn’t have a clue. He even said that the pressure was on India!

    What annoys me is that if they put their heads down and were realistic they were quite capable of batting four and half sessions on that track.

    And isn’t it obvious that Hussey was in a state of confusion. It was out of character for him to play a shot like that so early in his innings.

    Could the confusion have been caused by instructions he didn’t wholly believe in? Usually Australians are encouraged to play their natural game and Hussey certainly wasn’t doing that!

  3. I argued that Hussey’s confusion was due to fatigue after some moron decided to have him bowl 50 balls in the Indian heat while ignoring the actual bowlers in the team (White and Lee)…

  4. Haddin out first over, the draw if probably looking good now.

  5. White only lasted a couple of balls. It might not last to lunch.

  6. Lee’s gone first ball. Zaheer on a hatrick.

  7. White out 3rd ball. Khan has both so far.

    At this rate we’ll struggle to make it into twilight

  8. Some solid resistance this morning. Best thing about Khan getting a hatrick is it’ll stop top knot brining up 300…

  9. Just got off the phone to Tim, he’s been speaking to Watson and they reckon Siddle is good for a 150..

  10. Reckon we could send Hussey back out in a Johnson mask?

  11. Best just to pack the bags, go to the hotel and drown the sorrows. No need to shower no-one has had time to work up a sweat.

  12. Looks awfully dark out there, where’s Rudi’s light meter?

  13. alright… we need 4.3 runs per over, don’t want the required rate to slip away from us now…

  14. There you go Mo. Pup just hit a lovely boundary.

  15. Excellent, another 90 of them and victory is ours….

  16. I see following the Tahs has taught you much about disappointment and adversity Mo!

  17. Yes indeed, though we did have a great trip to Christchurch this year… went over for a Super 14 trophy and a Coach, 1 out of 2 aint bad..

  18. Besides, I’m used to dissapointment when watching rugby… dealing with cricket too is a new thing for me.. well I can sort of remember the early 80’s but didn’t start seriously following the baggy green till the Border years

  19. Nice pull by Mitch. 89 boundaries to victory!

  20. It’s not so much the loss that irks me, but the manner of our batting. What’s wrong with leaving anything outside off ?

  21. My view is that they were so humiliated in this Test that like insulted drunks they thought,”I’ll show these pricks” and came out swinging.

    They better grow a brain before Delhi or the same pattern will be repeated and the result will be more pain for Mo!

  22. 88 more boundaries. Where there is life there is hope.

  23. I don’t like pain very much. Was thinking of penning a blog on sporting depression, not sure if it’d be too close to the bone though!

    88 to go now, time to put the champas on ice..

  24. Damn a maiden, will have to hit two fours off the next over…

  25. My take Nestaquin – The Aussies were never comfortable going to Delhi after the bomb blasts.. Now they have to spend 8 days there in the middle of the festival season with fire crackers going off all around them after a demoralizing loss and dissent in the ranks.

    The Kotla has been a happy hunting ground for India ( 7 wins out of the last 7 tests) and for Anil Kumble ( got his 10 fer in an innings there).

    Australia needs to rethink its personnel and if there are no spinners in the ranks, they need to ditch that idea ASAP instead of going in with part timers.


  26. Bring SoS and Roy, dump Katich and White/

  27. There were enough firecrackers going off in Mohali on Day 1…

    Required rate up to 4.36 ; need a few big overs to keep that in check.

  28. I’d bring in SOS and Roy for Hayden and White…

    That said Roy would have to bat pretty well to surpass White’s all round efforts, 6 runs off 26 balls is like gold on these flat pitches.

  29. Go Johnno! Down to 85 4’s now, I can already taste the caviar

  30. 84 4’s remaining.. dammit I’ll keep counting!

  31. ooh a 5, didn’t think of that…

    we only need 66 5’s, perhaps Dhoni can oblige by putting the helmet on a good length..

  32. Roy won’t be coming. James Sutherland chief coatholder at CA reckons he has to go through the process, whatever that means.

    Johnson and Bhaji are about to start a melee. Lucky it’s drinks. They all need to cool down.

    Ducking out. Hopefully they’ll still be playing when I return.

  33. Cheers nesta, I’ll keep the countdown going.. just in case!

    Reckon I could blog in a bomb scare to Mohali?

  34. Give it a go, mate. They need all the help they can get!

  35. Do you reckon 368 for the 9th wicket would break any records?

  36. 81 4’s to go…

  37. 368 for the 9th wicket would almost double the Test record.

    I’m having some idle amusement by trying to get a formula to estimate these two’s chances of saving the Test. I came up with exp( – oversleft / 10). At the moment, we’ve got about a 1 in 2000 chance of the draw.

    Or the win, at the rate these boundaries are coming.

  38. I’d stick $5 on that, at 2000:1 !

  39. I believe highest run chase, in both Test and 1st class cricket is 513

  40. Assuming Johnson continues to score 53% of the partnership, he’ll end up on 197.. that’s gotta be a high score for a number 9… or would Dizzy have something to say about that?

  41. Mishra got Johnno.. don’t worry though, I’ve blogged in a bomb threat

  42. Ian Smith’s 173 is the highest score by a number 9.

    Anyway, Johnson’s out now.

  43. looked like a no ball, that wicket

  44. Well… 322 for the 10th wicket? Glad to see Clarke trusting the tail..

  45. front foot no ball?

  46. looked like he cut the side crease when he went wide to bowl.

  47. Just when the game was in the bag too, and Johnson was about to break Smith’s record. Life is so unfair sometimes.

  48. Those deliveries of Zaheer would have got most batsmen out. The superiority of the opposition bowlers in this Test has been as much as I can ever remember for a Test involving Aus.

    All over now.

    Congrats to Dhoni.

  49. Homer, are you sure that the boot was still grounded against the crease at the time of release though? It is common for the heel to hit the return crease but be raised when the ball is actually bowled.

  50. Isn’t it only the back foot that needs to land inside the side bar of the crease?

  51. Man of the Match?

  52. not sure David.. there was one front on replay of the wicket and it looked mighty close.

  53. Well played to India, potent with the ball and dominant with the bat.

  54. Moses,

    Oz did its best to help us along – bad lengths, terrible field placements, ordinary batting.


  55. All true Homer, don’t forget ordinary bowler selection, unrealistic gameplan, lack of patience with the bat and lazy ball maintenance

  56. Dhoni should get the MotM.

  57. Dhoni gets MotM – dazzling captaincy. He must bat six and captain from here surely, even if Kumble comes back.

  58. I mean once Ganguly goes and a batting slot opens up.

  59. I hope this test match marks a new stage in the evolution of Indian bowling attack. Victories in Jamaica, Wanderers, Tent Bridge, Perth and even in the Durban loss and Lord’s draw showed that we had a very lethal attack for conditions that favoured swing bowling.

    But the rise of Ishant Sharma and Zaheer’s gradual improvement (and with Munaf Patel and RP Singh in the bench) and Harbhajan on the spin side, we should now be reasonably confident of taking twenty wickets even on flat tracks.

    I hope that this attack can now shoulder the burden of next couple of years when we will have to come to terms with the loss of the ‘fabulous four’.

  60. Agree Toots about Dhoni and the award the skipper deserves it even though it was a great team effort. Everyone contributed something. Top stuff India and Australia have work to do to get up in 8 days.

  61. Moses,

    I do not know if the bowler selection was ordinary.. Siddle was good, Watson had his moments, White did as well as he could. Johnson

    I think the captaincy was pretty pedestrian..


  62. I mean, a bowling attack of Lee, Johnson, Clark and Siddle with Tait waiting in the ranks should be a shoo ion for winning the Ashes..The talent is there, they were just not handled properly ( and it kills me everytime a batsman-captain does that. Bowler -captains even more so)!

  63. Homer – in England, if we can get firing and fit Flintoff, Harmison, Anderson, Jones and Monty with Broad and Sidebottom to back them up, England have a much more potent attack for the Ashes. Now there’s a big IF there, but that’s a big attack for England.

    Aus are well ahed in batting, but it’s bowlers that win series.

  64. As much as I think Siddle had a reasonable debut it is quite likely that he won’t play another match in his new BaggyGreen for several more years.

    There are better bowlers playing in the Shield, Siddle just happened to be the lucky rookie on hand when Clark was injured.

    If India has taught Australia anything in this match it is that fast bowlers who cannot move the ball regularly both ways off the pitch and/or through the air are a waste of space. Pace just isn’t enough anymore.

    Bracken, Bollinger, Hilfenhaus, Geeves, Magoffin, Noffke and others all do something with the ball and I expect they’ll get called up before Siddle does again.

    Unless he replaces Lee. They are too similar to be in the same side. For me it’s either one or the other.

    Of that group, Hilfenhaus, who had an interrupted 2007/08 because of back stress fractures, naturally swings it at 140kmh and his bowling this season in 50 over and 4 day games has been very solid.

    We need him in the side to create some variety especially if we don’t have a quality spinner.

    For those that haven’t seen Ben imagine Terry Alderman on steroids and you’ll start to get the picture.

  65. This test victory is nothing less than a slap in the face of australians who think they are invincible…. Ofcourse everyone in indian team contributed… This is so pleasing to see… The australians trying to chase down this target of 516 (as their coach admited) is an evidence of their blind belif in their abilities….. These guys are no more “Unbeatable” (which they really were when warne, magrath etc were there)….. They are very much an average/below average team now… except for foul play (claiming catches when the ball have cleary bounced in front of fielder), sledging and complaining if someone give them a piece of their of sledging medicine…..

  66. Hari, thanks for your contribution.

    I think if you look critically that you will find that both teams in this series are perpetrators and victims of gamesmanship.

    As for Australia being forever below average, there was much in India’s favour before and during this Test (explained in the preview to this Test) and it is the same team that outplayed India for most of the previous Test.

    No doubt India played well and deserved their victory. Enjoy and celebrate. It’s not very sporting, honourable nor attractive for the winner to figuratively rub the losers nose in the dirt.

  67. nestaquin, My response is not to intented offend anyone in this blog…. This is my response to all the biased newspapers u guys have got out there.. i read those daily, whenever there is a match gioing on between our countries…. I also agree that u guys played well in last test…. But the previous test series in australia have left a lot of wounds on our hearts and that will be out in open.. Anyway let us see what becomes of rest of the series….

  68. Good luck Hari and well played. May the best team succeed.

    On a more important note. Should Kumble retire so Dhoni can lead the team for the rest of the series? What do you reckon, Hari?

    I can tell you that Australians will be glad if Mishra is 12th man and Dhoni is vice-captain. India are a frighteningly good cricket team with Dhoni leading and defensive and plodding when Kumble is in charge.

  69. Personally i belive that its time for kumble to retire even if i know for sure there is enough left in him to continue for some more time…. Dhoni is the steady head strong hearted man every team would like to have as a leader and we are fortunate enough to have him…. He is still very young too…. Mishra is not the only one around here… i can tell you there is a lot of talent in the spin department out here to followup the great work Harbajan and kumble have done so far (This is another reason why i think Kumble should think about hanging his boots)…. but i am almost sure that kumble will be playing the next test (If he is infact Fit) and some poor soul is going to loose his place…. thats how normally indian cricket works… But once Dhoni comes to complete control, u will see all these seniors (except for Sachin, who is way too good) will be forced to hang their boots…..

    Are there no other spinners around in australia better than the partimer White and the guy who played the practice match (who was totaly ineffective)… The land which produced the greatest ever leg spinner warne should have someone to follow his leauge????

  70. Nestaquin,

    I discovered this blog recently, and I must say I am impressed with the wit and quality of the discussions.

    From India’s PoV, they have a pleasant headache now regarding Kumble/Mishra.

    Now that Dhoni has led the side to a convincing test victory against Oz, I hope he gets the moral authority to lead a team half-filled with seniors; Sehwag already accepts Dhoni as the leader and so does Harbhajan and other bowlers.

    The selectors have already announced an unchanged squad for the remaining 2 tests.So, it is upto Kumble to take a call.Kumble will seek the advice from Sachin, Rahul, and Kirsten for sure.

    My guess: If Kumble feels he has recovered fully, and can prove his fitness, he will play in Kotla, and Mishra has to sit out. He will then be under a lot of pressure to perform, and it could give a faint opening for the Aussies to come back into this series.

    The option for Kumble would be to claim that he needs more rest, and wait till Nagpur.

    If Delhi is a draw, then India just has to play safe at Nagpur and Kumble can do no harm.

    If Delhi is a win, then Nagpur is a dead rubber and Kumble can have one last fling, and retire gracefully, by winning the Border-Gavaskar trophy back for his country.

  71. Thank You Kumar for your contribution and flattering praise.

    Although Australian I enjoy cricket more than nationalism and I believe it would be wonderful if Kumble bows out with Ganguly in Nagpur, arm in arm, walking into the sunset, heroes of India forever. Much like Warne, McGrath and Langer did at the end of Australia’s most successful Ashes series in living memory.

    I guess Kumble, like the Australian trio, must decide his own fate and I hope he has the good sense to pass the baton on to Dhoni smoothly.

    Your suggestion of waiting another Test is a good one and I understand that as captain it is his decision and his alone when and if he plays. If he plays in Delhi, fails and Australia win, he may not make it to Nagpur.

    All I hope is that the crowds flock to Nagpur to send off Sourav and maybe Anil in a tremendous way.

    Although understandable, the lack of a crowd in Mohali considering Sachin’s record and India’s huge win was a very poor showing by the people of the Punjab.

  72. Hari,

    There is a fine leg-spinner in the country Bryce McGain but he is injured and quite old at 36.

    After him there is very little at the moment however there are several inexperienced bowlers under 25 that may get a chance this coming summer.

    Historically, Australia have only had one genuine international spinner a generation and within the next one there will be someone who will shine. We just don’t know who the standout spinner will be as yet.

    White has failed to penetrate with the ball and has done nothing with the bat so I think Jason Krezja deserves a chance in Delhi.

    Australia need to do something different for they have failed to bowl India out in two of four innings this series.

    This is a concern and a spinner that few of the Indian team have seen might just be the tonic to aid the team in making a breakthrough or two at a crucial time.

  73. I like the image of Kumble and Ganguly walking off in a blaze of glory. I’d add Dravid too. All three have honoured India and the glorious game and their greatest triumph will be in handing over to a captain in total command and with the young guns finally delivering.

    Of course, the Gods grant few the choosing of their going, but if India win again in Delhi, Nagpur can be a celebratory match, much as Sydney was in 2006. But, there’s a long way to go before that scenario plays out.

  74. The one thing that was very critical in the second was the perfomence of Mishra… If u take that out and if Ausies were having a comfortable first innnings, the fate of the test may have been diffrent for sure… so If Kumble plays in next test and keep mishra out, it is more than probable that India will have BIG problems at hand… Clearly Kumble is not in form and I see Ominous signs from Heydens batting… Have no doubt that he will be a big factor in next test.. How many times have we seen him come back into form with a century??? As kumar suggested kumble MUST sit out of next test…… And hopefully he will…..

  75. nestaquin,

    Had u seen Jason Krezja ball in the practice match?? If u had, maybe u will not recomend him for the third test…. He was not even troubling the indian B team….. I did not see him bowl a Wrong one or arm ball….. White may be partimer but suerly he is way better than Jason Krezja…… There was a Macgill right??? He used to be around when warne was there.. He was quite good and he also could turn the ball a mile.. But was overshadowed by Warne’s talent…. What has become of him????

  76. Hari,

    Stuart McGill has retired. And so did Brad Hogg.

    I feel Aussie selectors made a mistake by not bringing Beau Casson here.He would have been better than Krecza.

  77. Having said that, Oz loss at Mohali is more due to lack of penetration in bowling, some fairly ordinary captaincy, and a harakiri mode of batting in the 2nd innings.

    What Team Australia needs to do in Delhi:

    1.Hayden should buckle down and graft for runs instead of going all out aggressive.
    2.Katich to keep rotating the strike and not get bogge down
    3.Hussey at No.3?
    4.Play to their strengths and setup aggressive fields – don’t give singles easily to Gambhir especially
    5.Open the bowling with Lee and Johnson
    6.Get rid of White; play Bollinger instead..yes..all out pace attack
    7.Catch hold of Waqar Younis or Wasim Akram, and get some tips about reverse swing
    8.Ask Kapil Dev to give a lecture on how to make best use of Indian wickets
    9.Politely ask Guru Greg to go back to Jaipur

    What Team India needs to do – after all I am an Indian :-)

    1.VVS at No.3 if the openers manage to stay for 10 overs or more
    2.Decision on Kumble/Mshra to be decided based on Kumble’s performance in the Nets (if his shoulder has healed and he is able to bowl at his normal pace – high 90s)..he should play
    3.Improve the fielding- choke the singles
    4.Predominankly off-side field and bowling full on/just outside offstump…protect the 3rd man
    5.Absolutely no ‘mental disintegration tactics’ in the next 8 days..if possible, actually say a few nice things about how great Australia are and how they are bound to come back very strongly
    6.Extra emphasis on plans for Hussey- he is the key

  78. Kumar – that’s astute stuff.

  79. Agree with Toots very sound tactics, Kumar.


    I played against Jason Krezja two seasons back and while I was very surprised that he made the tour he is the only specialist spinner, he can bat a bit, he is agile in the field and he won’t do any worse with the bat or ball than White.

    Something has to change and the batting is fixed.

    The last time Australia lost a series they were obstinate in selection keeping players that added little and were out of form even after losing two Tests and saving one by the skin of their teeth.

    It’s simple really. Clark for Siddle and Krezja for White. If White had done something today I’d keep him but if he cannot contribute with the bat he is wasting a spot for a real bowler.

    Saying that I also think Beau Casson would have been a better choice to tour India.

  80. Its almost certain that Kumble will play the Delhi game. If he wasn’t fit, he would have put up his hand to the selectors when they chose the side for the second half of the series.

    Whats going to be tough on him is the pressure and scrutiny that he will be under given Mishra’s performance and Dhoni’s leadership.

    Perhaps though, its a good thing from India’s point of view. Nothing less than total success will be acceptable.

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