Posted by: nestaquin | October 29, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy Third Test Preview

The third 2008 Border Gavaskar Test match begins this afternoon at Feroz Shah Kotla in the bustling polluted megacity of Delhi and it promises to be a match full of tense battle and intriguing narrative.

Rarely are both captains under immense pressure at the toss yet Anil Kumble and Ricky Ponting will be feeling the mental strain albeit for different reasons.

Kumble, forced to miss the Mohali Test through injury, needs to perform with the ball if he wants to continue his international career beyond this series.  His ability to take wickets at Kotla is legend with 55 scalps in only 6 matches, including his ten wickets in an innings against Pakistan in 1999.

He is unbeaten in Tests at the ground and with the curator 73 year old horticultural guru Radhey Shyam Sharma promising Anil a belated birthday present of a dry spinner’s paradise, the Indian captain cannot afford to fail as everything is in his favour and the younger Amit Mishra is ready, willing and able to fill his shoes.

Kumble’s leadership will also be scrutinised closely because when he was absent for a session in Bangalore and the entire match in Mohali, vice captain MS Dhoni inspired his team to greater heights, attacking at every opportunity, galvanising and motivating his team in the process. When Dhoni is in charge India believe that anything is possible.

Kumble’s style of captaincy is in direct contrast to his deputy’s and if he wins the toss he must take a risk or two and attempt to clinch the series while the scales are heavily weighted to India’s benefit. If he defends the series lead while holding the advantage of batting first it may be a decision he regrets by the end of the Nagpur Test.

Ponting’s problems while not as potentially terminal as his adversary’s are greater in the context of the series. An Australian loss will sacrifice the coveted silverware and leave Australia without every trophy available to the team in Test match cricket. An achievement Australian cricket holds dearly.

Rather than personal demons to overcome Ponting has to somehow garner a performance as close as possible to the team’s potential from his homesick men. It is the first time during his captaincy that he cannot rely on his more gifted team mates to rescue the team from a tight situation.

In the past, if the batting crumbled Adam Gilchrist would fearlessly take the game to the opposition and restore Australia’s total to respectability and beyond. When wickets were needed it was the simple process of deciding which end to bowl Warne or McGrath. And when he became confused in the field he had the cool head of Gilchrist and the creative genius of Warne to aid in his decisions.

With the successive retirements of these all-time greats, Ponting is now reduced to leading a team where he is the best player. No longer can he conjure wickets easily. No longer can he rely solely on another. He must cunningly use whatever resources he has and this Test will be a tough one for the Tasmanian especially if he loses the toss.

Knowing the precarious situation that Australia find themselves, Ponting’s former captain and mentor Steve Waugh was invited to advise the team and primarily the skipper during the past week. It was a wise move and it won’t surprise to see some of Steve’s steely determination under the BaggyGreen in this match.

Perhaps, the insipid performance in Mohali was an aberration due to Stu Clark’s absence and the bowlers tiring quickly after having to bowl last at Bangalore and after only a brief rest including travel, first in Mohali after losing the toss.

There is no doubt that India played superbly and took advantage of all that was in their favour and equally there is no argument that Ponting lost his way as the plans Australia executed so well in Bangalore were curiously missing in Mohali.

As usual in sub-continental Test match cricket the toss will be all important and if Kumble can call true, his team will have a golden chance to secure the trophy with still a match to play. A win would give him the chance to retire in glory at Nagpur but a loss to a resurgent Australia could abruptly end his international career, sadly and ironically it would seem, as the Kotla in Delhi is the most successful ground he has toiled on throughout his long and distinguished career.

Later: All the day’s important moments scrutinised.

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Responses

  1. Ricky lost the toss.
    Crap.

  2. I’ve never wanted Punter to win a toss as bad as today’s. Let’s hope Anil plays for a draw.

    No Harbhajan might help.

    Now if only Ishant could step on a ball and fall on Zaheer sending them both to the chiropractor and physiotherapist. That might give the boys a shot.

  3. Or Lee could remember how to bowl fast..

    So Delhi is Anil’s favourite hunting ground.. White bowls in a style similar to Anil………

  4. Yeah White is similar but has 600 fewer Test wickets.

    Sehwag gone plumb to Lee. A bit of pace there.

    5/1 (2.1)

  5. Lee to Sehwag, OUT, and he’s gone! Lee strikes, rapping a leaden-footed Sehwag on the crease, he didn’t move his feet at all, bat coming down way to late and the ball pitches on a length and strikes him on the front pad in front of middle and leg, Lee is off in celebration and Aleem Dar raises the finger of fate

    WOOHOO! Sehwag gone so the brake of Dravid in to slow down the Indian attack

  6. I’m not sure the toss is that important in Delhi, so take heart. And if Ishant does step on a ball, bundeles into Zak and sends them both out, expect a thorough forensic DNA examination of the ball to see who had handled it, which direction it had been thrown from, whether it had any Antipodean ancestors etc etc

  7. Anil could only dream of White’s Test match figures, averaging 10.00 with the bat and 51.75 with the ball in Test Cricket is it too early to be talking about the Big Bear as our next Richie? Future captain perhaps?

  8. I would be most upset if Zaheer and Sharma got injured – they’re both in my fantasy team…. though they’re also in Nesta’s fantasy team so the net effect would be nil..

  9. With Australia batting last on Kumble’s birthday present I would have preferred Australia to bat first, RK.

    If Australia win it’s down to Steve Waugh. If they lose it’ll be Ponting’s fault.

    Lee is bowling too full to Dravid.

    16/1 (5)

  10. Ponting and Greg Chappell’s fault right Nesta?

  11. Bear in mind though that neither Waugh nor Ponting ever won a series in India.

  12. jesus, is it me or is the track misbehaving already? Nesta, I think you might be right about batting first.

  13. I like the sound of this

    Lee to Dravid, no run, wide delivery, 148ks and swinging, but Dravid shoulders arms

    and love the sound of this

    Lee to Dravid, no run, short ball now, getting Dravid dropping his hands and trying to arc his back out of the way, the ball doesn’t bounce as much as expected and he takes it on the chest, that will leave a red mark

  14. It’s a very slow track with little carry or bounce. Similar to Bangalore. Probably will be hard to score when the ball is soft.

    Gilly and Bill Lawry won series. Gilly is in hiding fearing for his life so where’s The Phantom when you need him?

  15. “Now if only Ishant could step on a ball and fall on Zaheer sending them both to the chiropractor and physiotherapist.”

    I was disappointed by your attitude.

  16. Mo,

    It hit Dravid on the shoulder and was dug in very short and got up just above stump high. Dravid ducked into it. If he hadn’t it would have hit him on the hip.

    Dead track. The bowlers must swing it or it will be a long, long day.

  17. Would a surgeon or coroner have been a better bet Nik?

  18. Isn’t Lawry on Channel 9 in Australia? Or whatever channel’s broadcasting the cricket these days.

    As for Gilly, he might well be right but didn’t he foresee the instant howls of outrage he’d provoke from the hounds of nationalist paranoia in India the minute he stepped a millimetre away from deifying Tendulkar?

  19. Johnson to Dravid, OUT, edged and gone! Dravid perishes to a wide delivery, 149ks, chasing it with a loose drive away from the body and the thick edge is neatly gobbled up by Hayden at first slip

    Bowling change works for punter straight away

  20. What’s the plan for Tendulkar, we haven’t got any more Victorians on debut to get him out…

  21. oh jesus cmon. i think dravid might be joining Ganguly and (maybe) Kumble in retirement at the end of the series

  22. Sounds like Lee and Johnson are both pushing 150k’s, something they struggled to do in Mohali

  23. Rahul is the new sucker in the Indian team

    His body language in the last few language suggests he’s out there to prove a point or two. He looks forceful and little more positive than he has ever been in his career.

    Trying to reinvent as you die? He probably needs to retire.

  24. It was a very wide full one slanted across him and he really should have left it with three slips and a gully.

    Spot on assessment Dhruv.

    This is more like the Australia we all know.

    32/2 (11)

  25. Mo,

    the bowlers were knackered in Mohali from the short turn around between Tests and the fact that they had to back up from bowling last at Bangalore and then first in Mohali.

    Big Stu makes a huge difference too. Put him in the Beer and Sport Banner mate!!

  26. Johnson is bowling very quick and looks dangerous considering the slow nature of the pitch.

    It’s the Tugger factor.

    33/2 (12.3)

  27. I’m not sure what you read into the nature of the pitch nesta? It doesnt seem to be moving to me, at all.

    Probably just an average bounce, and except the ball which did sehwag in, nothing seems to have really moved at all.

  28. Dhruv,

    There’s little movement or bounce yet Johnson has the ball flying through. That’s why he looks the most likely to pick up a few more.

    He’s really fired up as he doesn’t usually bowl at 150 kmh. It looks as though they’ve told him to bowl quick and not to worry too much about line or length.

    It’s good to see on the first morning however he’ll need to pull it back and bowl tighter after lunch.

    It’s the Tugger factor.

  29. Has this been the longest period without a home century for Tendulkar? I don’t think he’s got one or 3 years or so. Will he ever get another?

  30. Tendulkar looks in very good touch. Superb timing, neat footwork, everything off the middle. A big ton awaits unless something extraordinary happens.

  31. I just looked it up – in the last 6 years (to the day), Tendulkar has 1 century at home, in Dec 2005. That’s a pretty astonishing statistic in my book.

  32. Ah Nesta you evil genius, that’s it, you have just jinxed him

  33. That was the plan, RK!

  34. I reckon he’ll get a big 30.. don’t want to jinx him though..

  35. Brett Lee must be itching for another bowl before lunch.

  36. Gavaskar told Tendulkar (sometime in the early 90s) that he’d strangle him with his bare hands if he (Sachin) didn’t score 15,000 Test runs and 40 centuries. The 15,000 is a few bridges too far, and the 40th is taking an awful long time in coming. Surely he won’t do it against the English, where’s the thrill in that?

  37. Maybe an over before lunch Pete. A big spell straight after for sure.

    Johnson is working to a plan on Tendulkar but Sachin is yet to take the bait. Watson the same with Gambhir.

    Very interesting cricket at the moment. Like two prizefighters sizing each other up.

  38. I have to reluctantly agree with Moses, a big 30 seems on the cards.

  39. Good plan

    Watson to Gambhir, 1 run, a thick outside edge between gully and the slips now, shaping to play it to the on side and lucky to survive with a single to the off side, good bowling from Watson

    Shame about the result.

    You’re right about Stu Clark making the banner of legends, not sure if I can write as much about him as I did about Warney though.

  40. RK, I’d prefer he did it against England and so would the hundreds of thousands of Indian expats living in the UK.

    As well as Gambhir and Tendulkar have played if either get out before lunch (10 minutes) they’ve failed badly.

    Brett Lee back on for Johnson.

    60/2 (22)

  41. I wonder when the last time we bowled 30 overs in a session was?

  42. Oh absolutely. As it is, I think Australia would shade the session if it ends at 65/2, but 3 wickets, no contest. You can’t lose 3 on a first day morning in India.

  43. We’ll get the statisticians onto it Mo! Probably not too many times in this century.

  44. I checked if Hauritz and Clarke helped Aus bowl 30 in any session on the raging turner in Mumbai in 2004. Turns out they logged 29 (!) in the post lunch session on day 3, and that too coz India lost 4-5 wickets. Can’t think of any other occassions Aus would have come close in a normal 2 hr session (so that rules out evening sessions) in recent times.

  45. Pathetic over rate once again

  46. Lunch it is, and it’s Australia’s session on points. But I think this is more of a 400 pitch than the 500 friendly ones some Indian pitches can be. So, if Tendulkar gets #40, Gambhir gives solid support and pigs fly after lunch, Australia might be in slight bother.

  47. RK your speed with the stats rivals Thomson with the cherry!

    A great session of Test cricket. Tight, tense and tactical.

    Tendulkar looks a million dollars. Ominous for Australia.

    Gambhir looks worried at the line Australia are bowling. About two feet outside off stump on a length. He found it difficult to score in the second hour.

    Sehwag went in only a few balls. Bit of bad luck he didn’t get a start.

    Dravid. Terrible shot. Don’t know what his problem is.

    Lee although getting Sewag bowled poorly. He couldn’t get his seam position right and bowled too full at times.

    Johnson was about the quickest I’ve ever seen him bowl. Ponting’s fields gave him little protection.

    Clark was as usual, on the spot every ball.

    Watson bowled brilliantly and was the only bowler with a perfect seam position therefore got some movement and his consistency went unrewarded.

    LUNCH 67/2 (26)

  48. even Session 1 of Day 4 in Mohali with Hussey bowling 8 overs allegedly for the purpose of increasing the over rate we only got through 26!

  49. Watson would have been rewarded had he attacked the stumps more often.

  50. For the 1st Innings, 400-425 will be a very good score on this pitch.

    However, both Sachin and Gambhir need to score another 40 runs each, and some one needs to score a ton, for India to reach 350+.

    Looking at Kotla’s history over the years, it does offer a second chance for teams not doing too well in their 1st innings. Having said that, Australia can take comfort from the fact that India chased a 200+ score in the fourth innings here in November 2007, against a Pakistani attack comprising Shoaib Akhtar and Danish Kaneria.

  51. Plus one of India’s frontline batsmen, Harbhajan, isn’t playing so more pressure on these two.

  52. India should seek to end Day 1 at around 275 without losing more than 5 wickets. That means they need to score 100 runs on average in the next 2 sessions.If Sachin stays and Gambhir, Laxman give him company, it can be done without much risk.

    Australia will win the day if they can take another 4-5 wickets and restrict India to around 250 by end of day.If they allow India to touch 350, they can kiss this test good bye.

    No, this test won’t go the Bangalore way.

  53. I agree with Kumar, with the one caveat being that with some uneven bounce pitches in India, the track eases out and days 2-3 are actually the best days for batting, in which case, 350 suddenly looks a lot smaller.

  54. I can’t be bothered doing a thorough search, but Australia bowled 31 overs in the lunch-tea session of day one of the Adelaide Ashes Test in 2006/7.

  55. Gilly shot off his mouth too much. His jabs on “In our culture, we do this but look at them, their culture is so poor that they cant do this” betrays a man stuffed about himself. This is clearly an attitude most Aussie cricketers carry(that their cricketing culture is superior to others, including England’s). Their on-field success doesnt mean they are justified in this.

    Problem with Indians like RK? If I say this, I must be a Tendulkar fan and Indian nationalist, fanatic whatever.
    Never mind that I have never been a great fan of SRT, both onfield and off-field(am too attached to Laxman and Azza to consider tendulya the best) – if I question the Aussie attitude, then I am a fanatic is how RK and other similar Indians who want Western approval will spin it.

  56. Tendulkar is not looking comfortable against Clark.

  57. Raj, that’s straight out of George Bush’s if-you’re-not-with-us-you’re-against-us playbook. For the record, I’m a passionate Tendulkar fan and there’s only been one hero for me since 1990. And I believe I have expressed myself earlier in this blog about Sydney and my view that the umpiring was shit and that Ponting and Clarke played unsportingly. As for Monkey-gate, I repeat that I take no sides, for to trust one version means calling the other side liars, which I’m not prepared to do without any evidence.

    But my problem has always been the rabid, knee-jerk reaction in India (and sure, in Australia too) to anything which smacks at disapproval of the team’s doings. It is this hysteria which riles me, for it seems to me that it is possible to have a nuanced discussion of what Gilchrist expressed without everyone jumping on his case and condemning him. By all means, let’s discuss the merits of what Gilchrist has said, but there are better ways of doing so than impugning his character. TV may like instant bite-sized analysis but I’d expect more from any person with a few minutes ot think this through.

  58. And I can confirm that David Barry is spot on about the 31 overs in Adelaide

  59. Thanks Dave, 30 overs once every few years, not too bad.

    Nik, hopefully Clark will force an error, if not, Tendulkar could get his first triple. He looks as good as I’ve seen him bat in years.

    Time to give Johnson another spell.

    97/2 (33)

  60. hey man nesta, seriously, stop it with the jinxes

  61. At this stage of his career,I don’t think SRT is fit enough for a triple.

    But a double would do nicely.

  62. Some jinx! Tendulkar just played the most beautiful late cut off a good length Clark ball to bring up his 50.

    The only person who will get him out today is himself. Absolutely brilliant to watch a master at work!

  63. v India at Perth, day three: 32 overs between lunch and tea. That was when Clarke and Symonds were trying to catch up the over rate.

  64. Aus is going at 13.3 overs/hr, meaning we’ll get 86 overs or so including the extra half-hr if India don’t get bowled out. Doesn’t seem too bad, considering the spinners haven’t bowled yet, so maybe we’ll have the full 90 after all.

    Is there a set rule that the captain gets suspended for 1 or more games for slow over-rate, and what’s the threshold over rate etc etc?

  65. Time for Gambhir to come out of the shell.

  66. RK, if they’re 5 overs behind the required rate (= 15 overs per hour, with allowances of 4min per drinks break, 2min per wicket, and other breaks not the fault of the fielding side), then the captain has breached a Level 1 code of conduct thingy. That usually gets a fine. A second Level 1 breach within 12 months is automatically upgraded to Level 2, which carries an automatic ban of at least… one? two? match(es).

  67. Cold in England and I have to dash to work.

    Seeing young Sam Badree bowl top spinners in Antigua , but with great variation and intelligence shows what can be done with brains and confidence. I know they’re going after Cam White, but I find it incredible that in all Australia, he is the spinner (ex McGain) to get the slot at Delhi.

  68. Is Clark a bowling machine? Can Tendulkar survive this spell?

  69. Well, RK, look at your own reaction. If I question Gilly, then I am a ‘rabid knee-jerk-response-giving Indian’. If I am not with Gilly, I am against Australain nation, eh? Where does that leave you in the George-Bush-imitation stakes? You see, you are not seeing my point at all.

    Gilly is a hypocrite. In his first test, he didnt walk when Akram clearly induced an edge the whole stadium heard. Why? Oz would have lost, and he had to establish himself. He walked in the WC semis. Oz wouldnt have lost, for sure, and nobody can question his cricketing credentials by then anyway. But he gets a name as a cricketing gentleman, etc. That’s calculative and manipulative, for me. Same with his hypocritical “I will appeal for anything and everything even if I know it is not out but will walk for a clear nick so I am a gentleman”. Above all, his “our culture is so superior…” stuff in his latest comment on Tendulkar. Sachin has been around for 18 years and everyone including Don Bradman, whose word I think should have settled the issue, have never questioned his integrity or sportsmanship. I dont know what Gilly wants to prove by bracketing him with Harbhajan(who, for the record, I cannot condone ever). “Look at his culture, cant even be around for handshakes”. Sachin himself pointed out that he was the first one to offer a hand after the Sydney test so where does that leave Gilly? And what about Kumble’s hand – they didnt reach out did they while celebrating like school kids. What happened to their Aussie Culture at that point?
    See, we can keep pointing out at each otehr. You are saying that by pointing out Gilly’s immature behaviour, I am a knee-jerk Indian. Where does that leave Gilly himself and you, then?
    See my point? No? Thought so.

  70. Langer had edged it.Not Gilchrist.

  71. Sachin will get out before he scores 100, or if he does, he will definitely not score a double. The only time he did against quality opposition was in Sydney but that attack had Brad Williams, a younger and rawer Nathen Bracken, Stuart MacGill and an undercooked Jason Gillespie. No Shane Warne, no McGrath. This doesnt demean his status as one of the 2 best batsmen of his era. It is just an unexplainable flaw in his resume.

    To be fair enough, this isnt a great bowling line-up either. But Stuart Clark and M Johnson are anyday way better than Brad and Nathan of those days. Cameron White might still end up getting Tendulkar for such is Sachin’s record of gifting novice bowlers his wicket.

  72. And Gilchrist’s walk in the semi-final was in the sixth over of the match – it was hardly sure that Australia would win.

  73. Not to mention a rejuvenated Lee!!!

  74. Barry-jee, it was fairly sure that Gilly’s place in the team would be questioned, though, isnt it? And the rewards – a name as a gentleman, saintly image which can be milked for endorsements etc.
    Today, when we talk of walkerrs, thanks to the image building, Gilly’s name is spoken of first. Where does that leave Lara? And you know, Dhoni walked in the World Cup match against muralitharan for a LBW – read it again, LBW – the team had a chance at that stage and by doing this, he knew that the team would be out of world cup still he did it – it is another matter that the umpire raised his finger almost immediately but one must applaud Dhoni for walking for a LBW – he didnt even look at the umpire.
    Now, that is what I call class. Even though I have expressed my reservations about the media and Ian Chappel building him up as a captain marvel – I must definitely say that Dhoni is a real example of the right spirit. Even the bounce catch he was supposed to have claimed, he only asked for a third umpire review – which is a fair enough thing considering that you can never be too sure whether you took it or not – contrast that with otehrs who talked about their integrity etc when they were ultra-sure when nobody else were and when pointed out that one cannot be too sure in these cases.

  75. “it was fairly sure that Gilly’s place in the team wouldn’t be questioned, though, isnt it”

  76. None of the gentleman who responded is willing to talk about his “our culture is so superior” attitude, which clearly came out in the recent incident. Why?

  77. Ponting has said that the over rates do his head in. I’m not sure if it is the math but I’m reasonably certain having to bowl White to catch up gives him headaches.

    Tendulkar is starting to fatigue a little but Gambhir looks ready to bat the day out. This has been a great partnership after the tension of the first session and unless Australia pick up a wicket before tea or just after they are going to be in big trouble.

    Lee and Johnson cannot move the ball and that is making it too easy for guys that are set like Gambhir and Sachin.

    154/2 (48)

  78. raj,
    I agree Gilchrist screwed up big time in the Tendulkar fiasco. I certainly did not expect him to do this.

    But it would be a folly label him a hypocrite on the basis on this issue only.

  79. Actually, when I first posted, complaining about the hounds of nationalist paranoia, I didn’t realise you existed, so you’ll appreciate that my comment was meant for Niranjan Shah and the like. Thank you for your outraged comments, after which I’m more than willing to include you in the list of reactionaries as well.

  80. Why isn’t Clarke bowling?

  81. once again, tendulkar perishes with the bowling at his mercy

  82. I can’t stand walkers. They are confidence tricksters and clearly cannot be trusted. Umpires hate them too for they make their job more difficult.

    Batsman that walk don’t do it all the time. So they plant a seed in the umpire’s mind that they are above suspicion. That way they are often given the benefit of the doubt when they do nick one and don’t walk.

    Also, historically walking was a way for the upper class to assert their moral authority over everybody else. No wonder Australians never walk barring one exception.

    Walkers are not moral crusaders or bastions of respectability, they are either conmen, gullible fools or arrogant wankers.

    Sachin was getting tired and playing for tea. Johnson strikes again! Opens the match a little.

    TEA 158/3 (52)

  83. Rk, oh! I am gutted!

  84. nik, but he has retired and has to sell a book and run his household! Poor thing, in some ways with the IPL coming, one has to sympathise with the Aussies. They cannot give full expression to their thoughts – they need to think about where it will hurt them – in the wallet – as well.
    Well, I make a living with my mouth shut and without giving expression to my real thougts, too so I can sympathise with that

  85. ah! Johnson got him. How did I forget Mitchel? He has probably been the best bowler for Aussies in this tour, as I had predicted (not in this space though) before the tour.
    I guess Laxman will flop again and probably be dropped in Nagpur, thus ending his career at 99 tests, just like his predecessor(in style) Azza!

  86. nesta, your take on walkers is very interesting, and I mostly agree, too.
    What, then, is your thought on gentleman’s agreement on catches? I think exactly the same of it ,too. For the record, when Anil Kumble agreed to it, I think he was, among the 3 categories you have mentioned, being a B)gullible fool. Ricky, OTOH, belongs to A or C. Rememebr the final against Lanka – he forgot his own thing about taking fielder’s word.

  87. Shit ! Sachin had the 100 for the taking.

    Hope at least Gambhir stays on now..Laxman and Ganguly never scored a test century at Kotla, if memoy serves me right.

    But still, India is in with a chance for 350+ if we have one more big partnership.

    Reg. Gilly’s comments: When its obvious that he needs to sell his book, why take him seriously?

  88. Raj

    Let the umpires do their job, be it with technology or the naked eye. That way it is always impartial. In no other sport do the players referee themselves. Cricket should do the same.

  89. impartial… Steve Bucknor tried that, but he’s gone now..

  90. Wonder what Gambhir had for Tea..quickly on to 87 now.

  91. yeah, the ‘impartial’ Bucknor sledged Rahul Dravid – the only known case of an umpire sledging a player.

  92. it is amazing how Aussies would equate ‘impartial’ with ‘favouring Oz’!

  93. Raj,

    Really? I remember hearing about it..but never took it seriously. When did slow death Bucknor sledge Rahul?

    And the team did not complain?

  94. I agree with Nesta on walkers in the professional game, but not in the recreational game, when umpires are doing their best voluntarily and deserve help from the players.

  95. First I’ve heard of it, though if it was that test where Dravid took like 60 balls to get off the mark I wouldn’t blame him. Bucknor calls it as he sees it. As an old man past the age of retirement in Australia at least, his eyes probably aren’t up to it any more.

    Anyways, nothing shits me more than having a third slip but not a first slip. Crap.

  96. Wow ! A SIX to get to a hundred against Australia in front of his home crowd..Gambhir deserves this. Well done !

    215/3

  97. “As an old man past the age of retirement in Australia at least, his eyes probably aren’t up to it any more.”

    Does any one know if the ICC organizes some kind of medical tests for Umpires every year/three years, once they are past 50?If they don’t do it, they should.

  98. “First I’ve heard of it, though if it was that test where Dravid took like 60 balls to get off the mark I wouldn’t blame him. Bucknor calls it as he sees it.”

    Is it part of umpire’s job to decide what rate a batsman must score at?

  99. And thank God, Steve Bucknor usually saw it as some Aussies would have liked. Else, he would have been villified there, wouldnt he?

  100. Ironically, the best umpire in the world, an Australian doesnt get to officiate in Aussie matches. I am pretty sure he would do a better job at impartiality than the Bucknors and the Koertzens(who to his credit, is only incompetent not partial – proof is in the Mohali test where he proved both his incompetence and impartiality).

  101. Sparkling ton after doing the hard yards in the first session. Gambhir deserves it. It’s been a top knock and the way he smacked Watson for 6 was great entertainment.

    I’m certain they do medicals on the umps. They test the five senses but I don’t think they test their decision making under pressure!

    230/3 (64) No way they’ll get through 90 today.

  102. Agree on Gambhir. I finally come round to applauding this fine young cricketer. My moist-eyed admiration for the fab four was not allowing me to accept that this guy has come of age. But after this knock, I guess I run out of excuses to diss him. Well done, young man!

  103. Yes Raj, I miss Darrel Hair too. He is a hard bastard (sorry if that term offends any sensitive souls!) but also a very good ump.

  104. Kumar, Ganguly gave scathing reports on Bucknor after the 2003 tour where he literally cost us the Sydney test(now, if India were very good, they would have won it inspite of him but that doesnt condone Bucknor’s pathetic performance).
    So, what action ICC took?
    It ensured Bucknor stood again for all major India-Aus matches! Again, he triggered the 2008 Sydney fiasco with his incompetence(impartiality, in my opinion – because you saw nobody took offence over Rudi recently – surely because he was an equal-opportunity offender?).
    What do you read of that

  105. Laxman and Gambhir milking Pup and Binga now.

    Has the pitch eased out a bit after Tea, or is it just VVS making it look a bit easy?

    Ponting’s allowing too many singles..I am not complaining though.

  106. nesta, no, no! I meant Simon Taufel!

  107. Darrel Hair and impartial?- which world are you in, Nesta?

  108. Raj,

    Yes, I am aware of all the times India have been Bucknored. The only time his (wrong) decisions helped India was when we drew the Test at Lords last year.

    But there was a point in time when he was considered one of the best umps in the world.He stood for 4 or 5 world cup finals, more than Dickie Bird.

    I simply fail to undestand why Bucknor has it against India, especially players like Sachin and Rahul.

    But I am sure he is a likeable chap.Irrespective of what he has done, BCCI was not right to demand his ‘sacking’ after the Sydney fiasco. Bucknor’s record against India is public knowledge.Kumble & Co should have asked the BCCI to intervene before the series. May be they did. Who knows?

  109. ooh, darrell hair. actually, it all depends on whether you think murali chucks or not, and that’s the prism through which you’d view darrell hair. Personally, I don’t care for him, he umpires by the letter of the law, not the spirit, which will always preclude him from being a great umpire.

  110. Oh..for a moment, I too thought Raj was referring to Darrel Hair.

    I don’t want to discuss impartiality of umpires (aren’t they all supposed to be neutral and impartial these days?), but if you speak of competence, I feel Hair’s as good as Taufel, or probably better.

    Question for TTT: Why don’t we see more English ex-Cicketers take to umpiring these days?

    Felt good when I read recently that Paul Reiffel may soon become an international umpire.

  111. Actually, Mark Benson’s good, too.

    I wonder why Taufel is under-rated, especially in Australia.

    Competence, unfortunately, only helps you pick and choose when you want to be good. Impartiality and objectivity are the biggest assets an umpire can have. Which is why David Shepherd got away with howlers in his last years – because, not for a moment, could anyone point to impartiality – his reputation was such. He had that reputation because that was backed with his deeds over the years. Hair lacks it – it has not got much to do with Murali. He seemed to strongly believe that Pakistanis tampered their ball – his actions were not at all justified. We all know now that Pakistanis did nothing unusual in Cricket – yet, Wasim and Waqar received such censure in the 90’s and now that the English have mastered it, we can see apologists for “using saliva” and “scuffing the ball”. Darrel came from the same school and I wonder why he couldnt suspect the Englishmen for the same crime.

    That is poor judgement from him. He clearly smacked of “you lowly pakistanis” attitude. No self-respecting nation can stand that sort of thing. In my opinion, Inzy did the right thing. Inzy is one of the coolest guys around, aloo notwithstanding
    To have irritated him, I am sure Hair must be a snob of the highest order

  112. I always here “No player is bigger than the Game”. I would like to know
    * Then, why are the umpires allowed to act like they are bigger than the game, like Darrel Hair did. Why doesnt anybody advice him about “you are not bigger than the game”. All the hullabaloo about you cannot question the umpires? Eh, why not? They arent bigger than the game, are they? So, if players can take the heat when they fail, why not they umpires, when they fail due to eitehr incompetence or partiality?
    * Why Cricket, the game itself takes itself so seriously? If individual is not bigger than the game, is the game bigger than Life itself? This is where I sympathise with the likes of Symonds. He doesnt have team spirit because he skipped a team meeting?
    IMO, if the individual is not bigger than the game, the game is not bigger than the individual either. It must respect individuals

  113. Taufel is regarded as Australia’s best umpire that’s why he was nominated to the ICC elite panel.

    As for Big Darrell, you throw out the bait and some of you guys bite like sharks in a sea of blood and guts. Shall I mention what an honest chap Gilly is next? Or how about how Sachin changed his tune?

    And for your info raj, I live in a world of rainbows surrounded by beautiful women and endless cricket!

  114. If Taufel is underrated in Australia it is probably because most Australians only watch matches in which Australia play, and hence never see Taufel.

    Why is Clarke still bowling? He twinged his back last over.. surely time to get him off?

  115. 273/3 (76.4 overs)..

    Am happy with the day’s play by India..just hoping they don’t lose any wickets in the 10 overs that may be bowled till close of play. Even if they lose a wicket, the day would still belong to them.

  116. nesta, if you think Gilly is a honest chap and Sachin is a liar, feel free to. I am not calling anyone names. I am merely pointing out certain actions of each individual being discussed here.

  117. On second thoughts, how presumpous of me to write that in Nesta’s own blog :-)

  118. Well, Kumar, India might well lose 2-3 wickets and come out looking sorry at EOD.
    Or even if they do survive, I think Gauti and VVS will say bye-bye within the first hour tomorrow. It depends on Saurav and Dhoni what total India gets to.

  119. “.. because most Australians only watch matches in which Australia play, and hence never see Taufel.

    Moses, yes, I forgot that, of course! Doesnt Oz have its own TTT?

  120. Big day for India after winning the toss. It was hard fought early but eventually India got on top. However, the story of the day is Gautum Gambhir. More on that later.

    296/3 (89)

  121. 296/3, and it looks bleak for Australia.

    Rewind to 2001 in Chennai, where Australia were 326/3 at stumps with Hayden going great guns. It took Waugh’s freak handled ball dismissal to turn the tide and Harbhajan ripped through the batting order then. Even then, India had to put up 501 and then barely squeaked home on the final day. THAT’s the sort of miracle Australia have to hope for now to win this one.

  122. Lee’s looking good this spell..

  123. After losing the toss RK, it was always going to be near impossible to win. One thing’s for certain Australia will have to bat well and India will swing, cut and spin the ball. Tough times for the boys in BaggyGreen!

  124. If there were a player of the day award for each day of a test match, IMO, this series’ list would look like this:

    Bangalore
    Day 1 – Ponting
    2 – Hussey
    3 – Johnson
    4 – Zaheer
    5 – Tendulkar

    Mohali
    1 – Tendulkar
    2 – Ganguly
    3 – Mishra
    4 – Harbhajan
    5 – Zaheer

    Delhi
    1- Gambhir

    That tells the story of the series so far – Australia started stronly, faded away at the end of the first test, and have been ground into dust since.

  125. So I finally got to catch glimpses third session while playing pub trivia last night. The fact the Katich seemed to extract more spin from the pitch then either White or Clarke shows up the selectors foolishness for not include Casson. But then you good folks that have watched more of this series may have a better idea.

  126. Pete,

    A few glimpses is all it takes to see the obvious.


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