Posted by: nestaquin | October 31, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy Third Test Day Three Preview

Indulgence in life, as it is in cricket, rarely goes unpunished.  It is usually a regrettable and expensive luxury and Anil Kumble’s gesture to delay declaration till after VVS Laxman secured his elegant and composed double century yesterday could conceivably come back to bite India before the series is completed.

While it was wonderful to witness Laxman’s almost effortless strokeplay, securing his personal milestone ahead of the greater objective of securing the series has given Australia some hope, where before tea they appeared dejected and beaten. Test cricket is indeed a curious contest.

If India had given themselves time yesterday afternoon they may have exposed a mentally tired Ponting and just as in Mohali secured his wicket early. Ponting has a habit of failing after spending long periods in the field marshalling his troops but now he has the benefit of a night’s rest before batting at some stage today.

Obviously, Australia will need to bat well to save the match and stay alive in the series.  Yesterday afternoon both Katich and Hayden appeared comfortable and there seemed little in the pitch for the quicks, however, Kumble looked dangerous extracting turn and steep bounce and much will depend on India’s captain during the third day.

The importance of today’s play can not be overstated. If Australia can survive and begin the fourth in reasonable shape, they will have a great opportunity of stretching the series to the final Test in Nagpur where they can once again begin from scratch in their hitherto vain attempts of taking 20 Indian wickets.

As we have said so many times during this series, the first session is crucial and India will be looking to pick up a couple of wickets to continue their total domination of this match. If they can, their grip on the Border Gavaskar Trophy will tighten to the extent that Australia’s hopes of escape will be almost impossible.

With so much at stake it is no surprise that a fascinating and incredibly tense day of Test match cricket awaits.



  1. Just think… we bat this one out for a draw and win the toss in Nagpur, we’d be odds on for retaining the B/G..

  2. Mo, it seems the only straw we’ve got left to clutch on to.

    Today is the key for keeping the dream alive.

  3. and Haydo’s remaining conscious!
    First ball into the head, nice bowling!

  4. Kumble’s obviously decided he’s the key, and I think he’ll bowl a lot. It’s either the ego of an under-fire captain/bowler or his knowledge of Kotla and, going by his record there, I’m inclined towards the latter.

  5. Nice to see Katich farming the strike while Haydo’s recovers from the head knock..

  6. Was a very good first over by Zaheer but he doesn’t seem to be bowling as well to Katich. Obviously, Hayden brings out the best in him.

    Kumble should bowl a lot he looks the most likely to gain a wicket.

    It looks a very murky polluted day in Delhi. Asthmathics nightmare. I hope they get the air quality sorted before the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

  7. Hussey’s got asthma, anyone else?

  8. Refreshingly different approach by Katich.

    He’s doing exactly what I advised him to do, on this blog last week :-)

  9. Don’t know, Mo.

    Billy Bowden is on Zaheer’s case about running on the pitch.

    74/0 (21)

  10. Glad to hear it.. last time it was Hussey running on the pitch when we had to bat to save the test… though I think the baggy greens were watching a different match to me in Mohali..

  11. So far all my predictions have come true…

  12. I’m basing this observation purely on the cricinfo commentary, and it sounds like Kumble is getting some tricky bounce out of the footmarks to left handers.

    Considering he doesn’t turn it why are they anywhere near the footmarks? Just pad the thing away and keep the bat miles from it.

  13. They are playing Kumble reasonably well. A couple of balls have beaten the bat but he looks to be tiring already. He’s starting to lose his length but he’ll get it right after a quick rest.

    Just received an email saying that Gambhir has been suspended for the next Test. Haven’t had it confirmed yet. Reckons Broad was adamant that cricket is not a contact sport and it was his second offence and therefore a suspension was the only option.

    Mishra replacing Kumble.

    98/0 (28)

  14. great start by the openers, but this pitch is looking a bit treacherous. The Aussie top order will still need every ounce of their concenration to save this one

  15. The pitch is starting to misbehave especially out of the rough, however, Hayden is starting to look back to his old self. Big six last ball before drinks off Mishra who looks like he needs to bowl a little quicker to the big Queenslander.

    Drinks 105/0 (29)

  16. That’s a shame about Gambhir, he was odds-on to be man of the series (still might be), and now India will have to bring in someone new – Jaffer? Badri to open? Push Dravid to open and get Badri in? My preference is for the last, as Badri is coming in for the next series anyway, so let him bed in, and it’s for only one test.

  17. That doesn’t seem over the top for a second offence, though I suspect you’ll struggle to find an Indian supporter to agree with that statement.

  18. No, Moses I do agree actually, it looked like a deliberate thrust to me, and it’s a second offence, so fair cop.

    Now I await condemnation from raj for sucking up to the white man.

  19. Gambhir’s score has increased every innings this series…

  20. Well reasoned RK, I’m glad to have been wrong in this case. A refreshing change from the fanboys who usually inhabit blog comments ;)

  21. One slip for Sharma and 500 ahead. And lo and behold Katich edges one through second slip for four.

    Just what is Kumble doing? Ishant slants the ball across the left handers. He is a proven wicket taker. The Indian captain’s conservatism puzzles me.

    Hayden likes the look of Mishra. Another big shot over the top for four.

  22. So.. onto a more realistic gameplan in case my fantasy gameplan doesn’t work out.

    Australia keep scoring at this rate, we’ll be around 400 by stumps. Once we’re past the follow on early tomorrow, we up the scoring rate to 6rpo for two sessions, then have 4 sessions to bowl India out for 160. Easy As.

  23. The Indian captain’s conservatism puzzles me.

    which lends some irony to VVS comments on Pontings conservatism last night..

  24. Well, Laxman was right about Ponting, and he could have hardly berated his own captain.

    Still, it’s asinine for Kumble to not have at least 6 catching positions when 500 ahead

  25. Full credit to the openers for not only surviving some vicious deliveries, but also not letting any easy deliveries go unpunished.

    Will be interesting to see how long they hold the concentration and what Kumble does now.

    As for Gambhir, he deserves the punishment.It looked deliberate to me.

    But I feel Katich should have been charged too – he started his ‘verbals’ after he bowled his second ball, and his obstruction of Gambhir looked deliberate to me.

    As a rule, I hate bowlers and fielders giving the lip to batsmen.Whether its Zaheer or Katich, it is just not done and it is ugly as hell.

    Importantly, Oz openers seem to be getting a boundary every over.We will know by Tea today whether this match is gonna be a draw.

  26. Conversely I love to see a bit of passion combined with a few choice words. But in cricket it should stay at that, no need for physical contact.

    I disagree that Katich was stopping him from taking a run, especially considering the fielder was throwing to the ‘keepers stumps has Gambhir actually run he could well have been run out. Looked like he was going for the ball and just got in the way.

  27. 1.Only 1 slip for Ishant – means Kumble thinks India has done enough for this match, and wants Australia to decide what they wish to do with this one. I am sure Dhoni and others (Sachin, Sehwag etc) are aware of the folly of this approach, but they don’t want to question Kumble’s judgement. Such are the ways of Indian cricket.

    2.Kumble as a bowler waits patiently for batsmen to make mistakes.If he takes this approach to his own bowling, its fine. But as a captain, he is probably guilty of puncturing Ishant’s confidence with his field placements.

    The bowlers are just trying different angles.I doubt if it will work.

  28. this on the cricinfo commentary

    Yes, there are plenty of reports about Gambhir being banned but I’m waiting for confirmation.

  29. Katich gone!

    Mishra to Katich, OUT, bowled em! There’s the breakthrough, Katich undone by Mishra’s flight, that was tossed up into the rough, luring him into another flick from outside off stump, except he misses and the ball sneaks back through the gap to disturb the furniture

  30. whooppee doo, and it’s that man Mishra!

  31. Left/Right combo might cause a bit of trouble for the young Mishra..

  32. “Conversely I love to see a bit of passion combined with a few choice words. But in cricket it should stay at that, no need for physical contact.”


    So you did not mind the send off Hayden recieved or the Monkey Gate then? It was just a few choice words.No physical contact what so ever. I am sure you blogged about how Aussies were wimpy to complain about those things?

    Regarding Katich, I think we can agree to disagree.Or we can have a vote here on this blog :-)

    Thank God, Mishra gets the breakthru.Lets watch Ponting now against Sharma. Will be a great contest.

  33. Now Kumble has to make sure India win this one, as they’ll be seriously weakened and lopsided without GG in Nagpur. But this time, I’m hoping the groundsman repeats his 2004 trick and gets us a green top – amazingly, we’re better equipped than Australia to exploit it.

  34. Actually, screw the green top, the draw will do just fine

  35. When will Kumble ever learn? From the first test in this series onwards, the 3rd man has leaked so many runs. And yet, it remains unplugged.

    Can some one well-versed in field placements explain this to me, please?

  36. whoa, the posters on rediff have gone so completely ape over the Gambhir ban, it’s hilarious to read.

  37. Hayden gets a thick edge to 2nd slip and instead of being caught out, gets a boundary.

    I am very disappointed with Kumble’s approach.I don’t mind him being conservative about declaration, but not having aggressive field placements is a crime.

  38. So you did not mind the send off Hayden recieved or the Monkey Gate then? It was just a few choice words.No physical contact what so ever. I am sure you blogged about how Aussies were wimpy to complain about those things?

    Zaheer’s sending off Hayden was fine, actually more than fine it was welcome after all the crap Hayden goes on with in the press. Why do they insist on giving him a mic?

    The accusations in Sydney were of racial abuse, which I believe to be a serious matter. I’m all for a bit of niggle but leave skin colour and ethnicity out of it. Mind you, these allegations were never proven at the SCG, it’s one parties word against another.

    Ponting’s looking alright :)

  39. Superb stuff from the Aussies today.

    Time to settle down before lunch and carry on after.

    Haydos set for a massive score, Punter looks good too.

  40. Hey Damith, you’ve been reading my predictions have you?

    Sounds like Sehwag will get a few more overs in this test..

  41. Here’s a diversion. After being dismissed by the debutants White and Siddle in this series, it got me to thinking that Tendulkar sure seems to be quite a few bowlers’ first wicket (offhand, I think Vaughan and Panesar are in the list as well).

    Here are estimates totally off the top of my head. Say each team debuts 4 players a year (say half of them bowl) and there have been 9 teams (on avg) in existence for the last 19 years (Tendulkar’s career). That would make 19*9*2 = 342 bowlers who’ve debuted in the last 19 years.

    Now 23434 wickets have fallen in this period, leading to an average of 68.5 wickets per bowler. So, it seems 1/68th of your dismissals should give someone a debut wicket, which in Tendulkar’s case, equates to 3.3 times (223/68.5).

    Now, my questions are:

    1. Is my reasoning correct?
    2. The estimate for debutants could be way off – maybe David Barry could help here
    3. How many times has Tendulkar given someone his debut wicket, apart from the instances above?

    Knowing all this, we can establish if there’s a statistical significance to the hypothesis that Tendulkar seem to be a higher-than-average no. of bowlers’ debut wicket.

    I know, the sadness of pondering over such inanities hasn’t escaped me.

  42. Too late, I’m already calling him the “Victorian Cherry Popper”!

  43. My post seems to have put the kibosh on the conversation here :)

  44. Too many short balls by Kumble.

    And when he is bowling length balls, Ponting’s actually playing him on the backfoot. A few years back, going on backfoot for Kumble would have been suicidal.It no longer seems to be the case.

    I know people blame the pitch, but so far I am not impressed by both the Aussie and Indian bowlers..and the respective captains.

  45. Sehwag is getting prodigious turn. Harbhajan would have been very dangerous if fit.

    Gambhir pleaded guilty to the charge and even so I think he can appeal the punishment. If they delay appealing to the final moment which is next Wednesday I think, he’ll play in Nagpur but miss the next Test which I presume is against England if the appeal fails.

    Manipulating the system especially after pleading guilty may not be viewed favourably by the ICC and rather than a reduced punishment Gambhir could even gain a harsher one. That’s the risk the Indian management will have to weigh up.

    181/1 (49.1)

  46. 49.1 Kumble to Ponting, FOUR, rubbish, flat down the pads and paddled away for four.

    Sad to see a great bowler becoming so mediocre towards the end..reminds me of Kapil Dev in his last 18 months of international cricket.

  47. Kumble has 0/213 so far in the series. Even Cameron White is doing better than that! When captains aren’t playing well their decision making suffers too.

    Mishra is outbowling him with ease. Almost had Ponting then. Amit is a beautiful leggie with a classical approach. Lovely to watch.

    187/1 (51)

  48. This what the match referee said Chris Broad said about Gambhir’s suspension, “The decision to find Gambhir guilty of a Level 2 offence is indicative of the fact that any degree of physical contact is unacceptable,” Broad said. “Had Gambhir been charged with and found guilty of a charge under 2.4 [for deliberate or inappropriate physical contact], due to his previous offence, I would have been obliged to impose a minimum penalty of a two-test match ban. In the view of the umpires, the facts of this case – the lightness of the physical conduct and the element of provocation – would not justify such a penalty.”

  49. Kumble has dropped Hayden and gone off for treatment to his left hand. It was a tough chance but catchable. While bad news for Kumble it now means Dhoni is in charge and that could mean a different approach with the field and bowling.

    187/1 (52)

  50. And now Kumble drops Hayden !

    I admire Kumble for all his past achievements..but if this test is not won, he has to take the blame and step down from captaincy. If the new captain wishes Kumble’s bowling services, he can play in Nagpur.

  51. Lets see if Dhoni can inject some life into this fielding unit now !

  52. Unfortunately Kumar that is how it seems. But as you and I know, Kumble will be captain till series end and there is still a realistic chance of India winning this game.

    What irks me as an Aussie is that if Australia had batted with application, much like they have today, in the second dig at Mohali it would probably still be nil all.

    Already the fields have changed with Dhoni in charge. He has taken the man off the leg boundary in front of square put in another man in close and invited Hayden to sweep. Smart move.

    C’mon Anil! Australia need you on the field!

  53. On a side note, Gambhir has such poor anticipation, he doesnt deserve to be a close in fielder.

    Ponting’s trying to be unnecessarily aggressive.That gives me some hope.

    If I were Dhoni, I would bring Ishant on for a while, keep Mishra on and attack from both ends.

  54. Yeah, Gautam had to be banned. Like Dhoni said, India still need to learn to play the system and get away with abuses and personal insults instead of reacting and getting banned.
    But then no matter what they do, guys like Broad will invent a way to punish the Indians.
    Consider this – if Gautam hadnt reacted, Shane Wason wouldnt even have been charged with level 1. That level 1 for Watson is a eye wash.

    Also, people like Moses make this” we’ll call you all sorts of names and vulogar abuses but you hit us” excuse
    Always provoke provoke provoke until someone reacts and then throw the book at him
    Thats cynical and Aussies have been doing this for years. If you dont provoke then there wont be reaction isnt it? Idiots and bunch o goons.

    I mean, i guess Moses would incite a riot and say “I just said a few words, he burnt a bus down. I am not at fault”.
    Any civilised person will condemn that but even a reasoanble person like nestaquin doesnt do so what does that tell about aussies?
    Until the Aussies understand that thing cynical and manipulating rules, there is no hope for their society.

    Always the same excuse “according to our rules, this is fine, that is not fine”. Eh, who are you to make those rules? Sledging is stupid and pathetic. Just because you have some rotten culture, doesnt mean anything

  55. So far so good for Australia. Hayden looked ragged in the last ten minutes before lunch so it is possible he could tire towards tea.

    Drinks – 198/1 (57)

  56. Why is Katich not charged? It is alright to throw abuse and block a batsman’s way.
    But then that was accidental – it was obvious that it was accidental but when Gautam says it was accidental, they wont accept it. Always they want to set the rules on interpreting things.

  57. My position is that Gambhir reacted badly to some taunting, and deserves harsher punishment. And I thought the exact same thing about the Zidane-Materazzi incident – that it was a shame Materazzi was also punished as Zidane aesily deserved a much harsher punishment than Materazzi (it wasn’t racial abuse, for crissake).

    If you’re a top-level sportsman and some words actually provoke violence in you, you fully deserve to be punished. Hence, with McGrath/Sarwan, I think that was fair, Sarwan did the right thing to provocation by respoding in kind. But elbowing or headbutting someone, no, that’s a no go.

  58. hallelujah, viru you beauty!!

  59. Shame about Gambhir, but batsmen have run around bowlers for 250 years or so.

    I still like the declaration as I don’t know how many of the Aus late order have dealt with the pressure of batting for a draw. Had Kumble declared on 550 or so, India would only have batted for 40 overs or so before setting a target, so the bowlers would have to get 20 wickets in three days, which is their objective now.

    Sehwag, a bowler I believe is much underused, has just wrung a marginal decision from Billy Bowden. Two more wickets before the close would be handy for Ind, three very nice and four would put India well on top.

  60. Raj,

    I can see you are passionate and I agree with you that sledging the Aussie way is a cynical manipulation of the rule book. But then, this is our PoV, the Indian one.

    There are always two sides to the coin.The Aussies play the game that way in domestic cricket also.

    There are ways to beat Australia without resorting to sledging or getting provoked.People like Sachin, Laxman, and Dravid have shown us that way. Gambhir, Harbhajan and others should look up to these icons and learn how to win. See Dhoni.He seems to have adopted the right mix of aggression and banter without getting into ugly situations. As an Indian, I feel sad when Gambhir tries to be an oaf like Hayden or Symonds.He should try and be like Dhoni. At least from now on.

    Brett Lee is so popular in India not just because of his looks.His talent speaks for him self, and he has never been caught in ugly situatiions like this. Shame on Watson (one of my favorite cricketers actually) and Katich. Shame on Gambhir as well, for behaving like a Delhi bully.

  61. Raj

    It is up to each individual to be responsible for their own actions.

    If someone calls you names and you hit them, the aggressor not the provacateur is charged under Western law.

    And keeping out of other people’s arguments and crazy obsessions does not infer acceptance.

    Hayden out lbw Sehwag. Quick ball looked a bit high but he is on his way.

  62. Whilst I agree with Gambhir’s ban and Chris Broad’s considered judgement, I have some sympathy with cricketers who react to sledging. Here is what I wrote just over a year ago on a blog to which Nesta and I used to contribute.

    “I don’t like Sreesanth’s antics either, but I think Symonds and others are at least partly to blame. Where would a kid from rural India learn the histories and the nuances of Australian sporting behaviour? I enjoy Nel because, like Bing, I know he doesn’t mean it, but does everyone know that? Where would Sreesanth have gone for a beer after the game in rural India or in a dry state and learned the camaraderie that comes with it?

    I’m not making excuses for Sreesanth, but Symonds gives it plenty on the field and, although exemplary off the field (as are all the Aussies once the game is over) he shouldn’t be surprised if players nurtured in other countries and cultures can’t differentiate between the player and the man. Especially away from home on the player’s own “patch”.

    Posted by: The Tooting Trumpet | 11 Oct 2007 19:23:42″

    The English view of sledging / send-offs is almost universely negative, even when our players do it.

    Having said that – like Nesta, I believe that strength comes through diversity and understanding, within the community of cricketers, a community that has much more to unite it than there is to divide it.

  63. sreesanth was the national break dance champion of India, so he was just showing off his moves, nothing sinister!

  64. Very well put, Toots.

    It has been an engrossing session of test cricket.

    Dhoni has brought Tendulkar on..with Kumble out for treatment, it is unlikely he will bowl again today.So, India has to prise out the wickets with 3 regular bowlers plus Sehwag and Sachin.

    Wait a sec, even Zaheer is not on the field, I think.

  65. For all the new age cricket talk that Ponting has done, so far in this series, it has been old fashioned test cricket.

    Looking at the pitch, it is likely to become almost unplayable on Day 4 after Tea.

  66. Fair enough, all your points.
    As I said, any culture that punishes the reactor not the provoker will eventually face its waterloo.

    What irritates me is:
    ICC is dominated by the likes of Chris Broad who openly sides with Eng and Aus. He finds faults with Murali even when the umpires dont report him. Whose agenda is he implementing? When Rudi gives a decision against Aussies, our broad-minded match referee immediately subtly cautions him against giving bad decisions against OZ by letting know his views on that decision. Why that decision alone? Rudi got it wrong against India also. But our man wont comment about those.

    But everyone and his aunt will cry hoarse about BCCI domination? I say, what, BCCI should nakedly dominate and get Oz crciketers punished, they should get their yes-men as match referees and implement this. Match referees should nakedly throw the book on Oz and give a positive spin on offences by Indians.
    Then, perhaps, these Aussies here will understand our frustration.

    Afterall, anyway they accuse BCCI of naked domination – then why not actually do it and get the bad name instead of getting the bad name just like that

  67. Just what is new age cricket?

    The same strategies that worked 100 years ago are still valid today.

    Ponting was just feeding the media a few scraps to keep them happy.

    Ishant is beginning to swing it. India look a far better team with Kumble absent.

    Tea 237/2 (70)

  68. The simple question is why Shane Warne was never punished for intimidating umpires. Keep in Mind that Parthiv Patel, the puny schoolboy was charged with that offence. As if, big steve bucknor could be intimidated by a baby-faced boy.
    Answer me this:
    If you were on the pitch, which is more intimidating – a giant Warne pressurising you with a disapproving look and a menacing glance or puny Parthiv charging at you.
    Yet, only one of them has ever been charged with intimidating umpires. Guess who?
    Whenever I bring this point, blog owners usually delete it or the subject. Because this one fact is proof of western domination of ICC – so all you guys berating BCCI, just shut your traps.

  69. Kumar, I hold you responsible. HUBRIS, man! Ponting to score a double century now, Hussey a 150+, Clarke a 100.
    India are not going to WIN this series

  70. raj,

    You must be lost mate, in more ways than one it would seem, no-one here is berating the BCCI, in fact you’re the only one who continues to politicise this blog.

    The rest of us, I assume, are just enjoying the cricket.

  71. gilchrist’s really laying the publicity blitz on thick for his book. he’s just had a go at ganguly and Bajji for their non-show at Nagpur in 2004

  72. “Ponting was just feeding the media a few scraps to keep them happy.”

    If Aus had won at Mohali, I am sure many Australian journalists (and some Indian ones too) would have given credit to the ‘new age cricket’. Ponting did not just give scraps, Nesta. He described it and seemed to genuienly believe that faster running between the wickets and aggressive fielding are the factors that give Australia the edge over India.

    Nothing wrong in Ponting saying that.If the Aus seniors had performed, the difference between the two sides would have been the fielding standards.

  73. Raj,

    Your point about Chris Broad is very valid.Regarding Shane Warne, I am sure action would have been taken had the umpires complained about it.

    Coming to the BCCI, lets face it, they are using their financial clout (derived from the purchaisng power of India’s TV audience) without any qualms about it. They would definitely get into appointment of match referees if they feel ther’s money to be made there.

    As Indian cricket fans, we very well know how negligent the BCCI has been in scheduling India’s tours properly, how apathetic they have been towards spectator comfort, how cynical they have been in allowing Zimbabwe to continue being an ICC member, and how dictatorial they have been towards the ICL.

    I am not saying the ECB and CA are saints; when it comes to politicking and having a short term vision, they are equally bad.Especially the ECB.

    But at least Cricket Australia plans their team’s tours to India and England properly – ensuring adequate preparation before the tests.

    But all this discussion is irrelevant now. As Nesta pointed out, at least on this blog, I have not seen any BCCI bashing so far (except by me now!).

    There’s some gritty cricket going on. Both Ishant and Zaheer are bowling well and Ponting/Hussey are having to focus very hard.

    Lets hope for a moment or two of loss of concentration, and India will be on top, again !

  74. Australia have run hard between the wickets and prided itself on its fielding long before Ponting was even in the team.

    Rather than give any details when asked, “How will you beat India?” Ponting just trotted out some tripe about New Age Cricket and the media trained like parrots to repeat soundbites and offer no analysis ran with it.

    New Age Cricket! What next, Post Warnism. The term is a distraction and a manipulation and it served its purpose. I doubt you’ll ever hear it again from Ponting’s mouth after this series.

  75. Great bowling from Ishant and Zaheer.

    May be I agree with RK after all.But we need wickets.At least 2.Within the next 5 overs.

    get them guys !

  76. Incredibly, India are way behind the over rate. Half hour after tea and still 29 overs to bowl.

    Interesting that Dhoni is bowling both Sharma and Zaheer in a long spell since the break with the new ball due in only five overs.

    If it was Kumble as captain I’d be smiling but because it’s Dhoni I wonder what he has up his sleeve.

  77. Toots,

    In regards to the declaration, I agree that 600 was the score to aim for but India took far too long to reach it. Once Laxman knew there was going to be no declaration till he reached 200 he started playing for himself hitting singles thereby wasting precious time.

    There is a famous story in Australian cricket of Bill Lawry declaring when Rod Marsh was in the 90s. At that point in time no Australian wicketkeeper had scored a Test century. I’ll relate the tale after stumps today for those that might be interested.

    Magnificent spell by Sharma but no reward as yet.

    251/2 (77)

  78. Third successive 50+ partnership for Australia, in the face of some good bowling.

    So far, I would say they have done better than India at this stage, though it was not pretty at times.


    You can tell us the Rod Marsh story now !

  79. Oh dear ! I thought Dhoni brought a 2nd slip in for Ishant some time back. It seems to have been taken off, and Hussey edges there !

  80. nesta, I apologize for getting carried away.

    Kumar, BCCI is evil, let’s make no bones about it. But they arent any different from ECB or CA. In fact, they lack the finesse of the latter 2 in implementing their agenda. Like I said, buy the match referees, pretty much everything else can be controlled then in terms of India’s image. That way, India can control cricket, commit all sorts of crimes on fields and get away with it. That would also frustrate other teams and force mistakes like Gambhir’s elbowgate. Using that as an excuse, we could ban more of thm. THen two yeras later we can quote ban and punishment statistics nd condemn England and Oz as badly behaved when in reality, we would be the bad boys. It would be fun because thats what ECB and CA are doing now and they are having fun despite BCCI’s financial clout.
    I mean, let the boot well and truly adorn the other foot.

  81. Very soon, NZ cricket team will slip in standards. But I am sure Eng and Aus boards will not allow them to be removed from top tier. BCCI is doing the same thing with Zim and Bangladesh now.

  82. I give up for the day.. it will be 350/2 or 3 at stumps..and it is Australia’s day.

    For all Dhoni lovers – even Dhoni has not put in a 2nd slip, and at least 3 or 4 thick edges (lost count) have gone there.

    85.1 Sehwag to Hussey, 1 run, lands on a length and he gets back, pushing the ball to cover, where Laxman, Ganguly and Ishant all converge but cannot decide who will pick the ball up so Hussey gets an easy single, now thats superb fielding .

    That sums up India’s day on the field.

    I typed the above words and Sehwag bowls Punter ! The commentor’s curse or blessing?

  83. Punter gone on 87 on Hallowe’en. Might be portentous.

  84. Raj,

    With due respects, please do not equate Zim and Ban with the Kiwis, for cricketing reasons.

    Zim never deserved to be a Test playing nation. Bangladesh has flattered to deceive.

    For the record, I don’t remember India beating NZ in an away series in a long time. The last time we toured NZ, we lost.

  85. One more wicket before close of play, and India still in with a chance to win this test.

  86. I don’t know about Zim, they petered out because of political reasonas, but towards the turn of the century, they were a decent side, and had the Flowers, Johnson, Goodwin etc stayed around, they’d have become a decent side I bet.

    Bangladesh are awful. They were never ready for the big time, and it’s not their fault that they still have teststatus, but serioosly, they should be stripped of it after the South Africa tour.

    I get Raj’s point about NZ, and he is talking about the future. I can see a situation where 3-4 years down the road, NZ will be on par with Bangladesh. They have 1.5 world class players (Vettori + Oram) and little grassroots support, and any more ICL defections will kill the game off there.

  87. It will be sad if 3-4 years down the line, ICL players are still banned from representing their national side.

  88. New ball taken. Interesting move to delay its introduction. With half an hour to go India will still have a hard rock in the morning.

    Another wicket is a distinct possibility before stumps.

    As for the Kiwis I wouldn’t write them off too quickly. Australia play them every year and they always give as good as they get. They are too proud a sporting nation to drop off the tree completely.

    313/3 (98)

  89. Sehwag bowling with the new ball. Wonder what Zaheer thinks of that.

  90. nesta, it’s 10pm on a friday night for you man. go get drunk!

  91. whoa, thats a huuuuuuge wicket. sehwag’s been stunning!

  92. I’ve just returned from dinner at the local Italian restaurant. Also, alcohol and I do not mix. I learned that lesson long ago.

    Hussey gone. Sehwag would hardly have bowled if Kumble was there. Dhoni is a magician when captain.

    Now Mishra is bowling with a ball four overs old.

    326/4 (102) 3 overs to go.

  93. that last wicket has certainly made things interesting again. Now, 4 down, Australia get rolled over for 450 midway through session 2 tomorrow, India bat for the rest of the day, set Aus 350 to chase on a fifth day pitch. Should be absorbing stuff

  94. One more wicket, and the honors for the day would be shared. Else, it is still Australia’s day. They have played 103 overs and have lost just 4 wickets on a turning track. Good application.

  95. Watson clearly was lucky to survive the big shout in Mishra’s last over.

  96. If India gave Australia a tantalising 350 I reckon they’d try and go for it. Unfortunately, I cannot see Kumble even giving Australia a sniff. It’s just not his style. Isn’t it ironic that Kumble’s absence has once again been in India’s favour.

  97. Snicko reckons there was an edge Kumar. Some nervous moments in those last three overs.

    Australia will be happy with the score after a tough day’s cricket where Sehwag took three of the four wickets to fall.

    Stumps 338/4 (105)

  98. Clarke just about survives the last over.

    From an Indian PoV, Sehwag is the story of the day. For a part timer, he bowled 22 overs and snared 3 priceless wickets.Credit also to Dhoni, but I wish he’d shown the same enthusiasm when Kumble was in charge. Another forgettable day for Kumble in this series.

    Australia have done well to scored 338/4. Their first target would be to cross 413, and then see how close they can get to India’s total. I feel they would have done very well if they add another 100 runs on this track, and more importantly play out another 40-50 overs at least.

    If India sets them a target of around 350, it will be very tempting to go for the chase.

    All in all, it is definitely Australia’s day and their performance today would have exorcised the ghost of Mohali. We will know for sure when they bat on Sunday.

  99. Do you think it is out of respect that Dhoni isn’t more assertive when Kumble is in charge?

  100. You may be right, Nesta.

    But keepers always have the license to give advice to the skipper.And Dhoni’s leadership skills and acumen were identified by his colleagues, when he was just a rookie keeper in the ODI team.I believe he got the T20 skipper role because of good recos from Sachin and Dravid. So, I don’t see any reason for him keeping quiet now. After all, he is the unofficial deputy and Kumble would value his inputs.

    But their approaches are different as we have all noticed.Kumble is conservative and patient, and worries a lot about the end result. Dhoni on the other hand is a risk-taker, almost a gambler like Warne. No wonder their teams clashed in the IPL final :-)

    I feel Kumble can find his wicket taking rhythm if he plays the rest of his career under Dhoni’s captaincy.Kumble is a great fighter and probably the best test bolwer India produced, but he should hand over to Dhoni and contribute to the team purely as a bowler.

  101. Partial answer to Rajesh Kannan’s question about Tendulkar being the maiden wicket of a lot of bowlers:

    I can’t be bothered doing it properly tonight. I just did the numbers for the whole of Test history. Maiden wickets account for about 2.4% of all wickets attributed to a bowler (ie, not run-outs, etc.).

    So you go and work out each batsman’s proportion of wickets that were the first for the bowler. Tendulkar has 10 such instances, out of 216 wickets where he’s been dismissed by the bowler. That’s a proportion of 0.046. Now, the standard deviation of these proportions with n dismissed-by-bowler innings is sqrt(0.046*0.954/n). So, we calculate a z-score, ie, how many standard deviations the batsman’s proportion is above or below the overall mean of 0.024.

    In Tendulkar’s case, it is 1.8, pretty high. Of players who debuted around or after Tendulkar’s debut, only Aamer Sohail (7 out of 78, z=3.5) and Marcus Trescothick (7 out of 130, z=1.9) have higher z-scores.

    BUT, if you just take players from Tendulkar’s era, you find that the standard deviation of the z-scores is 1.02. If the maiden wickets were randomly distributed across batsmen, you would expect that figure to be 1. Since it is very close to 1, there is not much evidence that the batsmen with high z-scores are actually indicative of something – it’s just random luck that Tendulkar is near the top, while Chanderpaul, Gibbs, etc. are near the bottom.

    But I haven’t controlled everything properly (eg, I included tail-enders, who wouldn’t normally be batting while part-timers are bowling), so I’ll leave this as a comment rather than write up a proper blog entry.

  102. Aus’ day, but I feel India are closer to a win than at the start of play. The longest Aus innings was Punter’s 165 balls (equal to half the strike for 55 overs). I suspect that on a wearing wicket, someone is going to have to bat for 70 overs second time around, as you don’t want wickets falling at both ends when playing for a draw.

  103. I agree with TTT..

    India needs to fold up the Aussie innings by tea tomorrow ( max) and with a lead. If India can get 100 runs or more in arrears, it sets up the test match nicely because, on evidence of the last session on day 3, batting on the 5th day will take some doing.

    And if Australia have to chase 250 in 60 overs on Day 5, game on!


  104. No way. Clarke to score 150, Watson 60+, Haddin and White 40+. Oz take 50+ run lead
    India to collapse for 200. Oz knock off 150 and win the test.
    Or atleast draw it. India WILL NOT win this test

  105. Raj,

    If the Aussies score the runs they do, there wont be time left in the game for a second innings :).


  106. The very best Australia can hope for is to escape this match with a draw that includes India bowling for the majority of the final day.

    Then if they win the toss in the next match India’s bowlers will be in the same position as Australia’s were in Mohali. Knackered by the time the second innings comes around from not enough rest.

    A draw here will make for a fascinating last match with Australia taking risks for a win and India hanging on for a draw.

  107. Let me stick my neck out and say – Indian will win. Sure, in the last hour of the last day. But we’ll find a way.

  108. No, No, No. Dont invite hubris, man. India will lose. India will lose. India will lose.

  109. Raj,when the the toss up is between hubris and a self fulfilling prophecy.. I will take hubris anyday!


  110. So, your suggestion that India will win is not a self-fulfilling prophecy? :-)
    Prem Panicker has written about the incidents in Delhi: As usual, he has hit the nub beautifully. Expect not a single Australain to agree:
    “1. Shane Watson picks a fight, pleads not guilty, and is asked to pony up 10 per cent of his earnings—kind of on the lines of leaving a tip for the nice man from the ICC.

    #2. Gautam Gambhir says his reaction was not deliberate, but pleads guilty anyway, and cops a one-Test ban for his trouble.

    #3. The umpires decide not to lay a charge against Simon Katich, who “appeared to have halted Gambhir from taking a run”.

    Which of those three items is the real shocker? For my money, it is item three on the menu: to block an opponent is not just an offense against the code of conduct; it is a direct and punishable violation of the rules of play—and that is the one the umpires decide not to charge?!

  111. Ishant drops a catch I could have taken! But India are creating chances and the pressure is building. Mishra is lovely to watch.

  112. MS Dhoni should really have brought Ishant on straight after the dropped catch and given him the chance of redemption. Not like Dhoni to miss a trick.

  113. Dhoni’s keeping is much improved – good stumping there. Haddin looked a bit out of his depth.

  114. Good to see the stumping – this Dhoni, there seems to be some good in the chap, after all.
    How do referees decide intentions. How does he know Gambhir intentionally knocked Watson while Katich ‘accidentally’ blocker Gambhir.
    Except ofcourse that Gambhir is Indian and Katich is Aussie.
    Strange that fair-minded people in Aussie find this unworthy of comment.

  115. India as a bowling and fielding unit has flattered to deceive..this match is headed for a draw (yawn)- a very honorable one for both teams.

    I feel the Srilankan attack would have taken 20 aussie wickets on this pitch by now.

  116. When you get the board over 500, you’re always in with a chance of getting a bit of help from the field.

  117. you bloody ripper, Pup.

  118. 1. 7th wicket partnership of 106 runs on a 4th day pitch is excellent by any standards.Importantly, Clarke and capitalised on the fielding lapses.

    2.75 overs of spin between Kumble and Mishra resulted in 2 wickets.Test cricket is not just about how many chances you create and how classical you bowl, it is about results.

    Fantastic batting performance by Australia.Rarely do we see every individual in the batting order contributing and combining so well with each other.

    If we take out the huge partnerships between Sachin/Gambhir and Gambhir/Laxman, the others in the top order – Sehwag, Dravid and Ganguly did not contribute much.

    So, it seems to me this is a more complete batting performance by Australia than India.

  119. Just in after a splendid day at Bellerive where Tasmania whipped South Australia.

    Look for Australia to declare if they are not allout with about 30-45 minutes to go.

    Sehwag has bowled 40 overs and must be tired. So are the rest of the Indian top order. A few wickets tonight might set the cat among the pigeons.

    Australia won’t lose from here but if India collapse for 120 (very unlikely I know) Australia have an outside chance. Don’t expect it but cricket is an unpredictable game.

    Also, India haven’t taken a catch for two days. That is plainly not good enough at this level.

  120. Yeah, the insects are crawling out of the framework now that Oz is doing well. How relievin g it must be

  121. not over yet Nesta… Australia can still lose from here…

  122. raj

    Please keep your comments respectful and about cricket. Insults are not welcome nor appreciated and say much more about you than the people you direct them to.

    I wise man once wrote, “Describe another, reveal yourself.” Please consider what that means before commenting again.

  123. A great days contest, nesta.. so utterly fascinating, hot enough to swim here, nothing like heaving oneself out of the pool and clamping the old ABC to the ear and get a bit of Jim.

    Thanks for the blog, Nesta.. its terrific to read the commentary after a days hard yakka up a cows arse.

  124. Well this shows why Kumble was right to bat on. Had he declared on 550 Aus would be 100 ahead now and declare.

    But why don’t Aus declare now? Kumble can’t leave Aus any chance with a declaration, so Aus would only have 30 overs to bat tomorrow… unless India are four or five down tonight, get rolled by lunchtime and Ausa then have 220 to get in two sessions. At 1-0 down, that would be my route to a win.

  125. TTT,

    Despite all evidence to the contrary, what makes you believe this Australian bowling attack can take 10 Indian wickets?

    And arent we all aware of Australia’s recrd when chasing middling totals in the 4th innings?


  126. Panic Homer. Having grown complacent about this match – look at the body language and the catching – a distracted Gambhir, tired Sehwag and past-it Dravid could go quickly and panic ensue.

    How often do Aus have a series turning 250 in 60 overs to chase? Especially as it’s a get-out-of-jail-free card?

    Punter seems more worried about batting out 40 overs tomorrow than trying to find a route to win today. This is negative stuff, especially with the vice-captain at the crease. If England were doing this, onew down, I’d expect Aussies to be slamming us.

  127. Panic yes, if India is trying to force a win.. India can very well shut shop, keep the Aussies in the sun for one more day, and with back to back Tests, there is every chance that Australia’s hand may be forced because the bowlers are not there or India could bat and the Aussie bowlers will show the effects of a day out in Delhi..

    India does not have to win the match, Australia do.. And how confident are Australia chasing 220 in say 60 overs on a 5th day track ( remember that India can take the heavy roller twice before Oz bat).

    This Australian team has been playing negative cricket since they landed in India. I dont expect that to change..


  128. Homer – it was the attempt to shut up shop that led to England’s disintegration at Adelaide.

    Lee out for 8 off 47 balls. Aus’ cause would have been advanced by him bowling those 47 balls.

    I’d take 220 off 60 (indeed 280 off 60) one down in a series.

    The point about back-to-back Tests is a good one, but if this match is dead, Katich and Clarke could bowl twenty-five overs each.

  129. TTT,

    Australia had won at Perth and had taken 20 English wickets in doing so.

    And it was an attack comprising of McGrath, Warne, Lee and Clark.

    This Australian attack has taken 10 Indian wickets only once – in 5 outings.

    Can they chase 280 in 60 overs – sure. But if I am an Indian spinner on a 5th day wicket, I would much rather the batsman attack me than stall :)


  130. Judging by Clarke’s dismissal immediately after receiving a message from the rooms I’d say Ponting wants to bowl before stumps.

  131. You have to admit that Australia’s consistent partnerships throughout after getting smashed at Mohali and being 613 behind has been admirable and from my point of view encouraging. The whole team will gain some confidence from this batting performance.

  132. Nestaquin,

    But Australia’s batting quality was never in doubt – at some point in the series, they had to come to the party.

    Can Australia’s bowling come to the party?


  133. Aus have batted well, but with 8 full batsmen and two others who are handy, Aus should bat well.

    Here we go then – Aus will have 13 overs, but I think at least 20 would have serve them better.

  134. Great stuff from Kumble to dimiss Johnson especially after Mishra was caught out of position the ball before.
    He wasn’t letting anyone else take that catch except him. Loved it!

    India to bat 13 overs. Should be a great little session.

  135. 426/6 – 577/10. The wicket is not really doing anything is it, except from the rough?

  136. Homer,

    I doubt they can bowl India out cheaply but at least they have created an opportunity where there wasn’t one.

    India won’t set them an achievable total and if India shut up shop I expect Cameron White to get plenty of bowling practise.

  137. 13 overs. It would be a lot harder if they had 20 overs, or even 30!

  138. The last 17 overs were traded for 45 runs – bad bargain.

  139. Nestaquin,

    Ponting made a cardinal mistake in broadcasting his intentions so loudly – I would have expected Lee and Clarke to pinch 3-4 runs per over with messages coming out frequently to keep the Indians off balance.. Instead, Ponting let the Indians know exactly what he wanted to do, letting the openers mentally prepare for their innings.

    13 overs today, 90 tomorrow. A lead of 36. I would love India to play this like a 50 over game.. Bat 50 overs, declare an hour after lunch and invite the Aussies to chase the target.. If the Aussies manage that, more power to them. If not, all the advantage accrued from the first innings by the Aussies gets washed down the Yamuna ..


  140. Toots 13 overs means they get another shot with a shiny ball in the morning to two new batsman.

    Realistically, once India batted for near on two days Australia never had a chance.

    By batting sensibly and in partnerships they have very likely pushed the series into the last Test and that would have been the goal two days ago.

    And you never know, I remember Australia taking four West Indian wickets in 9 overs before stumps when they were in their pomp.

    Of course it’s a dream but to achieve the impossible first you have to conceive it!

  141. Nesta – I think the new ball is an advantage to batsmen on this pitch. It’s the old one that grips and gives the variable bounce.

    India look very positive right now.

  142. Toots,

    Australia took two wickets with the new ball in the first innings so that would have encouraged Ponting.

    India have started positively. A wonder how many and at what time they think is enough?

  143. depends Nestaquin.. If there is purchase in the wicket, 50 overs.. or we may just bat on, just to rub it in :)..

    I would like it to be a 50 over game but then again, what do I know?


  144. 300 – just before tea.

  145. wont that be too defensive TTT?

  146. If they are giving themselves only 40 odd overs, why would India even consider the declaration?

  147. Toots, I am stuggling to see why you think that Australia should have declared behind. Take the draw, go to Nagpur. India don’t play the game of sporting declarations, and we don’t have the bowlers to take 10 wickets for 150 on a pitch that has yielded 17 wickets for over a thousand.

  148. I take your point Dave, but having packed a side with batting, it makes sense to trust them to survive the few overs Kumble will allow (there won’t be a sporting declaration). Once you say “My batsmen can bat 50 overs” the declaration could have come earlier (say even tea today) and who knows what would have happened to a Gambhir (referee issues), Sehwag (tired), Dravid (hopelessly out of form), Laxman (tired), Dhoni (tired, after captaining and keeping). At 1-0 down, I’d have taken that option and declared on White’s dismissal.

  149. As I pressed the submit button – Sehwag goes to the shot of a man who has bowled a lot of overs. Dravid under pressure now.

  150. Ishant!!

    What a joke!

  151. I’m no fan of the nightwatchman but if Ishant survives good on him. It would be nice to knock him over and then they can send out Mishra then Kumble!

  152. See what I mean!

  153. What’s the logic in sending out a recognised batsman after the nightwatchman is dismissed quickly?

    I mean, nightwatchmen are the wrong tactic in general, but I’m curious as to the thinking of not having a second nightwatchman.

  154. I remember Pedro Collins going out as nightwatchman to face McGrath in Bridgetown I think. He went about fourth ball and it was a lucky innings.

  155. If the light is good and you’ve had half an hour to have a shower, I fail to see why batting in the evening should be different to batting the next morning.

  156. I agree David. You may as well send out a second and if India were fair dinkum about the tactic more experienced and better batsman like Zaheer or Kumble should have been at the crease.

    Australia in the past used Gillespie, Kiwis Vettori and England Hoggard I think. All experienced and with decent defence. Anyway it has only buoyed Australia but the game is headed for a draw so it doesn’t really matter.

  157. When in my prime I batted at 3 and I never used a nightwatchman. I saw it as my duty to go out there and see out the day.

    Can’t remember ever being dismissed either although I do recall saying no to quite a few singles in the last over of the day when I was the non-striker!

  158. Well, it’s not a priori obvious that the nightwatchman is the wrong tactic. If the recognised batsman bats late in the day, he has to get his eye in twice. The cost is that the nightwatchman (if he bats out the day) has to get his eye in twice, but you expect him to score less runs than the top-order batsman.

    The major cost by having a nightwatchman is that you have a greater chance of a recognised batsman being left stranded at the end of the innings.

    Charles Davis’ analysis is good.

  159. That comment was directed at Toots, talking about batting in the evening being the same as in the morning.

    Anyway, nightwatchmen are bad, the fact that our opponents are using one is good. It’s just unfortunate that under Ponting we use them also.

  160. Dave – I would argue that the lift that the nightwatchmen’s wicket gives the fielding captain either in the evening or next morning is a big cost too.

    I’ll read you linked piece later.

    Thanks as ever Dave – you won’t let lazy thinking past will you!!

  161. 79 runs ahead. 8 wickets in hand. Can Australia contain India and try to force a result?

  162. Dave,

    Great link and it shows that we all think is correct; the nightwatchman usually hinders the innings.


    I think the trophy will be decided in Nagpur.

  163. Your blog is great :)..

    Not doing day 5?

  164. Deepak,

    I think where day five is concerned we are all having a well earned rest before the dance continues in Nagpur.

    Thanks for dropping by and looking forward to a comment or two from you in the future.

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