Posted by: nestaquin | November 10, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy Fourth Test Day Five Preview

billy-punterReturning after a fastidious and fragmented five days of bushwacking, scat collecting and squelching socks it was surprising to discover that Australia, after losing the toss for the third consecutive time in the series, actually had a chance of retaining the trophy at tea on the fourth afternoon in Nagpur.

Apparently with India shaky at 166/6 at the resumption, Australian captain Ricky Ponting, undoubtedly with the sagely advice of Tim Nielsen and Greg Chappell still assuaging his conscience, decided that over rates and avoiding suspension were more important than squaring the series and securing the Border Gavaskar Trophy.

If the reaction of the local media is any indication there are many angry and bewildered Australians this morning. For the first time in his captaincy there is a consensus that Ponting may not have the mettle to lead the team.

He is being described as selfish and clueless with his only redemption being an almost impossible win later today when Australia begin chasing the 369 they need for victory. Obviously, Ponting will be expected to score the majority of them if he wants to silence the critics.

In another curious event which adds fuel to the criticism of Australia’s tactical approach is the instant success of off spin bowler Jason Krezja.  12 wickets in your debut Test is quite an achievement especially when Australia had failed to take 20 wickets in the previous five encounters against the strong Indian batting.

Obviously he should have played a match before Nagpur and the conservative approach to his selection is probably the greatest mistake, of many, that the Australian brains trust have made on this so far very unsuccessful tour of India.

In summary, Australia need to score at just over four runs an over for the entire day to win and set the record for their biggest chase in their long Test history. That’s assuming that India bowl all their 90 overs. I have a suspicion that if it gets tight MS Dhoni won’t care as much about avoiding censure for slow play as his more experienced and severely castigated counterpart.

In the days ahead: Dissecting the Border Gavaskar Trophy from the winner’s and loser’s perspective.


  1. Good points as always. And as the resident tasmanian perhaps you can explain why Rick would throw a series to play New Zealand ?

  2. and it must be said that if we even look like giving the runs Dhoni will set an 8-1 field again and tell his quick to bowl a metre outside off, again.

  3. I will more than forgive the non-selection of Krejza until the final Test. He had done nothing to suggest that he’d be better than White.

  4. I have to agree on holding back Krejza till the 4th test, however I find it unbelievable that White got Stuart Clark’s place.

  5. Katich out, fishing at one outside off bowled to a 7/2 field. Variable bounce and a stacked offside field will make this very difficult.

  6. No need to try to score at one a ball though. Silly start to the day by Katich.

  7. He wasn’t fishing Mo, he swiped cross batted across the line. Trying to pull a ball a metre outside off is always dangerous.

    This is the first day of this Test that I have the privilege to watch so I am unable to comment on what Ponting was doing yesterday afternoon but everyone I’ve spoken to today reckons he should be looking for another job.

    Run Out!! 37/2

  8. 3rd run out. Disgraceful.

  9. Clarke promoted, presumably he’s over his food poisoning and has regained some of the weight then.

  10. Clarke was just plumb LBW to Ishant. Billy Bowden is having a shocker too.

  11. Dhoni’s tactics from the first innings, set an 8-1 field and bowled a metre outside off. Think we scored 40 runs in a session as Kattich and Hussey let everything go. Obviously that’s not an option today, and perhaps the umpires should be calling wides at some point?

  12. Clarke almost caught in the same over. I hear he has a runner, surely if he’s still affected by food poisoning why the promotion? Saving Hussey for another 5 balls probably wont help much..

  13. I am following this final day thru Cricinfo.Is it true that Clarke has come out with a runner?

    Of all the rules in Cricket, the privilege batsmen have to get a runner is the most silly one according to me.It is a sport and if a batsmen is not physically fit to play (even if the injury is sustained during play), he should not be allowed to have a runner. If you allow that, then you should allow substitute fielders for every bowler who wishes to only bowl.

  14. I’ve no problem with that tactic Mo. Leaves plenty of space on the leg for runs if you can counteract it with some inventive batting. It’s up to the batsman to create enough pressure to make India change their thinking.

  15. I was watching yesterday in increasing disbelief (and elation) as Hussey, Clarke et al trundled in to bowl at Dhoni and Harbhajan. Try as I might, I couldn’t find any rational explanation for why Ponting would chose to bowl them and, for my money, Watson was bowling well enough to restrict India to a 280 lead, which would have been fairly gettable. At tea, I was having nightmares of the dead rubber in 1998, when India got a 24 run lead, the crumbled to give Aus a target of 190 or so, which was easily achieved.

    I think the blame for this loss (if not the match, then the series) can be squarely put on Ponting’s shoulders for 2 crimes:
    1. Not stressing to Katich/Hayden/Hussey enough to be a bit more conservative in Mohali. Admittedly, he was a bit less culpable here.
    2. The farce yesterday. Unbelievable stuff. If it had been Azhar/Cronje instead of Ponting, I’d be worried about extraneous factors.

    Despite having a superior record than his three illustrous predecessors, I think this is the match and series which will seal Ponting’s reputation as a captain – looked great when blessed by once-in-a-generation resources, but found wanting when real leadership was required.

  16. I don’t have a problem with the tactic either, I move that it be called off theory.

  17. Runners in this situation – Clarke is unwell – is permissible. While it’s better than not batting at all, it’s still a disadvantage to the batting team for runners only cause unwanted confusion.

    Clarke is probably in earlier than usual because if they are fighting for a draw in the last session they probably want fit blokes like Hussey at the crease.

  18. If they pull this off, it would be even more miraculous than the Langer/Gilly test of 1999 against Pakistan, no?

  19. That makes sense I guess, while we’re going for the runs get the playmakers out there.

    A runner for Clarke is most certainly warranted, he looked like he’d lost 5kg yesterday. Brett Lee has also got Delhi Belli.

    wrt to the over rate yesterday, lets assume the penalty had been increased to beheading and Rick absolutely had to get it right. Why then did he not bowl Katich? Lee or Johnson off their ODI run-ups? Change the field less? Get the players to move quicker between overs and when being moved? It really does not add up..

  20. I have no problem with off theory used in that situation. I’d be strongly critical if it was the first Test of a series, but in a game where the batting side has to force the win, bottle them up and make them bat riskily and creatively. Fair enough.

  21. In regards to Ponting I think that Rajesh’s comments on his leadership are probably spot on.

    Ponting doesn’t captain Tasmania when he occasionally dons their cap. The media friendly reason of continuity and stability have some merit but the real reason is that it was recognised that Dan Marsh is a better skipper and since he took over Tasmania have won three titles in three years.

    When Ponting was leader the trophy cabinet was bare.

  22. About the off theory tactic, I heard commentators on TV lambasting it loudly at lunch and then, at tea, change their tack to “see, they got wickets when they bowled more at the stumps”. I find this ludicrous as it views a session in isolation. The Aussies came after teh bowling after lunch because they realised they had to force the pace. Ergo, the first session’s somnolence caused the second session collapse. The causatino is fairly simple, Im sure, just baffled that experienced commentators kept thinking otherwise.

  23. Nesta,

    If a batsman is unwell, he shouldn’t come out to bat.This rule is a legacy of the gentlemen days of Cricket, which ought to be reviewed.

    We don’t find such a rule in any other sport.Even in cricket, bowlers are denied this luxury. They have to spend an equal time on the field (as they have spent outside) before they get a chance to bowl.

  24. I still don’t understand why Dhoni rarely, if ever, employs a third man.

    And why Indian slip fielders always stand just deep enough so that the ball won’t carry.

  25. They stand deeper because Dravid and VVS are old men with slower reaction times, hence they need more time to get to the ball.


  26. Kumar, a batsman who is injured and stays off the field is also not allowed to bat above number 7 for the time that he’s been off the field. I think. Most sports allow substitutions, which cricket doesn’t. Baseball allows pinch runners once the batter has got on base.

  27. Clarke seems to be in no kind of discomfort moving backfoot and frontfoot easily.So why can’t he run? He hasn’t sustained a leg injury, right?

    What are the rules in these situations? Is it the batsman’s prerogative or do the umpires/fielding captain have any say?

  28. Kumar,

    Cricket is like no other sport and if you believe what bowlers have to say, run by batsman for batsman!

  29. I think under the rules, technically, Dhoni can ask for the runner to be removed as Clarke doesn’t have a leg injury but he’d be viewed as unsporting if he actually did so. Personally, I think it’s all right for MS to ask for Katich to be removed. But incidents like when a batsman collides into a bowler obstructing him and is run out, I think the bowling captain should be magnanimous and recall him. It’s a tough call to obey both the letter and the spirit of the law.

  30. Kumar, the umpires have to be satisfied that the batsman is too injured or ill to run.

  31. Once the captain agrees to a runner he can’t reverse his decision. Also, the batsman must ask permission.

    Clarke would obviously prefer to run. He must be pretty crook to want a runner.

    Dhoni just dropped Hayden. Easy catch too.

    69/2 (13)

  32. Nesta/Rajesh, I think any mention of the fielding captain has been removed from the Laws when it comes to runners. It’s entirely up to the umpires.

  33. David,

    If a batsman is ‘generally unwell’, he should have considered staying back in the hut. There is no ostensible leg injury here.

    Ponting is within his rights to make use of any convenient strategy allowed by the rules.

    My rant is a general rant about the unfair advantage batsmen get in Cricket over bowlers.

    Ok..rant done.

    The fileding standards in this series have not been good, apart from the odd good catch.Dhoni just dropped Hayden and may have dropped the B-G Trophy actually.

  34. And the umpires decision is final. Thanks Dave.

  35. thanks for clearing that up, Dave.

  36. How’s Clarke looking? He appeared to have lost a fair bit of weight and his face was pale in the third session yesterday. Then Ponting bowled him for a few overs rather than give the ball to Katich, who turns it more, doesn’t have a back problem and troubled batsmen plus dismissed Ganguly on a Delhi pitch that had less in it.

  37. Kumar, we shall see about dropping the trophy. Despite the dropped catch, it will still take something extraordinary to win this match for Australia. Gilly/Langer anyone?

  38. Kumar,

    You have far more faith in Australia’s ability than many. Australia have almost no chance of winning this Test.

  39. Unfortunately, Gilly and Langer have feigned retirement to extend their IPL careers.

    If Gilly was playing I’d still have a hope of something special but Watson, White and Haddin combined don’t even begin to compare.

  40. It will also take some great bowling and fielding effort from India to get another 8 wickets.

    Australia need to score 300 runs from 78 overs, and they have the batsmen to do that.Hayden, Clarke, and Hussey will surely have the self-belief that if they stay, they can get close.

    I agree it is extremely difficult to chase and it has never been done by Oz.But that doesn’t mean India can take it easy, and I am afraid they are feeling a bit complacent here.

    Bhaji is bowling at least one 4 ball an over.And when Sharma bowls to Clarke, there is just one slip?

    No mates, this match is very much alive and all three results are possible.Don’t count AUstralia out at all unless we see them 6 down by Tea.

  41. Clarke out. Caught behind from Ishant. Tired, sick looking stroke, no footwork just hung out a limp bat to one wide and full.

    83/3 (16)

  42. Oh..I seem to have jinxed Clarke.Poor boy..he can go get on the drip now.

  43. Clarke is gone…

    Good thing, else it would have been the next controversy if Clarke had managed to stay.

  44. well, at least he has the spectacular Ms. Bingle to console him.

  45. at this rate they’ll be 6 down by lunch..

  46. But Australia is still maintaining a run rate of just under 5.

  47. Hayden dropped again..this time by Dravid.

    All India needs to do is hold catches when they come, and they don’t seem to be able to do it.

    If Hayden capitalises on these lives, Aus will get close to the destination.

  48. Dravid is truly in woeful form. After his dismal outing with the bat he is now dropping chances at slip.

    Hayden survives again and while he is at the crease there is always a slim hope of the near impossible.

    93/3 (19)

  49. I wonder what exactly Moses is complaining about? Is it that Dhoni’s tactics actually worked in choking Australia or the fact that Ponting has utilised the same defensive strategy before and it has never been as effective? Or is it just the “Australian” way to bitch and moan and ask for rule changes when they are not suitable?

    The simple explanation is that the ball was in India’s court and the opportunity to dictate terms. Australia had to force the issue and the batting of Hussey / Katich proved they were not remotely interested. Neither were subsequent aggressive batsmen such as Watson / Haddin / White. So can we stop moaning about the packed offensive field now?! Please?

    As for the atrocious overrates today…well just like the West Indians in 70s/80s, it doesn’t matter if you bowl the side out. It wouldn’t have mattered yesterday either if Australia had bowled India out either. Maybe Ponting should trust his bowlers more?!

  50. @nestaquin – i think you are being a bit generous saying this series will either be a win or a loss for the teams. i think a draw is still in the cards. australia can chase this target down even with the mental hadicaps of ponting, nielsen and co. and i can never count out the india falling over themselves to make sure the other team always has a chance.

  51. This is what I feel: This Indian team is not yet ready to win 2-0 against Australia. The bowlers (with the exception of Ishant) haven’t done much in this innings so far and when Hayden offered 2 clear chances, the fielders put them down.

    Surely not the sign of a team that is used to winning.

    A day 5 between 2 medriocre (at the moment) teams.

  52. 19.5 Khan to Hayden, 3 runs, goes for the yorker, ends up as a low full toss and swatted to deep square leg region.

    Zaheer is mentally reliving 2003 WC final, I think.He needs a slice of luck now to rediscover his rhythm in this innings.

  53. Ahh wouldn’t it be nice to have Symonds coming in next. Having said that Watson has had a decent enough series. This match is as good a time as any for White to show his (supposed) big hitting skills.

  54. Zaheer Khan is leaking 7.6 rpo in the most important innings of this series.

    Australi well in control of the run rate.They just need to keep the wickets and India’s fielders will ensure the rest.

    As an Indian fan, it pains me to say this: Even if we win this test it will be due to Oz batsmen’s generosity (and Ponting’s stupidity), and not because we truly are a world beating side. We have many miles to go before we can even become efficient, leave alone ruthless.

  55. Oz on course for a famous win. All Oz-bashers(including me), wait for another day, another time to rejoice in their fall.

    Sunny, dont bother pointing out Oz hypocrisy to these guys – you wont get an answer. This is the strategy they employ – if an Indian supporter says someting stuipdly jingoistic, pounce on it and paint all indian supporters as jingoistic. If someone puts forth logical arguments which break all the defences these gusy can muster, then stay silent and hope that the other guy will lose patience and go away. In all circumstances, never admit to aussie faults – even if , in your heart, you know that a fellow aussie was at fault.

  56. 21.2 overs in the session.

    We saw yesterday that Ponting wont risk a suspension to save a ban, today we should see lets see if Dhoni has the balls…

  57. Dhoni’s keeping has been sub standard so far.Nerves?

  58. This partnership is now worth 45 runs..runs leaking steadily and without much fuss.

    Please us some wickets coz we don’t have the bowlers to take advantage of a Day 5 wicket.

  59. Funny how runs leak when you have 5 fielders on the boundary

  60. I’ve read the discussion here with interest and I’m watching a slightly manic Hayden play with a very positive intent – well done to him.

    I’m glad someone alluded to Cronje re Punter yesterday. There’s much that I, and most Englishmen, don’t enjoy about Punter’s game, but there’s never been any suggestion that he’s crooked – but yesterday’s decision-making was so bizarre, I can think of no other reason!

    Clarke looked terribly ill yesterday – I suggest that he came in to thrash it and then go back to bed.

  61. Is it only me or is there a definite shift in the momentum now?

    Unless hayden is stopped now, Oz will surely run away at this rate.

    Btw, what is the problem with where Dhoni stands?

  62. He sits a SIX now..some intent there, Toots !

  63. oops..he hits a SIX.

    10 runs from this over. They are treating it like a 1-day match.

  64. By the time Dhoni is done with his career as Indian captain, I have a feeling he will make Ganguly seem like a saint. He is going to constantly push the envelope and challenge the limits of all the established laws and conventions of the game.
    It will be entertaining and fun.

  65. It’s just more general time wasting Kumar.

    If Australia can bat out 90 overs the last session will be around four hours long at this rate.

  66. I think Dhoni has played into Hayden’s hands..plenty of spaces for stealing 2s.

    Dhoni needs his luck NOW.

  67. Mishra gets Hussey with a 5th day special

  68. Finally, Dravid holds on to a catch.A thousand effigies would have been burnt this evening had he dropped this one also.

    Lets see what hayden does now.


  69. Mo,

    I pitch had nothing to do with the delivery.The bowler gets the credit.Just like Krazy deserves the credit for some of his wickedly bouncing deliveries.

  70. I am enjoying this tension a lot..and making all kinds of typo errors :-)

    And trying to complete a report (at work) that was due on Friday.

  71. We are preparing our Ponting effigy in the backyard for a starry bonfire later on tonight.

    Hayden out. May be over before tea.

  72. TTT – a clarification, just in case. I was in no way suggesting that Ponting is crooked. Just an observation that if it had been Azhar or cronje instead of him, eyebrows would have been raised.

  73. Ok..the panic’s come down a bit now that Haydos is gone. Wish he’d hit a century !

  74. so, whaddya think raj, 1-1 still?

  75. Nesta and all others who are roasting the ricky out of Ponting (including Mr.Roebuck):

    Lets look at the scenario.India were 166/6 and none of the batsmen were playing Krazy with any sort of confidence.

    Australi as a team had this over rate problem.They wanted to use slower bowlers to choke from one end, and hoped that Krazy would run thru the remaining batsmen.The plan failed and they took too long to bring Watson back.

    I don’t see how Ponting can be blamed for keeping self-interest ahead of the team’s.It is not fair, I reckon. Yes, he has been a bit daft and should have gone all out. That he didn’t shows that he and the Oz team underestimated Bhaji’s batting (yet again) and paid for it.If White (he has picked up the odd wicket in this series) had struck or Clarke, people would have praised Ponting’s bowling changes.

  76. Kumar,
    I think it is called “learning from ones mistakes”. The cardinal sin Ricky committed was he tried the same at Perth and came a cropper. “Bit daft” is putting it mildly, considering Perth.

  77. Kumar, I’d forgive Ponting bringing White on to bowl, but not Hussey.

    But the he (through Nielsen) has admitted that he was bowling the part-timers to help the over-rate. That’s an admission that he was putting himself above the team.

  78. Kumar, you can always get a wicket from anyone, but you have to play the percentages, and at that moment, Watson was bowling brilliantly and reversing it both ways, and was clearly the best wicket-tking option. The fact that he came back on and cleaned out the tail in 2 overs is proof.

  79. Australia needed Ponting and Hussey to fire today to win this test. Probably its too much to expect Waton and White to win it from here on. But stranger things have happened in test cricket.

    What do you guys reckon Aus will do now? Still go for a win or play out a draw?

    Stupid of Haddin to play that shot.

  80. Rajesh – Thanks for the clarification, but I knew you weren’t making a claim, just speculating on what would happen if it had been one of those other captains. I call that a fair speculation as I was thinking that too!

    There’ll be a lot about this tour in the books to be written by players I feel.

  81. Why bother playing for draw, it doesn’t really serve any purpose. If the series were tied 1-1 that’d be a different thing altogether.

  82. I think they’ll go for the in as long as they are 6 down, coz white can bat. Once you reach Krejza, they’ll play for a draw, but won’t really help. Should be done and dusted a few overs after tea.

    I have been thinking about who should be the man of the series – have it narrowed down to Tendulkar, Gambhir and Ishant. I think Tendulkar should edge it, coz he played 5 crucial innings (49, 68, 88, 47, 109), in keeping with the new Tendulkar, who doesn’t seem to score big hundreds but nuggety critical cameos.

    5 crucial innings + 1 daft one yesterday.

  83. Agree with all of you. But I felt some people are taking it too far asking for Ponting to be removed as Captain.He’s still got his team backing him and deserves more understanding. Ok, probably its just me – if I like a batsman (and I like Ponting when on song), I tend to give them benefit of doubt all the time.

    Funnily, never thought of Perth as Ponting’s first folly. I was chilling in Varanasi at that time and followed the test on radio.Always assumed that India won because of its bowlers.

  84. Yes, Sachin is my choice for Man of the Series too.

    But for MoTM (Man of the Match and not Mouth of the Mersey !), I would vote Kreza.He has singlehandedly enlivened his match.And his courage spoke volumes about his character.

    But for him, critics would have blamed the entire Australian team instead of just the captain :-)

  85. I don’t think he should be removed either. A captain has 2 roles – 1. Set the tone through his batting or bowling and 2. make changes and try to anticipate the game.

    At his best, Ponting is streets ahead of Border, Taylor or Waugh in the first department as he’s clearly the best batsman of the four, and has played numerous match winning or saving hands. My personal favourite is the Old Trafford century in 2005, a truly remarkable back-to-the-wall innings.

    BUT it’s the second department he’s lacking in, and hence, falls short of his predecessors. Of teh 4, I’d rate Taylor as the best, followed by Border, Waugh and Ponting in that order. The excoriation of Ponting on this thread is not, imho, intended to replace him with someone else in this team, but to compare him against the previous 3.

  86. No, Rajesh, I want Ponting replaced as captain.

  87. I just read that James Sutherland wants to query Ponting on the tactics adopted yesterday. It is just on, I feel, to have an administrator question the Captain’s on field decisions.

  88. Another typo, mates..

    In the above comment, I meant: IT is just NOT ON..

  89. Oh ok, David. I don’t think Clarke is ready to step out of Ponting’s shadow and he’s still got to prove his ability as a batsman. No one else on this team has the capability to lead from the front like Ponting does. Hence I wouldn’t call for his head.

  90. I just can’t see AB getting run out after hitting it directly to mid-on

  91. The captain doesn’t have to be the best batsman and “lead from the front”. Brearley was a great captain (not that I’m advocating picking a guy who averages 20 for his captaincy…). Katich or Hussey could be made captain.

  92. Regardless of public opinion Ponting will remain as captain until retirement unless his batting, his team or his desire desert him beforehand.

    Man of the Series – Ishant Sharma. Best bowler throughout the series and took wickets when his captain needed them most.

    Close second – Gambhir
    Third – Tendulkar

  93. It’d be a travesty if Krejza doesn’t win MOTM, he’s been brilliant and courageous, even if the Indian batsmen were too profligate against him.

    I realised something the other day – Sachin makes a habit of scoring centuries in the final test of an Ind-Aus series. Of the 7 complete series he’s played v Aus, he’s done it in 6 (Perth 92, Blore 1998, Chennai 2001, Sydney 2004, Adelaide 2008, Nagpur 2008), missing out only in 199. And in Mumbai ni 2004, he scored a fifty which was worth double, so make that a century as well :).

    Just a random observation.

  94. RK,

    You should have made this random obseration before the test. All of us here would have bet on a Sachin ton, and made good money!

  95. Ponting clearly a better batsman than Border? I don’t know. I think Border was a far better player of spin for one. I remember as a kid loving the way he used to dance up to the ball and smother the spin.

    I don’t think Ponting’s position as skipper is in the remotest of danger. Yet.

  96. Well, I needed one more data point to make that observation :)

  97. India had a lead of 252 runs at Tea and even if Ponting used his strike bowlers, it is conceivable that they could have added another 25 runs?

    So, if Oz crosses 275 today, there is definitely a case for accusing Ponting of throwing the trophy out with bad tactics.

    If Australia fold for less than 275, then don’t just blame Ponting.The team could not take advantage of a creaking Indian middle order, inspite of Krejza’s heroics.

  98. Taking my belated lunch break.Wonder if the match will last till Tea.

  99. Kumar, cmon, surely if the target had been 275, Australia’s tactics would have been different. They’d have been more measured, and dismissals like Ponting’s run out wouldn’t have happened. It’s simplistic to view a target as an absolute and conjecture, based on what happened when chasing a different target.

  100. I is also simplistic to argue that with 10 wickets in hand a target of 369 would be difficult, whereas a target of 325-350 would have posed no problems. At least, that is what Jon Pierik and a few other Aussie journalists seem to be saying.

  101. Actually, there’s a huge diff between 280 and 380. And I really believe that with Watson and Krejza bowling, the target would have been 280 – Watson was pretty much unplayable.

  102. That part of Jon Pierik’s article was weird. During the bowling of the part-timers, the Indians scored about 100.

  103. This series was going to turn on which team could get the twenty wickets needed. So it’s Ishant for me too, though his drop of Clarke in Delhi counts against him

    Second would be Harbhajan – after a slow start, he bowled well, with great discipline and made a very useful runs.

    Third would be Dhoni – makes things happen as a captain (even temporary) and scored vital runs to shift momentum.

  104. Can I nominate the double-headed coin?

  105. this thing needs an akramesque end…where is zaheer when you need him?!

  106. Not the toss’s fault, Moses.

  107. Moses,

    India, with all its weaknesses, has still managed to be better than Australia in a more consistent manner in this series. Toss has nothing to do with it.

    The Australian team now looks like the Indian team on tour for most of the 90’s.Full of stars, but not much of team play.

  108. Aus – full of stars?

    Hayden is fading fast;

    Ponting seems distracted;

    Hussey is a star;

    Lee needs to rediscover form.

    I wouldn’t cast the others as stars.

    For much of my lifetime, England’s main problem is that its players aren’t good enough. Aus may be about to enter a period like that.

  109. How long has it been since Aus lost a series by more than 1 test? 20 years or so?

  110. Wonderful gesture from Dhoni, letting Ganguly captain.

  111. 1. I hope Ponting remains captain. He is copping too much criticism for ‘things that could well have happened to Dhoni’.
    2. It is amazing that the umpires are actually not benefitting the Aussies these days. In the sense, they still get favourable decisions but the proportion of favourabel decisions gained by the opponents has increased exponentially. This surely is the indication that they arent the numero uno anymore. As they say, the better team tends to get the marginal decisions. Where is Steve Bucknow when Australia needs him the most? Dont cry for Australia, Steve. Sutherland will find a way to appoint you, even if you lose all your faculties, for the next India-Australia series.
    It must be noted that Chris Broad has been batting at his best for Australia – he managed to get Gautam banned but spared Watson.
    3. What a delicious irony that the ICC, in undue haste, acted swiftly to get Gambhir banned to benefit Australia. But M Vijay, the replacement, not only ensured good starts, he did what Gautam would surely not have done – a superb run out of Hayden which might not have happened if Gautam had been there simply because Gautam would not have fielded in mid-off and even if he did, doesnt have the skills of Vijay. Secondly, Gambhir at forward short leg and silly point has been a liability and M Vijay, what a runout of Hussey he manufactured. To me, that is the turning point of the match. Hussey didnt look like getting out at all ,as ever, in the first innings.

    I thank fate and God for snubbing the ICC and CA and the Oz players who, in Hussey’s admission, hoped that “Gambhir didnt play the third game”. Now I guess they wish he had! It was a cynical move by the Oz players to get Gambhir banned and they escaped ICC censure because they control the ICC(note this in bold – it is Australia and Englan dwho control ICC not BCCi when it comes to punishment of players) but they cant ofcourse control GOD, Hayden notwithstanding!!
    Three Cheers to GOD, he has finally done to Aussies what they deserved for a long time.

  112. Good spot Rajesh. At home to the Windies, 1988/9, we lost 3-1.

  113. Comparing to the India team of the late 90s. (= means ‘as good as’)

    Ponting = Tendulkar
    Hussey > Dravid
    Clarke = Azhar
    Hayden = Ganguly

    Lee > Kumble

    That’s it. I wouldn’t characterise either team as “full of stars”, but I’d still back this Aus side against the 90s India side in neutral conditions

  114. Krezya > Singh !!

    btw what’s that piece of crap on top-knot’s chin?

  115. 2-0

    With some distance and time to gloss over the fumbled catches etc, we will view this series as a tremendous accomplishment for India. The bowling looked threatening most of the time, the batting was mostly impeccable, the scoring rate was faster than Australia’s in almost every innings, and everyone except Dravid and Kumble clicked. A comprehensive team performance, and one we’ll appreciate even more in 2009 and beyond. Hats off to Dhoni and the boys, and what a wonderful send off for Ganguly and Kumble! You only play the side you’re against, and no amount of carping that this was a weak Australian side can lessen this accomplishment for India.

  116. Hayden is still a star, Toots.

    And so is Ponting.Lee is a super star.

    Symonds is a star too.

    But increasingly of late, the stars have not been performing collectively or to their potential.

    As for England, as long as Flintoff is motivated enough, he nullifies a lot of weaknesses.In Flintoff and KP, you do have two world class players.It is weird that a third world class player (Trescothick) suffers from strange predicaments and wishes not to travel out of his county.

  117. India, with all its weaknesses, has still managed to be better than Australia in a more consistent manner in this series. Toss has nothing to do with it.

    And India, whom I wouldn’t call weak at all, have still managed to bat in more favourable conditions than Australia in this series, due to their winning the toss.

    Apart from the first game, where Australia dominated India for 5 days.

  118. Moses, the wickets haven’t deteriorated at all in this series, so if you want to rationalise by making the toss an excuse, be my guest. I don’t need to do anything but point you to the scoreline.

  119. I am also surprised that Aussie bloggers havent started the creative defence of Ponting’s inexplicable captaincy yesterday – looks like, these days, Oz needs Indians like me to provide them the excuses – okay, here’s how I think a typical aussie fanatic would have defended ponting in happier days – it seems the shock of failure has numbed their cunning and guile also – so let me think like an Aussie fanatic and bat for Ponting:
    “It is true that Ricky allowed the game to drift by bowling part-time bolwers but then he was only upholding the great Aussie spirit of Cricket. It is well-known that through the history of Cricket, only one team has been upholding the spirit of Cricket – viz the Aussies. They were the ones who faced Bodyline, they were the ones who faced Packer and brought improvements to teh game, they were the one who introduced sledging, the most noble part of the game..err. let’s forget that last one by just noting that the simple definition of ‘spirit of cricket’ is ‘what Aussies do is in the spirit of cricket; what others do is not’.
    But I digress , the point is Ricky was actually upholding the cricketing spirit. how?

    We all know that 90-overs-in-a-day is the most noble aspect of Cricket. That is the only way spectators will have entertainment. You know, even if a spectacuar spell of fast bowling has to be cut short , we have to because spectators will nto be entertained by a spectacular spell of fast bowling. Only 90 overs, even if mediocre 90 overs, will entertain. Quantity is more important than quality.
    Anyway, keeping this principle in mind, Ricky nobly opted for ensuring 90 overs in the day even if it meant mediocre cricket in the form of White and Hussey bowling. That meant his team could lose but what of that, he has ensured that he has stuck to the law as it is written – which is how we aussies interpret ‘spirit of cricket’. So it doesnt matter that
    a) Aussies winning position was squandered
    b) the reason for introducint the rule of 90 voers a day – namely entertaining cricket – is defeated by using mediocre bowlers.
    What matters is we Aussies stuck to the letter of the law and interpreted it cynically and ensured that we cannot be censured legally.
    What a sacrifice by Ponting. Hail him, do not berate him.

    REMEMEBR, ONLY AUSSIES PLAY IN THE SPIRIT OF CRICKET. NOBODY ELSE DOES. SOMETIMES ENGLAND DO(esp when they are throwing jelly beans) but mostly even they dont.

  120. I hope, for Australia’s sake, that this defeat is not shrugged off as a subcontinental aberration to be blamed on pitches/toss/umpiring and any of the litany of excuses touring teams seem to come up with. 2-0 doesn’t flatter India, and they were clearly the superior side. And unlike 1998, where spinning pitches ensured a one-sided contest, India outplayed Aus by some distance in BOTH the fast bowling and spin bowling departments, not to mention batting.

  121. Moses, the first Test we batted first and drew. The second Test we didn’t lose because of the toss, we lost it because the pitch was a minefield when their quicks bowled on it on days 2/3 and 5, and a road when our guys bowled on it on days 1/2 and 4. That’s not the toss, that’s having worse batsmen and worse bowlers.

    Third Test was an even draw.

    This Test we won’t lose because of the toss. We’ll lose it because a) our bowling was toothless in the first innings, b) the captaincy yesterday was atrocious, c) the batting at the start of the day was overly aggressive. During much of that time, India played cricket as good as or better than Australia.

    Now the game is over.

  122. “Apart from the first game, where Australia dominated India for 5 days.”

    And yet, could take only 4 Indian wickets on day 5, of which one was a debut gift by Sachin to a blonde Victorian leg spinner.

    Its ok, Moses..we know how difficult it is for fans to digest test series losses.Fans all over the world are used to it. Now, Australian fans would also get used to it..unless CA does some miracles. Actually, just get rid of Time Nielsen and don’t ever allow Greg C near the team.Haven’t you guys learnt from India’s experience with Guru Greg and his ‘processes’?

  123. Well, Kumar, good spot. During the height of the Chappel controversies, I had commented somewhere hoping that CA would take him in the coaching staff for Oz Men’s team, which I predicted as the only way to bring down the super-human Aussie cricket team! I am so glad to see my prediction coming true!
    Hope CA makes GC the coach of the Oz team for the next 10 years.

  124. hey leave greg chappell out of it. its sad indeed that india could never capitalise on his expertise. it doesn’t take a genius to figure that a youth policy (implemented since guru greg’s departure) has brought india to some eminence currently.

  125. Sunny, GC was a pied piper. The youth policy would have come anyway with Wright and Gangs. Well, FYI, Yuvraj, Kaif, Dhoni, Harbhajan, Sehwag were all ‘youth’ when Ganguly encouraged them and backed them. That was the beginning of the renaissance of the Indian Cricket team.
    Ganguly-Dravid-Wright were the perfect Captain-V.Captain-Coach combo for India. Anil was a good captain so was Rahul but they lacked good V-C’s. Dhoni is good as a captain but he failed to do his duties as a VC.

  126. Leg before novelty fifth stump, well played India. Good points DB, India did outplay us for the majority of the series, we just aren’t cut out for turning wickets… yet!

  127. Sunny,

    Youth policy is a no brainer when you have stars on the wrong side of 30 and clearly lacking in motivation.

    I find fault with Guru Greg foisting MBA-style lectures on the Indian team instead of letting them do team building and training.

    The company I used to work for had a HR guy who, for want of any worthwhile thing to do, used to conduct workshops on creative thinking, 6 Thinking Hats and stuff. This guy met Guru Greg in Bangalore and the Guru immediately liked the stuff. He liked it so much, he insisted on the entire Indian team spending a lot of time learning De Bono and playing black hat, red hat to each other.

    Any time I hear the word ‘process’ and cricket, I think of WC 2007 and Guru Greg’s Vision 2007 for the Indian team.

    Ok..I don’t want to say more except that Australia did not need Greg’s expertise to do well in India.They shoould’ve invited Warney for a pep talk and some tips and that could have done some good instead.

  128. Rites completed. Anyone here to discuss? Or are we all off to the bar to drown disappointment in draft beer?

  129. One last question: What would this series victory do to the ICC Test ratings? Would Australia still lead by some distance? India should at least be in 2nd place now?

    I can understand how an Aussie fan feels now. This is how I felt in the 2004 home series India lost.More on that later, some other day….

  130. Kumar, to be fair, John Buchanan is also big on processes, and he has had more success than Chappell as a coach. (And it’s not just that Buck had great players – Australia would clearly have been the top side with any old coach during his time, but the overwhelming nature of their dominance in the last World Cup was I think in part due to Buchanan’s focus on improving appropriate processes.)

  131. Ah!Kumar, there’s a point. Warne should be the man to inspire a Aussie team. Glad that the Aussie authorities dont like him enough to let him do that.
    Also, maybe, Ricky wouldnt like Warne hogging the limelight – note the way he insulted a legend like Bedi when he dropped in – it turns out that Krezja is grateful to bedi now but Ponting at that time simply said “I dont know how Bedi turned up in our camp”.

    TTT, someone asked you in Guardian blog why you disliked Ponting – this is a very recent tangible example you can quote – benefitting from Bedi but trying to look cool and macho by implying he (Ricky) didnt need Bedi and implying somehow that Bedi seems to have barged in. If this is not obnoxiousness, tell me what is. I think this sums up Ricky’s character.

    And it serves the Aussie-phile Bedi also well – it is alright being non-jingoistic and sharing your experience with opponents but do you have to lower your dignity like this, Bishen Singh? Hope you have learnt your lesson. by all means, help the Krezjas and Mendises and the Panesars but try to understand who respects you and who doesnt.

  132. David barry, processes are fine but they should have a purpose and they should be defined according to objectives. But GC was a pied piper who was throwing jargon. You are right, JB is an example of processes used in the right way.

  133. well if india win the next two tests, they should rise rapidly in the rankings. south africa are just keeping things warm.

    as for india becoming the top team, they need to win in australia / south africa. australia have secured that position by winning home and away.

  134. so it’s Ishant. No quibbles, he has been brilliant. A coming of age performance from the best fast bowler in the world today.

  135. super impressed with crazy krejza. has a good head on his shoulders and a bright future. i reckon he is a better bowler than bhajji. well atleast he tries to spin the ball.

    hopefully, the australian bias towards wrist spinners doesn’t derail his career. instead of looking for the next shane warne, australia would be better off giving the likes of krejza a go. hopefully he works on some mystery balls. a proper doosra would be a start.

  136. Some closing thoughts:

    1.Ricky Ponting was very graceful at the ceremony and said the right things.Good on him !

    2.Dhoni wins third test in a row as Captain.I think he led from the front yesterday to bring India back into the match.

    3.Krejza has been the find of the tour.His performance reminded me of how Monty was ignored by England till the series was almost lost in 2006, and Monty took a five-fer when he got a game finally.

    4.Rahul Dravid should be dropped for the tests against Eng.It is in his best interests.If he feels he still has it, he should play domestic cricket and get his place back.Things could have been smoother in this series had Rahul not played so miserably.

    5.And finally, I think Australia will beat SA soundly.

  137. Kumar, agree with you on all points – the one on Rahul Dravid with a heavy heart.

    I am sure Ponting will bounce back from this. I am sure he will end up with 15000+ runs. I am sure he will pass Sachin’s final tally of total Test runs aggregate!
    If he is removed from the captaincy, good for him – his batting will only improve with the relief from captaincy. if not, the responsibility will make him a better batsman. Either way, whether we like him or not, he will end up with the highest run aggregate in Test Cricket, or atleast pass Sachin’s final aggregate

  138. Do you think the Krej would gain significantly more turn if he bent his arm a few more degrees upon release??? There’s no rule against that is there?

  139. the capt,yeah, ask him to try that. if you believe Murali is succesful because of the flexed arm, well, good luck to you. Looka t your mirror and question yourself if you would have been so worked up if not for his skin colour.

  140. nesta all is explained in this post

    @the capt> Been reading Gilchrist have we then.
    Get over it mate.

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