Posted by: tootingtrumpet | November 14, 2010

India vs New Zealand Second Test Day Three – The final over of the day

A roof yesterday, but not at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium.

Ball One – Rahul Dravid has enjoyed a great career, not just as the most technically correct batsman of his generation, but as an ambassador for the game – I’m not alone in hoping that his experience and quiet authority are not lost to a game that has never needed administrative leadership more. The question is when Dravid should leave the crease for the last time. Despite making a century in the First Test, he wasn’t fluent until he had spent a couple of hours at the wicket, and was lucky to get three figures. In another scratchy knock today, he blocked far more half-volleys than a top batsman should. He has always played well in England and would love to tour in 2011, but with a long queue behind him – including the exciting Pujara – it might be a selectorial indulgence to pick him.

Ball Two – Suresh Raina has forced his way into the Indian batting line-up – no easy task – and already has a Test ton to his name, but his shot to be dismissed (on 20, absolutely the worst score for a serious batsman to return to the pavilion) suggests that he still has much to learn about the demands of the most unforgiving form of the game. Vettori set an obvious trap and Raina fell into it like a schoolboy.

Ball Three – Is the 50th century of Sachin Tendulkar’s illustrious Test career playing on his mind? For a man who has made batting sessions, indeed batting days, the keystone of his career, his charge and swipe at Vettori so early in the day spoke of a mind not entirely focused on the matter at hand. He cannot, in a career stretching back to the 80s, have been dismissed in a more inelegant and, dare I say, foolish manner.

Ball Four – In his mid-thirties, VVS Laxman has nothing to prove and, aside from Test cricket and some domestic matches in India and England, nothing to do. Unlike for most of his colleagues, the treadmill does occasionally pause for VVS, and it shows in his sensational form over the last twelve months or so. He has never taken much out of himself physically at the crease nor in the field and his eye appears undiminished with age. If he wants it, he shows every sign of being able to play Test cricket for a few years yet. I hope he does.

Ball Five – With no reverse swing on offer, it’s hard work for bowlers once the shine goes off the ball. There aren’t many 90mph merchants around these days and few of them appear to have the physical resilience required for five day cricket on a regular basis – I’m looking at you Shaun Tait. Tim Southee will always be a seamer rather than a speedster, but his brief spell that culminated with Rahul Dravid’s wicket, showed that line and length and conventional swing and seam can still be a weapon in 21st century cricket. Not that we should need to be told, as Mohammad Asif, now surely lost to the game, showed that there is a role for a seamer if they are as skilled and disciplined (on the field) as he was. His bowling may soon be a thing of the past, but I hope he has the chance to pass on his knowledge to the likes of Southee and other medium pacers in a coaching role.

Ball Six – India likes to present itself as an industrial powerhouse, the only real rival to China as the West carves out a post-industrial future. So it’s no surprise to see a bright, new stadium in Hyderabad, and very pleasing to see a decent crowd in for the weekend play. What is less pleasing is to see the grandstands largely uncovered in a part of the world where shade is valued. Apparently a decision about whether to build roofs for the spectators is yet to be finalised – well, that it is even a question is unbecoming of the new thrusting India and its showpiece sport. Get the job done – and soon.

The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.

 

 

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Responses

  1. Thanks for your astute observations, Toots !

    Been following the match very closely, and spent a few hours at the stadium today, and I can tell you the lack of shade robs the pleasure of watching the attritional cricket. And did any one tell you they weren’t allowing even mobile phones into the stadium? I could not sit through the day as I was expecting some important calls.Pity !

    • Kumar – You should be given a phone on the way in if you want one! Disgraceful that you are not even given shade.

      Thanks for the kind words and great that you could get along for some of the day.

  2. So even the more astute captains stick players on the boundry in an atempt to buy that last wicket and come unstuck, given the press of the last few years I thought it was only Mr Ponting who did this.

    • It is extraordinary isn’t it? Captains seem hypnotised by last wicket stands and forget the job of taking wickets involves attacking! Dan might have been too exhausted to think – after being on commentary at 4.00am every morning, I know how that feels!

  3. With Sehwag in top form, it is Dravid’s ability to play time that trumps his ability to score runs. No one waiting on the bench can bat for as long as he does. Whether Sehwag fires or goes for nought; we need a Dravid to handle the situation….I would not say picking him for England would be indulgence

  4. I listened to you guys yesterday on the Sofa, and am mightily impressed. Two things about this present article though – 1) Tendulkar has failed to score a century in 4 innings now. That hardly counts as “playing on his mind”, IMHO. And 2) It is surprising to me that you did not highlight NZ’s fielding yesterday. That, for me, was -the- highlight of the day.

    • I agree.Some amazing saves for the last 2 days.McCullum was fantastic. A friend of mine who saw the Aussies at the stadium and now the Kiwis, argued with me that the gulf between Aus and NZ fielding is such that India is scoring at least 30 runs less every session :)

  5. I agree, both Williamson and McCullum were splendid and Guptill is good too. I agree that there are at least fifty runs per day between the sides in the field.

    Thanks Iron Monkey!

  6. Rahul Dravid – sad to see him struggling. Great player – doesnt deserve the catcalls he is receiving now and the insulting tweets from gen next.

    Retire, Rahul, Retire.


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