Ball One 9.10am – Luck matters in cricket, indeed in sport, and that’s how it should be, as it adds unpredictability to the unscripted drama. Luck’s role should not be so great as to make the outcome random, but, if a player cashes in (and good players do) a little can go a long way. Virender Sehwag had plenty of luck in the first over of the match, but that happens – his job now is to make it count. Being too cute (having had a warning earlier when nearly deflecting the ball into Third Man’s hands) he didn’t.
Ball Two 9.23am – In European Cup away matches, the great Liverpool sides of the 70s and 80s sought to “quieten the crowd” early on. One of the keys to getting on top of India is to do exactly that – but how? Win the toss and bat might be the only way.
Ball Three 9.40am – Orthodox thinking suggests that bowlers need plenty of variety in ODIs in order to avoid batsmen getting set for pre-meditated strokes – but can variation be overdone? The slower balls and short deliveries often go to the boundary, since few bowlers can retain control when required to change lines and lengths from ball to ball. Unless the slog is on at the end, aiming at the top of off-stump is about the best strategy in almost all match situations.
Ball Four 10.01am – History is written by the winners. Had KP started England’s innings with 23 from 42 deliveries, you can be assured that Twitter would be alight with criticism for KP’s batting and the Andies’ decision to ask him to open. Of course, no criticism is being levelled at Sachin and none should be, as he is expected to build an innings – but doesn’t KP deserve the same?
Ball Five 10.37am – Sachin appears to believe that it’s a 300 pitch and has paced his innings with that score in mind. Because India have Yuvraj, Dhoni and Pathan down the order, there’s always a chance that 300 can balloon to 350, but there’s little chance of it collapsing to 250. And that, more than anything, is the difference between the two teams.
Ball Six 11.15am – Does the old saw about doubling the 30 overs score to predict the 50 overs score still hold? Given powerplays, I suspect it doesn’t. Time will tell, but this looks like a 300 pitch made into a 330 pitch by Sachin’s sublime batting.
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999