India’s first test match victory on South African soil. A wonderful feeling. ~ Cricket Blog - THE COMMENTARY BOX



Monday, December 18, 2006

India’s first test match victory on South African soil. A wonderful feeling.


India have left behind the disappointment of the one-day series thrashing and have firmly planted one foot forward in the test series. It has to be said that the better team finally won. The best part has been that India have won by a huge 123 runs even without their best batsmen striking. Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed collectively(actually with the exception of Sehwag and Jaffer no batsmen, to me, really looked very uncomfortable) . Yet India have won and that too by a huge margin.

Credit should go to the whole team though individual performances like that of Sreesanth, Laxman and Ganguly helped. But contributions from low down the order from the tail such as Zaheer’s batting and VRV Singh’s slog in the first innings were crucial factors too.

But more than the batting it is surely the bowling quality that has enabled this Indian cricket team to register it’s first test match win on South African soil. Zaheer was again impressive as he was in the one-day series. Sreesanth was exciting in every sense of the word. VRV could have gotten more wickets with more luck. Kumble was as usual incisive, cunning, deceiving and fast(the tail enders were quite bamboozled by his quick yorkers)! It is fantastic to see the Indian pacers dishing it out to the opposition as opposed to quite the opposite that this Indian team is used to. Makes me think that India’s poor showing overseas has mainly had to do with the quality of pace bowling than anything else.

But the series doesnt end here. The South Africans will realize their mistake in making a pitch that aided the Indian seamers and will more than make up for it in the next game. Having said that the next match is a good one week away. Ample time for the Indian batsmen to sort out any problems and come good next time round.

And I think its time for Jaffer to be done away with. He is looking more and more cueless and Gambhir deserves a look in. If Munaf is declared it is likely that VRV Singh will give way. The rest of the team seem okay. Wishing you the best TEAM INDIA for the next match.

All said and done the one-day series is still not out of my mind and I wonder whether India would have fared better had the test series been scheduled before the one-dayers as is the normal practice in the cricket world.

10 comments:

Homer said...

1. I doubt if the South Africans can do anything to turn this around. All the talk of fast, bouncy wickets is now chucked out of the window. If the Proteas have to salvage this series, whole sale changes will be reqd ( none of the top order has played the extended form of the game since May),and I doubt the Proteas would do that as it would indiacate panic anmongst the ranks. The next two tests are at Durban and Cape Town. So expect more of the same.
2.we need to isolate the ODI discussions from the Test discussions only because the Indian Test team is far superior to the Indian ODI Team.

In ODIs, the need to have batting depth handicaps team selection because there are only so many bowlers who can competantly wield the willow. That allayed with the need to have superor fielders pares the pool even more.
In Test cricket, it is easier to pick specialists instead of bits and pieces players and this is where India can compete and also India has much greater bowling depth in the Test arena.
The failings of the Indian ODI team have been well documented. And given that the World Cup is around the corner, I do not believe we can turn around our ODI fortunes prior to that.

Reeholio said...

Hi Ananth,

Thanks for the link. I have added your blog at A World of Bloggers.

Regards, Rhys

Ananth said...

well said homer. but this pitch was not just fast and bouncy. It helped movement and that is what indian seamers like. SA though(exc pollock) rely totally on raw pace. The next pitch might very well hav just pace and bounce and very little seam movement. So who knows.
but yes SA are totally down and need to do something big to come up.

About the ODI team,yes we dont have good players who can play more roles than one . But we do hav some real big names(Sachin can still smack the ball, there's Dravid, Dhoni and Yuvraj when he comes back). Are we as bad as we fared in the ODI games? Surely the team isnt that bad. We didnt even put up a fight(leave alone winning) in any of the four games! Though it had a lot to do with our batsmen just not applying themselves, are you sure it had nothing to do with the kind of pitches?
But about the world cup, I hav no illusions either.

Homer said...

Ananth,first off, best of luck for your exams.
Secondly, the results in the last 10 odd ODIs is a fair indicator of where we stand as far as ODIs are concerned.
The problems were apparent even when India was winning everything at home. Jamshedpur, Hyderabad and Kolkata are classic examples of the problems the team had. Even at Mumbai, but for some butterfingers by the proteas, India would not have won the game. I should know, I was there at the stadium.
The problem India has with the ODI setup are twofold
1. Lack of talent
Like I said earlier, in ODIs, the need to have batting depth handicaps team selection because there are only so many bowlers who can competently wield the willow. That allayed with the need to have superior fielders pares the pool even more.
That coupled with flat track bullies who have awesome numbers at home but are all at sea on wickets slightly inimical to batting, and that limits the talent pool even further.
2. Underutilization of resources
Indian ODI captains have never been super thinkers, but this has become more acute under Rahul. I am a big fan of his test captaincy, but he has been found wanting ( maybe even out of his depth) in the role of ODI captain. Far too often, alternatives are being overlooked and there is a tendency to play by the numbers.
There is a rigidity in thought and implementation, with a strict adherence to Plan A even when things are going pear shaped.
Rahul appears to be atleast 3 steps behind the game in ODIs, while in Test cricket he is spot on in identifying the ebbs and flows of the game.

Given this, how quickly can the Indians turn things around in the ODI arena? They can, but will it be soon enough for the WC?

Simon said...

Happy holiday, everyone...

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