To put it succinctly: India won a match they should have lost. Australia lost a game they should have won.
Neither team deserved to lose and it was a great advertisement for Test cricket. That’s what Test cricket is all about. It’s not over until it’s truly over!
The difference was that man VVS Laxman, who reserves his best for the kangaroos.
The Aussies kept digging into their marsupial pockets for ways to counter the Hyderabadi’s merry march to victory but there were just no tricks up their sleeves.
Ricky Ponting, unlike his predecessor, Steve Waugh, seems to ,more often than not, let the game drift and that was to be the case once more when the Aussies, by rights, should have gone in for the kayo.
No discredit to the fighting qualities exhibited by Laxman, Sharma and Ojha but Ponting needs a new thinking cap and soon!
In the end, it was yet another famous victory for the No. 1 Test team and Dhoni must thank his stars that he can call upon players of the calibre of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman to do yeoman service without throwing any starry tantrums.
The Indian batsmen’s tendency to succumb to the short ball was once again ruthlessly exposed by the Australian pace battery. Raina will have to come up with something better in the face of quality fast bowling.
The Indian pacers, though, had their way as well. Ishant Sharma ,in his spell before lunch on the fourth day, showed us why he is considered India’s finest prospect.
Lest we go gaga over his performance, it is time to remind ourselves that such displays have been few and far between in the recent past.
Ishant is struggling with injuries and the reluctance to go under the scalpel – while understandable – denies the team genuine options and has players with niggling injuries keeping out more deserving contenders. Yuvraj Singh is another name that springs to mind in this respect.
Zaheer Khan quietly achieved the distinction of 250 Test wickets. This is a rare achievement for an Indian fast bowler; the last man to get to the mark was Javagal Srinath.
If Zaheer can have a quiet word with Ishant and let him know that surgery can have him come back a better bowler, it could be a great service to the Indian team. Zaheer and Srinath both returned stronger and fitter after dalliances on the operating table.
The Punjab Cricket Association ,in a rare gesture, felicitated the Punjab Police for their role in policing the stadium and displayed the facility of acknowledging some unsung heroes. In these days of security concerns, it is fitting that behind-the-scenes efforts be recognised and rewarded.
Laxman too may be out of the second Test at Bangalore pending a fitness review.
For Ponting, it will probably be a long wait till he can pencil in a victory on Indian soil. For the Indians, this win will be perceived as some semblance of revenge for the acrimonious Sydney defeat in 2008.
The plethora of umpiring errors in the match will have both players and spectators clamouring for the use of the UDRS (Umpire Decision Review System). India’s previous experience with the system in Sri Lanka was not a happy one. One of the reasons being that the players seemed to contest decisions based on whether they felt that they felt that they should have got out and not whether the decisions were questionable. Is it because it is not in the Indians’ psyche to contest umpiring decisions, dubious or not?
Just a thought! Over to Bangalore!