The second Test match at Hyderabad ended as a damp squib as well.
There were many who considered the tourists easy meat coming into the Test series. The New Zealand batsmen obviously had other thoughts.
Except for the first innings here when they collapsed after a healthy start, they have made the Indian bowlers labour hard for their wickets. They have not let the home side buy their wickets cheap.
Suresh Raina has made strides in more ways than one. Besides making it to the Test eleven at the expense of Yuvraj Singh, his success at the highest level has resulted in the demotion of Yuvraj Singh from a Grade A contract to a Grade B one.
The BCCI has sprung a few other surprises in its revised structure of payments to Indian cricketers.
The types of graded contracts has been fixed at A,B and C. Grade D has been scrapped.The number of players contracted to the BCCI has also been reduced from 41 to 24.
The retainers for each contract type have been upwardly revised.
A Grade A player receives a crore (Rs. 100 lacs) up from Rs. 60 lacs;Grades B and C cricketers receive Rs. 50 lacs (up from Rs. 40 lacs) and Rs. 25 lacs respectively.
The third one-day between India and Australia was rained off. A similar fate befell the first one-day at Kochi.
It just goes to show that cramming in a series in what’s usually the off-season requires detailed planning. Though we had a wonderful Test series, the fans and spectators were left short-changed by the washout of the two ODIs.
Rain, rain, go away, the Ozzies and Indies want to play!
The Australians are probably left a little shell-shocked by the way their curtailed tour of India turned out. A winless tour for a team of their calibre will rankle for a long time.
I don’t envy the Poms when they meet the kangaroos down under.
The Australians will be doubly motivated to move up the rankings and prove that their recent losses are just an aberration.
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.