That was one of the few quotes from Ramiz Raja that I liked. You can’t really argue with honesty can you? Yes, I thought they did go down fighting yesturday and there isn’t much to be ashamed of (as far as the Nagpur game is concerned). They could have bowled better, especially in the last few overs, for they did get a good start. At one point in the Aussie innings, it looked as though they may not reach a score of 250. There were flashes of brilliance interleaved between phases of mediocrity and sheer abysmalness. These phases of mediocrity were present in almost every member of the team: Sreeshant’s initial spell was insipid; Dravid ‘s dropped catches were shocking and Dhoni’s wicket keeping for the day, disappointing. It is this mediocrity and lack of adhrehence to the basics that cost them this match. The
And so the series is a wrap, for most practical purposes. Australia have won it, but there are many positives to take from this match. For one, the innovation exhibited by Dhoni must be lauded. I was surprized to see the way he pre-empted Ponting’s powerplay tactics by sending in Pathan at number 3. That must have taken Ponting by surprize and that element I think counts for a lot. Granted, it didn’t make or break the match, but it took India closer, raised our hopes, and kept the Aussies thinking. The second thing that was nice to see was Uthappa’s confident attitude. The Uthappa-Dhoni partnership took India very close to victory. If either one of them had stayed longer, we might have had a different result; however in their defence, I think they did what they had to in a situation which demanded 12 runs each over. For the second time in this series, they showed aggression with their game, not with words.
On the flip side, wrt to the Indian batting, Yuvraj’s failure in the last two matches was sad. This really isn’t the way to get a Test match call. Moving on to Dravid, what has happened to him? He seems to be getting worse as the series has progressed. First he drops a sitter of a catch, then picks up a blinder, then drop another few (he did have company here, but more on that later). To be fair to Dravid, I would attribute at least a part of his current horrible form to bad luck. I though he started out well in the second ODI, though he didnt score much, thanks to a stunning catch on the boundary line; after that, there were also instances where we saw glimpses of the Dravid that we know and admire. It can be hard for anyone, in any walk of life, to get out of a negative frame of mind. I have seen that the affected person is the best person who can change that.
It has become increasingly impossible to leave a discussion of Indian cricket without a mention of Sreesanth. In the Nagput ODI, it was nice to see his inclusion, but annoying to see that he didn’t get the early break-throughs. His first spell was so expensive that it seemed like Dhoni feared bringing him on later; however that could have been different if Dravid had picked up that edge off Gilchrist. In stark contrast to that was his second spell, in which he earned a deserved wicket.
Cricket is a strange game and in the case of Symonds and Sreeshant, it could not have been scripted any stranger. After all the on-field and off-field antics and verbal war from both people, Symonds had the last laugh, for it was Sreeshant who dropped the centurion on 2.
As for the next Ind-Aus match at Mumbai, India have nothing but pride to salvage. With that being the case, I think the Indian fan might be in for something special on Wednesday.