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Friday, December 12, 2014

Aussie sledging .... will India survive (& win) at Adelaide on day 5 !

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Away at Adelaide, Warner blazed . Not many have scored century in each innings of a Test – and only 5 have scored two twice in a year.   Warner joined elitists -  Clyde Walcott (1955), Sunil Gavaskar (1978), Aravinda de Silva (1997) and Ricky Ponting (2006).  The score card reads L Australia 7 for 517 dec and 5 for 290 (Warner 102, Smith 52*) lead India 444 (Kohli 115, Lyon 5-134) by 363 runs.   Another overnight declaration is on the cards which will force India to survive at least 98 overs and a theoretical possibility of scoring them in a single day.  Having seen Indian team fold many a times, one is quite apprehensive. 

The unnatural calm that existed between these two teams evaporated in the Adelaide heat when the umpires had to intervene on at least two occasions to separate the squabbling players. Aussies are known for sledging and would claim that they play the game ‘the hard way’.  It is not restricted to Cricket, in Delhi Commonwealth Games, Australian grappler Hassene Fkiri refused to shake hands with India's Anil Kumar after he was vanquished in the 96-kg Greco-Roman event. He head-butted and slapped Kumar during the bout and even gesticulated by showing his middle finger to the crowd.

In March 2013, at Kotla, a James Pattinson delivery hit Cheteshwar Pujara on the finger of his right hand, leaving the batsman writhing in pain. Standing near Pujara, the Australia captain was seen clapping. Pattinson, too, said a few things to the Indian batsman. In a recent tour, South African captain AB de Villiers said Australia's sledging cricketers can't expect the Proteas to want to be mates with them off the field. Geoff Boycott once said that  his country will continue to languish on the international sporting front until the British Government adopts a death or glory "Aussie approach" to sport.

For years, Australia made winning a habit. Annihilating the opposition with savage blows and leaving it to pick up the pieces. Most teams would be beaten between the ears much ahead of the completion of a series. Having delivered body blows at will at the hapless rival, the Aussies would then enjoy a day away from the cricket field. The bonhomie or the assumed calmness in the wake of Phil’s death evaporated as Warner went too far. 

In the 34th over, Warner was bowled by Varun Aaron who celebrated with a send-off, shouting “Come on, Come on” at the top of his lungs. That was not to be as replays confirmed a no-ball- Warner went  past Aaron and return serve with a “Come on!” call of his own. Umpires had to intervene to separate players, but at the end of the next over it was on again. This time Shane Watson was in the thick of it, with Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan and the Australian No.3 going to war. Warner later said the temperatures went up a notch between players who have a sour history and the 27,000 at Adelaide Oval were loving every minute as the intensity of the series also went up a gear. There was to be another fracas between Steve Smith and Rohit Sharma too. 

If India could keep its nerves on the final day, play well in the pre-lunch session and another an hour after lunch, then perhaps they can dictate terms ………… will that happen !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

12th Dec 2014.

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