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Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Glorious Win and an ignominous defeat (INDIA VS AUSTRALIA)

For Indian Sports lover - win against Pakistan in Hockey and against Australia in Cricket would be the most cherished ones.  For avid cricket fans, it was a great moment – a win against Australia, a Series win and in fact a white wash though it was only a 2 test series. Why does this win sound so sweet ?

For getting that no. 1 spot, India has laboured long – overall, we have played 442 Tests and have won 107 of them, a winning average of 33.53%. Australians have clearly dominated the field and have been tough opponents, very tough when it comes to beating others. May be the crudeness and authoritarianism exhibited by them (they would call it professionalism – in the name of sledging, shouting, hoodwinking umpires, obtaining favoritism et al). In many ways a victory against Aussies is worthy to savour. Also the fact that we have won only 20 Tests in the 78 that we played against them. Here is the complete list of Indian wins against Aussies.

Dhoni would remain an innovative as also successful Captain. Somehow he seems to be having the right man all the time. A fourth innings target of 207 on a final day wicket is not all that easy. Viru departed early caught off a lifter from Ben Hilfenhaus with only 17 on board – all would expect the wall Dravid to walk in and drop anchor and see that the other end scores the runs. In walked the young Cheteshwar Pujara – who, the person who scored only 4 in this first essay. Yes he has an average more than 50 and during the recent tour to England scored a double, at one point he scored two triple in CK Nayudu U22 and then followed up with one more in Ranji. But to send him ahead of the icon Sachin and Dravid was a great move.  He was not there when India surged to the top of Test raking but perhaps his classy style would ensure that we remain perched there for long. Aussies for once slid to Fifth of ICC ranking. There was no Laxman, the Aussie tormentor but Dhoni had more than enough ammunition as this was a convincing win. The scorecard would read India 495 and 207 for 3 (Pujara 72, Tendulkar 53*) beat Australia 478 and 223 by 7 wickets.

The youngster showed his steely resolve driving handsomely and using his feet well against Hauritz. Murali Vijay played his part to perfection and when he was trapped had had 72 run stand and had made 37. It was left to the greatest Cricketing icon and perhaps the most complete batsman ever Sachin to complete which he did in style adding yet another 50 to his kitty. The way India plays their cricket has changed a lot after that momentous debu at Karachi on Nov 25, 1989. The Little Genius now has 14240 test runs in 171 tests with 49 tons and 58 fifties. Add 17598 ODI runs (31838 …………… and more to go)

Now Krish Srikkanth has a dilemma “Embarras de riches” – how to keep Murali Vijay the centurion and Pujara in the squad when Laxman and Gambhir return.  Dhoni said "He is kind of a stroke-player," "He will play his shots if you bowl in his area. I thought the Australians would look to get him out quickly and attack him more, which is what happened. That gave Pujara the opportunity to score in boundaries." Dhoni said Pujara was up for it when told of the plan to promote him.

All these combined to ensure the much awaited win at Bangalore where India has not won for a decade and half. I had made a lengthier piece and was waiting for the most opportune time to send - yes another Indian win in the finals of Commonwealth Games.

The setting was perfect. India meeting Aussies but only to falter at the finals. It was a non-match as Indians were swept out 8-0 and had to settle for a Silver medal. Aussies were riding a crest after their wins at World Cup and the Champions Trophy. Chris Ciriello, Simon Orchard, Jamie Dwyer and Glenn Turner contributed on either side of the halftime and brought about the worst defeat for the Indians.

The team had played well thus far and can take solace that this is the first Commonwealth Silver medal in history.

Regards – Sampathkumar S

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