Sunday, February 27, 2011

A comic performance at Bangalore Chinnaswamy Stadium – India vs England

[posted at 1845 hrs on Sunday - 27th Feb 2011]

A perfect setting – WC on a Sunday – venue Bangalore – large crowd in the stadium and almost the Nation sitting at home expecting India to score well. Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat.  The pitch supposedly had something for the pacer, did swing and there was some spin too.
 
Wickets fell in a heap and in fact Indians could not bat through their full quota and were all out.  Wickets fell in a heap.  Two wickets fell in successive balls – one to Yardy and one to Bresnan and on the 49th Bresnan was on a hat-trick, could not get one still got another of the next ball – 3 wickets in 4 balls.  In the last over there were two run outs.  [49th of Bresnan : W W 0 W].  Munaf looks lazy – touted to be a big burly pacer but bowls around 135 – today he was in, on the penultimate ball – did us no good – Zaheer hit the ball towards long on  and got himself ran out – Munaf did not complete the first run itself, leg umpire declared it one short and thus there was no run, though Zaheer was run out at the batting end trying to complete the second !!

A bleak state of affairs to be in one would imagine.  In the 1980s a score of 250 + even in 55 overs was considered to be an imposing total and not many teams would have the mind to chase…… things are far different now – in some ways no total is beyond chase, as they say.

England started with Anderson and Shahzad – the ball was flying around – the first ball went streakily past the slip for a four, then was a leading edge, Sehwag smacked one closer over the bowler.  Edgy .. but that is Sehwag for you and in a few overs Indians were cruising – Sehwag went at 46 having scored 35 off 26. 
What a match it has turned out to be !  Indians now a days expect their batsmen to deliver and put up tall scores all the time.  Now in two matches – we have three hundreds – despite getting dismissed under 50.

It was a display of serenity of monk and poise and elegance of the Master – none can challenge that.  Sachin continues to play dream innings – he already has more than 17750 runs and 46 tons in one dayers.  This day saw him add one more.   To some it looked placid as there were not many of boundaries in the initial stages and the stand of Sachin and Gambhir progressed steadily at best.  It was another gem from the little Master, a greatly composed innings.  He was determined to play a big innings and the tempo was lull initially.  At one point he had scored 28 off 47 – in the 18th over came the first big stroke for a six off Collingwood.  At the end of 19, he was 42 off 58.  Yardy bowled a tight spell. 

The 26th over was a revelation.  Greame Swann is recently hailed as the best spinner in Tests – his first ball disappeared a good 95 yards over the long on – Sachin at this age has now banished the leather the second longest in the WC thus far.  The next ball was slog swept for another six.  Now we started  dreaming of a big ton from him and off the first ball of 33 he was at 94 – a stroke away.  The crowd was turning delirious everytime he was on strike and came the expected 47th century (the 5th in WC – highest by any batsmen) at 34.1 – a four off the hips off Tim Bresnan.  Ganguly, Ponting and Mark Waugh have 4 and now only Ponting has a realistic chance of equalling the feat provided Sachin does not add some more before he does.

Sachin was eventually out at 38.2 caught off a leading edge off Anderson after scoring 120 in 115 balls – 10 fours and 5 sixers – strike rate of 104.34.
England now need a improbable 339 off 50.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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