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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sydney 100th Test - Day 1 - India struggling at Lunch

This ground is hosting its 100th test – a feat matched only by two other grounds – Melbourne and Lords.  This has had something to offer for India.  In Jan 2004, India scored a massive 705 for 7 declared.  Akash Chopra opened  with Virender Sehwag and they socred 45 & 72 respectively. Dravid 38, Partiv Patel 62 made runs; but it was entirely Sachin Tendulkar remaining unbeaten on 241 and VVS Laxman making 178 and their stand of 353 which held the centre stage.

The best partnership at Sydney has been 405 between SG Barnes and Sir Bradman way back in Dec 1946 and the next is the one between Laxman and Tendulkar (353) in Jan 2004.

Four years ago much happened here as Harbhajan was  suspended for three matches after the second Test in Sydney  - the monkey gate affair -  but the penalty was subsequently reduced to a fine on appeal.  The Aussies known for their personal attacks and sledging are trying to attack Tendulkar again as some Press is trying to write harsh on the issue now.    

The Herald Sun wrote :
While the cricket world is abuzz with anticipation that the Little Master will score his 100th international century during the second Test in Sydney, beginning tomorrow, some recent Australian players have not forgiven his role in the Andrew Symonds "Monkeygate" scandal. …… But despite the unparalleled greatness of his achievements, some Australians lost respect for him when he gave completely different accounts of what took place as a key witness in the Harbhajan Singh-Andrew Symonds racism meltdown.

Harbhajan was suspended for three matches after the second Test in Sydney four years ago but the penalty was subsequently reduced to a fine on appeal.  In his book True Colours, Adam Gilchrist, who retired at the end of that 2007-08 season, was furious, describing the appeal as a "joke".  "Tendulkar, who'd said at the first hearing that he hadn't been able to hear what Harbhajan had said - and he was a fair way away, up the other end, so I'm certain he was telling the truth - now supported Harbhajan's version that he hadn't called Symo a 'monkey' but instead a Hindi term of abuse that might sound like 'monkey' to Australian ears," Gilchrist wrote.

"The Indians got him off the hook when they, of all people, should have been treating the matter of racial vilification with the utmost seriousness." "That was a long time ago and obviously the personnel in the teams have changed quite a lot, particularly in our team, maybe not so much in the Indian team," Hussey said at the SCG yesterday.

Lot has happened after that.  So many players including Symonds earned their money at IPL displaying their camaraderie wearing it on their sleeves - that was money making which is now forgotten. The Australians and Press are eternal mourners who would dig the past graves whenever it is convenient but would not utter a single word of the misdemenaour on the field and off it too – calling it – they play the game the hard way. They have consistently appealed wrongly and got is approved by their benevolent Umpires, threw vituperative slangs sledging especially Asian batsmen and would resort to all dirty tricks is too well known. 

Today at SCG, Dhoni won the toss and immediately found himself at the receiving end.  On a fine Sydney day the lack of clouds was welcome but not the grass on the pitch. Both teams named unchanged sides from the Melbourne Test as India's selectors gave Virat Kohli another chance and decided against including the uncapped Rohit Sharma. Australia had already announced their XI on the eve of the match, with Ryan Harris left on the sidelines.

At the time of this post, Indians are reeling at 72/4 at lunch.  Pattinson taking 3 wickets.  Gambhir made a duck, Dravid made 5 and Laxman 2.  Sehwag dazzled for a brief making 30.   Sachin 21 and Virat Kohli 12 were at the crease.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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