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Thursday, November 15, 2012

India play England at Motera; Kapil hitting 4 sixes of Hemmings at Lords

Today, India play the visiting England at Motera and there are expectations that Indians would perform on their own turf – dish out spin curry and push England to succumb.  England is not the easiest of the teams to beat and recently they held the No. 1 position in Tests too.  The recent drubbing that we had in England 4-0,  is still fresh in the minds of those who follow cricket. As the media hypes the ‘revenge factor’ of the series against England, pressure to deliver increases on Team India and skipper MS Dhoni. Though heart wants that, mind knows that it would be too difficult or close to impossible to achieve.  Dhoni, no longer possesses the midas tough, that we once hailed him to have………. the administrators also are not helping him the way, we want them to be..

MS Dhoni has all but ruled out playing three spinners on an Ahmedabad track that is "on the drier side", but not quite the turner India got in Kanpur when they beat South Africa inside three days in 2008. So, the bowling attack most likely would be Zaheer, Umesh Yadav with spin duo of Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha.  Dhoni has made no secret of his demand of Indian groundsmen that visiting teams be given a stern spin test, but his faith in two quicks on the eve of the start of the series suggests the pitch might not be a "rank turner". may be Yuvraj also would turn his hand more than we have seen him in the Tests.  The comeback man Harbhajan Singh, once the frontliner is likely not to play. 

Ravichandran Ashwin has taken 49 wickets in eights Tests so far. By adding one scalp, he sure would become the quickest Indian bowler to reach 50 wickets in 9 tests.  still, he would not top the World list which has CT Turner doing in 6 tests in 1800s; Rodney Hogg and Terry Alderman in eight – the most recent being Vernon Philander of South Africa in 7 tests.  Stats Courtesy : Ask Steve – Cricinfo. 

With such an urge to win, memory goes back to a great innings of Kapil Dev and an Indian victory at home.  It was a different era – England had held the upper hand always save for a few great moments of individuals.  Kapil has taken more wickets than any other pace bowler in Indo-England series.  This was the match at Lords in 1990 – a great batting feat, most exhilarating by any standards. 

It was Test no. 1148 played at Lords in July 1990 – Gooch, captained, won the toss and made a marathon 333 in 485 balls.  Alan Lamb and Robin Smith, both of South African origin made centuries too as England declared after making massive 653 for 4 against the Indian bowling attack of Kapil, Manoj Prabhakar, Sanjeev Sharma, Ravi Shastri and Narendra Hirwani. 

India had a good start; Ravi Shastri made a 100; Vengsarkar 52 and the captain Azharuddin 121.  when 9th wicket of  Sanjeev Sharma fell, it was 430, still a good 23 short of avoiding a follow-on.  Kapil was joined by the spectacled  Narendra Hirwani.  Eddie Hemmings, the off spinner was the bowler – the first 2 deliveries were innocuously played by Kapil.  then came the savage attack – all the 4 remaining deliveries went for huge sixers.  The fourth one, a straight six saved the follow-on and to end the drama, Hirwani was out to the first ball at the other end lbw to Angus Fraser – India All out for 454. In the second essay, Gooch made another hundred following his triple in the first.  India set to score 472 were all out for 274 and lost the match, is another story

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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