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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Indian batting collapse at Brisbane - Aussie go 2-0 up

How often have seen that and what keeps the die-hard Indian fan, still watch another match – is it his forbearance to grim similarity that befells on so many occasions or his undying eternal optimism ?
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Way back on 28th Feb 1983 in Test no. 949 at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica – playing against mighty West Indies – the match was meandering to a draw – a good result to start the Series with.  When tea was taken on the final day, after the first heavy rain in Kingston for two years had washed out the fourth day, a draw appeared inevitable.  Indians were 168 for six which meant a lead of 165 – and perhaps after a few overs the match would have been given up. Andy  Roberts dramatically changed the course of the match by dismissing Kirmani, Sandhu and Venkataraghavan in his first over on resumption and completing the rout with the last man, Maninder, in his fourth over.

West Indies had to score 172 still in possible 26 overs – a run rate of 6.6 which was unimaginable those days.  Of the combination available, Captain Kapil Dev hid Maninder Sharma and Ravi Shastri and bowled his heart-out in one end bowling 13 overs – on the other end, it was Sandhu (3), S. Venkatraghavan (7) and Mohinder Amarnath (2.2) – and the match was over; a WI victory, riding on the start given by Haynes (34 off 21) ; Viv Richard’s massacre (61 off 35)- Dujon and Gus Logie hit sixers to romp home.   Kapil had figures of 13-0-73-4. Way back in Test no. 353 in 1952 at Old Trafford, England scored 347 and bowled out Indians twice for 58 & 82.  Recently, at the same venue in Aug 2014, Indians folded inside 3 days making 151 and 167.

The loss today at Gabba hurts. The scorecard reads : Australia 505 (Smith 133, Johnson 88) and 6 for 130 (Rogers 55) beat India 408 (Vijay 144, Rahane 81) and 224 (Dhawan 81, Johnson 4-61) by four wickets.  Statistics would further sadden us – two whitewashes in England; 0-4 loss in the last tour and now losing both the Test in the present Series though there have been moments of glories.  This is 6th  consecutive Test loss to Australia – as Aussies extend their unbeaten streak in Brisbane to 26 Tests - 19 wins and seven draws.

Indians resumed at 71/1 – just 26 short on day 4 morning.  Virat Kohli it was who came with Pujara. Soon it was 76/2 to 87/5 and 117/6 – till a late 9th wicket stand from 143 to 203 gave some respectability. Know the reason for this batting collapse ?

Mitchelle Johnson, had Kohli,  bounced out Ajinkya Rahane and coaxed an edge behind from Rohit Sharma. Then Hazlewood chimed in to pin Dhoni lbw, and bowled a shooter to  Cheteshwar Pujara.   Indian batsmen clearly bad no plan.  Later India captain MS Dhoni  said the decision to send Virat Kohli in place of Shikhar Dhawan on the fourth morning was a late one, which resulted in "unrest" in the dressing room.  Dhawan took a blow to the hand while batting in the nets before play and Kohli pitched in. India expressed displeasure over the quality of practice pitches at the Gabba, which they believe led to the key injury. "There was miscommunication in our dressing room about whether Shikhar will go in to bat or Virat will go in to bat," Dhoni  was to say after India lost the game by four wickets. "I don't think we really handled the situation very well. I think the only way out of that was for the batsmen to spend a little time. But we were not able to do that.

Apart from Dhawan, who injured his right wrist, Kohli too had taken a hit on the practice pitches, on his left forearm. Dhawan, not out on 26 overnight, had to retire hurt before play began, and his replacement Kohli was dismissed for 1 off 11 balls, triggering the collapse. Dhawan came in later - at the fall of the sixth wicket - and went on to make 81.

So another loss ……… and what will happen at Melbourne on boxing day – the batting line would still remain the same, perhaps Ashwin who had 2/128 in the first and was not given the ball in the 2nd would go; Karn Sharma may not get another chance though ….the simple maxim – ‘if you continue to do things the same way, the results also would (most likely) continue to be the same !’ ~ and  the eternal optimist Indian fan would again watch the match with anxiety and hopes !!!!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th Dec 2014.

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