Monday, March 1, 2021

pink ball test at Sardar Patel stadium today

In 2007 May in the 2nd Test at  Dhaka, his presence obviously went unnoticed as India first scored 610/3 declared – Dinesh Karthiik 129, Wasim Jaffer 138; Rahul Dravid 129 & Sachin 122 * made centuries while MS Dhoni remained unbeaten on 51- India won that test by an innings and 239 runs as Bangladesh made 118; followed-on and made 253.   India's batting juggernaut set the table and a charged-up Zaheer Khan dug in as India wrapped up an innings-and-239-run victory inside three days in Dhaka to clinch the series against a lacklustre Bangladesh. Zaheer's 5 for 34 bowled the hosts out for 188 and when the follow-on was enforced under dark skies, there were only feisty half-centuries from Mohammad Ashraful and Mashrafe Mortaza to delay the inevitable. India's fielding left much to be desired, but in all, this was grossly one-sided cricket in humid conditions on a lifeless track.  It is not the centurions and Zaheer but another player on the threshold of a record milestone would remember that test for ever – Ishant Sharma !! - who made his debut.

The focus now is on Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera – the refurbished one – World’s largest stadium with state of art facilities – inaugurated by US President Donald Trump.  This was the ground where Sunil Gavaskar became the first player in cricket history to enter a unique club of 10,000 Test runs (against Pakistan in 1986-87).  Kapil Dev claimed his 432nd wicket on this ground when he went past New Zealand’s Sir Richard Hadlee as Test cricket's highest wicket-taker.  The third match of the Test series between India and England gets underway today  afternoon in Ahmedabad. Yes it is a Pink ball ‘day-night’ test.   In many ways, the newly built stadium, which is famously known as the Motera, is the quintessential milestone ground of India.  It could be a landmark Test match for another Indian bowler, Ravichandaran Ashwin,  on the verge of claiming  400 Test-wickets .   The Motera stadium is now officially the world’s largest cricket stadium, surpassing the Melbourne Cricket Ground which has a capacity of 1,00,024.  


13 years ago, in Jan 2008 -  Ishant Sharma, still in his teens, bowled a defining spell against Australia at the WACA in Perth. Playing only his fourth Test, Sharma rattled Australia captain Ricky Ponting with his lengths and pace in nine overs in the second innings - a spell so good that even Steve Waugh, not one quick to praise, complimented it. It possibly also changed Sharma's life: a month later, he was bought for $970,000 in the inaugural IPL auction. Weeks before the Perth Test, India were playing Pakistan in Bengaluru in a home series. Sunil Gavaskar reckoned, in a syndicated column, that perhaps it was "too early" for Sharma to play that Test. Sharma went on to pick up his maiden five-for there, in just his second Test. It is the story of his life: to surprise when no one expects him to. And Perth 2008 remains perhaps the most memorable such example.

Now on the verge of his 100th Test, Sharma looks back at his battle with Ponting, and at his other memorable spells down the years.   He  played in the practice match in Canberra, before the Perth Test. Richie Benaud on commentary said he'd spotted Ishant making adjustments between the Sydney and Perth Tests

Ishant today would play his 100 tests.   Only 10 Indians have done that before – Sachin Tendulkar 200; Rahul Dravid 163; VVS Laxman 134; Anil Kumble 132; N Kapil Dev 131; Sunil Gavaskar 125; Dilip Vengsarkar 116; Sourav Ganguly 113; Harbhajan Singh 103 & Virender Sehwag 103. He stands tall being the 2nd Indian fast bowler to do that and having achieved more than something in International Cricket.  In 99 tests / 179 innings he has 302 wickets; in 80 ODIs 115 wickets and 8 T20I wickets.

Wishing Ishant, Ashwin and Indian Team – all success at Sardar Patel Stadium ! 

In Dec 1984, Test no. 1007 between England and India ended a dull draw. Mohd Azharuddin made his debut, scored a century; Ravi Shastri also scored a ton – as India declared at 437/7 in 200 overs.   England captained by David Gower were all out for 276 with Chetan Sharma and Shivlal Yadav taking 4 apiece. In the 2nd innings India played 18 overs and made 29 for 1. That Test was a different kind of turmoil  – India had won the 1st Test at Bombay thanks to debutant L Sivaramakrishnan taking 12 wickets.  In the 2nd at Delhi,  India scored  307 in the first innings, Kapil Dev top-scoring with 60; England replied with 418.  Indians had to play for a draw as wished by the then Captain Sunil Gavaskar; the ebullient  Kapil Dev, having just hit Pat Pocock for a six,  was caught in the deep in trying to repeat the shot.  India folded; England won the test.  Gavaskar was furious and the greatest allrounder of Indian cricket was unceremoniously dropped for the Calcutta Test ~ yes dropped.  The greatest allrounder was punished for one shot !   .. .. .. and there were strong comments that he had been prevented from making another record of continuous test appearances held by Gavaskar at that time.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24.2.2021. 

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