So India retain their world number one Test ranking and that status is now assured for atleast five months until they take on Sri Lanka in a yet to be finalized series some time in the middle of the year. One is pretty sure that when the last South African wicket fell, cricket pundits round the world would have torn their hair out. Especially the ones in England and Australia for whom our cricket is a bit too medievalist to be number one!
So India retain their world number one Test ranking and that status is now assured for atleast five months until they take on Sri Lanka in a yet to be finalized series some time in the middle of the year. One is pretty sure that when the last South African wicket fell, cricket pundits round the world would have torn their hair out. Especially the ones in
Any bowling attack that can come out on tops in such a situation – their prima face bowler out injured – is quite a potent one. Think about it; the pitch wasn’t exactly a minefield. Hashim Amla, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and MS Dhoni batted as if they were nearly sleeping through their innings. Even on day five, as Amla stroked to a second century in the match, batting was relatively easy for the pitch remained true. It was the unrelenting pressure that the Proteas buckled under, something that is not new for them.
In the melee, Harbhajan Singh stood out as the main protagonist. In Zaheer’s absence he led from the front and that was quite heartening to see after he didn’t turn up at
One school of thought says that lack of competition is the reason why he is struggling. He knows that unless he is injured, he will be the lead spinner in the side and that can sometimes get to a player’s head. Figure this; when Bhajji made his mark on the international scene in 2001, Anil Kumble realized that he had competition for a place in the eleven, especially abroad where Sourav Ganguly considered off-spin to be India’s strength. And so Kumble upped his performance accordingly and there is a marked difference in his wicket-count outside
The other school of thinking believes that T20 cricket is having its effect on his bowling. At
Meanwhile there has been a debate raging forever as to what construes a good pitch. Is one that crumbles from the first day or the one that allows enough grass on it for fast bowlers to wreak havoc? Either answer results in Nagpur 2005 against
Similarly we don’t want dustbowls as in the latter case for that wouldn’t be a real test for our side which is a world class outfit at the end of the day. One that is capable of winning on good pitches like in Kolkata. Yes, the track at
That the series was drawn is a just result for no team deserved to come out on top in a two-match rubber. But there is no doubt that the hosts would have finished on top if it had been an extended contest. The reason for that can be found in one of the aforementioned lines. In the list of batsmen to do well in this series, there was only one South African name. Amla was given ample company by Jacques Kallis at
To win a series in
(The columnist is a sports writer based in