Monday, July 23, 2007

Thank God, It Rained .....

ESPN-Star has launched their new channel to the air, very much to our discomfort, only to prevent us from viewing the English Season. Majority of the cable service providers in the city didn't opted the new channel due to its high charges. Anyways, I’ve got the opportunity to view it in my office cafeteria.

In one of my previous blog, I’ve written about the importance of good starts. When India last toured to England, There were two openers, both different in their styles yet complement to each other. Sanjay Bangar was the gritty customer with his lion hearted performance. Sanjay used the time in the crease to take off the polish from the leather. On the other hand Virender Sehvag was brutal on the red cherry. He has his own way of taking off the shine off the ball. Anyways that helped the Batsmen down the order to excel from where the openers left. Rahul, Sachin and Saurav with others made full use of the starts and drew the series 1-1. One test that was drawn was tilted in favor of India. The Lords, where India lost was a Big Match for India’s “Under Performing Allrounder” (whom many doesn’t claim so, but I do) Ajit Agarkar. Ajit scored 109 and was the last man standing to save the match for India. It was his first appearance in tests at “The Lords”. If you rate his century as any ordinary one, then please go by the books of records. India’s biggest batting power house of the modern era hasn’t scored a century in “Lords”. When Ajit was out as the last wicket, the then English Captain Nasser Hussain asked his teammates to stand at the boundary and let the “Indian Gladiator” Ajit first cross the boundary. This is the old English way to acknowledge one’s performance. The incidence itself says all about the importance of Ajit’s innings. There were some other innings which were magnificent. Century from Viru in seaming conditions and gritty fifty by Sanjay, centuries by Sachin and Saurav, especially their slaughter in the dark at Leeds.

Now compare this with current Indian teams starts. Wasim played in 1st inning Karthik failed and in 2nd innings Karthik clicked but Jaffer failed. The important thing is India are not getting starts which they need. The conditions get worse as “Mr Dependable” seems to be out of colors these days. Performances in bits and pieces don’t win a match for you.

On the 1st day England were in pretty good position to put a huge total. But by the end of the day, Indian bowlers got some important breakthroughs. Next day the last six English wicket felt in a span of just 30 runs, giving a ray of hope to Indians. But other than Jaffer (he too was too slow) no other Indian batsmen played to their potential. In their second innings the English came out firing with Pietersen leading the charge with 134. Tremlet(42) and Skipper Vaughan (30) were other major contributors. Indian Seamers, Rudra Pratap Singh (5) and Zaheer Khan(4) bowled with lots of heart and fire. England managed to score 282, posting a possible but improbable target of 380. Indian’s scored a fighting 282/9 with Karthik (60), Ganguly (40) and VVS (39). But leading the charge was the Jharkhandi “MS Dhoni” with his Undefeated 76. Then came the rain. I’ve first time seen the rain protecting a possible Indian defeat J