Saturday, November 8, 2008

An absorbing day of test cricket

It's been a hard day for India. Had the catches been taken, India might have got a bigger lead. But they finally managed to get a 89-run lead.

Resuming at the overnight score of 189/2, Hussey reached his fifty in the third over of the day and Katich reached his hundred after he was dropped by Dravid at first slip when he was on 94. That catch did not cost India in terms of number of runs. But, he played for nearly 2 hrs from there on and scored just 8 runs from 63 balls. Had Dravid been taken that catch, India might have got 1 or 2 wickets in the pre-lunch session and put pressure on Australia. Katich has been consistent in this series.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni deployed 8-1 field against Katich and Hussey when Ishant and Zaheer were bowling. Both these bowlers bowled outside off and the bastmen never tried to play those balls. When it came to Harbhajan, Dhoni deployed in and out field, close-in fielders around the wickets and fielders at the bounderies. Zaheer dismissed Katich for lbw with a beatiful yorker. Katich played very well for his 102. Soon after Katich fell, Michael Clark was dismissed by Ishant.

Excellent fielding by Vijay sent Hussey back to pavilion when he drove a ball from Harbhajan to silly mid-on and went for a run. Great reflexes there from Vijay. Harbhajan struck in his next over by dismissing Watson. Haddin and White offered a bit of resistance for sometime and scored 52 for the 7th wickets before Mishra removed Haddin for 28. Ishant dismissed Krejza, Harbhajan dismissed White and finally Mishra got Johnson.

Australia were 355/10 in their first innings, giving a first innings lead of 89 to India.
India played 1 over before the day ended and is on 0 for no loss.

The contest is still alive. If India bats tomorrow and declare one hour before the end of the day by setting a target of around 350 for Australia, they have chances to win this game. But if Australia manages to get 2-3 quick wickets before lunch, I think India will surely play for a draw.
A lot depends on Sehwag. If he stays there till lunch, India can easily set a huge target for Australia.

Ganguly at No.3 ahead of Dravid ?

Field Setting:

Dhoni deployed a defensive field in the first session and an attacking field from the post-lunch session. Mahendra Singh Dhoni deployed 8-1 field against Katich and Hussey when Ishant and Zaheer were bowling. Ishant and Zaheer kept on bowling outside off and controlled the batsmen from scoring the runs.

I think Dhoni wanted to control the run rate and let Aussies try to score runs. In that process, they may loose the wickets which helps India to gain a big first innings total. Finally after Katich was out, he brought in the spinners and attacked the Aussies batsmen and put them in pressure.

I am sure Dhoni came up with a perfect plan and he executed it to perfection. The match was completely changed after the post-lunch session once India started attacking. They got wickets at regular intervals, but Australia managed to get closer to India's total.

Many people said that this is a negative tactic by Dhoni.

But what have Australia done throughout the series ? The way Mitchel Johnson bowled throughout the series is no different from what Indians did today.

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