All South Africa is the first session today. The Indian tail gave its
well known impersonation of a pack of cards -- going from 372/7
in 90 overs (372/6 actually in 89.5) 370/10. Two nice catches
by Boucher and Gibbs and the Indians rolled over in 5 overs.
I'd swear that the expected runs added by the 9th & 10th wicket
partnerships of RSA, far exceed the average contribution of the
last 4 wickets of the Indian tail.
This more than anything underscored the fabulous supportive role
played by Sehwag in the 220 runs with Tendulkar, and then by
Dasgupta to Sehwag in the 68 runs in the next partnership. Where
exactly would we be without the young man? Probably trailing
by 120 runs already.
Sehwag was a revelation. Some slight tendency to play across
the line, but nothing like what he does in ODI's. Also his temprament
was superb -- just playing very passively initially, and content to
let Sachin take the strike -- and when he played and missed, immediately
chastising himself and re-focussing. One minor problem (that may
be an issue on faster pitches) is that his back-defense shot goes slightly
across rather than straight -- and on 4-5 occasions he inner-edge the
ball onto his inner thigh pad (once his box -- ouch) -- and in fact,
was one of the problems with the shot he played when he got out.
Though to be very fair, that ball nipped back a looong way.
However, his driving was a revelation. His straight drives would
have done Tendulkar proud, and one of those was possibly the shot
of the day -- in fact, originally we thought Tendulkar had played it.
And the way he changed gears when Tendulkar fell was something
As for Tendulkar, amazing innings played under great pressure.
Enough has been said already, but the way he was playing there
was really no way that South Africans could have got him out..
And just as we were dreaming of 500+ and a big double ton
for Tendulkar, it was alas not to be...
Back to this morning..
Srinath & Nehra's opening overs were pretty decent. Both beat
the edge on several occasions, but no chance to speak of (one
edge landed a foot or two in front of Sehwag). Nehra bowled
a mixture of some good & bad stuff... but Srinath\, did pitch it
up relatively consistently, but lost effectiveness by the 10th over;
and Zaheer bowled very poorly as first change, as did Nehra
when he returned... Gibbs & Kirsten were very severe on
anything loose and wide, and the lefties served those up in
fair measure.. And the field placings were straight out of
the Pollock field of unimaginative -- though to be fair, most
of the boundaries were unstoppable.. Gibbs though does
seem the more streaky of the two by a shade..
Kumble's first over went for 9 runs, but though there was no
real turn to speak of, there is some bounce. I'd like to see him
bowling to Gibbs with a close field right after lunch... I'd
imagine Kumble & Srinath right after lunch -- and if India
is to get back into it, we have to take some wickets right away...
And after about 10 overs we should see some of Tendulkar,
and hope he can win us the match with the ball now:-(
Given how poorly Khan bowled, it would possibly have been
better to take Agarkar in hindsight.... he could surely have
batted worse (yes, RK, I know ZK lasted two balls) and lends
some solidity to the tail when we play anyone but South African..
Anyway need Kumble to strike soon...
Dasgupta has seemed reasonable against the seamers, but I
have no idea to how he does against Kumble, as no ball has
gone past the bat yet.. His batting was quite impressive..
"It is true that one may become rich through practicing evil,
but the power of Truth and Justice is that they endure ...
and that a man can say of them, "They are a heritage from
my father." ___The Instruction of Ptahhotep,