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The WACA, Perth – home of attacking cricket

January 17, 2008

At the end of day 2 at the WACA ground in Perth, India lead by 170 and the world is an unrecognizable place. Touted as ‘red-hot’ by journalists and anyone within earshot of a microphone, Australia swapped their lone spinner for another frighteningly fast bowler in Shaun Tait and were expected to blow the Indian lineup away with a lethal mix of pace and bounce. Over articles, talk shows and water-cooler discussions at the office, only one thing was evident, that India were going to play on the scariest pitch in the world.

Even though India last played there over a decade ago, I have followed most matches that were played at this venue, purely because it is, in my opinion one of the best cricket wickets in the world. Best, because it gave everyone a chance; seam bowlers, spinners and batsmen – all for the same reason, because it is hard and affords bounce.

A batsman cannot afford to be indecisive about his shot selection at Perth, he either goes back or forward, leaves or plays. There is not enough time to change your mind as the ball comes down. For that reason, it is a haven for top-quality batsmen, weaknesses in technique are quickly exposed here. It is also a popular misconception that seam bowlers only need to turn up to get wickets by the bagful. The WACA pitch rewards only those who bend their backs and bowl the right length. Gentle floaters and half-trackers quickly reach the fence. Even top quality spinners, Shane Warne to name one have done well here, because the extra bounce makes the difference between a gloved catch to silly point and a thick edge straight to ground.

Most importantly the WACA does not allow defensive and insipid cricket, the kind we saw in the recent India-Pakistan series. Teams that turn up at Perth with trepidation are usually ground into the dust within 3 days, but when both teams turn up for a fight, the quality of cricket transcends the outstanding. That Australia will regroup and go hard at the Indians starting Day 3 is not to be doubted, but if India can maintain the standard of competitiveness from the first 2 days, it will be the test match of the season and the WACA pitch will deserve a lot of the credit.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. ankur permalink
    March 12, 2008 5:18 pm

    Dude

    I am a big fan of perth WACA too. The memories of the batsmen hopping against the spiteful and smoking ball just don’t go away. It used to ba such a sight on the first 3 days. Alas !! It has got really slow and low now and we are bereaved of those golden moments.Here is what I had written in my blog :

    Welcome the New World Order

    In all fields of life including sports, the cycle of success and failure invariably affects everyone in its wake. The great sportsmen and sport teams over the years have acknowledged this ” cycle ” as much as life and death. It was on display when the resplendent & effervescent W.Indies teams were ruling the roost in 70s and 80s and demolishing everything daring to come in their path, but declined som much in the late nineties that the present breed is just an aberration and plane shadow of the dominant gladiators of the era gone by.

    The cycle that started from that epochal test series in the carribean where Australian outfit finally stood upto the fury of pace battery of West indies in 1995 finally seems to be culminating in its fitting finale. …..They say , nothing is constant in this world except change, and how true it seems to be. While Cangaroos were threatening to run away with the game amidst ominous signs pointing to a skewed world order for decades to come in the wake of their winning 3 consecutive World cups and staying unbeaten for God knows how many tests, it is heartening to see the emergence of a young and fledgling outfit that dared to look straight into eyes of mighty aussies and they blinked almost everytime it mattered.

    .. The mind wanders back to the fateful 4th day of the 3rd test at the fortress WACA…where everything was stacked up against the Indian team..where that caricature of a bowler Shaun Tait was supposed to bulldoze the Indians to dust…..the fate took a U -turn on the Australians and Ponting, mesmerized and tortured by a greenhorn Sharma , did not have a place to hide after all the rant and rave directed to the Indians in the previous days.

    … The sight of the world’s best batsman on form hopping and puffing like the proverbial cat on a tin roof against some of the best fast bowling seen in many years made for delectable viewing but more significantly , it showcased the inner reslolve of the young Indian team to lock horns with the aggression and belligerence of the Aussie team.

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