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Border-Gavaskar up for grabs

October 14, 2008

Since so much of cricket reporting is hyperbole, India’s success at saving the match is being termed as a lot more than it is. It was not too much more than a par performance from the Indian batting lineup to not get bowled out on the 5th day on what was a tricky but not an unplayable surface. It would’ve been a big deal if by the end of the day; Ponting was scrambling to put his men all around the fence to slow an Indian charge to only escape with a draw by 30 odd runs. We know that did not happen, what did happen was:

Australia’s middle order fired (kinda), India’s only sputtered
Name the most likely high scorers in a series and Ponting and Hussey would be up there. Both scored tons meaning that they can now relax and get down to the business of scoring seriously big runs. Though Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Tendulkar all scored a few, they were too scratchy to have cleared the cobwebs in their minds.

Bowling effectiveness is a potential area of concern for both teams
Spin or no spin, in Lee, Johnson, Clark and Watson, Australia have the far more effective attack, on paper. I’d have expected Clark to cause more problems than he did with the variable bounce in the pitch. That being said, Mohali is likely to have more juice on the morning of day 1 and if India wins the toss, the Aussies might not need a spin option. India, as usual, are heavily reliant on a couple of bowlers to come up with goods. A twinge in a hamstring somewhere and they’ll be left with a rather pedestrian attack

The players with the X-factor haven’t yet turned up
Haydos and Sehwag had quiet games. They’re hardly the kind of players who stand calmly by as others do the scoring. Which one of them turns up at Mohali will have a significant bearing on the game. Indian supporters can only thank their lucky stars Symonds likes fishing and Gilly decided 20 over exertions were more to his taste

Unlike in the past, the first test match of the season in India has not thrown up a comprehensive defeat for the home team with no way to go but up. Ironically, this means the Indian batsmen won’t be forced to shrug off any defensive lines of thought and focus on taking the attack to the Australians. Even though they didn’t fire, their lack of runs was covered by the lower order. The Australian batsmen however, have tasted some success and will want to make it count for more at Mohali. Interesting times. My prediction at this point : Mohali – Aus, Delhi – Ind, Nagpur – Draw; Series 1-1

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