On the fourth day at Kanpur, Virender Sehwag continued with his penchant for scoring big centuries
. India started off slowly and also lost Gautam Gambhir, four short of his first test ton. Dravid and Sehwag brought India within striking distance of avoiding the follow-on
. Sehwag upped the tempo after lunch, scoring 56 runs in 34 balls before he got out to Andrew Hall for 164, which makes him the top scorer in the match so far. He also passed 1000 runs for 2004, averaging nearly 73, which is quite an amazing achievement considering this is India's 9th test this year.
What followed was beyond comprehension. India had South Africa on the mat, having scored 294/2 in 70 overs when Sehwag got out. In the next 44 overs before bad light ended the day's play, 107 runs were scored. I have no idea what Dravid's and Ganguly's intentions were. Much as I am a fan of both, this was appalling batting. They just did not seem to want to force things. Was the Indian camp happy with batting out for a draw?
Assuming that the same 44 overs were available, if they had batted with a little more freedom and scored around 170 runs [which is a rate of just over 4 per over - entirely achievable considering the demoralized and toothless attack which was on parade], India would have ended up around 50 runs short of South Africa's total. I was hoping for an overnight declaration which would have put a lot of pressure on South Africa since they
, and not India, would be batting on a fifth day wicket. If South Africa were in the mood for a result, which is quite unlikely given the way they approached their first innings, they might have tonked a few around and set India 200 to win in around 40 overs or so, on a wearing wicket. I'd back India to at least save the game, if not win it from that position. If South Africa had collapsed for around 100-150, India would have had to get 100 in around a session, which is quite manageable. If South Africa had opted to plod on, then India would have come out with their pride intact since they definitely did attempt to get a result but it was the boring South Africans who werent interested.
India have thus squandered a win-win situation. Instead, we're around 100 runs behind and the only prospect is a dull draw.