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    June 15, 2006

    Lara comes early to the party!

    Yet another boring draw at St. Lucia means that half-way through the series, we're still at 0-0. After having picked Duncan Fletcher as England's captain for the ICC Champions Trophy, you can now vote on what the result of this test series will be.

    Having held the upper hand for basically the entire game, India were beaten by a combination of rain, a Brian Lara special, a fairly lifeless pitch, two critical partnerships of 130 (Lara & Chanderpaul) and 70 (Lara & Bravo) and some a lot of shoddy catching.

    It is in fact an increasingly rare occurence for Lara to score runs in a "live" test. When he made his 400 against England, it was the fifth test and England were 4-0 up. When he made 226 against Australia and went past Allan Border's test runs record, Australia were 2-0 ahead and in fact won the series 3-0. In New Zealand earlier this year, Tony Cozier reckoned that he was due for a big score, having made nearly nothing in the first two tests, New Zealand having won both. He scored 83 at Napier.

    So effectively, Lara has come early to the party. Now what India will hope for is that he doesn't trouble the scorers too much henceforth. The other thing that India must do, rather than hope for, is to move Yuvraj and Kaif out of silly point, short leg and the slip cordon. These two are very good fielders along/close to the circumference of the 30 yard circle, i.e. around point, cover, mid-wicket etc. They are not close-in fielders. From whatever I've seen/read of Jaffer, he's a pretty decent close-in fielder - at least superior to Kaif and Yuvraj. I'd have Dravid, Laxman and Jaffer in the close-in positions.

    In fact the best way to ensure Yuvraj doesn't field at short-leg/silly point is to have him bowl. He has in fact just bowled one over in the two tests. I agree he may not necessarily present a wicket-taking option, but given that Sehwag could be risking his fragile back, having him bowl could be useful. Sehwag has bowled 69 overs in this series so far, before that he'd only bowled 109 in his entire test career!
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 1:43 PM |
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