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    December 18, 2006

    India tears up script

    Nearly 8 months ago, I wrote about what my preferred sporting moment was. #2 on the list was a series win in South Africa.

    Well, India took one small baby step towards that when they beat South Africa by 123 runs in the first test at the Wanderers. This is the first ever time India have won a test match in South Africa.

    Yours truly had predicted a 2-0 loss in the tests (for what it's worth, I've now got all three predictions wrong!). The batting in the one-day series was pathetic, the performances in the lead-up to the tour were far from encouraging. Maybe the test team wasn't too bad, given the last test they played in resulted in a series win in the West Indies after 35 years!

    Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Admittedly, the pitch was a good one to bowl on, but the top order flunked in both innings (156/5 and 119/5). A lot of the batsmen got starts but didn't get the big scores - Sehwag (33), Dravid (32), Tendulkar (44), Laxman (28) and Ganguly (25). There was a definitely a scare early on today when Pollock and Prince put on 70 runs in 14 overs. VRV Singh has promise, but looks unlikely like taking wickets. Is he going to contribute more than Pathan? I'm tempted to think so, given that he looks far more likely to contribute to someone at the other end getting wickets than Irfan Pathan. As far as their batting abilities are concerned, Pathan is definitely better, despite VRV's merry slogging in both innings. His first innings slog was especially crucial since it added 40-odd runs, helped Ganguly get to 50 and forced South Africa's openers to spend half an hour extra on the field when they would have mentally been prepared to bat after Sreesanth got out.

    As for the key contributors, the beauty of the performance was that there were so many: Sreesanth, Zaheer, Laxman, Ganguly, Kumble, the catching overall, Dravid, Tendulkar, Sehwag's second innings blitz, the lower order batting, etc. It was one of the rare instances when the whole was greater than the sum of the parts!

    You can vote in the poll to pick your #1 recent overseas victory by India.

    Update: Lest I sounded as though I was sure that India would win the series, I'll hasten to point out that there have been, based on my findings, seven series in test history where a side has come back from 1-0 down to win a three test series 2-1 - England v Pakistan in 1982, South Africa v New Zealand, Pakistan v Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka v Pakistan (all in 1995, oddly!), Sri Lanka v New Zealand in 1998, England v Sri Lanka and India v Australia (both in 2001, within a couple of days of each other!)

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 11:20 PM |
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    4 sledge(s):

    I'm glad you mentioned that England tour. Giles's 4-fer in the last Test was crucial. It's a good job for India that Nicky Boje has retired.

    By Blogger Geoff (21-Dec-2006, 3:36:00 PM)  

    Boje's numbers against India are misleading. After his stupendous performances in 2000, he made 7 runs in 2 tests when India toured South Africa last time, and bowled 23 overs without taking a wicket in those two tests (More likely though that the Indian batsmen didn't last long enough for him to even begin warming up and signalling that he wanted a bowl!)

    By Blogger Jagadish (21-Dec-2006, 7:18:00 PM)  

    What about series getting drawn, there is a full chance of India screwing up somewhere (At least this cannot be ruled out)

    All said and done I would love to see India winning 3-0.
    It will be more than a fitting reply lossing the ODI series

    By Blogger The Light-House. (22-Dec-2006, 4:57:00 PM)  

    Possible. Definitely. But that isn't the worst case scenario. Losing is!

    By Blogger Jagadish (24-Dec-2006, 9:53:00 PM)  

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