Greatness is often just 5% further away
At Cape Town
, India made 24 runs in a period of 15.1 overs (90 in 31.4 to 114 in 46.5) between Ganguly's and Dravid's dismissals.
, England made 24 runs in 16.4 overs (70 in 32 overs to 94 in 48.4 overs) between Bell's and Jones' dismissals.
On the basis of this evidence, and the eventual results, it does seem very possible that the pathetic rate of run-scoring was the primary reason for the results. This isn't to say that England would have come back to win the series, but it wouldn't have been 5-0. On the other hand, some more positive batting could have resulted in a series win for India.
If England and India had scored at a normal rate (3 an over, which is about what you'd expect in a test match), Australia's target would have been 216 in 36 overs (6 an over, certainly tougher than 4.7 an over) while South Africa's target would have been 240-odd, possibly just enough to make them wobble at 132/4 when Smith and Pollock got out in quick succession.
Positive intent is always a useful thing to have. Case in point - Australia. Last year, at The Oval
, Australia bowled out England for 373. Hayden and Langer had a century partnership and Australia were sitting pretty at 112/0 at tea on the second day. After tea, it became overcast and the light was offered to the batsmen, who accepted it, despite the onus being on Australia to do all the running, given England was 2-1 up and only needed a draw to win the series while Australia needed to win to retain the urn. The result is well-documented now, as indeed is the current status
I'm fairly sure that England's and India's cricketers, especially the ones who get really hurt by losing, would have woken up the next day morning thinking that the day would have been significantly better if each of them had score even 1 more run an over!THAT
is what great teams do. The difference between victory and defeat, in international cricket, is that thin. Great teams do the small things better. The extra one run an over, the four overthrows saved, the cut-shot heading to the boundary which was ruthlessly intercepted by the point fielder ... those're the things that great teams do well.
That extra 5% improvement
which Rohit Brijnath wrote about last April now seems so bloody relevant!
Labels: ashes, attitude, australia, england, india, positive intent, ruthlessness, scoring, south africa