Why India lost at Sydney
There were quite a few reasons actually, not all of them were related to the umpiring
- Letting 'The Great B*st@#ds' go from 134/6 to 463. Even if Symonds had been given out on 30 or 48, let's not forget that Hogg, Lee & Johnson made 166 runs between themselves at 4 runs an over.
- Losing Dravid and Laxman an hour before stumps in the first innings. They were batting really well, had just gone past personal milestones. But they played horrible shots (ok, let's give some credit to the bowling!). Both ought to have continued on. 180/1 became 185/3! A 600+ total became 532.
- Ganguly not going on. He has now played 4 innings in the series for scores of 43, 40, 67 & 51 (at a strike rate of ~ 70). The most balls he has faced in an innings so far is 79. Dravid has probably faced that many before he decides to display the on-drive! It's all nice scoring 1000 runs in 2007, including a splendid last few tests. But to beat Australia, like Geoff wrote before last year's Ashes, you need to score big hundreds. You can bat like a millionaire and still get big scores. Ganguly needs to convert those 40s & 50s into 150s. Otherwise the runs are a waste. They help India get some momentum, but he gets out at the wrong time (as if there was ever a right time for a batsman to get out!)
- Yuvraj and Dhoni spectacularly failing. I've never been in favour of Yuvraj's inclusion in the test team, especially when he was going to force Dravid to open. I mentioned to Ganesh after his 169 that I still thought Yuvraj was not ready for test cricket. I reckoned he was probably the best replacement batsman around. But on the evidence he had presented in the past few test series where he'd played 2-3 tests on the trot, he has a long way to go before being considered in the first XI. All his dismissals are boiling down to lack of footwork. Sadly, I'm being proved right about his ability. I could still be proved wrong, with two tests to go. Dhoni's dismissals, barring today's, are all nicks to Gilchrist outside off-stump off short-of-length balls. He can be a very destructive batsman after he has batted around half-an-hour. But you need to guts it out before you get to the half-hour mark. He has not done that at all!
- Letting Australia score at 4 an over this morning. When Kumble threw the ball to Ishant late last evening, I thought it was a superb move. Australia weren't scoring quickly at that time. The fact that they went off for light yesterday meant that they were undecided about what rate to score at and when to declare (for if that were not the case, they'd have opted to stay on). But this morning, after an hour of play, all hell broke loose. Symonds & Hussey scored at will, giving Australia enough overs to bowl in the remaining part of the day.
- Edging to second slip. Like King Cricket brilliantly wrote late last year when Pietersen was given out after a catch was taken very close to the ground at second slip. He wrote: "However, from England’s point of view, as regards this Test match, the main problem was that Kevin Pietersen edged a ball to second slip. As a batsman, if you edge the ball to second slip, there’s a fair chance you’re going to be out." That is exactly what Ganguly did. He edged to second slip. The previous ball had been at his body, and I was waiting for Lee to give him the full ball.
- Dhoni not offering a shot. Steve Bucknor was the umpire. Was it a stupid idea or what, to offer pad with no intention of playing a shot? You have a bat in your hand. It isn't meant to be used as a periscope.
Like the Bard wrote, 'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings'
Labels: australia, ind v aus 2008, india, sydney, sydney 2008, umpires