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    December 17, 2008

    Andrew Miller - master of spin

    After a truly memorable chase by India at Chennai in the first test against England, Andrew Miller wrote on Cricinfo
    Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh may have put the seal on an historic run-chase - the fourth-highest in history, and more than 100 runs better than any previous effort in India - but without England's efforts earlier in the match, there would have been no opportunity for such a magnificent grandstanding finish.
    I'm sorry, Andrew. That's a cart-load of bull excreta. By the same reckoning, without Zimbabwe's efforts, there's no way Hayden would have scored 380. So should Zimbabwe be proud of their part in making history? In fact, should we be proud of Zimbabwe's achievement during that test?

    The fact is that England lost the game around half-way into day four. Making 70-odd runs in the first session was acceptable. Making 50-odd at 2 an over in the second was certainly not. Were they banking on Flintoff delivering, and thus had no plan B? It sounds nice writing about the good ol' English bulldog spirit, but this was a bulldog which did a good job barking for 3.5 days, but ran out of energy when it counted most. It wasn't too long ago that we saw a similar show from England. Remember Adelaide 2006?

    That said, at the Wankhede in 2006, England had scored at 2 an over across nearly an entire day. Were England hoping that India would self-destruct, as they did spectacularly on the fifth day of that test? Perhaps, but that was a different team, and almost far too long ago to matter!

    Test matches are won by winning sessions. But it is more important to string together winning sessions. India won the last 4.5 sessions of the test, and that's what counts in the end.

    In my estimation, this chase would rank at #1 (or #2 at most) in the list of top run-chases in tests. Australia's chase in 1948 was against a weak England team, and England's bowling really had only one decent bowler in Bedser. India's chase in 1976 was against a bowling attack that had only Holding and he was a few tests away from terrorizing England. West Indies' chase came against the world champions, a much better bowling attack (despite the presence of the ever-crappy MacGill) and West Indies were poor then, but not as bad as they are now.

    It is interesting that this win came just a day before the fifth anniversary of India's win at Adelaide. Rahul Dravid must be thinking that was way too long ago. In any case, given he's been included in the contracts list for the next year, a retirement at the end of this series is highly unlikely. I'm a huge Dravid fan, but nowadays I cringe when I see him bat. The timing has gone for a toss. He's reaching out to deliveries he'd normally just let go. He's even dropping catches! Is the end near? I hope not.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 1:08 PM |
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    2 sledge(s):

    Hey Jagdish,
    I see one silver lining behind Dravid's poor form. You have always drawn comparisons between Dravid and Pontings career, who seems to be going through a lean patch as well. After the last couple of series, I have started disliking Ponting a lot. I wish he follows Dravid's poor form and ends up imploding. I sincerely hope he never is able to break Tendulkar's century record, Ponting is a thug and bully and undeserving of it!!

    By Blogger Anil (17-Dec-2008, 9:49:00 PM)  

    Nice way of putting a positive spin on it, Anil.

    I've disliked Ponting for a few years now, possibly ever since I realized he resembles George Bush!

    True, I don't think he deserves to get past Tendulkar. But we all know he will, especially in the centuries tally!

    By Blogger Jagadish (18-Dec-2008, 3:26:00 PM)  

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