Amit Paranjape’s Blog

India-Australia 2008 Series, Nagpur Test Day 4

Posted in Cricket by Amit Paranjape on November 9, 2008


Today was probably one of the wackiest days of test cricket one would see in a long time! The see-saws in fortunes every session…the individual brilliance of a Sehwag inning…the gritty partnership of Dhoni and Harbhajan…some inspired bowling by Watson…but last but not the least, some weird, inexplicable, incomprehensible decision making by Ponting!

This article from the Sydney Morning Herald by Peter Roebuck summarizes the enigma of Ponting decision making pretty well, “What on the earth was he thinking”.

I watched the post lunch and post tea sessions live. Everyone was simply awe-struck by Ponting’s decision to bowl the part-timers to make up the over-rate. Allan Border was so aghast, he could barely speak in his commentator’s role -:) The co-commentator, Laxman Shivaramakrishnan kept prodding him a little…but eventually gave up and changed the topic! The Australian contingent in the commentator box was at a complete loss to understand Ponting’s thinking.

Finally after being in the commentator chair for 15 minutes, Border started speaking something. One of his comments was quite revealing – I don’t remember it verbatim, but it goes something like this…” I hope Ponting cannot read my mind…because if he does, he is going to be a very unhappy man when he realizes what I am thinking about him…”

The only explanation the experts could come up with was that Ponting was being pressurized to increase the over-rate and had already been warned a few times in this series. If the default continued, per ICC rules – he faced the risk of being banned for the next test against New Zealand. No one could understand why he was trying to avoid this ban when the option to win the test and retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy was very much there!

All in all, it was a pretty amazing turn of events in each session. Before lunch – India on top. Before tea – India in doldrums at 166/6; Aussies elated and sensing a real chance at victory…then after tea – these bizarre turn of events by Ponting!

We shouldn’t take credit away from Dhoni and Harbhajan for their great partnership. With 370 odd to get on the final day, it looks really difficult for Australia now…but one can never say never. We will find out tomorrow!

If Australia loses or the game ends in a draw, I am sure this test will be talked about for a long long time.

One more point – games like these really drive me towards test cricket. It is a chess game out there. The 3rd day’s play was a master stroke by Dhoni. When was the last time Aussies were contained under 2 runs an over for a whole day? In the process getting all-down? The 8-1 field and persistent bowling outside the off-stump can look boring for the 20-20 fans; but in my view, has a completely different type of entertainment quality to it!

Maybe in some future blog-post, I will discuss why I still like test cricket, as much as the newer varieties. Till that time, as usual feedback, comments and suggestions are most welcome.


2 Responses

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  1. Amit said, on November 10, 2008 at 11:28 am

    I am a big fan of Peter Roebuck and do read his articles on SMH when we play Australia. Yes, Peter always writes against Aussies (mind you not pro India though). At times it feels good to read something against the hosts. I don’t know for how many long years Peter has been residing in Australia but old roots die hard (blood thicker than water… and some more phrases like that…) He was a Somerset captain in his playing days. Ahh. the good ole Englishman. How can he ever like anything done by Aussie? I am amazed that he is still one of the most popular writers and SMH is paying him handsome to write against the hosts.
    They say “Team is as good as a captain.” I feel it goes the other way as well. “A captain is as good as a team.” I don’t remember instance mentioned in Amit’s article when McGrath and Warne were in action. Aussies just didn’t need to bother about over rates and other administrative details of cricket. The team was so good that it was matter of time when the other team used to fold up. Now that we don’t have any match winner in the Aussie team, Ponting is facing this dilemma (over rates / fielder spending time out and cannot bowl for certain time etc…) for the first time in his career. If Ponting cannot handle these tricky situations and succumb to defeats / frustrations, he is just a good batsman and “WAS A GOOD CAPTAIN BECAUSE HE HAD A GOOD TEAM TO SUPPORT HIM IN THE PAST”.

  2. […] the end, the decision post tea on day 4 (read my earlier post on day 4) by Ponting probably cost him not only the match, but the series as well. During the post-match […]

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