2/18/2010

The Kolkata Test

The last day of the Kolkata Test was tense and gripping.

Hashim Amla batted as if in a trance. Not one bowler troubled him.
Amit Mishra bowled with a big heart, but got only one wicket on the last day.
Ishant Sharma hurled the ball down in furious anger, though not always on the right line.
Harbhajan Singh was on a mission to win the game for his team.

When AB de Villiers, Duminy and Steyn fell within 10 overs just before tea, India looked liked they would win comfortably. However, the South African tail was defiant and India dropped some crucial catches. Wayne Parnell batted for nearly 20 overs, Harris resisted for a while, and Morne Morkel proved to be one of the toughest number 11's to dislodge.

With only half an hour for the end of play, Dhoni tried Sachin and Sehwag. Yet, Morne didn't budge. Amla went on the back foot and defended calmly. Didn't Amla feel the pressure? What is this man? How is he so serene?

The Indian players were watching the number one rank slip from them with every passing minute. There were only 10 minutes remaining, when Dhoni brought Harbhajan back. He had gone past Morkel's outside edge a couple of times before, and this time he went around the wicket and bowled the straighter one that sped off the pitch, evaded the bat and crashed into Morkel pad below the knee roll. Bhajji knew he had his man and jumped into a full-throated appeal that the umpire agreed with. The finger went up and Bhajji bolted. He ran to lap up the roar of his favorite Garden and reminded the press box in no uncertain terms that he is the 'Man in the Arena.'

This is Test cricket!

The series was drawn 1-1, and India were still the number 1 Test team. One yearned for another match just to watch these gladiators battle again. Maybe, just maybe, if there was one more game then the Indian bowlers could figure out how to dismiss Hashim Amla - the invincible monk.

6 Comments:

At 9:54 PM, Blogger Raj S said...

It is a shame that this is a 2 test match series. It is also a matter of shame that the Indian board insists on playing limited overs Cricket and caters to the lowest common denominator fans rather than embrace Test match Cricket. No matter how many cheap cheer leaders you have during a T20 game,it will never match the drama, twists and turns offered by a good Test Match. The nexus between Bollywood and Cricket will further open new avenues for match fixing in IPL. It is too bad that we have to listen to the mimbos and bimbos of Bollywood (the likes of Shah Rukh Khan and his colleagues Shilpa Shetty) talk about Cricket and how to run Cricket.

Raj.

 
At 5:36 PM, Blogger nish_the_dish said...

I also wish it was a 3 test match series, at least. However, remember that initially this was only supposed to be a one day series. Fortunately, India became the number 1 test side and South Africa were #2, the BCCI and Cricket South Africa adjusted the schedule to accommodate 2 Tests. This is a good thing. Give them credit for doing this.

I love Test cricket, however this series was far better than the one against Sri Lanka or Bangladesh.

I love T20 too, the IPL matches are usually entertaining. We can't stop T20 just because of the fear of match fixing. Anybody can be an owner, we can't discriminate against Bollywood. Nor should we discriminate against the fans. Everybody who wants to watch cricket is welcome as a fan.

I also think Shah Rukh is a great owner, always ready to promote his team. Self deprecating too.

I know you will try and resist the IPL, I believe in vain. You will succumb to watching the IPL and root for the Royal Challengers.

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger Raj S said...

I am not saying let us stop T20. But T20 cannot take precedence over Tests. You probably know that the next edition of IPL is going to run up to 90 days with the addition of 3 other teams. Lalit Modi does not care about FTP and just goes ahead and schedules IPL without any concern. Bollywood's nexus with the underworld is not a secret. Almost every major actor is linked with one heinous crime or the other. It is inevitable that match fixers will surface at IPL. If you want to have a clean IPL we should be selective with who is involved. At the very least let us not involve those who we already know are corrupt (morally or otherwise). Yes, I will resist IPL as much as I can - that is why I scheduled my Europe trip at that time so that it will help me in case I get tempted:-)

Raj

 
At 8:15 PM, Blogger Raj S said...

Shah Rukh is either plain stupid or he is ultra-smart. He started a needless controversy by stating that Pakistan cricketers should have been picked. Now tell me what stopped him from putting his money where his mouth is? Instead he went ahead and paid top dollars for Shane Bond whose fitness is always in doubt!! On the other hand he could be very smart in timing his comments just before the release of his new movie which after the initial buzz has fizzled out. I watched Shah Rukh being interviewed on TV during the last IPL - either I dont understand his brand of humor. He just rambles on and on and does not directly answer the questions posed to him.

 
At 11:18 PM, Blogger nish_the_dish said...

Kolkata Knight Riders had Shoaib Akhtar, Salman Butt and Umar Gul in 2008. We all know that there were no Pakistani cricketers in 2009, and for the 2010 season, not even one IPL team bid for a Pakistani cricketer. That points to something fishy in the IPL as a whole, I don't think it is fair to blame Shah Rukh for that.

Shane Bond is worth every paisa, man. That guy is awesome, and he has to bowl only 4 overs. He will be bowling 150K plus every ball, every over (except for the change-up.)

ps: KKR has Rs. 300 tickets for the IPL home games. You should check it out :-)

 
At 7:56 PM, Blogger Raj S said...

My point is Shah Rukh as an owner could have selected a Pakistani Cricketer. No body told him that he cannot. Of course the responsibility of providing security to that Pakistani cricketer(s) will fall on him and rightly so. Instead of doing that why comment that Pakistani cricketers should have been selected?

After their dismal performance in 2 IPL seasons and the confusion about captaincy that John Buchanan created, how much do you think they can price their tickets? Rs.300 itself is a lot :-) Dude, do you know how much of a hassle it is to go to a Cricket ground in India? I went to a KPL game in Bangalore and they make the experience so regrettable.

 

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