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.