Recurring theme and a milestone
The recurring theme for the first two days of the test match has been India on the verge of putting Australia away for good, but a combination of luck and Aussie resourcefulness sees the game back on even keel. Most commentators are saying that India are on top, but I still think it is anybody’s game, especially with three days left and the wicket still playing true.
After a disappointing morning with the bat, we had the Aussies reeling at 61/5 and hopes were up for a 100-odd runs rout. But then Gilly and Symonds managed to get into the usual rescue act, and what a partnership they produced! Would have loved to be a non-partisan viewer during that period of the game, but sadly their swishing and slaying held little joy. Of course, they were helped to some extent by poor fielding – couple of really sloppy moves by Ishant in the deep let off Gilchrist twice – and importantly, few slices of luck. Symonds is certainly having a charmed series. He was dropped at 3 by Tendulkar, then got a lucky reprieve when a RP Singh yorker squeezed through his defense and yet spun away to miss the stumps. Hopefully his luck will run out at a crucial time during the Australian second innings. 🙂
But overall, no one could have imagined this situation three days ago. Actually, it was predicted that a pace attack would rip through the opposition batting – only it turned out to be Indian medium-pacers, with their wily swing that coaxed out the vaunted Australian batting. The Indian bowling is arguably a second string line-up, given the absence of Zaheer, Munaf and Sreesanth, yet in the scorching heat of Perth, they have bowled with heart. Kudos to RP Singh, Pathan and Sharma. Keep it up fellows – we need it once more this test.
Speaking of Indian bowling, the main news of the day: Anil Kumble reaching a great milestone: 600 Test wickets ! (and what a wicket it was – breaking up the Symonds-Gilchrist partnership).
Make no mistakes, the guy’s a fighter at heart – perhaps not the in your face street-fighter like Ganguly – but all the same, an indominable warrior (and he manages to hide it well behind the modest smile and unfailing gentlemanly conduct). No other moment captures his resilience and grit better than this picture:
Not much later, just after news came in that Kumble was flying back to India the next day for surgery, out walked the man himself. Heavily strapped up, with bands going around his jaw, over his head and across the back of it, a semi-mummified Kumble walked out to the middle.
The ball was tossed to Kumble and a slider slipped past Lara’s outside edge off the very first ball. There was much speculation about the wisdom of such a move. Perhaps it was foolhardy to ask a man with a fractured jaw to bowl?
All talk was put to an end, as is so often the case with Kumble, by one delivery. Tossed up, fizzing through, pitching on off and spinning in just a touch, Lara’s across the line swat was not good enough. The pad was struck, Kumble appealed as well as his plaster would allow and umpire David Shepherd confirmed that Lara (4) was plumb lbw.
Congrats Jumbo. Now onto 700 !