Recurring Decimals…..

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Posts Tagged ‘Cricket

Hmm………

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Cricket fans are planning to protest against the Indian side in tomorrow’s Twenty20 match against India in Melbourne.It’s believed text messages are circulating, urging supporters to verbally attack the tourists and their fans in the wake of the Harbhajan Singh race row. (link)

Should make it interesting if any ‘incident’ happens.

MEanwhile, the Australians are probably finally taking this form of the game a bit seriously. In their last match against New Zealand, they rested players, including Ponting. For this game, Ponting seems to be in a hurry to get fit. OTOH, India are treating this as a practice game.

By the by, the 20/20 will be telecast on HD – apparently the first time for cricket in Australia. Should be fun. I actually happen to like 20/20 better than ODIs (Test cricket trumps both).

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Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 31, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Recurring theme and a milestone

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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).

I will admit there were times when I was exasperated by his bowling, especially ODIs, and believed he was past it. But I am really happy that Kumble proved us skeptics wrong.

Cricinfo has a wonderful timeline of his career.

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:

The Cricinfo report of the Test match at Antigua says it all:

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 !

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 17, 2008 at 9:08 pm

All said and done…

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…..in case you missed it, there was cricket played over the last five days as well. And some top-notch cricket at that with an even contest right upto that fatal Micheal Clarke over.

(Okay this is the final post about the recent test match…..and will try to restrict to cricketing aspects 🙂 )

You have to admit that the Indian team demonstrated a lot of fight in this game. Their preparation was less then ideal: Beaten comprehensively at Melbourne less than a week ago, with no other practice games in between, they lost their frontline pace bowler to injury and then the toss on a good batting pitch. Yet they made a spirited start with two young seamers and an early umpiring error (first of the many to plague the game) notwithstanding, had Australia on the mats at 134/6. Then there was the (in)famous Symonds reprieve where the batsman luckily nicked the ball to the keeper just as Bucknor had settled into his late morning nap. The rest as they say is history. India had other opportunities to draw or even win the game but were outplayed (and some will say, out-umpired).

Irrespective of all the umpiring errors – India got a couple in their favor, especially Sachin’s lbw reprieve, but on the whole the errors were loaded against them – and what could have been, there are several cricketing aspects where India lost the game, or lost the chance to draw it. And not surprisingly they are the two old bogeymens haunting our cricket – fielding and running between the wickets.

In the field, Australia dropped a few catches (even the ever dependable Gilchrist dropped two easy ones) but on the whole they saved quite a few runs due to athletic fielding. The Indians, barring the a couple of hard chances by Yuvraj, took their catches, but allowed Australia too many easy singles. And its those single which I believe were quite crucial. On the crucial fourth day of the match, India, with a still healthy lead of about 56 odd runs, bowled well. Both the seamers and the spinners created a few problems and run scoring was not as easy as the free-flowing Aussies would have liked. Even with the close-in field, boundaries were hard to come by. Yet, both during the Hayden-Jaques and later the Hayden-Hussey and Hussey-Symonds partnerships, the run-rate never went below 3 to 3.5 odd. That’s because of some excellent running. Moreover, it was not just the sprinting capacity of the batsmen, it was their technique to a great extent where Hussey, Hayden and Symonds all used soft-hands to prevent the ball from reaching the fielders quickly, allowing that extra moment to get the run. Of course, the Australians are masters at the cliched ‘converting ones to two and twos to threes’ game. This ability ensured that not only the scoreboard kept ticking over, but no one batsman had to face the probing line from the Indian bowlers for more than 2/3 balls at a stretch, giving them ample breathing space. I my opinion, this was a decisive factor. Unfortunately, during the the Indian innings, this kind of singles were taken only during the Harbhajan-Sachin partnership. Not surprisingly, it was the one partnership that really rankled the Aussies.

Of course, the fact that India was carrying two passengers in the batting line-up: Jaffer and Yuvraj did not help matters. In the fourth innings, we were effectively playing with 7-8 batsmen. When your number 10 and 11 scores freely against Brett Lee while number 1 and 6 can only shuffle at the crease uncertainly, there is something horribly wrong. Jaffer surely needs to be replaced by Sehwag. If not anything, we might get 10-20 odd runs from the wild slashes and thick edges flying over the slip/gully :). As for Yuvraj, he seemed totally disinterested, weather fielding or while batting – it will not be harmful if someone with a better attitude, like Pathan, who could be an useful bowler as well, comes in his place.

But overall, I am quite proud of the manner in which India obviously rocked the Australian domination boat. With a few decisions going the other way, we were even in with a chance of winning till the last day.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 7, 2008 at 12:53 am

Medieval Justice

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[update: Also read this piece by the GreatBong – he is obviously angry. Also, my new post on the cricketing aspects of the test match here].

Mike Procter, the match referee for the recently concluded, controversial India-Australia Test at Sydney, determines that Harbhajan used a racial slur against Andre Symonds (called him a ‘monkey’). Yet he provides no evidence other than the fact he is “satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Harbhajan Singh directed that word at Andrew Symonds and also that he meant it to offend on the basis of Symonds’ race or ethnic origin.”

Anantha expresses it much better.

PS – Apparently, Symonds was upset that Harbhajan was patting Brett Lee’s bottom.

Symonds said Harbhajan’s bewildering decision to pat Australian fast bowler Brett Lee on the bottom during play on Friday in the second Test had sparked the furore.

When Symonds asked Harbhajan why he had done this, the fiery Indian – then batting – allegedly called the Queenslander a “monkey”.

Symonds feels he had a greater claim on that piece of ass.

PPS – News Corp is racist. Here is the proof:

picture2.png

PPPS (hopefully the final one): I am not condoning Harbhajan using a racist slur, or even trying to debate whether ‘the word’ is racist or not. There was apparently an agreement between the teams beforehand that ‘the word’ was not to be used against Symonds. But only IF Harbhajan indeed used ‘the word’. The way the inquiry was handled makes it far from certain if it was the case.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 6, 2008 at 5:47 pm

An Aussie Goes Bolly

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Bollywood is currently quite the flavor down under: huge posters for Bollywood dance parties dot the University of Queensland campus (even yours truly has been cajoled to attend one this weekend), film crews are welcomed in various cities, and of course, there is the cross-over talent of Brett Lee (also watch this).

Not surprising that enterprising TV producers are planning to cash in, combining the Bollywood interest with the other obsession common to the two countries, cricket. Gus Worland, a cricket buff who last year made a documentary on spending time with the Barmy Army over the Ashes down under, did something similar in India during Australia’s ODI tour earlier this year. The program, An Aussie Goes Bolly, will be aired next month, coinciding with India’s test and one day tours. The TV channels – both sports and others – are abuzz with the promo:

Cliched and overly caricatured (sure to raise the heckles of a few people I imagine) and passably funny. Still, I am looking forward to the actual show.

While one Bollywood, especially have to share this, possibly the greatest disco moves of all times :

(for some reason, the Russians have a fond affection for this song – its the Awaara Hoon of the 80’s for them)

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

December 12, 2007 at 6:49 pm