Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The captain takes his side home

Dravid validated the claims of being 'the wall' as he steered india to a series tie in mumbai. It was a solid, unglamourous and dogged effort; a typical dravid-style. For a better part of the match he was partnered with Yuvaraj singh whose booming drives and ferocious pulls kept the south african bowlers in check. On a pitch that offered both the batsmen and bowlers a chance the south africans were done in by the toss. Yet again, in this series, the captain winning the toss chose to bowl and won the match. Dravid was relying on his bowlers to make the break-throughs. Although, there was never a collapse from the south africans, they were stifled and chocked for runs and finally could only manage a meagre 221 although they had lost only 6 wickets. Jaques kallis once again played his lynchpin part to perfection although he might have been guilty of playing too cautiously.

221 was always gettable and it looked easier with tendulkar at his aggressive best and sehwag pulverising the bowlers although they had lost gambhir for a duck. However, sehwag departed after having decimated pollock for 14 runs in an over to a dubious decision and the game predictably slowed down. Tendulkar shifted down gears and one anticipated a long innings from him. That was not to be. He departed for a spectacular flying catch at point and indians were on flimsy grounds at 70-odd for 3. Dravid walked in and steadied the ship along with Yuvaraj who played a magnificient little knock that unfortunately ended at 49. Later Dhoni and kaif made little contributions and dravid made sure that the series wasnt last.

2-2 result does not tell the right story. The south africans had the upper hand in the series. Be it their drubbing of the indians in the last match or their fighting defeat in this one, their superiority was evident. The indians on their part were admirable in their come back and finished the series clinically. However, a few lessons need to be learnt and the team needs to improve. Looking forward, he team takes on the lankans in the test series. This is chappell's first in india and it will be interesting to see what tactics they adopt. It will also be interesting to see how well the lankans respond after their 6-1 one-day drubbing.

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