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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

India - Pakistan 1st Test - a benign pitch!

Consider the stats first:

ONLY 8 batsmen got out in the Test match between both teams.
6 batsmen scored Test centuries.

That should give you an idea of the featherbed pitch on which the 1st test was played. The only reason why I would like to remember this test match is the manner in which the Indian team came out and gave a fitting riposte to Pakistan's mammoth score of 679/7 declared in the 1st innings. Virendra Sehwag's faster than run-a-ball 254 was probably the best part of the test match, around half of which was lost due to bad light and inclement weather.

Going into the second test match, India definitely has a few worries:

(1). Decide on the opening combination fast - Dravid opening the innings should be viewed a short-term solution. He should go back to his permanent slot of 1-down - you don't want to mess around with India's most reliable player over the past couple of years.

(2). Decide on the Ganguly conundrum fast - No one denies that Ganguly is a good player. But on current form, he probably does not deserve a chance in the team ahead of the other players such as Yuvraj and to a lesser extent, even Gambhir. Gambhir was dropped in this test so that Ganguly could play in the middle order and so Dravid took upon himself to open the innings. It worked fine in this test - but it is too risky to keep trying it again and again.

(3). I agree the pitch was just pathetic for bowling but that all the more stresses the importance of line and length. If the pitch is not doing much, then don't give away dollies to the batsmen - you are only making your task more difficult. Ajit Agarkar needs to prove that he deserves a place in the team - i am not sure that he does.

Hopefully, the next test match at Faislabad will be a more interesting one and will provide an equal and fascinating contest between the bat and the ball.

-- Thyaga

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