After three days and each team having played one innings, the match is very interestingly poised with still two days to go. India did well on day 3 to wrap up the SA innings with a 41 run lead. Batting last on this wicket against Kumble is going to be a tough challenge. But to make an interesting final days play, India will have to put some runs on the board. A 250+ target on the last day should make for a nail-biting finish.
Open with Sehwag? God, No!
It is surprising to hear the likes of Shastri continuing to plug for Sehwag, suggesting that he should be asked to open in the second innings so India can get runs on the board quickly! When was the last time Viru accomplished this when most needed? The man is so hopelessly out of form and low on confidence. He barely managed 40 runs in the first innings despite being sent in when the ball was old and the bowlers had tired out. It would be a really bad move to ask him to open again. He can serve the team better lower in the order at the present juncture. Karthik and Jaffer have clicked as a pair and at least for this Test India should persist with the same opening pair.
Huh? Paul Harris four-for…?
Its preposterous to say the least that Paul Harris walked away with 4 Indian wickets in the first innings. Paul Harris is no Sharne Warne. Its unpardonable for the likes of Tendulkar and Sehwag to get out to a slow newbie left armer. The second innings will be another opportunity for Indian batsmen to grab some useful runs against the spinner.
Team Management: The Good and The Bad
Opening with Karthik was a master stroke. Credit should go to the youngster for being so versatile. The man is a good wicket-keeper, an excellent fielder and a versatile batsman. In short, he deserves kudos for his talent and sheer spirit. (He deserves a place in ODI playing 11 in my opinion). If he had failed, the team management would have certainly received a lot of flak for experimenting.
Giving Jaffer another chance was a great move that has already paid off. Its unfortunate that Gambhir had to miss out, but the gamble to persist with Jaffer has proved to be the right one. On flip side, the team management would do well to re-assess its over-arching faith in Viru’s opening abilities. The man badly needs to go the Pathan way and play some domestic cricket to regain his old form. His failures since the last World Cup have continued but he is still within the “scheme of things”. It makes no sense. Its time to call on Karthik, Uthappa, Gambhir, Pujara and the like.