After four days and over 1000 runs being scored, and a bunch of records being broken, the Chennai Test seems destined to end in a draw. A century in both innings by Amla, another score in the 90s by McKenzie and a few more wickets for Kumble, and a boring draw is all that remains (I am trying my hand at the prediction game to add some excitement to this Test!:-).
A Disgraceful Pitch
The South African team is composed four excellent fast bowlers and one mediocre spinner. The Indian team on the other hand has three very capable spinners. In this circumstances, playing on a home ground it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the most sensible thing to do at least for the first Test was to prepare a turning track. Instead, the Chennai pitch was a perfect example of a Test cricket-killer. The stadium was far from full and if more pitches of this nature are served up, Test cricket in India is in for some serious setbacks from a spectator interest point of view. Someone has to take responsibility for this disgraceful pitch.
Viru Strikes, Again
Virendar Sehwag is the perfect “hit or miss, all or nothing” player. When he hits, he hits big. When he misses he can be quite a disappointment. But two triple hundreds is no mean task. The man was at the top of his game and completely overshadowed every other batsman in the Test match. Not to take away any credit from the man for his outstanding performance, but clearly Test cricket suits his aggressive style. The speed at which he scores the runs at the top of the order can change the complexion of the game. In fact, after he was out India struggled and lost the initiative and hence the ability to gain the upper hand. India would do well to retain him in the Test team for the foreseeable future. At the same time, his form in Tests must not be misconstrued as a sign of ODI form. He has been given way too many chances in ODIs and his selection in the ODI team based on track record remains highly questionable.
Dravid, Solid and Reliable As Always
Rahul Dravid continues to be the best bet when it comes to consistency, solidity and reliability. On a dead pitch like this on, there was no way Dravid was going to pass up on an opportunity to work his way back to form. He ground his way to a century meanwhile crossing the 10,000 Test run mark. Hats off to him for his continued consistency. Critics would argue that he slowed the run rate. But as a counter point one could easily argue that had he not scored as much as he did, India might not have taken the lead. In fact, if the intent was to up the ante, the Indian captain could have very well sent in Dhoni at number three. The very fact that there was no change in the batting order is an indication that the Indian captain preferred a “safety first” approach.
VVS and Ganguly Should Swap Positions
It is sad to see VVS having to play with the tail. He is such a free stroking batsman that big blows don’t come come naturally to him. He seems to lack the savvy required when it comes to scoring with the tail at the other end, something Saurav Ganguly might be far more adept at doing. VVS must be sent higher up the order, ahead of Ganguly at a minimum.
Is RP Singh Still Injured?
RP Singh’s performance in this Test match has been very disappointing. After a good tour of Australia, it is hard to imagine how poorly he has performed here. It sure seems like a bowler returning before he was fully fit. India would be more than happy to have Ishant Sharma back for the second Test. Hopefully, his recovery is for real and not another sham.