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Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Batting Might in Question, Again!

Sydney Cricket Ground, where the Indian batsmen were hunted down, once again. In the 100th test match at this epic venue, two of its better entertainers of previous years, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, disappointed. Alongside eight other colleagues, of the increasingly hapless Indian batting line up.

A brave decision to bat first on a grassy track, no doubt motivated by the desire to have Australia play the last innings of the match, backfired for skipper Dhoni. The regular procession of Indian batsmen, despite an attractive though brief innings by the Little Master, showed serious ineptitude against the disciplined and aggressive Australian seam attack. Pattinson, Hilfenhaus and Siddle delivered again for their side, as Dhoni ran out partners, closing out the Indian first innings for a paltry 191.

India's recent track record of overseas completed innings, since the South Africa tour of 2010, averages to an innings score of 245. Only three scores of 300 plus figure in this list, with four below 200. At best this is evidence of poor batting, and most certainly does not evidence the mighty Indian batting line up.

Something is fundamentally wrong. The desire and application to play long periods seems conspicuously absent. Keeping the good balls out, minimising risks and waiting for the bad ball, all cliched statements, but rudimentary skill requirements to perform in test cricket. Is the limited overs mentality at the root of the malaise? Indian team management has ignored the wake up call for long, it is time now to take cognizance.

This test match is open at present, but only just. Expect the outcome to be determined by the end of the crucial first session of play tomorrow. If Australia hold wickets, and go on to gain a first innings lead of a hundred runs or more, the match result can go one way only. Ponting and Clarke have batted with commitment so far, and will come out with intent tomorrow. India's hope lies with Zaheer Khan pulling out another magical spell in the morning, and wrapping the Australian innings cheaply. Hope Dhoni is attacking and not defending in this crucial session of the match!

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