Laxman’s Magic and Other Thoughts

6 10 2010

Well that was an epic test match, and one in which, once again, we are not surprised to see our pre-game predictions failing to come true! Firstly let us apologise for writing about this a day or two late – we spent yesterday travelling and so couldn’t put our thoughts to paper (or to computer screen!) until now.

In the run up to the game we had suspected that both sides would struggle to get 20 wickets which just shows how little we know about the game! In the event 39 wickets fell and both sides struggled in their second innings showing the frailties that many ageing line ups have had throughout international cricketing history. In the end, however, one 35 year old veteran stood taller than the rest and, under the guidance of V.V.S. Laxman, India scrambled home.

Earlier on in their second innings, particularly when Hilfenhaus was wreaking havoc early on, we thought that the sheer combative and ruthless spirit so present in all Australian cricketers would prevail despite the presence of so many all time Indian greats. That they got there in the end was down to a man who throughout his career has often seemed to be, if not quite fighting for his place, certainly the most droppable of this generations legendary Indian middle order – yet against Australia has nearly always produced his best. Inevitably players are judged by their performances against the best sides of their day and on this scale Laxman can be compared favourably to almost anyone. Indeed he comes third on the list of run scorers in the last 15 years against the Australians behind only Tendulkar and Lara which is quite some achievement. (Thanks to Cricinfo for these figures – for the full list click here)

We could say much more on this game – although coming late to it we would likely be repeating what others have written. Suffice to say that obviously it was far from a one man show as without Tendulkar’s first innings 98, Raina and Dravid’s runs and of course Zaheer’s wickets, Laxman would have been quite unable to play such a pivotal role at the death. What it has done though is give test cricket a real boost in a country which you feel in the long term has the fate of the game in its hands. After numerous dull test matches over the past couple of years played on dead pitches which have simply been run fests, this was a welcome reminder of what it can be like.

Ultimately test cricket is a far superior game to the other forms of this wonderful sport and it is important that the Indian board of control in particular start showing the respect it deserves. Already this year India have had an excellent series against South Africa which finished 1-1 and now one against Australia which with one to play could also finish with the same scoreline. The major ‘elephant in the room’ is obviously that both these series are only two tests long and for contests as epic as these it is simply not enough. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again but seriously – it has to change.

India now have an opportunity going into the final test to lay one other matter partially to rest – that of whether their number one status is fully deserved or not. It is obvious to anyone with an objective viewpoint that there is no single outstanding side in world cricket at the moment and the fact that India happen to be occupying the number one spot doesn’t mean a great deal. With several of this current side (and most of these legends of the game) set to retire probably within the next couple of years if not before, we feel that India really only have a short time frame in which to secure what in boxing parlance would be the ‘undisputed champion of the world’ status.

Australia, however, cannot be discounted as if there is one thing you do not do – it is think an Aussie is beaten and get complacent. With this in mind (and the fact that we do not believe the Indians are as ruthless as they should be as number one side) we are going to stick to our pre series guns and suggest that Ponting’s men will do the business second time around and the series will be shared.  Either way – we cannot wait and are practically salivating at the prospect of the second test.




2 responses

8 10 2010

There is no way Australia will win this test. I’d say a draw might be a satisfactory result for them. It’s been almost four years since India didn’t win a series in which we took the lead and nothing about this Australian side suggests it can force a win, more so because Bangalore usually gets a little bit of rain this time of the year so we might see some overs being lost.

8 10 2010

Haha – you make a good argument. Yet I’m so frequently wrong and used to it I’m not going to change my predictions yet! I still think these sides are pretty evenly matched you see… We’ll see. Anyway really looking forward to it!

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