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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014
Bowled and not beautiful
Subhash Rajta, Hindustan Times
Chennai, December 31, 2012
First Published: 00:16 IST(31/12/2012)
Last Updated: 00:19 IST(31/12/2012)

The Indian cricket board should lay down one rule for all visiting teams - they shouldn't field a bowler who clocks in excess of 140kph and swings the ball appreciably.

In the wake of a meek surrender by India's top order on Sunday, it won't be a bad idea. So pathetic was the collapse that India were reduced to 29 for 5 by left-arm pacers Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan -- who had played a total of 15 matches - that even a sensational unbeaten hundred by MS Dhoni, after he was dropped, couldn't shift the focus. An India defeat was almost a foregone conclusion after that calamity upfront.

NOT COMPETENT
The collapse only reinforced the view that most India batsmen are not half as good when the ball darts around at lively pace. And this isn't a one-off; India lost their last seven wickets for 30-odd runs on a bowler-friendly Bangalore track in the first T20 match.

Agreed, the conditions were tough to start with after the pitch was under cover due to rain on Saturday. And both Irfan and Junaid bowled extremely well. But the world champions should have done far better. Sehwag, Gambhir, Virat and Yuvraj were all beaten trying to play shots too early. "Conditions were tough and the ball was doing a lot. It was a bad toss to lose," said MS Dhoni. "They pitched it up, all of them were bowled. That is where we lost the plot."

The Indian skipper got behind the line of the ball, dropped anchor till the ball lost its sheen, the wicket its life and the bowlers ran out of steam. He then shifted gears and hammered the attack, giving the bowlers something to bowl at.

HARD RUNNING
Dhoni's aggressive running between the wickets characterised his knock. He was in discomfort later on due to cramp, but kept running hard for every run he thought was there. No wonder he got a standing ovation from the crowd and a pat on the back from every Pakistani player.

For Pakistan, the target was never going to be tough unless the India bowlers got a start like the Pakistan pacers did. They actually did when Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled Mohammad Hafeez with a huge in swinger and then had Azhar Ali caught, reducing Pakistan to 21 for 2. But a 100-plus partnership between Nasir Jamshed (101 no) and Younis Khan (58) sealed the deal for Pakistan. But Yuvraj dropped Nasir on 68 and Ashwin had Shoaib Malik caught off a no ball, adding to the misery.


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