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Many lessons from Eden win

The win at Eden Gardens showed that India does not need a turning pitch to win Tests.

cricket Updated: Feb 21, 2010 00:36 IST

The win at Eden Gardens showed that India does not need a turning pitch to win Tests. That phobia about hard, bouncy pitches should be done away with forever now that the Indian team has shown that they don’t need help from pitch to win matches.

The win will also silence all those who would have been waiting to say that India squared the series by preparing a turner. Last time, when India had to win the final Test to level the series against South Africa they, got a dry pitch at Kanpur and at the fag end of the summer. It would be pretty much the same all over India and with the then coach screaming about the quality of the pitch, even before a ball had been bowled, the Proteas were demoralised and were out before the first ball was bowled.

This time around despite the usual guessing game in the media about what the Eden Gardens pitch would be like, the Proteas management did not react at all and so they went in to the Test positively as could be seen by that double century partnership between Alviro Petersen and Hashim Amla.

That they collapsed after that is a credit to the manner in which Harbhajan Singh bowled to snare the solid Jacques Kallis into playing a slog-sweep and then got the out of form left-handers Ashwell Prince and JP Duminy off successive deliveries. It had nothing to do with the pitch, but simply superb spin bowling by the much-maligned offie.

He just does not get the credit he deserves despite taking over 350 Test wickets and that is a pity indeed. In any other country Bhajju would be hailed as an all-time great but in India he has many who just won’t recognise his deeds and achievements for his country.

Yes, he is a bit hot under the collar at times, but that is because he is intensely competitive and wants to excel for his team. Yes, he could do with a bit of mellowing down, as is seen with Sreesanth, another competitive player. Who knows, it may happen sooner than is believed. Just like Sreesanth has not lost any of his swing and pace by just turning back on his heels and going to deliver the next ball instead of wasting his energies giving a lecture to the batsman, so also Harbhajan will not lose his guile by just focusing on his bowling and not worrying if the batsman has played a good shot or a lucky one.

Yes sir, there was plenty that the Eden Gardens Test showed. India does not need a turning pitch to win. Its bowlers, especially spinners, can win on any surface and its batsmen do not need flat pitches to score.

It also showed some of its fiery characters that patience indeed has its rewards and losing it only leads to loss of composure and confidence that only helps the opposition.

It was a wonderful comeback by the No. 1 team and may they stay there for a long, long time to come.