Since time immemorial the human mind has always wanted that which it can't have. For India's fast bowlers, born and bred in dust bowls and benign strips, it's a pitch which affords bounce that's always on top of their wish-list.
However, as India's rookie pacer Umesh Yadav found out, too much of a good thing can also hurt you. During the nets session at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Wednesday, Sachin Tendulkar often instructed the pacer not to let the extra bounce in the pitch affect his length, albeit to little avail.Tendulkar even stepped out of the popping crease and marked the exact spot, just short of good length, with his willow. "Umesh ball ko is line pe rakh," he said, pointing to the line he dug with his bat into the pitch. The instruction, however, seemed to be lost on the 24-year-old whose next ball, like most of his previous deliveries, was again short.
Stare and scare
A stare from Tendulkar, which can have an unnerving effect on the best of bowlers, followed next and it's safe to say that it had an effect — but not the one he had hoped for. Yadav didn't ball short again, but instead of pitching on the spot Sachin had marked out he bowled a rank half-volley. Tendulkar had seen enough and moved to the adjacent net, where the spinners were bowling, after that delivery.
The rookie pacer may have failed to execute Tendulkar's plan in the nets, but if he's learnt his lessons well he could well bowl further up the pitch against the CA Chairman's XI in the two-day match that gets underway on Thursday.
Short not sweet
Indian pacers have in the past been known to lose control of their length at the mere sight of a hard, green top. At Bridgetown earlier this year the three-pronged pace attack of Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun had been cautioned by MS Dhoni ahead of the match not to get carried away by the bounce at the home ground of pace legend Malcolm Marshall.
Dhoni's logic was simple—keeping the ball fuller increases the chances of getting a lbw decision. However, barring Ishant, who ended with 10 wickets including four lbws, none of the Indian pacers paid heed to the skipper's advice.