India lost a point and England gained one at the end of the tied match in Bangalore. Yet, fans went home happy, since, at different phases of the game, it appeared as if either team could lose.
India’s bowling on a good track looked fragile, but the highlight was how the ‘Test’ players, Sachin Tendulkar and Andrew Strauss, batted so beautifully. Nothing was forced, there were no ugly one-day strokes. The lessons for India are clear: On a good pitch, their main strike bowlers, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, must deliver, like they have on numerous occasions. This time too, Zaheer turned the game around, but, that also brings us to the other vital lesson: They cannot afford to relax.
I suspect India lost those quick wickets in the late middle order because they felt they had enough runs. A similar attitude was apparent when they were fielding. It seemed like they couldn’t believe that any team would chase down 338.
The pitch held up well, but the same cannot be said for the Umpire’s Decision Review System. The UDRS is incomplete without the snickometer and the hotspot. When the Pakistan game was on, I noticed that the wicket-to-wicket mat on television takes too long to come on when a decision is challenged. There were at least six replays on one occasion, when Shahid Afridi appealed for a leg before.
After defeating Sri Lanka at home, Pakistan are a serious threat. They need to play to potential in two good matches, the quarterfinal and semifinal, and they could spring a suprise.
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