After all the debate over what is best, a seven-match series or a five-match one, it’s all boiled down to a three-match contest. With the series tied at 2-2, whoever wins the best-of-three affair from hereon will emerge the hard-fought winner. In any case, everyone expected a close series and until now that’s exactly what we have got, haven’t we?
Both teams aren’t giving anything away and, even though the Aussies have been hit, or should we mauled, by injuries — Peter Siddle being the latest casualty — they have done well. Credit must go to them for holding their own under the circumstances.
The irony is that for both India and Australia, this is the beginning of a new season. The Indian domestic season has begun with the Ranji Trophy getting off to a start on Tuesday and the Australian season will begin soon after the team returns home. That the Aussies are nursing so many injuries, means that the domestic season will assume more importance as additional talent will have to be identified. The situation also goes to show that the traditional seasons no longer hold much value, with cricket being played round the year.
In the current series, for the Aussies it all boils down to playing whoever is fit and available rather than the best players, and this is something the Indians must seize on. Gautam Gambhir is expected to be fit for the Hyderabad game and so the Indians should have their full team to choose from.
They did make a hash of the none-too-difficult chase in Mohali but I would like to think of it as a one-off. The batting is doing well and it only needs youngsters to step up a little more. Here Ravinder Jadeja’s role needs examination. He is doing well with the ball but hasn’t done anything with the bat when he’s been picked as an all-rounder. Perhaps, the management needs to take a call here on whether Amit Mishra will be a better bet in the pure role of a bowler. He is an attacking leg-spinner, who is always looking for wickets and if he’s been left out because Jadeja is a better batting bet, that theory needs some revisiting as that bet hasn’t come off as yet.
Hyderabad will be a high-scoring game with the pitch an absolute batting beauty. The outfield too provides full value for shots. None more than Tendulkar, who seemingly has crossed more milestones than there are in the whole of India.