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India’s caution on final day was understandable

It was a rather tame end to the game. Cricket romantics, of course, would have preferred slugfest. But then you need to be in the shoes of an Indian cricketer to understand the pressures, writes Ravi Shastri.

india Updated: Oct 13, 2008 23:31 IST

It was a rather tame end to the game. India never took up the challenge and were intent on batting out the final day of a Test, which they hadn't done for a while now. Cricket romantics, of course, would have preferred slugfest. But then you need to be in the shoes of an Indian cricketer to understand the pressures. Also, it just wasn't a pitch on which you could blaze away.

At a time when every move of theirs is up for public scrutiny, imagine if a few had tried to bat out of their skins and got out in the process. “Reckless batting” or a similar in-your-face headline would have badgered them. Three hundred on the final day is a big ask anyway.

The fact is that the final day was disappointing, as was the fact that Sachin Tendulkar's fans would have to wait till the next Test for the record to happen. Brian Lara has a few more days to enjoy as a record holder.

Both teams would now be back on the drawing board. Australia have a quality attack but not one spinner to inspire trust. History shows it hasn't been easy for an out-and-out pace attack to win a Test in India, unless we are talking about the West Indies of the 1980s.

Similarly, India would mull over their bowling combination. Anil Kumble would be a concern even if he recovers fully well. God forbid, even if Kumble pulls up short on fitness, three medium-pacers and a spinner would be an ideal mix. Zaheer and Ishant Sharma showed that they combine well.

For now, the talk about the Indian middle order has been pushed to the background.

All of them had some good moments in the Test. They are a resourceful and proud bunch and can only get better from now on. The Australian youngsters would be just about beginning to understand why it hasn't been easy to win in India.

TCM