Intelligent batting, and some luck
The opening partnership today needed some intelligent thinking and some luck. It got both, writes Atul Sondhi.india Updated: May 25, 2007 15:29 IST
To do an escape act after such a long drought (barring one big one) in terms of opening partnerships, one does need some luck, which India duly got in the eighth over after Bangladesh put India in. At 18, on the first ball of Syed Rasel's fourth over, Al Hasan grassed a simple chance offered by Karthik in slip.
In these conditions, you can't afford such luxury and Bangladesh realized it very soon. Then there was some intelligent batting by Karthik and Jaffer, both under pressure to score, which ensured that Bangladesh never got going.
It was the success of a partnership - a partnership where each batsman defined his role according to the situation. Both tried not to attack at the same time.
The most important overs of the partnership in terms of dynamic thrust were between 5 and 15, and the first few overs of the post lunch session. And in terms of stability and consolidation, the batsmen opted for the first five overs, and overs just before the lunch.
1 - 5
6 - 10
11 - 15
16 - 20
21 - 25
26 - 30
31 - 35
36 - 40
41 - 45
46 - 50
The first five overs of the innings were extremely important just to stay alive. Even innocuous looking deliveries were played cautiously. Jaffer, eager for a turnaround after a pair, was extremely careful with just four scoring shots, for six runs, coming off his first 20 deliveries and all on the leg side off ordinary deliveries.
However, once the initial nerves were taken care of, calculated assault followed in the next ten overs, contributing 36 runs to India's kitty. That quickly wore off the Bangla bowler.
However, the batsmen were not looking to surrender their wickets on such a good batting track and, sensibly, a period of consolidation followed once again.
The scoring was not as slow as in the first five overs, but it was also not as brisk as in the following ten overs. Only 23 runs came in the eleven overs before lunch, helping India to 67 for one. However, it was a perfect launch pad. Karthik's assault was a logical corollary to the intelligent build-up.
In pre lunch session, it had taken Karthik 84 balls to labour to his 22 - a strike rate of 26 only. But he was a different man in the post lunch session.
Post Lunch flurry
Post lunch, the makeshift opener let loose with a flurry of fours -- there were three consecutive boundaries in Mortaza's first over after lunch.
Karthik's dominance and takeover of the partnership in the post lunch period can be judged by the fact that by the time Jaffer added a run to his lunchtime score of 42, Karthik had already doubled his score to 44.
The way these two batsmen alternated between consolidation and aggressive stroke-play, was exemplary. Indeed Karthik, the man, who Dravid is convinced is a specialist batsman, fully deserved his luck today.