It was short but hardly sweet for Indian fans. The batting collapsed miserably in Vadodara and neither the wicket nor an early start had anything to do with it. For a team looking to draw level in the series, it was a surprisingly flat performance.
At the top, Sourav and Sachin have invariably been the reason India are able to post a good total on the board. It didn’t happen today. It can be debated endlessly if Tendulkar was at fault in not responding to Ganguly or whether the latter shouldn’t have gone for a risky run.
It appeared that Tendulkar would play a special knock in his 400th one-day game. He seemed to have an answer for Australia’s ploy to pack the off-side and make him reach out for his strokes. One of the rare moments when he committed himself led to his downfall.
Mitchell Johnson reaped most rewards but Lee’s two scalps were no less significant. He claimed Dravid first ball and in his second spell sent Tendulkar packing. Both wickets had critical bearing on India’s innings. Australia are not an easy team to overcome. This happened to be one of India’s worst. It allowed two other Australian cricketers to get into the groove. Johnson took a fiver and Gilchrist, too, has now run into form. His six scalps was his sixth-such instance. Incredible!
The selectors have dropped the talk of rotation and chosen to go for the tried and trusted. A 5-1 scoreline, I reckon, would reflect badly on them. Also, they must have struggled to find alternatives.
If the track is flat then India need one of the openers to go for it early. It will need a daring innings at the top to unsettle the rampant Aussies waiting to deliver the knock out punch.