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When batsmen leave their teams and fans demoralised

india Updated: Jan 23, 2010 23:01 IST
Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar
Hindustan Times
When batsmen leave their teams and fans demoralised

India’s facile win over Bangladesh in the first Test, despite being bowled out for a low score, was similar to Australia’s win over Pakistan in the Sydney Test. There too, the Australians were dismissed for a paltry total but were good enough to bowl Pakistan out twice to win by a good margin.

What both Tests showed was how irresponsible batting can undo the stellar work done by the bowlers. The Pakistani batsmen went hammer and tongs at the Australian pace attack even when they had plenty of time to bat and build a lead. They did get a lead of 200-plus but that was because Australia had been bowled out for just 127 in the first innings. To get a little over 330 when the openers had given them a good platform was like wasting the chance to put Australia out of the game. It wasn’t so much the bowling but the shot selection that brought about the downfall of the Pakistani batsmen.

Bangladesh too were let down by their batsmen after their bowlers, led by skipper Shakib Al Hassan, had bowled India’s strong batting line-up for just 243. Bangladesh looked as if they were still in the limited-over mode and it’s surprising that they even got close to that poor Indian total. That they were able to do so was because of two youngsters.

Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur Rahim showed resolve as they stitched together a century partnership to bring the hosts within one run of India’s first innings total. In the second innings, it Mushfiqur again, who stood firm.

If Bangladesh believe that taking the match into the fifth afternoon is a sign of improvement, then they are making a mistake. Had fog not delayed the starts and caused early finishes, they would well have ended up losing in four days. The manner in which Bangladesh batsmen got out was hard to understand, especially in the second innings when all they needed to make the game safe was to have a good partnership at the start of the last day’s play. Instead, the batsmen played as if they had to score and win before lunch.

Virender Sehwag speaks like he bats and that’s why he is so refreshing, for there are no diplomatic niceties for him. He thinks that Bangladesh are an ordinary side incapable of taking 20 India wickets.

What many didn’t report, was that Sehwag had said that since even Sri Lanka couldn’t dismiss India twice in the recent Test series, he didn’t think Bangladesh could either. But of course why let the truth come in the way of sensational headlines and a good story? Of course, now Sehwag has to personally also show that Bangladesh’s attack has no teeth by getting a century and more.