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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Cricket Columns

Shikhar and Bhuvnesh made the real impact
Sanjay Manjrekar
March 18, 2013
First Published: 23:45 IST(18/3/2013)
Last Updated: 02:08 IST(19/3/2013)

Like in the last Test, it was the young Indian cricketers that won the third Test for their team.

For me, the two guys who made the real impact to pull off an unlikely win after a whole day was lost to rain were Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Shikhar’s innings pace, more than the actual runs, is what decided the eventual fate in the match. Had he scored his 187 runs at a normal, slower pace, I don't think India would have had the time to win this one. As it is we saw the Test stretch down to the last minute.

Dhawan got the innings going at a rapid pace, at an unbelievable run rate of five per over. It was an incredible run rate and just the kind of dose needed to breathe life into the Test match that ended up being a four-day affair.

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Although with his exit, the run rate slowed down a bit, but the momentum he created got the innings going off in the right direction.

Bhuvi shines
Then came Australia’s second innings on Day Four, and, like it was with the Indian batting, another young player, Bhuvneshwar, gave the same kick-start to the Indian bowling like Dhawan did with the bat; picking up three early wickets with a sensational spell on a pitch that had nothing for him.

Again, that spell and the resultant score-line got India to start believing that “you know what, we can win this one”.

For, the dominating thought was always going to be a draw with much time lost. That thought was always going to hold India back from winning the Test, but Dhawan and Bhuvnesh helped erase that thought from the minds of their team.

My heart went out to the seam bowlers. With nothing on offer, it was amazing how Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc and Bhuvnesh managed to trouble batsmen at various stages in the Test.

Poor guys, especially Starc and Siddle, as they had to use the roughness in the pitch to get the ball to cut and reverse swing.

Not the right Pitch
Imagine what damage they can do if they get a chance to bowl on a pitch that has pace and bounce, and some grass.

Having said that, India should feel proud that they beat Australia inside four days yet again, and also because this win was achieved on a pitch that was the best to bat on so far in this series. So along with the two openers, the Indian bowlers too deserve a pat on the back.

PMG
The writer is a former India batsman


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