First Test: Indian bowlers miss their Master’s voice at Wanderers
The sun hat wasn’t missing with Shikhar Dhawan wearing one, but the most popular India cricketer who wore it for years was missed at least in the first half of the South Africa innings.
One of the common sights on the cricket field has been Sachin Tendulkar standing close to the bowler, at mid-on or mid-off, rubbing the ball on his trousers and offering plenty of advice.
The advisory role was briefly taken up by skipper MS Dhoni, at one stage going up to Zaheer Khan, who was trying hard to get a breakthrough. But also being the wicketkeeper, it was arduous to keep at it, and Dhoni limited it to the level he is used to.
The players close to the bowlers ranged from Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara and even Pragyan Ojha, who came in as a substitute for Ishant Sharma.
Though the ball continued to be given a rub, not much advice flowed.
Perhaps, that’s because Ishant and Zaheer Khan are experienced campaigners, as they proved in the later on.
Rain? Doesn’t matter
After a torrid time in Benoni, where the Indians were denied practice due to average drainage facilities, which left damp patches in the outfield, the India team and the handful of spectators, who still kept faith, walked into the Wanderers Stadium surprised.
Heavy showers started at around eight on Wednesday night and continued till late, but in the morning while the streets were still wet the game started on schedule.
The Wanderers and the nearby Centurion have the best drainage facilities in the world and it proved that the expenditure incurred has not been in vain.
Aches and pains
Cricket abounds in stories about players coming on even with broken bones. Remember Anil Kumble in the West Indies? He bowled despite a broken jaw and took Brian Lara’s wicket. Toothaches too can extract a lot. Vernon Philander was in a bad shape on Wednesday night but he braved the pain to take four wickets and then frustrate India with an unbeaten 48.