Strongest batting in recent memory
India managed to do at the Gabba what they could not at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.india Updated: Jan 19, 2004 16:17 IST
India managed to do what they could not at the MCG, beat Australia by just being ahead all the time. There was almost perfect batting conditions and somehow groundsmen have found the right mix. It's clear that batsmen are tactically ahead of the bowlers. Bowlers must find a way to be counted. It was a good one-day game at the Gabba for the interest stayed alive till the end.
Brett Lee is having that sort of time in his life. He is still very quick and technically looks fine but he has to reassess the length he has been bowling. He is not landing it in right areas and batsmen are taking a long toll of him. There are two ways to go about the issue, either he takes a break, get through a few first class games and get himself right or fights through this present ordeal. It is a quandary for us selectors.
Brett has so far relied on his pace. He might have struggled in Tests but his one-day form has been absolutely brilliant. Until now, that is as Australia have come up against the strongest batting opposition in India in recent memory. Australia have not faced a batting line up like this for quite some time. These batsmen are backing themselves to take Lee on, there have been dropped catches and missed shies at the stumps and somehow bowlers are left holding their heads in hands.
Jason Gillespie is another case in point. He has not been bowling a wrong length, is beating the batsmen and yet it does not show in his figures. It would have been different had that early catch been taken, a new batsmen could have come in and faced a brand new ball, just lost a bit of momentum, another edge and the whole game would have changed for the bowler. You sometimes get the feeling there is over-analysis done on the individuals and games these days.
Australians have set impossible levels of success in recent years and it is not just possible to do it all the time. There are periods of levelling down for any team. Indians have come down hard on them and not allowed them to settle. They have not been able to carry on their demolition job.
Two other Australians bear mention. Damien Martyn and Adam Gilchrist have not found their feet against the Indians. Gilchrist makes 172 on one day and Indians get them for nothing the next day. When you are chasing 300, you are looking to get the best possible start and you are hampered as there is not enough time to settle down.
Martyn is also one who is down in confidence. He is still a very, very good player, you see him hitting shots down the ground and suddenly there is a good ball or a good catch and he is out. He is not on top of his game but it is not as if he looks out of form. He just needs to hang in there and goods would come for he is a quality player.
Sachin Tendulkar's injury was the talking point at Gabba. In certain conditions you wear rubber soles but on wickets which are rolled hard, nearly everyone wears spikes. Some batsmen prefer spikes only in front while others also keep it at the back of their shoes, at the heel. It is just a matter of choice. I hope he gets through it quickly.
I thought VVS Laxman's innings was fantastic. He did not approach his innings any differently and the results showed. He can play one-day cricket if he can maintain his composure. He does not have to hit fours and sixes all the time, he needs to give himself a chance. He, along with Tendulkar and Dravid, kept the innings going nicely. They are becoming difficult for bowlers to confront these days.
Among the Indians, Irfan Pathan keeps getting points in my book. He is a wonderful young man who has taken his opportunity with so much passion. He also has a lot of skills. He played a crucial hand for the victors.
And how can we forget another Gavaskar whose name went up the scoreboard on Sunday. Rohan had a fine debut, he played a big role in the field and has excellent good strong arm. He also bowled his left-arm spinners well, lot better than his old man. A son also rises. If he is three quarter as good a bat as his father, he has a good future for he is already ahead with the ball to his dad!.
First Published: Jan 19, 2004 14:46 IST