The SA vs India Test Series
If you love the long format of the game, you have to love the fact that most of the 4th day was affected with the downpour. It perfectly set up the 5th day with SA needing to bat through to save the game, and India to win. And finally, it came down to this:
Smith: Meagre contributions in both the tests. His batsmen out-batted India out of the game. And oh yeah, some dude called Steyn did do OK too. As the skipper, he and the SA think tank failed to inspire in the 2nd test. With a 1-0 advantage, they should have pushed the right buttons to get the series win. They didn’t. FAIL. 1/10
Peterson : Thrown into the fire in the 2nd test, Pets did extraordinarily well with a century in the 2nd innings. Looked good for a reasonable score after getting a start in the 2nd innings before falling pray to Edenimal . A well deserved 7.5/10
Kallis: A mammoth score in the first test with some tight overs thrown in seemed to set up what looked like Kallis’s series. However, he proceeded to stink up Kolkata with his batting, bowling and fielding in the 2nd. As a key member of the line up, he needed to stand upand be counted in atleast 1 of the 2 innings. He did not, and left the job half-done. Naturally 5/10
Amla: 2 Test matches, 3 innings, 3 centuries (including 1 double), dismissed just once, giving him a series average of 490. Let me repeat that, 490. That’s a about 96 runs less than what his whole team had accumulated in the 2nd test match. That’s almost 43% of his team’s total runs in the whole series. That is a shitload of runs. He was just a few deliveries away from SINGLEHANDEDLY preventing India from winning the second game. His batting was a treat to watch. The drives and the defense had the graceful assurance that a even a casual watcher would derive joy from . A winner in everyone’s eyes. 10/10
Prince: A duck in the first test, followed by meagre scores in both the innings of the 2nd didn’t help Prince’s cost. The 2nd innings of the 2nd test is where he had gotten a start, and yet failed to capitalize. 1/10
ABd Villers: I had high expectations from AB for this series. He has argubaly been the premiere batsman for SA in recent times, but 1 half century is all we got from him. 4/10.
Duminy: Fail fail FAIL. Getting out to Edenimal in all 3 innings played?! DUDE , COME ON NOW! Positives: He’s still got a pretty good looking girl . 0/10
Boucher: In my opinion – he was the key to the SA defeat in the 2nd test. Had he been fit , I’m pretty sure that he’d have provided Amla the support with the rear-guard action that was the order of the day. Can’t rate him based on 1 test, it would be too unfair.
Steyn: Hot and Cold. It was quite hard to believe that the same bowler had displayed one of the best bowling spells in flat wickets in the first game did a vanishing cream act in the 2nd. Job half done, especially when you need your frontline bowler to deliver on the 3rd day with the game still in relative balance , but you let MSD and VVS run away with it. Just for his incredible spell in the first, I’d give him a7.
Parnell: A -meh- performance. Played a support role in the first, and was inneffective in the 2nd. 3
Morkel: He almost pulled off the impossible with the bat , but fell just short. Nothing to be ashamed of though, and if only the batting specialists had even shown half the application that he had. And the bowling…well.. Morkel’s got pace. Morkel’s got bounce. Morkel’s got height. Morkel’s got some incredible deliveries. Morkel also’s got bad luck. He just needs to put it all together (minus the bad luck). For an OK performance with the ball, and an almost exceptional one for a No.11 with the bat : 5.5
Harris: His fetish for the leg (stump line) paid dividends in the 1st test, but backfired completely in the 2nd. With his Indian counterparts being fairly successful in the 2nd test, he should have studied the lengths and line they bowled , but did not. 3
Sehwag: Few words of gamesmanship came out of his mouth prior to the series, but Sehwag is what Sehwag does, and he manfully backed it up with runs. 1 Failure in the 2nd innings of the 1st test, but otherwise, quite superlative with the bat. What I did NOT like was him kicking the ball away to the boundary near the death overs in a futile attempt to keep Morkel on strike, and was rightly penalized. Very Lagaan-ish, and in poor taste. Vickerman was NOT impressed. Play it in the true spirit of the game Viru : 7
Gambhir: After a tremendous run last year, Gambhir never got going in this series, and when he looked like it in the 2nd innings at Eden, Viru stood him up in their date for the run. To make things worse, he won’t be available for the ODIS. 1
Murali Vijay: Out-paced , out-thought, out-paced. Son, chances in the Indian team middle order is hard to come by. When you get one, you make full use of it. Worse still, when you get a start like you did and you’ve got the pleasure of playing with Sachin, you make use of it. You did not. You’re lucky to have age and a few decent past performances on your side. 2
Badrinath : Years and years of toil and consistency at the domestic level finally earned Badri his cap. But 2 failures in 3 innings with a host of other aspirants breathing down your neck might mean the end of the road for Badri unfortunately. Life’s tough out there, but you have to make it count. 4
VVS: He had 1 innings to prove his class. He had the public eye on him. Prior to the 2nd test, I’m quite sure expectations were weighing high, simply because he was the key to shoring up the middle order. Boy did he make it count and HOW ! Most importantly, he again sent a reminder of just how important his role is to the team , and what dependability and responsibility is all about. Like Boucher , I am not going to rate him . Moreover, it’s almost unfair for he was playing right in his backyard.
MSD: It is important to taste failure to know how sweet success is. Dhoni got a generous helping of it in the first test , deep fried and peppered. As a captain and batsmen, he had a forgettable outing . But credit to him, he bounced back with a crucial century in the 2nd, and resourcefully juggled his bowlers without Zaheer available. 7
Sachin: 2 centuries in 3 innings. The good run continues. His playing style has changed incredibly in recent times, and even these 2 centuries surely must be the most gentle ones he has played of late. I would have liked to see him carry on in the 1st test, but he fell bang on the century mark. 7 – just for consistency
Zaheer: Where would India be without him right now? He was the only Indian bowler with sting and heart in the 1 st test, and continued his good form to the 1st innings of the 2nd where he delivered again. You can almost count on him to provide the early break-through. 7
Ishant : I am still not able to figure out what the deal with him is. Speeds have dipped to the 125s to 130s and he was MIA for most of the series. Thankfully, he stood up to be counted in the end, and got 2 crucial breakthroughs. And just for that : 5
Edenimal : After a rueful first test, Ednimal bounced back and HOW. He delivered the goods, and most importantly , got that final wicket . The 2nd test is more of an indicator of how he is supposed to bowl- a little slower, a little fuller, and better control of the variations. Bhajji might have an ODI-like approach to his bowling in tests – not just with his bowling alone, but his mental approach to the game. He needs to slow it down, and apply pressure, and out-think the batsmen. Once you’re in the zone then, things just have a way of working out. Promptly proceeded to open his mouth afterwards, but lets leave that for a different topic. 7.5 to get the big W