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India played nowhere close to their potential in their first game after becoming the top ranked Test side in the world. Ironically it was their batting that let them down and it needed yet another classy knock from master craftsman Sachin Tendulkar to save them from embarrasment against Bangladesh in Chittagong.
India’s strength became their weakness in the first Test as their legendary batting line-up flopped after yet another promising start. It was amazing to find the likes of Virender Sehwag, also leading the team in the absence of the injured Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and Gautam Gambhir to have given it away on the opening day after having got their eyes in.
Equally shocking was the failure of Test specialists Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, neither of whom stayed at the crease long enough to worry the hosts. The dasher Yuvraj Singh couldn’t fire either and then the massive hole created by the non-presence of Dhoni at number seven made things more difficult for the visitors.
You can’t expect to reduce this Indian batting order to 200 odd for the loss of eight wickets in any form of the game irrespective of the conditions or the quality of bowling. It was mind boggling to see them crashing to 243 all out despite the brilliant unbeaten century from Tendulkar.
It wasn’t the kind of start India needed to start their campaign being the No. 1 Test team in the world. To have folded against an inexperienced bowling attack didn’t reflect their mental strength.
India’s task of staging a comeback after the horrible first outing was made even more difficult by the gloomy weather and there were doubts if there would be substantial play to let them bowl out Bangladesh two times.
Thankfully from their point of view the bowlers didn’t disappoint in the manner their batsmen had otherwise India could well have been beaten. Had Bangladesh been allowed to run away with a sizeable first innings lead it might have been curtains for India whose unpredictability always keeps their fans guessing.
The final result, however, brought relief for Sehwag. "It has been a good start to the year. It's important to start well I guess. Everybody chipped in to make it happen. We didn't bat well first time but the bowlers have helped us win this game,” he observed.
"It happens with every team. Australia got out for around 120 in the Sydney Test against Pakistan but they won. We managed to score 250 because of Sachin, but we did bat well in the second innings and our bowling did the job for us," he added.
He was particular pleased with the performance of fast bowler Ishant Sharma who was returning to the side after an injury. ‘He bowled really well. It's good for him and good for Indian cricket,” the skipper acknowledged.
The Indians would be looking forward to an improved performance in the second Test in Dhaka and the focus will be on their champion batsmen once more.
Syed Khalid Mahmood has had passion for writing and sports since childhood. After having edited wall papers and magazines in his student life, he had started contributing to various international publications from an early age.
He joined the mainstream journalism in 1987 and his first book was published later the same year. After having studied at the famed institutions like Cadet College Petaro and Delhi College, he graduated in civil engineering from the prestigious NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, in 1986.
He has earned greater fame and recognition in the field of media being acclaimed as a leading international sports writer, having worked for some of the eminent newspapers like The Frontier Post and The News International besides a brief stint with The Mississauga News. He has also appeared regularly as an analyst on various television channels.
He has already authored 12 books viz Asian Glory (2012); Reflections (2010); Cricket Fever: A History of Pakistan-India Tours (2008); Mission Caribbean: A Guide to ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 (2007); World Cup 2003: Top of the Charts (2005); Spotlight on World Cup 2003 (2005); World Cup 1999: So Near Yet So Far (2000); Pakistan’s Sports Greats (1997); Pakistan: The Land of World Champions (1995); Pakistan’s Triumph in World Cup 1992 (1993); The Caribbean Challenge: A History of Pakistan-West Indies matches (1989) and Focus on World Cup (1987 and 1994).
He has had an active social life throughout. Having founded The Young Champs in 1984 he became the District Secretary of Rotary International District 3271 (Pakistan) in 2015-16. Besides being the Founder President of the NED Alumni Association, he is also the Vice President of the Delhi College & Schools Old Boys Association. He is also a member of The Petarian Association, Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi Press Club, Pakistan Engineering Council and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.
His write-ups are carried by innumerable portals and websites across the world while his exclusive articles on the web, having grown in popularity, could be accessed on his blog at www.skmsports.com
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