March 18, 2013

India on course of rewriting their history after Mohali triumph


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Indians have been at the wrong end of many whitewashes in quite a few Test series exceeding three matches but they have yet not clean swept any opponent in a series spanning four or more Tests.


By registering what could be considered as an unlikely win in the third Test against Australia in Mohali on March 18 they have put themselves in an ideal position to rewrite their cricketing history with a victory in the fourth and final Test starting in New Delhi on March 22. 

The Australians have been outplayed in the key departments of batting and bowling in all three Tests so far with India being the second best among the two sides in catching and ground fielding as usual. 

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, unsurprisingly, has lost the toss on all three occasions on surfaces where he would have loved to bat first. He must be credited for having kept the team motivated despite the setback before the start of every Test. His bowlers have done a commendable job and their efforts look even more impressive in light of the innumerable catches floored off their bowling.


The victory at Mohali has to be classified as unlikely or unexpected because of a few reasons. First and foremost the opening day’s play was washed out completely due to rain which reduced it to a four-day affair. Then India’s traditionally poor catching allowed Australia to build a total they would not have been able to achieve without their generosity. 

It’s quite remarkable, but not at all surprising, that the Australians have caught and fielded magnificently despite the mauling of their bowlers whereas the Indians have let go easiest of chances when they were on top of the game. 

Historically the tail-enders have frustrated Indian bowlers all along and this series has been no exception. Even number tens and elevens have batted with freedom which would make the openers proud. The Aussies could have considered themselves safe in the Mohali Test after having scored in the excess of 400 in the first innings and more importantly consumed a lot of time.


Debutant Shikar Dhawan played in the fashion of the man he had replaced, Virender Sehwag. It was the opener’s onslaught in two successive sessions that brought India in a commanding position after being frustrated by the Australian tail. India’s customary batting collapse of the recent times revisited them and they couldn’t even reach 500 after the exhilarating opening stand of nearly 300. 

With a meager first innings lead of less than 100, their bowlers came to the party with a bang until confronted by the tail-enders once more. The last wicket occupied the crease for far too long and India’s target of 133 at four an over was never appeared a straight forward task in light of their past record of failing nearly every time in similar circumstances. 

India took many more overs than needed to get to the score which kept their supporters tense until the very end. In fact there were people who feared Dhoni calling off the chase for he had done so before in not too dissimilar scenario.

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