Bored Members - Guests | Media | White Bored | Interview | Bored Anthem - Songs | Boredwaani | Cartoons | Facebook | Twitter | Login

Thankful for what?

by Homer

In another typical fluff piece on  Cricinfo, Siddharth Monga writes ( and I quote)

This wasn't obviously all that Australia brought to Mohali, but it summed up their attitude over the last five days. They might not be the same dominating side of the last decade, but they are going to make it difficult for sides to beat them. They just won't go away, and whenever there is a single stump visible for a Test win, they will go for it. That played its part in making this Test great. That is what Australia need to be thanked for. 
Which is pretty much a continuation of the narrative that the "Cricketers in the baggy green dont give you an inch".

To which I say, bollocks!

Here are the match facts
  •  India are notoriously slow starters, as evidenced by their performance in the first test of a series for as long as I can remember and highlighted by Ricky Ponting in the pre-match sound bytes.
  • Australia won the toss and were 154/1 in 41 overs on Day 1. And despite the middle order wobble, they held the upper hand thanks to a late order fight back that saw them go from 275/6 to 428 all out.
  • Remember too that in the first essay, India's bowling was down to 3 men, thanks to Ishant's injury. Factor in Harbhajan's niggles and the bowling attack was effectively Two and a Half Men!!
  • Remember too that because of VVS Laxman's back spasms, India's batting was effectively 10 men.  And it was not as if the Australians were blindsided by this revelation. Nor were they oblivious to the advantage this gave them.
  • After securing a 23 run lead ( and the psychological gains that come from this), the Australians were off to a flyer in their second essay. The first wicket fell at 81 ( reached in 13 overs at over 6 runs/over). 
  • By the time the third wicket fell, they were sitting pretty at 151 with an overall lead of 174.This, on a day 4 wicket.
  • Fall of wickets1-0 (Gambhir, 0.4 ov), 2-31 (Dravid, 7.4 ov), 3-48 (Sehwag, 11.5 ov), 4-48 (Raina, 13.2 ov), 5-76 (Khan, 23.5 ov), 6-119 (Tendulkar, 29.6 ov), 7-122 (Dhoni, 33.2 ov), 8-124 (Harbhajan Singh, 33.4 ov),
Every single time the Australians had the Indians under the cosh, they found a way to let the Indians back into the game.Every advantage that the Australians had, either because of their brilliance or the ineptness of their opponents, they found a way to convert it into a disadvantage.

Starting from not consolidating the advantage of winning the toss to not being able to drive home the advantage to not being able to prise out the last two Indian wickets despite having 92 runs to play with, this Australian team did what no other Australian team from the golden era of the Border Gavaskar Trophy would have done, namely keep the opposition in the contest.



In this test, the Australians did not concede inches, they were handing over yards. On a platter. And for that reason alone, this nonsense about "They just won't go away" needs to end. Because they were never there to begin with.

26 comments:

Mahek said...

The Australian sides at the peak of the golden era of the Border Gavaskar Trophy DID concede a lot of ground. Remember they lost a test after enforcing a follow on. In the same match they were in a dominating position in their first innings. They also threw away the initiative after a great start in the next test. There's also the Adelaide Test in which they had us 86/4 after putting 550 on the board. Add Mumbai 2004 to the list. Maybe it's time we acknowledged the spirit of the Indian team as well.

elegantstroke said...

honest appraisal. good observations homer - this aussie team can hardly be called 'won't give an inch'. whey they had the match in complete grasp they have let it go.

N.Balajhi said...

Even I was thinking like Sidharth Monga did till I read this post. Thanks Homer for your wonderful post, without it I may have kept thinking the same way.

Homer said...

Mahek,

The Indian spirit, as you will, wont ever come up for discussion because it is not fashionable to do so. Much easier to talk of specific players and build them up than speak of what the team does.

That said, while your examples are valid, they dont indicate a pattern. Unlike the current Australian team who seem to have made a habit of letting the opposition in with a chance.

Think Banglore 2008 and the go slow on Day 1, Nagpur and Hussey bowling, Cardiff 2009, Headingley 2010. Even Sydney 2009 falls in this category.

Cheers,

Homer said...

Cheers elegantstroke and thanks for your kind words.

Cheers,

Homer said...

Balajhi,

Australian teams of yore may have had the occasional slip, but I will be damned if they allowed the opposition so many opportunities to get back in the game - a fact that seems to be lost to people who should know better. And this ticks me off.

For one, it does not honestly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this current team, and two it stymies them because of comparisons with a golden past.

And thanks for you kind words.

Cheers,

Mahek said...

I would say the pattern was there even back then. It's just that the class of players usually overrode it. Didn't the Aussies let the Ashes slip away by dropping Pietersen at the Oval? The rest of the teams were simply overmatched to make Australia pay for the lapses here and there. Bangladesh in 2006 are a classic example of this.

achettup said...

Teams that don't give an inch don't drop as many catches (and thats just one subset of the misfields) as we saw during India's first innings... That said earning a win against Australia is still considerably harder than earning one against most nations. I'd reckon South Africa have been the only side to have consistently had the edge over us.

Homer said...

Mahek,

I am not convinced that these patterns existed previously and even if they did, no Australian team would concede so much ground so as to keep the opposition in the game.That is the difference.

Which is why I think Monga is way off the mark when he says the Australians "are going to make it difficult for sides to beat them. They just won't go away"

Cheers,

Cheers,

Homer said...

Achettup,

England? Even in 2007, we did not have an easy road winning that Test series against them.

Cheers,

Rishabh said...

5 points for mentioning Two and Half Men.

A Bisht said...

Honest write-up backed by discreet facts. Thanks.

raj said...

"People who should know better"
This is inaccurate. Monga writes for cricinfo. To remain in employment, he should NOT know better. He should only regurgitate such standard cliches which are approved by the english masters of the site

raj said...

Btw, if the scorelines and events in the match had been exactly reverse, the narrative would have been "india traditionally lacks killer instinct". Conditioned responses.

N.Balajhi said...

Relevant article to this topic

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/killer-punch-is-gone/story-e6frf9if-1225934614911

straight point said...

as much as this post exposes the cliche that pundits use when writing from memory about oz... it also undermines the fighting attitude of team india by merely suggesting that its was all for oz to either gain or lose advantage... momentum or whatever we call it... :)

Mouse said...

Aside from this, what irked me the most was when Arun Lal kept saying that 5 (no more,no less) indian batsmen had got out to the short ball. It spreads the myth that indians and indians alone are poor players of the short ball.
Again, Sehwag, Raina, Sachin....then who?
Bhajji- for those who consider him a batsmen.
Again, these same people discount Ishant's wicket of Ricky as lucky since he hit it off the middle of the bat. Then equivalently, Sachin and Sehwag got it off the middle as well.
What about Clarke's portrayal of a rabbit caught in the headlights? To my mind Raina had better technique.

Mouse said...

Try this
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/sport/cricket/australians-choked-again-admits-shattered-ponting-20101005-166bz.html

Homer said...

Cheers Rishabh :)

Homer said...

Cheers Anil :)

Homer said...

Raj,

I had written something along the same lines here (http://paddlesweep.net/why-test-cricket-should-die/).

The need to make cricket idiot proof is something I cannot understand. The very nature of the sport does not lend to cliched responses and yet there are paid writers who try to do exactly that.

Cheers,

Homer said...

Thanks for the link Balajhi :)

Cheers,

Homer said...

SP,

Doesnt crediting the Indian team indirectly credit the BCCI? Lot easier to talk up individual performances than say the team has the never say die attitude.

Cheers,

Homer said...

Mouse,

You and me both.. Have posted here before that there is a difference between not able to play the short ball and not being able to score runs off the short ball.

But it is a lot easier to state the first because there are no follow up explanations required while stating the latter means explaining the difference.

Also plays up on the existing stereotypes - which makes it idiot proof.

Cheers,

Jonathan said...

I'm not sure that article makes enough sense to criticise it.

Homer said...

lol @ Jonathan.. I just find the hagiography of the Australians contrary to what I saw over five days of Test cricket.

Cheers,