Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Can they play a 6 day Test?

I am interested in seeing how international cricketers will adapt to the idea of the six day Test when the one-off Super Series test begins. In the last 5 years, the trend has been to finish matches in roughly (off the top of my head - no proper analysis done here) 4.5 days.

A six day test would require a team to be composed of 5 bowlers, IMO. It's a hard task for bowlers to pound in for longer than they're used to. Fortunately, both teams (on paper) do have the strength in the attack for this purpose.

The other aspect is that batsmen & captains need to re-calibrate their innings strategies (assuming they get in control of the match soon). The set batsmen may need to play longer if they want to remove the possibility of their side losing while retaining the likelihood of their winning.

This Sydney track is famous for assisting spinners - Murali and Warne will both relish a 6th day track if it came down to it. I can't see too many batsmen in either side being comfortable with that.

In all, I have a feeling both sides will end up playing normal 5-day style cricket without too many concessions to the extra day. It may or may not backfire eventually. For the RoW, their first priority would be to get the gears unstuck after the ODI hammering.

On Bench

In the recent Challenger Trophy, I don't think a single substitute has been used by any side (I saw the reports of at least 2 matches and it seems in each, both subs were unused). I thought one of the aims of this series was to introduce the new rules and perhaps provoke some experimentation. Which doesn't seem to have happened. An opportunity has been lost in learning about the possibilities there.

Robin Uthappa, Venugopal Rao, Suresh Raina have all performed well, as have many of the others knocking on the door. No bowling breakthroughs really though. Dhoni sprang into the team after his scintillating performance last year, so hopefully Uthappa will also see his impressive ton from yesterday translated into more tangible gains.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

What if

Gibbs had held on to the chance offered by Steve Waugh?
Kapil Dev had dropped the chance offered by Viv Richards in the 1983 WC final?
Navjot Siddhu had not walked out in the tour of England in 1995-96?
Graeme Hick played for Zimbabwe?
players were allowed to bet against their teams?
Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager of Team India?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Approach to the Game : Negative vis-à-vis Defensive

I heard about the ‘play to draw’ tactic when my Dad used to criticize Sunil Gavaskar’s captaincy. He was a Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi fan. The Tiger was known to be the most positive Indian captain ever, who used to play to win and who managed to instill self confidence in the team. Sunil Gavaskar, coming from the city of millions – where people have to fight for a foothold to travel to work – adopted a minimize-my-losses approach, both in his batting and in his captaincy. He had valid reasons – he did not possess that good a bowling attack. That was the reason why he played to a draw, which explains the string of 0-0 series with Pakistan. No Indian captain could survive a series loss in those days- losing to Pakistan was equivalent to treason. It was only when he found Kapil that he thought of being positive. I am not saying he was negative in approach, but he was definitely not positive. The objective was to avoid any chance of defeat, at all costs. This was also the reason why he was the butt of crowd criticism at Eden Gardens, after which he famously branded the Kolkata crowd to be illiterate about cricket and vowed not to play at the Eden Gardens again (he did play later, though).

The next time I heard about this policy was when Arjuna Ranatunga was the Captain of Sri Lanka. He claimed he did not have the bowlers to take twenty wickets in a Test match and there was no reason why a 3-1 sporting loss is better than a 0-0 draw. I found this to be perfectly logical. If the team loses, nobody is going to give the Captain any credit for being positive – in fact, there will be talk of foolhardiness. The only Captain who has been remembered for his positive approach (besides Pataudi in India) is Sir Frank Worrell, who led West Indies to the most liked series loss ever. West Indies lost the series 2-1 to Australia but earned the respect of the most knowledgeable crowds in Australia and it shaped the way they went on to play their brand of Calypso cricket for years to come. Sir Gary also tried to do the same- he was soundly criticized for a few defeats at the hands of the old enemy England.
Some other instances of the defensive policy were the tactics employed by Nasser Hussain in India, the Bodyline series and point examples like the New Zealand's 2001 tour of Australia, England’s win against Pakistan in Pakistan and the West Indies - Zimbabwe Test at Harare.

Are all these tactics the same?

The use of the leg stump line by Nasser Hussain was a means of attack. If someone is trying to pry on the batsman’s mind by bowling on his leg stump hoping that he gets frustrated and gets out, then it cannot be construed as negative tactics. Reason being the batsman also has the chance to frustrate the bowler by being patient and forcing him to make mistakes and change his line. It is not that the batsman alone gets bored of not scoring; even the bowler gets bored of not being played at and being unable to take wickets. The arguments for the Bodyline attack would also be similar – the famous West Indian adage – you have a piece of wood in your hands, use it - comes to mind.
What happened at Karachi was that Moin Khan used to walk up to his fast bowlers after every ball, to the top of the bowlers’ mark, make a few minor adjustments to the field and then saunter back to his mark. Knowing fully well that there were no lights to play under, this was a clear tactic aimed at wasting time and they were not giving themselves time to bowl out the England team. It’s a different matter that Thorpe continued to play in virtually zero visibility to hand Pakistan its first defeat at Karachi.

The West Indies Zimbabwe Test was worse because the last man Frank Edwards feigned an injury to get the physiotherapist in It looked more like the usual antics you see in Football. They were so bad at it that the Physio actually applied the magic spray on top of Edwards’ trousers.

The tactics employed by Steve Waugh and Mcgrath against New Zealand in 2002 were to bowl so wide of off-stump that Cairns and Parore would not be able to reach the ball. The second Test was also precariously placed with Australia having a slim chance of victory but Adam Gilchrist played one of his defensive knocks to down the shutters and manage a draw.

Were the approaches in the two Tests similar?

One was to bowl it so wide that the batsman cannot reach it and the other one was to leave all the balls outside off stump and not get out. In the first approach, Australians were robbing both the teams of a chance to win – a result was out of question. In the second approach, they were protecting their wickets – the Kiwis had the chance to bowl better and get ‘em.

A negative approach is one which negates the possibility of a result. Batting slowly, eschewing risks, avoiding slogs does not mean they don’t want to win – they are just making sure they don’t lose.
Of course the context in which these tactics are employed will have to be seen before a judgement is made. A leg stump line to a Tendulkar might be an attacking one – what with everyone aware of his impatience when it comes to scoring opportunities. If his fans (I'm not a fan. I'm a devotee) call him the greatest batsman of all time, he should know how to deal withsuch attacks. He has done it before against Saqlain, Murali and Warne. Giles is definitely not in the same class. So, if he chooses to defend in a particular match for whatever reason, he himself is responsible for the slow run- rate, not the Englishmen. The Bodyline series was considered to be a prime example of ‘negative’ tactics, but Bradman still had an average of 57 odd runs in that series. That is very good by any mortal standards.
When the same tactics are being employed in such a manner that one of the teams runs out of time for themselves to force a win, then that’s negative tactics.

Coming to the South African approach, which triggered this article, I would say the approach was defensive rather than negative. Batting the opposition out of the game is a tactic used by all. Scoring 500+ is imperative against this Indian batting line-up. What has caused the furore is the time taken to make these five hundred runs. If the South Africans decided to close shop for the day right in the first half hour on both the days, what were the Indian bowlers doing? Aren’t Kumble, Harbhajan, Kartik supposed to be better when the batsman is trying to defend them so that they can have all the close-in fielders buzzing around? Weren’t two and half days enough for the Indian batting line up to score fast and put pressure on the South Africans. Didn’t Ganguly and more so, Dravid close shop in spite of having a free flowing Laxman still waiting inside the pavilion, that after a breathtaking innings by Sehwag?
Now the Indians would be under pressure for not having closed the South African innings. They will try to push things in the second Test and might just lose a heap of wickets trying to force a result by playing at an ODI rate. If the South Africans were led by Stephen Fleming, this might well have been the plan. With Smith, I am not so sure.

So, are cricketers obliged to entertain spectators? Yes and No.
Cricketers would be nothing without the spectators. But the same spectators would judge a cricketer on the statistics. With so much cricket being played these days, the cricketers know that one stinker will not be remembered in the next match. If they are being judged by the number of wins vs. no. of losses, they have every right to avoid the loss at any cost.
There have been many instances where batsmen have been praised for their steadfast vigil through days to save the team from defeat. It is more a function of the team/player’s persona.

It is said Sir Vivian would have scored more than twelve thousand runs if he wished to have his name up there. But then, nobody would have remembered Sir Viv as Sir Viv.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Notes from out there

The Hadlee-Chappell Trophy

* First, how wonderful that trophies are being instituted to commemorate great cricketers in the past, and even families like in this case. All combinations of Test series now being looked at for possible name combinations with Eng-SA having adopted Basil D'Oliviera. As long as some of them don't also become the Manikchand Cup.

* Equally sad is the fact that schedules are so tight that Aus & NZ can only play the minimum two tests, as do Ind v SA. We definitely deserved one more in the former.

* I'm afraid, as I was before, that despite what his teammates say, it is becoming some sort of a religious war for Gilchrist. If it was just gamesmanship, he wouldn't have lingered about to rebut with so much zeal after the Test was over.

* Two questions for Steven Lynch: (a) Is Glenn McGrath the record holder for the most innings before a test fifty? (b) Who apart from Michael Clarke has scored a test ton on debut both home & away (that too debut innings)?

* What made the McGrath 50 more memorable to watch were the astonished reactions of his teammates. The eyes of Gilchrist, Ponting and the rest fairly flew out when "Pigeon" hit that six.

* Folks, next time Matthew Hayden says the Australians never play for personal landmarks, just point him to McGrath saying he wanted to be there for Gillespie's fifty, will you? Especially since Ponting didn't declare until both made it. Of course, you could argue they won it on the 4th day (eat your heart out Stephen Fleming), they could afford it. But then so could have Rahul Dravid in l'affaire 194*, but he didn't bother.

* Yet another Gilchrist century at #7. Yawn... How predictable.

* The Aussies may be evil | whiners | bullies | devils incarnate | brats | poor losers - whatever you choose. But they undeniably play with a passion that few other sporting teams can rival.

The Ind-SA Trophy

* Continuing with the theme above, who would you pick to name this trophy after? Azhar-Cronje, sadly, cannot be accepted.

* I lost quite a bit of interest when I saw that India had picked three spinners, leaving out Pathan. It immediately indicated two things: one, it was going to be a docile | friendly pitch. Mostly docile after the shenanigans of Wankhede. Two, the other strike bowler was being left out. Zaheer isn't yet back to strike-bowler-in-NZ form. This meant that India ceded the initiative on the 1st morning by letting off the hook someone who has never opened before in a Test & the young captain of the oppn. with no experience in those conditions. Hall was shuffling quite a bit, so Pathan's incoming ball which has troubled many a talented RH Batsman in the past may have been useful.

* The most consistent (and lucky) batsman of late i.e. Kaif has to sit out. Soon the question will be asked: is Ganguly affecting the balance of the side?

* I would want to be critical of the SA approach in being safety-first just from a spectator's pov, not as an Indian fan. But India have to learn how to grapple with the defensive & slowing-down tactics of any opposn - they cannot demand fast-paced rhythms in matches all the time.

* If they score fast enough, I hope the Indians declare even if 100 runs behind. Show some initiative and make something happen.


* Everyone is jumping on the poor Bangladesh cricket team. Why they expect them to do better so soon is beyond me. The history of the game shows that gains are extremely rare to come by in the early part of a team's Test career. Look at the most of the Test nations. Give them a decade atleast. Dav Whatmore doesn't pull out rabbits out of hats for a living.

* Amit Varma in his blog reacts to the comments of Ian Chappell (no less!) criticising his take on the chucking issue calling for more scientific aid. Amit rightly points out in Misunderstanding #1 what headline writers have helped confuse, viz. that the recent study hardly claims that all past bowlers willingly chucked, just that the current definition is clearly invalid. You can read the erudite tark-vitarks on the links in Amit's post.

The larger question for me is: how do we find a middle ground where players & umpires don't feel threatened by the advent of technology while the administrators can come up with rigid definitions that can handle all cases thrown at it? Chappell wants a simpler & subjective solution while people like Amit advocate a more complex (complex as to the implementation & perception) & objective solution. This is not restricted to the "chucking" question, but also to other pricklish issues ranging from recalculation of scores in truncated matches to LBW automation.

I don't agree with Chappell saying "for god sake's it's a GAME" - yes it's a game, but a professional one with a turnover in millions and one that affects lives of its players. OTOH, I find that in games, it is preferable to keep things simple. This means that you will have the odd blowup with someone like Murali breaking the definition - players, umpires, boards will have to agree to the existence of grey areas. That is a subjective definition acceptable to all which says something like if 5 of these eminent people think that delivery or that action is bad, it's bad - even if it just looks bad but doesn't satisfy the theoretical definition. Hard luck over hard facts.

The point here is tell everyone involved that either you accept a loose, mostly-works interpretation that we will occasionally slip up with, or otherwise, we default to a airtight, resolved-by-technology approach that you won't understand but have to abide by. There's a lot of finger-pointing these days in cricket - time all the main parties were constructive about issues. Do the players associations have any opinions on such matters?

(The above was not pretending to be a solution, so don't blame me for the naivete :-) )

Monday, October 11, 2004

The Takeaways

Clarke is really taking the elevator up.He is wasting no time in developing into a world-class batsman,the potential for which he possesses in abundance.

Glenn Mcgrath is at his very best.We need him to fire on all cylinders,especially against this Indian team.The loss of an early wicket or two really puts them on the backfoot and we can attack more freely.Glenn is not the kind of bowler to get hassled by a few streaky shots.He might show his anger at the batsman with an occasional word or two,but his deliveries are always spot on.This is what makes him different from the others.His work ethic has always held him in good stead.Another notable thing in his second innings has been his strength. Before the injury,Glenn had been slowing down gradually.What the break did for him was give him ample time to take rest and build his upper body.One can notice the difference in his shoulders and build.This has meant that he is bowling fast enough and can maintain his consistency for longer periods.The body is not tiring that easily.

Kasper was under utilised but has shown readiness to bowl long spells.He might be required to do the duty if and when Dravid,Laxman and Sachin score,hopefully very late in the series.

Gilchrist's batting was immaculate but some of his bowling changes left me wondering if he is carrying too much baggage from the 2001 series.He has to be a trifle more attacking.One should respect the opposition but not to the extent of letting someone like Harbhajan and Pathan get away with those horrendous shots on the fifth day.He should have pressed for more short balls from Gillespie and Mcgrath.

Warne tried too many things.Probably the World Record and his own record in India has a lot to do with this.But,he is far too mature a bowler to get such things get to him.He has to concentrate on the job at hand.

The batsmen have to pull their act together - Martyn,Hayden and Lehmann all flattered to decieve.

Indian team
Sehwag - All you need to do is get him worked up and let Mcgrath bowl line and length to him.

Chopra - He has been a pale shadow of the solid opener we saw back home,last year.Pigeon and Dizzy are good enough to take care of these two.I would be very surprised to see any big partnerships from these two,especially if they bat second.

Dravid - Seemed like regaining some of his old form. The old bogey of Indian batsmen - running betwen the wickets,helped us again.Wonder how frustrated John, Wright that is, must be getting.As long as he is getting in,in the first five overs,we have the upper hand.

Ganguly - He keeps making schoolboy errors.Would have never made it to the Queensland second XI.What is the point of having a good hand-eye combination if you cannot use it well,consistently.Warne has to bowl a tighter line to him.No short balls to cut,no flight.He is not Sachin - he will gift his wicket on a platter.Keep talking to him.He does fall for the bait.

Yuvraj - Bowl a good length ball,just outside off stump and get ready for slip catching practice.Jokes apart,he has been batting under pressue because of the lack of runs at the top.This is showing in his game.He hasn't been in good form lately and as always the Indian team has been making all the wrong selections - I had noticed that Kaif has been in great form in the last month or two.We were surprised to see him out of the team.
We shall not complain.

VVS - We have been lucky.Warne has bowled few genuine wicket taking deliveries in the match and got VVS in both the innings.As Gilli mentioned,we are fine with Warne taking eight wickets in the series - all VVS.

Irfan Pathan - He is a very good player.His bowling has been restrictive and as long as he doesn't change his length,I am sure the Aussies can live with him.There are lot of runs at the other end.All we need to do is leave Pathan's balls and the non-striker can applaud the movement in the delivery.It will not do any harm to us as long as it's that short.I just hope he realises this after the fourth Test. His batting has been a revelation.He is still untested as far as quality short pitch bowling is concerned.The tapes from the India - Pakistan series do suggest a weakness against short pitched bowling.I don't think Glenn or Dizzy should try to blast him out though.That can be done by Brett Lee.

Harbhajan - The batsmen have coped well with him.Though he doesn't look as dangerous as in 2001,he has managed another ten wicket haul in this match.He needs to be tackled better.

Kumble - DO NOT be tentative against him.the only way he takes wickets is when the batsmen start thinking about the demons in the pitch - the bounce,the rough etc.Move your feet decisively when you are playing him and you should be fine.

Sachin - The News reports says that he might not play the second test too.The injury must be really serious.We all know he has always saved his best for us and he has played through injury before (the WC 2003).After the last series,I was expecting him to be make amends against the team which brings out the best in him.
It is a shame that the game has not seen the best batsmen in the world in action - both out due to injury.We just hope that Punter can resume his duties in the third test and hope to see Sachin back as well,preferably after this series.

The Umpiring
A lot has been said about the Umpirng decisions.I wonder why all the noise is made only when a team loses.As far as umpiring decisions go,it always evens up.You win some,you lose some.We have been guilty in the past of showing some dissent in public and the players in question have admitted that they got carried away.Now,as long as the emotions are directed towards the players,it's fine.When Brett Lee is bowling at 100 mph or when Sehwag is taking guard against Warne,you cannot expect thm to do so,with feelings of love for each other.But,what's important is that the players respect the umpire's decisions and do not continue with the enmity with the players outside the ground.The umpires have to be respected for what they are.You can as well have a law of the jungle on the field if you don't accept their decision.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Third day's play - JB's thoughts

Gillespie and Mcgrath bowled for too long in the morning.Kasprowicz and Warne should have ben brought in earlier against Patel and Pathan,who are decent batsmen.The maidens bowled by Warne and Kasprowicz put the pressure on the batsmen.Every Indian batsman thinks he is Sachin Tendulkar - bowl a few maiden overs and they will throw away their wicket,the heckling by the crowd does help matters.
It was good to see Gillespie among the wickets,finally.
The Indians managed to score 46 more than what I could afford to let them.The 200 barrier is a psychological one and the Indians would think they did manage some respectability to the score.It's always psychological with the Indians.They should not be allowed to think that they are,in any way,on the way up.I have to go only as far as the First test in the last series back home - our batting had a mini collapse and their skipper played just one innings and it was enough for them to get on the ascendancy and we all know what happened in that series,without Sachin going full blast.An Indian team which believes in itself, is very dangerous.When they are down,keep them there.

The Pitch Factor
It was only natural that we don't enforce the follow-on on this dust bowl.Even the Indians would find it difficult to handle the fifth day wicket here.It is disgusting to see such pitches in India. Though the Sri Lankan bowling is more dependent on spin than the Indian attack,they do have sporting pitches - atleast the wickets there are playable till lunch on the fifth day.The Indians have either been dishing out dust bowls or flat tracks.This means the toss becomes the deciding factor - if you bat first and post a big score - you are in the driver's seat.We are not complaining,for the time being.

Our batting
It did not go according to script - we shouldn't have lost four wickets.Langer has been susceptible to this particular delivery - pitching on off stump and coming in.Ajit Agarkar did this repeatedly in the last series and we will have to sort this out,soon.Hayden's run-out shows that the Indian team has been putting in some effort into their fielding drills and we can see how others are concentraing on areas which have been our traditional areas of strength.We have to look at how we can continuously innovate - we cannot sit back on our haunches and bask in the glory - others are catching up,and catching up fast.
Katich should not have got out the way he did - it was a soft dismissal by all means and these are the ones which we have to guard against.
Lehmann - we are expecting better performances by him and there is no question of panicking - he is a class act and it's just a matter of time before he gets it BIG.
Martyn and Clarke are playing well.Clarke has the confidence of the first innings behind him.A debut century is always sweet and gives you tonnes of confidence.We are looking for more of such performances from him.
The build-up to this series has been tremendous,especially with some of the Indian press asking us if the Border Gavaskar series is bigger than Ashes.Well, we don't think it is that big.But,the boys are definitely looking forward to winning this one - there hasn't been any country where we haven't won for so long.I have a feeling that our performance in India has got to do with the mind than with anything else.It happens in all sports and to teams and individuals.If you fail repeatedly when you know you are better than what the results show,you try harder and get conscious about it.It's just a question of playing your natural game and not worrying about the result.
Tomorrow would be one such instance when we just have to play our natural game and not worry about the result.
The batsmen have to put up a good show - am looking forward to another good display by Clark and we should be able to declare after half an hour's play in the second session.A target of 500 should ideally put us in an unbeatable position.Personally,I think a lead of 400 on this track is enough but we are not going to take any chances. (Now,am I putting too much pressure on myself,thinking about the result?)

The opening bowlers will have to provide the initial breakthroughs again.We cannot afford to let the batsmen settle in.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

2nd Day's Play - JW's notes

* We are a bowler short - only 3 for Zaheer is in no form, neither being able to contain, nor take wickets. Harbhajan came back strongly in the latter half, but Kumble was erratic. Pathan needs more support at the other end.

* We didn't have a proper plan to counter Gilchrist. But it must be said both Clarke & he played brilliantly, and sometimes you can't do anything about that. +ve was that we wrapped up the tail which is known to wag.

* Chopra, Dravid fell to bad misjudgments. Ganguly & VVS fell to really good balls, not much they could do. Yuvraj & Sehwag leave me fuming. Sehwag played a similar uppish stroke over midwicket a few overs before he got out. Yuvraj once again fishes, and he's been gone that way in all forms of cricket.

* Our attack-prone batsmen need to learn from Gilchrist's tactics while batting - play yourself in early. currently our best defensive batsmen are Rahul & Sachin, so the loss of Sachin is hurting us in that aspect. I though the captain played well.

* McGrath was disciplined as ever, and sadly none of our batsmen had the main weapon to counter him - sheer mental strength to see him off. Esp. given that Gillespie was not doing well, and we were able to play Warne well (who apart from his magic ball wasn't that threatening). Kasprowicz is one of the danger men.

* Next day's plan: Pathan & Patel will put a price on their wickets, so we'll see how far they get. Will the aussies enforce a follow-on? Probably not since there's so much time left in the match. This will mean their batting order will reshuffle, can't see Gilly coming in at 7! Will have to try and work him out early. The aussies have been trying to get us to play shots early at the opp end to McGrath, but Gilly has been cautious - so we may not be able to do that to him. We need a bowler to bowl a tight defensive spell.

* Inspite of what people say, some of our batsmen are getting there - VVS & Rahul will fight back soon. Ganguly has to stay at 4 (a decent move on the 2nd day as he is in better form and had to assert his leadership), but should we try Yuvi as the opener this time as we always threatened? Think of 2001 (for whatever it's worth).

* Try not to think of the S-word & the R-word!

Second Day's Play

Damn! India reached 150 ! Glen Mcgrath has exceeded my expectations.With the kind of start Glenn Mcgrath gave the visitors,the Indians should have been sent packing.The way he got Chopra and Dravid showed that he was geared up for the battle and has been planning for this series for some time now.The confidence of a 450+ score was what was driving the visitors and the Indians were under pressure right from the word go.

In the morning,Gilchrist went about taking the game away from the Indians in his typical fashion - scoring at a fast clip and was threatening to overtake the debutant centuy maker Clarke.Irfan Pathan's bowling,though restrictive was not exactly penetrating - reason being he was bowling an inch short.He has been prone to bowl at this just short of good length and I wonder how much has Bruce Reid got to do with it.Aussie bowlers have traditionally relied on some movement and more on bounce and the lenth they bowl is perfectly suited to the hard bouncy Aussie wickets.But,Irfan Pathan has got more movement off the pitch and is more in the Wasim Akram mould.That's the reason why his deliveries have been consistently beating the bat but not resulting in the nick.He has to pitch it up (just an inch more).Too many ODIs could also be a reason for this length.This is not too big a concern for worry and some experience and talks with greats like Wasim should take care of this.

The way the Aussie tail capitulated in the face of some average spin bowling must have worried the team management.The absence of Brett Lee must have been felt.Warne is not a bunny with the bat and he has to do better with the bat.after a good display by most of the batsmen,such meek batting would be overlooked but this is what did them in,in the Kolkata Test in 2001.

Selection woes
The success of Katich and Clarke means that it's going to be difficult to drop either of them when it is time to accomodate Ponting.Lehmann and Martyn will have to do better in the next innings.They are class players,especially against spin and should not take too long to get going.

Adam Gilchrist made a mistake in under bowling Kasprowicz.His bowling is suited to the Indian conditions and can keep toiling to no end.He should have replaced Gillespie earlier and the bowling should have been shared between Mcgrath,Warne and Kasprowicz.

Already,there is speculation if we have the guts to enforce the follow-on?
I don't think we should be considering enforcing it unless if we manage to bowl out the Indians for less than 175.The reason is not because we have had a nightmarish experience last time round.But the simple cricketing logic that a lead of 275 is not big enough - not on such a flat track.There are some factors which would be in favour of enforcing it - we haven't bowled for long,lot of cricket left to be played in the match and the fact that we are not too tired and are bowling well.
But,a lead of 275 is just not enough for the strong Indian line-up.there is no reason why we should let them come back into this match and get the psychological edge.Even if they don't win the match,if they avoid defeat from here,it will be a shot in their arm - which we need to avoid - both the teams are rhythm teams and have shown in the past that they can turn the course of the series based on confidence derived out of one innings.

POA for the Third day's play : Bowl them out as soon as possible and play out the third day.

22 Yards - Toss up

To record collective thoughts on the game!