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.


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