Wednesday, February 10, 2010

If not for Sachin's 100...?

The moment the South African captain Graeme Smith imposed follow-on, the game was as good as over. The only way India could save some face in the match would have been to avoid an innings defeat, which unfortunately didn't happen. The only question to be answered was by how many runs would South Africa end up victorious? However, one thing that could be noted from the 4th day's play is that Mahendra Singh Dhoni did everything he could do, so that no fingers point towards him at the end of the day. Dhoni spent almost 2 and a half hours at the crease before he was forced to leave the field by Paul Harris.

An outlook upon the same suggests that Dhoni tried hard to take the innings as far as possible, which could only be an eye wash and nothing else. Dhoni had the company of Sachin Tendulkar at the other end, who took the entire responsibility of the Indian batting as long as he was on the crease. The only thing Dhoni had to do was to just stay there, which Dhoni had no problems in doing. This was evident from the way Dhoni got out after putting up a partnership of just 17 runs after Sachin got out. Sachin got out when the scoreboard read 192 and the scoreboard read 209 by the time Dhoni made his way back.

It was Sachin's presence on the crease that made someone like Murali Vijay bat for more than 2 hours and score 32 runs. Had it not been for Sachin, India's total would have been unimaginable. Still, the best part of the match was that an innings defeat for India went unavoided. I have in the past as well written about India's position in international test cricket, which was evident from their performance against Bangladesh and once again proved in the game against South Africa. Even the number 9 team-Bangladesh never had such a bad defeat like India when it faced India a couple of weeks back.

The pitch was suitable for batting, which was evident on day 1 when South Africa lost just 2 wickets and put up a 200+ run partnership, that later went on to be a 300+ one. A selfless decision from the South African captain must be noted when he didn't not wait for Hashim Amla to score a probable triple hundred or get out, like most captains on earth do. The only positives for team India would be that they scored 319 runs in the 2nd innings which was more than the 233 that they scored in their first. More than 3 Indian batsmen scored double digit scores in the 2nd innings. But, all these was never a match for the Proteas atleast in Nagpur.