Prasad Moyarath

The MCG pitch was the best thing about this Test. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Yet another Boxing Day Test debacle for India or another usual Indian start for an overseas tour. The Boxing Day Test match result can be interpreted by an Indian fan in either way but irrespective of the result, this Test match between India and Australia provided a great advertisement for Test cricket. Though this match lacked the usual intensity of an India – Australia duel and finished in four days, the entertainment it provided was worth for any Indian who woke up early morning in this chilling winter to watch it on television. The Test match which started on a cloudy day with a few rain interruptions on the first day proceeded in bright sunshine leaving a doubt whether the rain Gods were sitting and watching with awe.

Not a single century scored, only a single five wicket haul, what was that made this Test match so special? For those who did not follow this match, its scorecard won’t provide the right answer either.

Going into the Boxing Day Test match, concerns were many for both the teams. The career of Ponting and Hussey hung in balance and they were contemplating playing Christian in place of one of the two. Hilfenhaus was making a come back and Cowan making his debut. For India, the fitness of Zaheer and Ishant was the major concern and so was the ability of their batsmen to adapt to the Australian conditions.

Michael Clarke’s decision to bat first on a cloudy day though raised the eye brows of many, considering the poor batting record of India in Melbourne, was a daring one which was vindicated in the coming days. Warner gave an explosive start to the Australian innings but an incisive spell of fast bowling by Umesh Yadav helped India fight back. Ponting despite been hit on the helmet by Yadav at the start, made his critics eat their words with a fluent innings which was cut short by a Yadav’s beauty. Two dubious umpiring decisions against Cowan and Hussey ignited the debate on UDRS and BCCI once again. Ponting and Hussey proved that they are still good enough to play for Australia with some fine batting in the second innings. Australian tail wagged in both innings, thanks to some unimaginative captaincy from Dhoni. Hilfenhaus made a remarkable comeback was well supported by Pattinson and Siddle.

Sehwag played in his own style in both the innings and luck favoured him only in the first. Australian bowlers never looked like bowling in the right areas on the second day and Sehwag, Dravid and Sachin capitalised on it. Sachin was the only batsman who looked comfortable in both the innings. Dravid getting bowled in both the innings has put a question mark on the technique of this great player. Gambhir and Dhoni continued their poor run outside the subcontinent and Ashwin made Harbhajan’s absence inconspicuous. Indian pace attack put relentless pressure on the Australian batsmen and Ishant and Umesh clocking 140+kmph consistently was a delight to watch.

Three of the four days ended like a television serial leaving the viewers to ponder what next. Scores of both teams in each innings drew a slanting graph line putting a question mark on the quality of the pitch. But for those who watched this Test match on a drop in pitch, the curator was the Man of the Match ahead of the official choice.

  1. sh says:

    Better ending required 🙂

  2. yenna ya says:

    Why was it great advert for Test Match ??? Because it didnt have a century ,didnt have a five wicket haul??? I dont understand what you are trying to say …

    Was it a great match because it didnt have the intensity .. You havent fleshed out the good things abt the test match ..

    • That is what I wrote, those who look into the statistics or articles on it will never understand why this Test match was great. But for those who watched, it provided great entertainment. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. A Cricket Fan says:

    Yes Prasad you were right, this match lacked a centurian but I really appreciated the pitch. It was great. It supported both the batsmen and the bowlers.
    Regarding the indian batting, apart from Sachin and Dravid no one seemed to get going. Even though Sehwag had some runs under his belt I dont think that was a good innings. He never looked confident. India lacked a good opening batsman, Gambhir was not a good choice at least for this pitch but unfortunately we dont have a choice either. The selectors didnt have the courage to replace him for the tour. If you analyse Gambhir’s performance you can see that whenever the opposition had good spinners or fast bowlers he has failed. He is ideally suited for Indian conditions against teams that have neither of the two. I think we missed Wasim Jaffer a lot.

    Indian bowling showed lot of promise. Ishant and Zaheer were good. Yadav could have been better, but anyway it is too early to comment on him. The next two matches will be crucial for the young guy.
    For Australia, this would have been a great relief for the few good selectors who still believed in Ponting and Hussey. These guys cannot be replaced so easily :). Pattinson looks to be promising, Siddle was good. I think these two bowlers were mainly responsible for setting the tone.

    Overall the test match was intresting,BCCI should get a clue on how to improve test cricket from CA. Look at the pitch it was so nice, the contest was so even. As a result we had a good crowd also to watch. Now a days most of the test matches in India are played to empty stands. Centurians in India have one relief they dont have to lift the bats (after completing the cent) to acknowledge the crowds in all four directions they just have to show to the dressing room.

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