Tables Turned: Australia Choke, South African Win

Today South Africa won a Test against Australia. South Africa won by a handsome 8 wickets. But the drama and mayhem from the day before was truly stuff of Cricket legend.

The first day ended with Australia on 214/8 with Micheal Clarke not out on 107. On day two, Clarke went on to score 151, while Australia scored 284.

South Africa was then blown away by Australia for a paltry 96.

Australia started the 3rd innings with a commanding lead of 188 runs. Australia was all set for a victory and guess what? They choked. Bowled out for only 47 runs it left South Africa to get 236 to win. The second day had started with the 1st innings and ended with the 4th innings resuming.

No more drama unfolded and the match was won with only 2 wickets being lost in the 4th innings.

Both teams in one innings managed so score over 200 while in another could not manage to reach 100.

Usually South Africa known to be chokers, especially against Australia ended up winning from a difficult position. Australia on the other hand did something they never do, which is choke when victory is in sight.

Both these teams are not ranked #1 and it is now over 2 years that Australia has been ranked behind India in Tests. Also England is the worlds #1 team. The world of cricket has truly turn around. ūüėÄ

(post inspired via @mani0993)

Link: Score Card

5 Reasons India got White Washed – Slip to #3 rank in Test Cricket

Way back in 1993 in January/February – England toured India. They were considered to be the better test side but ended up losing the 3 test series 3-0. Today with a 4-0 victory over India, England has avenged its defeat. They have also moved to the top of the ICC Test Rankings, while India which went to England as #1 has not slipped to #3.

 

Image Source

Here are five reasons India lost the series 4-0

  1. Batting Flopped: India’s best batsman in this series was Rahul Dravid who scored 3 centuries. No one else scored a hundred and the Indian team scored 300 runs only once.
  2. Bowling Flopped: The bowling derailed from the first day onwards. Zaheer Khan was out of the first Test with an injury, Harbhajan Singh was similarly gone after the second. Amit Mishra did not impress with the ball. Praveen Kumar was probably the most impressive and was leading India’s bowling attack. Considering he has made his test debut only a month ago, leaves a lot to desire about India’s bench strength.
  3. Bad Selections: Rohit Sharma, arguably India’s best batsman from the younger lot, was not picked to play Test matches. Munaf Patel was left stranded while a late addition into the team like RP. Singh was immediately picked for a match.
  4. Too Much Cricket and Injuries: India did not play a single test match without injury problems. The first test saw Zaheer Khan injured, second test saw Harbhajan Singh injured. Third Test started without many more injuries but it ended with Praveen Kumar being injured. After the fourth Test Sehwag and Ishant Sharma are returning to India after injuries. The number of players being injured probably resembles a rugby team and not a cricket team. This is probably because of way too much Cricket being played over the past couple of years.
  5. BCCI: The BCCI seems hardly interested in Test cricket. There is no explanation possible for a tour of England with only a single practice game. Guess what India is touring Australia in December this year, and according to schedule, India has only one club level practice game before the Test series.
What are your views? Take a poll on what was responsible of India’s debacle here. Do drop in your comments.

Why did India lose #1 Test Ranking? [Poll]

Recently with the 3-0 lead in the India vs England Test series, India has lost the #1 ranking for Test Cricket. England has displaced India. The shocking part of this defeat has been a tired Indian bowling side that never threatened the opposition batsman while the batsman are yet to score 300 in an innings even after 3 tests.

Here is a quick poll on what you think might be the reason India lost the #1 ranking in Tests.

[poll id=”2″]

If you have more inputs about the downfall of the Indian cricket team, do share these views in your comments.

What makes Laxman very very special?

Way back in 1998 Laxman was still making his way into the Indian team. He was in the ODI squad in Sharjah. The opponents at Sharjah were the mighty Australians led by Steve Waugh. Sachin Tendulkar was playing the innings of his life and on the other side watching him was VVS Laxman.

Laxman was completely out of depth in that match and had a few nervous moments.

It is ironic that VVS Laxman has chosen to make Australia his favourite opponents and pressure something that he thrives under.

Just that today’s (5th Oct 2010) match into account. He managed to come out with an injured back, hang around and put together an impossible win taking India to victory by just 1 wicket.

So what makes VVS Laxman very very special?

VVS Laxman has scored 7490 runs at an average of 47.40 in Test cricket. This is a healthy no for any test cricketer but what makes him special are his match winning innings. We must have lost count of the times Laxman scores run when India truly need those runs.
In the table below are the runs scored and averages of Ponting, Tendulkar and Laxman in the 3rd or 4th innings of a test match. These numbers are usually much less flattering than career stats as all these innings are played under pressure and on a 4th or 5th day pitch.

Runs Average
VVS Laxman 2877 50.47
Tendulkar 3939 43.28
Ponting 3487 43.85

The table above shows that Laxman average while chasing or setting victorious scores is higher than his career average. No wonder VVS Laxman is India’s go to man.

Afridi quitting Test cricket again!

Afridi is a bit of a wild card for Pakistan. He has lost of talent which is evident when he scores big runs in a hurry once in a few years but more or less he has always been a talented cricketer with very little to show in terms of performance. He has been fined a few times and had run ins with opposition players and was caught on tape in one of the most bizarre cases of ball tampering. Afridi bit the ball to tamper with it. Yes! He actually did bite it.

If Afridi has been inconsistent as a performer, it seems that his thinking or decision making is also inconsistent. He has been threatening to quit Test cricket for ages. He quit it finally and strange ended up being the T20 captain and also ODI captain. Then he came out of retirement form Test cricket and captained the Pakistan side in England against Australia.

Afridi is quite representative of the state that Pakistan cricket is in right now as it also has been changing its mind quite often. So the latest news in the cricket world is Afridi has quit Test cricket once again. I won’t be surprised if he comes back out of retirement in a year and then retires again.

What do you think? Is this the final time for Shahid Afridi? Do let me know through your comments.

Image Link: Flickr

Team India No.1 in ICC Test Ranking

It was just in the 8th over after the game resumed on Sunday that Team India went to the top in the ICC Test rankings.

Post-match…

As continuation to Aditya’s post, India won the match and the series at the historic Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai against Sri Lanka making India top the ICC Test Ranking in history! The play resumed¬†on Sunday¬†being candy in India’s pocket, India just required 4 wickets without allowing Sri Lanka 59 runs to mark the win. Just allowing 35 runs, India bagged 4 wickets and made their day, rather year!

Series summary

A confident Dhoni and his men kept tact from the first test match itself at Ahmedabad, which was drawn. In the second test match at Kanpur, India had a big win marking Gambhir, Sehwag and Dravid’s ton, making the series 1-0. Now with Sunday’s win, India won the series 2-0 marking Sehwag’s double ton. He missed a triple ton (and a record) just by 7 runs. Nevertheless, he is the man-of-the-match and the man-of-the-series.

Even with Jayawardene’s double ton in the Ahmedabad Test, Indians managed a draw.

For India to stay on top…

India had managed to stay on top in ODI ranking for less than 24 hours with a win in Compaq Cup. South Africa won a match against England which made India slip to No.2. Event this position melted and India slipped back to No.3 when India lost the series to Australia, who took over the top position fron No.3.

But the case of Test Matches is different. For India to lead the board, they need to keep the aim in their mind to play good. A forthcoming series India in Bangladesh is coming up in January 2010. India needs to show to the world that they can be No.1 for a long time.

Dhoni has been marked India’s most succesful skipper now. He is yet to lose a match as skipper in Tests.¬†India overall¬† played 10 matches with Dhoni as skipper and won seven with three draws.

Image Credit: Cricinfo

Links: Series home (cricinfo) | 3rd test, Mumbai (cricinfo)

Fascinating Test cricket battles in the week ahead

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The week that lies ahead will see some fascinating Test cricket action. It is quite a unique time as all Test playing nations except Bangladesh are involved in a test series. England is touring South Africa, West Indies are touring Austrialia, Pakistan are playing in New Zealand and closer home Sri Lanka will play the final Test of the three match series tomorrow against India.

India play Srilanka at the historic Brabourne…

India takes of Sri Lanka tomorrow at the Brabourne Stadium. It is a stadium that has been known to be the bastion of culture and legacy when it comes to cricket in India. The association which runs the stadium (CCI) had a falling out with the Mumbai Cricket Association back in the early 70s. This led MCA to construct a new stadium called the Wankhede. The two associations have gotten closer now a days and with the Wankhede stadium undergoing a major re-building exercise Brabourne gets its chance to host one more Test match after 36 long years. Last time Test cricket was played at the Brabourne, Sachin Tendulkar was not even born!

India will be keen to win this Test match as it will haul it upwards to being the No 1 ranked Test team in the ICC rankings. This will be quite an achievement for the Indian team who are not particularly hailed for their ability in Test cricket.

New Zealand host Pakistan…

Not sure if New Zealand will have their confidence high after last weeks win over Pakistan. The Pakistan team came very close to an unlikely win over the Kiwis. But I still feel Pakistan have some inherent technically challenged opening batsmen along with some sparkling yet not reliable batting lineup. They have a great bowling line up too but I still feel it would not be able to match up to New Zealand’s usual dose of resoluteness and professionalism. The Test match between New Zealand and Pakistan begins on 3rd December 2009. If you are in India you should be able to catch the action on Ten Sports in early morning around 430 am.

Australia host West Indies in Adelaide…

In the first Test Match Australia declared their innings at 480/8 and bowled out West Indies twice in less than 2 days. The match was over on the 3rd day itself and was one sided more of less from the first day’s first session. This sort of a defeat does not speak very highly of West Indies’ chances in the second Test at Adelaide. This match starts on Friday morning at 5.30 in the morning. Indian viewers should be able to catch the game on Star Cricket.