Home > Cricket > Column > Javagal Srinath
Last demolition act expected from Indian openers
November 17, 2003
The Indian cricket team's comprehensive win at Hyderabad will make the players see the final in a whole new light.
Indians started the tournament as favourites but somehow slipped to the second place as far as the points columns are concerned. This position will have no bearing on the final as very few will disagree that it can be anybody's game. It is the test of the nerves. Experience is the biggest asset needed at this hour to sail the ship across.
The Australian skipper is lucky in a way that he has called the crucial coin right on two out of three occasions. The only time he lost the toss, in Gwalior, did cost him the game too.
The Australian openers have really made the best use of the noon conditions to set targets without any pressure. It looks like the ingrained confidence of the pulverizing partners in Adam Gilchrist and Mathew Hayden can only be tested if put under pressure with the Indians putting a good score on the board. Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn have contributed on the platform usually set by the openers.
Although the batting depth is the one which is winning the game for the Australians, the bowling remains a weak link. Nevertheless, the bowlers have come good while defending huge totals set by their batsmen.
The Indian openers have peaked in time and the team think-tank can't ask for a better timing. Tendulkar has been the most consistent for his side in this tournament and Sehwag also getting among the runs from the last two games will be a sigh of relief for the Indian team. A last demolition act will be expected from the diminutive openers.
Laxman, walking into bat at Eden Gardens, will not be a pretty sight for the Australian players who figured in the famous historic Test two years ago. The Hyderabadi will be all set to make a mark again.
Dravid's knock in the last game showed up what sound technique can do when bowling is put to sword. I am sure he has realised a new batting package in himself.
Quite obviously, bowling has been a thankless job whereas batting has become the focal point. Though the Indian bowling has been accused of being off-colour at times, the true story is that the bowlers have delivered under lights on most occasions.
A bowler bowling to defend a healthy score appears twice as effective as he will not be bowling to set a target for his batsmen.
Indian spearhead Zaheer has bowled his heart out on every occasion and has showed signs of dominance. A rare breed must be feathered with care to last long. The biggest hindrance for Zaheer's progress is not the slow wickets but the Indian critics.
Nimble Ajit Agarkar has been an enigma for the side all these years. But in this tournament he has been the most successful bowler. His in-deterministic value as an all-rounder has taken a new shape and he is now seen as a more reliable partner for Zaheer.
The value of experience will come in the form of senior Anil Kumble, the workhorse of the Indian attack. Even Murali Kartik has been making big strides in recent outings.
The Australians are a tough unit and they will be keen to exorcise the ghosts of 2001, when two brilliant individual innings and a magnificent Harbhajan Singh scripted one of the most famous Tests victories of all times.
There will again be over 100,000 wildly cheering fans in the stands. Turning out in Eden Gardens both inspires and unnerves cricketers.
Australians now revisit the venue which shattered their dreams two years ago. It will be interesting to see if mind plays a part in the Australian performance tomorrow.
The stage is all set for skipper Saurav Ganguly to win the toss. The Bengali seems to have done the trick after taking over the reins from the stand-in skipper. More of it will be required tomorrow.
Time for big guns like Sehwag to deliver
Martyn took the game away from India
Zaheer, Kumble were superb
Our curators are incompetent
It was Dravid's Test all the way
Motera wicket may not assist either side
Spare a thought for the pacemen