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India's batting line-up best in the world? Far from it!

Last updated on: December 29, 2011 14:16 IST

India's batting line-up best in the world? Far from it!

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Haresh Pandya in Rajkot

Haresh Pandya says Team India didn't just lose the first Test in Melbourne by 122 runs; they gifted it to the young and enthusiastic Aussies on a platter.

'I think anything less than 300 is a gettable target. The match presently is well balanced. Anyone who works hard tomorrow or on the next day can win,' Virender Sehwag told reporters at the end of the third day's play in the first Test in Melbourne.

'It's not me alone who would win the Test. It's everyone's role. Yes, if we give a good start, we've a very good chance to win the Test. We've to bat really well on the fourth or fifth day.'

It was Sehwag who fell first, and rather quickly, as India set about chasing a 'gettable' target -- eight runs less than 300 -- on the fourth day. His departure triggered a procession of India's star and seasoned batsmen from the pavilion to the pitch and back to the dressing room.

Not one of them -- neither the usually dependable Rahul Dravid nor the God desperately seeking his 100th international hundred -- could rescue the Indian innings.

Let alone enter the fifth day, the Test ended on the fourth day itself with 23.1 overs yet to be bowled.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his hugely experienced team-mates didn't just lose the Test by 122 runs; they gifted it to the young and enthusiastic Aussies on a platter. What a shame!

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Image: Ben Hilfenhaus is estatic after getting Virender Sehwag's wicket
Photographs: Getty Images

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Ponting & Hussey played a winning part

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There were no signs of any one of the top Indian batsmen -- and they're seven in all -- trying, leave alone fighting, to save the Test after the hopes of winning were dashed off at the end of the 19th over when Dravid was bowled by James Pattinson. Rather it was the Australians who fought manfully after being 27 for four in their crucial second innings.

  • Dhoni defends batsmen

    No praise can be too high for the struggling pair of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, who played sensibly and struck together a vital 115-run partnership at A crucial juncture, which had an important bearing on the final outcome.

    The two veterans proved tellingly that though there was much assistance for pace bowlers, there was certainly no devil in the Melbourne Cricket Ground wicket.

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  • Image: Michael Hussey, right, with Ricky Ponting
    Photographs: Getty Images

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    The Indian batsmen played like chumps when it came to the crunch

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    The Indian batsmen created a Frankenstein's monster, as has been their wont on most occasions when chasing a 'gettable' target in the heavyweight division of cricket, and typically played like chumps when it came to the crunch.

    As recently as against the lowly West Indies in Mumbai in November, the Indians failed to chase a ridiculously easy target of 243. They were bowled out for 242 and the Test ended in a dramatic draw, but if they had scored 1 run less, they would have lost.

  • 'Milestone ton playing on Tendulkar's mind'

    There was a method and a plan to Australia's clinical destruction of India's much hyped and glorified batting line-up. They knew our batsmen's traditional weakness against hostile fast bowling and short-pitched deliveries, especially when chasing a score under pressure in a Test, and launched a sustained three-pronged pace attack.

    Peter Siddle, Benjamin Hilfenhaus and Pattinson aren't in the class of Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson and Glen McGrath; or Andy Roberts, Michael Holding and Malcolm Marshall either. But our batsmen batted and surrendered against them as if they are.

    So much for the world's best and most experienced batting line-up.

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  • Image: James Pattinson, left, celebrates with Peter Siddle after winning the first Test
    Photographs: Getty Images

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    Tendulkar has failed to inspire

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    Except Virat Kohli, who is new to Test cricket, the collective as well individual experience of Sehwag (92 Tests), Gautam Gambhir (44), Dravid (160), Sachin Tendulkar (184), V V S Laxman (130) and Dhoni (64) before the beginning of the series was mind-boggling.

    Yet, it is rare to seen them perform well together in a pressure-cooker situation. Usually, one -- or at the most two -- batsmen fight a lone battle.

  • 'Indians will struggle to adapt to conditions'
  • Acres of newsprint has been used, billions of words have been employed on the Web and a lot has been said on radio and television about Tendulkar. You expect such a massively gifted, all-round, all-wicket, all-bowling and all-weather batsman, who of late tends to be choosy as when and where to play, to take the team to the finishing line when the target is 'gettable' while inspiring his fellow batsmen.

    But one has lost the count of number of times Tendulkar has failed to play a major innings on such occasions and in such situations.

    Before Team India set off for Australia, our bowling was described as stingless and considered to be the weakest link. But with Zaheer Khan proving his fitness and wicket-taking ability, tyro Umesh Yadav demonstrating his mettle against in a foreign land and the way Dhoni and his dhurandhars caved in meekly in Melbourne, no one is in doubt about the reality.


    Image: Sachin Tendulkar after his dismissal
    Photographs: Getty Images

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