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Around the Wicket - 1st Test Reviewed

Australia vs India - 1st Test Reviewed

So the first test is done and dusted, and we got a very good test match played by two very good teams. Given the track was low and slow, the draw was always going to be the favoured result, despite bookies having it at longer odds than either side winning.

So let’s review – First – India, and we’ll start with the good. Zaheer Khan was very impressive – he was the only bowler to really get anything out of the deck, and his 5 first innings wickets and his 50 odd runs, made him a deserving man of the match. Ishant Sharma wasn’t far behind his fast bowling mate, and he bowled better than Zak in the first dig – despite Z having the better figures. Sharma has huge potential, and will be in the top 3 quickies in the world inside 5 years, so long as he doesn’t have to bowl on dust bowls all the time. I also liked Dhoni’s captaincy during the test. When Kumble was off injured, Dhoni took over, and actually started to make things happen. He seems to have a good feel for the game, but not many keepers make it to captaincy level. Dhoni should.

If Dhoni’s captaincy was good, Kumble’s was equally bad. He has a tendency to just let things drift, and seems to be slow to recognise when plans aren’t working. He also errs on the side of caution far too much for my liking, perhaps a throw back to his formative years in the side, when India couldn’t beat the skin off a rice pudding. Maybe Anil was mentally bothered by his injury – because he didn’t even take a wicket for the test match. That’s only the 3rd time ever. And he bowled a lot of overs. Also, Gautam Gambhir is not an opening batsman. I said he’d average 25 or less. He made 21 and 29. He needs to go on with it if he wants to be a test cricketer.

For Australia – there were a lot of positives. Watson finally showed that he has what it takes to be a decent test all rounder. Now he has to do it consistently, and prove that he has put his injury woes behind him. The skipper finally cracked an Indian ton (Didn’t I say he would have a big start to the series?), and that will put his mind at ease, although hopefully he doesn’t feel like he has nothing left to prove now, because he can’t afford to relax one iota on this tour. Mitchell Johnson was also very good – easily the best of our bowlers in the first dig (I told you he’d trouble the Indians). Cam White also did better than anyone expected him to, so that’s pleasing for the Aussies as well.

However, there are a few things to work on for the Aussies. The most noticeable is Brad Haddin’s keeping. He sets a pretty high standard for himself, and although he was laughing a lot of it off on the field, he will be upset with the amount of byes he conceded for the test. It was 39, for those who were wondering – the most ever by an Australian wicket keeper. Matthew Hayden still needs runs. Sure, he got 2 dodgy decisions – but how often have you seen bad decisions precede a lean spell? It happens a lot. Haydos needs to get over the “poor me” syndrome, and continue to play the way he does – because he’s a class player that the Aussies desperately need firing, especially with slowpoke Katich up the other end. Brett Lee looked rusty – India is a hard place for him to bowl too, as the slow pitches negate his speed, and he does tend to skid on to the bat, making it easier for the Indians to just hit through the line of the ball. One also wonders about his frame of mind, being away from his son so soon after his marriage break up. Don’t be surprised if he leaves the tour early.
Tue 14/10/2008 Dave Bremner 28 views

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