Team India regains form, gradually

The Indian team rallied from a position to grave weakness to almost pull of a Test victory. The team as whole deserves credit for this. Under the circumstances, it was a wonderful comeback.

Team Composition: The team management deserves some kudos for their guts. Going in with an inexperienced bowling combination was quite a gamble. The team certainly gained a lot from this experience without it proving too costly. I suspect Pathan will be back after a much deserved break in the next Test. Playing the extra batsman seems like a must at this point, though its a safer strategy than an aggressive one. Though Bhajji was certainly missed in the bowling dept., it might have been too risky to play him at the expense of a batsman as pointed out by Chappell. India might have been better served by an all rounder in place of Karthik in the 15. This would certainly have given the team management some more options.

Jaffer Strikes: Jaffer chose a perfect moment to come up with a fine knock. He has certainly cemented his position in the team for the rest of the Test series at a min. His tendency to flash outside the off stump so frequently, even at the start of day 4 (after a long innings on day 3) might be a serious weakness. It will interesting to see how he does against someone like McGrath who can bowl so easily and consistently within the “corridor”.

VVS must grab these opportunities: VVS threw away his wicket after being decently settled in both innings. He needs to grab these opportunities to seal a permanent position in the Test team (and not be an object of experimentation!). Its painful to see a batsman of his calibre squander such chances to shine. Hopefully. he’ll come good in the rest of the series.

Last over gamble: Who should have bowled the last over? It is easy to speculate after the fact. But lets look at it once again. In the last few overs India had to pick up one more wicket. This meant that there was a very high chance that India could go into the last over still requiring one wicket. Under those circumstances, it makes sense to have the most experienced bowler bowl the last over. This individual is without doubt Anil Kumble. I suspect that Dravid might have missed a trick here by not saving Kumble for the last over of the Test match. One of the prior overs could have been shuffled to give Kumble the last over. Easier said than done, but might well have been worth a try. Big player, big name, big over. Might have been a perfect setting for India’s bowling hero over the years to deliver the “jumbo” strike. But then…..

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