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|by Dr. Kumarendra Mallick|
The just completed India-South Africa test series ended in 1-1 draw with the final test producing no results. The hounour was even in the first innings, South Africa scoring 362 and India taking a thin lead of just two runs. It was, however, a great pity that players like Dravid, Laxman, Dhoni and Pujara did not contribute much. Had they contributed at least 20 runs each India could have turned the table against their tough opponents.
Chasing 340 for a victory would have been possible had Virender Sehwag stayed on the crease upto tea interval. But that was not to be, it was not India's day! Other batsmen, however formidable, can not dictate terms with the bowlers to race against time. What they did under the circumstances was of couse commendable. The stubborn Indian batsmen stood between South African victory and a possible Indian loss. Steyn-Morkel-Tsotsobe trident could not pierce the Indian batting line-up, and their dream of an exiciting victory soon vanished, and captain Smith decided to call it a day before time.
Kallis and Boucher of South Africa, Gambhir and Sachin raised their potential very high in batting, whereas Steyn, Morkel, Zaheer, Sreesant and Harbhajan did great job for their countries. The umpires did a great job, except in second innings where South Africa were lucky to get the benefit of doubts, or else India would have run away with the trophy!
All said and done, I wonder how the Indian selectors took just four bowlers- three speedsters and a slow bowlers! When Harbhajan grabbed 7 wickets in the second innings, had there been Pragyan Ojha or Yusouf Pathan the story would have been different. Even I shall plead for Irfan to be in the team, both test and ODI. After the spell of grittty Zaheer and Sreesant, the next attack should be a combination of Ishant and Irfan followed by slow bowling. There was a time, I remember, when West Indies battered the opponents by a battery of four speed merchants. India has the potential to do that. Like Lance Gibbs for West Indies, Harbhajan can weave his web for India.
It is not too late. The selectors should rethink to strengthen the bowling department. Hearty congratulations to Team India for putting up a brave fight to weather the attack of two fastest bowlers in contemporary cricket and give away just three wickets in the whole day. We wish a very happy New Year to our cricketers, and wish many more glorious innings in the coming years.
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