What a fairy tale ending to a pulsating match and how wonderful it must have been to be in the stands at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday ! To watch as Tendulkar scored his century and ring up the win with his last boundary must have been exhilarating. I only got the news through Cricinfo, but even reading the Cricinfo articles gave me some idea of the electric atmosphere in the stadium.
In some ways I rate this win even higher than the one against the Australians at Mohali. True, India thoroughly dominated Australia at Mohali and England are not in the same class as Australia. However, this win was achieved after India conceded a sizeable first innings lead and had to chase down a competitive total in the last innings… something which they have not been known for. I think this is a prime indicator of the confidence and aggressive mindset of the Indian side since Dhoni assumed the captaincy. Definitely, Sehwag’s explosive innings did a lot to bolster the side’s self belief and Tendulkar played the sheet anchor role to perfection but , at bottom ,is Dhoni’s positive , fearless attitude . Terrific win !
Man of the Match. I understand that the MOM award usually goes to a player on the winning side and Sehwag is definitely a worthy winner but Andrew Strauss must be regarded as a close runner-up. He held the England batting together in both innings while scoring two centuries and was unlucky not to have got the award.
The Rest of the Story. It is painful to read of Dravid’s continuing struggles. He is now in the same position that Ganguly was in before he was unceremoniously dropped and is in danger of suffering the same fate. There is little doubt that he is hanging in there so that he can break Mark Taylor’s record for most Test catches but at some point, India can’t afford to wait for him to do so. Ideally, Dravid should announce that the Mohali Test will be his last and then retire, whether he breaks the record or not. ( At this time , I don’t know if he is being retained in the side for the second Test). Incidentally , it strikes me that all these Test records for most runs, most catches, most wickets etc. are likely to be permanent as (a)I don’t think Test cricket will have the same importance going forward and (b) no players will be able to stay on in a Test side long enough to set a new record. Inspite of all the euphoria caused by this win, I think Test cricket is on the way out and will die a slow , lingering death as ODIs and T-20 take center stage.
Finally , Yuvraj came good with his unbeaten 85 in the second innings. Is this a sign that he has arrived , at long last, or is this a flash in the pan ? I don’t know. What do you think?
The Indian batsmen will garner all the glory but India’s bowlers certainly did their bit . The Indian attack ( particularly Zaheer and Ishant ) got the English batsmen out cheaply, except for Strauss and Collingwood. Harbhajan was a disappointment and I hope they drop him in favor of Ojha, or another pacer, at Mohali. No chance, but we can always hope, can’t we ?
I know it is too much to hope for but I wish that Tendulkar would announce that he retiring from ODIs. That way, youngsters can be tried out before we settle on the 2011 World Cup side while Tendulkar continues with his personal goals in Tests.
It was amusing to read of Bhajji’s comments. After correctly lauding England for going on with the tour in the wake of the Mumbai atrocities, he couldn’t help speak slightingly of the England spin attack and of how confident he was that India would win. For awhile, I thought ,India were going to have to eat crow but Sehwag’s blistering knock opened the door and Tendulkar, Yuvraj and Co. did the rest.
Kudos to the English. How different they are from the Australians ! After a hard fought match that they must have thought that they were going to win, they were still gracious in defeat . I am very appreciative of the tenor of the comments both by Kevin Pietersen and by the English writers on Cricinfo. The Aussies could learn a thing or two or two ( or three) about sportsmanship from the English.