Australia v India, 1st Test, Melbourne, 2nd day December 27, 2007

Dravid symbolised India's diffidence

Rahul Dravid, opening in a Test for the first time in close to two years, was suffocated to such an extent that it was 40 balls before he scored his first run
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Rahul Dravid took 15 overs to get to the other end of the pitch © Getty Images

Sixteen years ago Sanjay Manjrekar came to Australia as India's best batsman. He had enjoyed a wonderful series in Pakistan and possessed the technique to counter any kind of bowling. He ended the five Tests without a single half-century and was never the same force since.

Four years back he revisited that trip. "I spent quite a lot of time at the crease, and never once felt uncomfortable," he wrote in Wisden Asia Cricket. "My weakness was that I didn't have the game to score off good balls. So I'd spend two hours scoring 30 before a good ball would get me. If I had managed to hit a few more fours, I could perhaps have got 60 in that time. The wait-and-watch approach is never going to be profitable in Australia. To succeed as a batsman, you should be able to create scoring opportunities, because there is little point in waiting for loose balls which never come."

India's top order learnt the harsh lesson today. Rahul Dravid, opening in a Test for the first time in close to two years, was suffocated to such an extent that it was 40 balls before he scored his first run. His 66-ball 5 was a tedious effort, reminiscent of his painstaking 12 at The Oval earlier in the year. Mitchell Johnson bowled maiden after maiden, while Dravid blocked, missed and edged. Behind him was the Great Southern Stand. Neither would budge.

Conditions weren't easy. In the first 20 overs Brett Lee was hostile and Johnson was miserly. The first single was scored off the 19th over, for whatever came earlier was in twos. A slow start is understandable if the two batsmen are rotating the strike. But Dravid took 15 overs to get to the other end. He didn't face Lee for a single ball.

Before getting off the mark, he tried to force four shots through the off side. Two were intercepted by the fielders while the other two were edged. One of those nicks, a tough chance, flew wide of Phil Jaques at fourth slip. The one-handed attempt was grassed. The other nestled into Matthew Hayden's hands at first slip but it didn't matter because Johnson had overstepped the popping crease.

His partners must cop some blame as well. Neither Wasim Jaffer nor VVS Laxman were swift enough to convert twos into threes and the much-needed energy was missing from the first ball. Just a few minutes later, Sachin Tendulkar showed the value of displaying some urgency, both with his shots and between the wickets. Hayden and Jaques were up against more challenging conditions yesterday but didn't compromise on their positive approach. They ran hard, went for their shots and made the most of their luck. The 111 they added before lunch eventually made all the difference.

Dravid isn't new to this situation. Seven years earlier he endured a torrid time here with a 109-ball 14, choosing to withdraw into a shell. He struck three fours spread over three Tests and, despite spending time at the crease, was bogged down. He cleared the cobwebs, quite spectacularly, in the next two series against Australia, playing a vital part in all the victories.

He has been off colour for the last year and a half. Since his match-winning twin half-centuries in Jamaica, in a series-winning cause, he hasn't registered a century against top-class opposition. He's looked comfortable enough but been out at the wrong times. He's had some poor umpiring decisions and fallen trap to both an attacking (Bangalore) and defensive mindset (The Oval and here). Just when he looked like turning a corner, he has turned back again. It's been a strange Dravid of late.

 
 
His 66-ball 5 was a tedious effort, reminiscent of his painstaking 12 at The Oval earlier in the year. Mitchell Johnson bowled maiden after maiden, while Dravid blocked, missed and edged. Behind him was the Great Southern Stand. Neither would budge
 

Were India justified in asking him to open the innings? It's a job he doesn't really enjoy and one that requires a completely different mindset to going in at No. 3. People might wonder what the fuss is all about, for he often comes in early anyway, but it requires a completely different kind of mental preparation. First he's under pressure to regain form, suddenly he's under pressure, however little, to retain his spot.

The other batting shift, VVS Laxman moving to No. 3, was looking good until Lee unleashed a brute of a bouncer. Laxman was positive from the moment he entered, clipped a few delectably off his pads and eased the pressure by finding the gaps. It's his favourite position and India will take consolation from his confident stint. What will worry them is Yuvraj Singh's duck at No. 6. It was the one inclusion for which the rest of the furniture was re-arranged. You don't want a new rocking chair to crack just when you have shifted other precious sofas around to accommodate it.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • apar on December 30, 2007, 0:19 GMT

    Well, Sachin went through periods batting like crap, Laxman did so, Ganguly only batted well in periods... it is the nature of the game that you have ups and downs... leave dravid alone.. he is smart enough and has enough class to sort out his problems on his own... he is probably the person who is most concerned about this than any of us can be... its not like he's not scored runs in Australia before... the comparison with Sanjay Manjrekar was valid till about 2000... since then, I think Dravid has done nough to be his own man... all the baloney about him getting stuck without an ability to rotate the strike is crap... Dravid's been the best finisher in the one-day game in the past few years!!! its a pity that stereotypes rule the roost, and Dravid's stuck in it... lean trots happen... do not add more pressure on him with unjustifiable stereotypical comparisons and comments... let him be and his class will come thru...

  • derrida on December 29, 2007, 6:51 GMT

    Excellent view. But I think Dravid has the responsibility to say no to this innings opening move. He should not allow himself to be humiliated so much by aussies. In 2nd innings also Dravit's batting moments were highly traumatic. What iam asking is why he should oblige to this opening option? Ricky Ponting putting umteem number of fields man around Dravid's bat. Sometimes the Fielding set up reminds me the tennis ball cricket field placement. However ponting didn't put a fielder in the centre of the pitch. Common mate start humiliating them!

  • ragarw on December 29, 2007, 6:24 GMT

    With the kind of preperation the India team had done for the Australia tour, playing against Pakistan on docile home pitches and just one tour game, it wasn't a surprise to see the way india team lost, though it was depressing and frustrating. The series is already over and Indian Cricket Board should take atleast part of the blame. In the last 2-3 series India was atleast able to compete against the autralians but now we are back to those days when we used to loose every test match timidly inside 4 days. i can see a 4-0 win for australia and atleast 2 of the "fab 4" should retire after the series.

  • SGBatsForever on December 29, 2007, 2:22 GMT

    Great article Siddharth. I see a few guys out there still trying to undermine Ganguly and have him bat at 6 or lower. To all the professional Ganguly-haters out there why not just ask that Saurav bat at 11, because according to you guys he still does not belong in the Inidan XI despite scoring over 1000 runs this year and being the best batsman in the team on current form. The same standards that you lot applied to Saurav Ganguly to justify his drop, now apply to your beloved Rahul Dravid, PERFORM or PERISH.

  • drneilmukherjee on December 28, 2007, 19:23 GMT

    If Dravid is a good batsman, then lets see him win this one for India in a situation where he is clearly out of his comfort zone. Thats what makes great batsmen. If he does the job he may well request the management to never ask him to open again and Im sure it will be accepted. If he fails, then Im not so sure that the no3 position will still be available for him. And yes, he needs to be defensive which he does best but that does not mean coming to bat with the intent of not scoring runs and making an effort not to score any in singles.

  • AsherCA on December 28, 2007, 12:57 GMT

    Dravid has been woefully out of form over the last 12 months. Yuvraj who has just battered the living daylights out of Pakistan, rectifying the damage done to India's score-card by Dravid's own lack of batting form. On cricketing merits alone, I fail to see how Dravid can be allowed into the Indian playing 11 ahead of Yuvraj.

    In terms of current batting performance, Lakshman, Sachin, Ganguly & Yuvraj have put themselves ahead of Dravid.

    Jugglery in the batting order by the Indian team management if any is to accomodate Dravid, not Yuvraj. Dravid owes it to the risk Kumble has taken by keeping him in the 11 at the expense of other openers to score some runs with his bat.

    The media should stop making a virtue out of personal necessacity in Dravid's case all the time.

  • sai_dravid on December 28, 2007, 8:28 GMT

    Dravid is the best indian batsman ever.he has made enough sacrifices for team india and i think its time he bats where he wants(no.3).sehwag should play instead of yuvraj and laxman should go back to no.6

    dravid will be back with a bang.

  • himanshu28 on December 28, 2007, 6:01 GMT

    dravid is a lucky fellow that he is an indian crickter. Such a disaster would never be spared in a country like bangladesh, which has much better performers than we have...like Musrafee Murtaza and even Henry Olonga is a far better option than our dear and adulated Dravid. If he is scared of the swinging balls than maybe he should try swinging the bat next time. Atleast he would be able to come close to the blaster Sehwag...

  • MaksoodChaiwalla on December 28, 2007, 2:32 GMT

    I don't quite understand how at international level team management or the captian or even the individual player don't learn from mistakes quickly enough. Sanjay Manjrekar's comments above is prime example of the attitude and the game plan you go with into a match and particularly in a big serise like this. I am sure Sanjay must have shared his expertise with the current team about his own experiences. If you really want to challange the Aussies you need to have attacking intent. Openers in particular need to keep rotating the strike and upset the bowlers rhythm. Both Jaffer and Dravid possess the technique to deal with any type bowling attack. What they need is to create more run scoring opportunities and things would start falling into right places for the team. Not so long ago Jaffer played a gem of an innings against Pakistan, a double hundred where he played attacking strokes right from the word go. Getting even half of that score would contribute a great deal to the team. TBC...

  • informmaha on December 28, 2007, 1:30 GMT

    Don't you feel that more hype has been created for yuvi and dhoni as far as test matches are concerned? Every one knows that dravid is out of form and to regain his confidence, should bat with the older ball, where he can also rotate strike..and australia is not a team in which we can test..play the gamble with sehwag..why has he been picked for then? Hope that indian team wakes up on this and get to work atleast in the next 3 test matches and keep the series alive. Hope to see a good fight from India in this series, and that's what everyone expect to see. Wish good luck for Indian team.

  • apar on December 30, 2007, 0:19 GMT

    Well, Sachin went through periods batting like crap, Laxman did so, Ganguly only batted well in periods... it is the nature of the game that you have ups and downs... leave dravid alone.. he is smart enough and has enough class to sort out his problems on his own... he is probably the person who is most concerned about this than any of us can be... its not like he's not scored runs in Australia before... the comparison with Sanjay Manjrekar was valid till about 2000... since then, I think Dravid has done nough to be his own man... all the baloney about him getting stuck without an ability to rotate the strike is crap... Dravid's been the best finisher in the one-day game in the past few years!!! its a pity that stereotypes rule the roost, and Dravid's stuck in it... lean trots happen... do not add more pressure on him with unjustifiable stereotypical comparisons and comments... let him be and his class will come thru...

  • derrida on December 29, 2007, 6:51 GMT

    Excellent view. But I think Dravid has the responsibility to say no to this innings opening move. He should not allow himself to be humiliated so much by aussies. In 2nd innings also Dravit's batting moments were highly traumatic. What iam asking is why he should oblige to this opening option? Ricky Ponting putting umteem number of fields man around Dravid's bat. Sometimes the Fielding set up reminds me the tennis ball cricket field placement. However ponting didn't put a fielder in the centre of the pitch. Common mate start humiliating them!

  • ragarw on December 29, 2007, 6:24 GMT

    With the kind of preperation the India team had done for the Australia tour, playing against Pakistan on docile home pitches and just one tour game, it wasn't a surprise to see the way india team lost, though it was depressing and frustrating. The series is already over and Indian Cricket Board should take atleast part of the blame. In the last 2-3 series India was atleast able to compete against the autralians but now we are back to those days when we used to loose every test match timidly inside 4 days. i can see a 4-0 win for australia and atleast 2 of the "fab 4" should retire after the series.

  • SGBatsForever on December 29, 2007, 2:22 GMT

    Great article Siddharth. I see a few guys out there still trying to undermine Ganguly and have him bat at 6 or lower. To all the professional Ganguly-haters out there why not just ask that Saurav bat at 11, because according to you guys he still does not belong in the Inidan XI despite scoring over 1000 runs this year and being the best batsman in the team on current form. The same standards that you lot applied to Saurav Ganguly to justify his drop, now apply to your beloved Rahul Dravid, PERFORM or PERISH.

  • drneilmukherjee on December 28, 2007, 19:23 GMT

    If Dravid is a good batsman, then lets see him win this one for India in a situation where he is clearly out of his comfort zone. Thats what makes great batsmen. If he does the job he may well request the management to never ask him to open again and Im sure it will be accepted. If he fails, then Im not so sure that the no3 position will still be available for him. And yes, he needs to be defensive which he does best but that does not mean coming to bat with the intent of not scoring runs and making an effort not to score any in singles.

  • AsherCA on December 28, 2007, 12:57 GMT

    Dravid has been woefully out of form over the last 12 months. Yuvraj who has just battered the living daylights out of Pakistan, rectifying the damage done to India's score-card by Dravid's own lack of batting form. On cricketing merits alone, I fail to see how Dravid can be allowed into the Indian playing 11 ahead of Yuvraj.

    In terms of current batting performance, Lakshman, Sachin, Ganguly & Yuvraj have put themselves ahead of Dravid.

    Jugglery in the batting order by the Indian team management if any is to accomodate Dravid, not Yuvraj. Dravid owes it to the risk Kumble has taken by keeping him in the 11 at the expense of other openers to score some runs with his bat.

    The media should stop making a virtue out of personal necessacity in Dravid's case all the time.

  • sai_dravid on December 28, 2007, 8:28 GMT

    Dravid is the best indian batsman ever.he has made enough sacrifices for team india and i think its time he bats where he wants(no.3).sehwag should play instead of yuvraj and laxman should go back to no.6

    dravid will be back with a bang.

  • himanshu28 on December 28, 2007, 6:01 GMT

    dravid is a lucky fellow that he is an indian crickter. Such a disaster would never be spared in a country like bangladesh, which has much better performers than we have...like Musrafee Murtaza and even Henry Olonga is a far better option than our dear and adulated Dravid. If he is scared of the swinging balls than maybe he should try swinging the bat next time. Atleast he would be able to come close to the blaster Sehwag...

  • MaksoodChaiwalla on December 28, 2007, 2:32 GMT

    I don't quite understand how at international level team management or the captian or even the individual player don't learn from mistakes quickly enough. Sanjay Manjrekar's comments above is prime example of the attitude and the game plan you go with into a match and particularly in a big serise like this. I am sure Sanjay must have shared his expertise with the current team about his own experiences. If you really want to challange the Aussies you need to have attacking intent. Openers in particular need to keep rotating the strike and upset the bowlers rhythm. Both Jaffer and Dravid possess the technique to deal with any type bowling attack. What they need is to create more run scoring opportunities and things would start falling into right places for the team. Not so long ago Jaffer played a gem of an innings against Pakistan, a double hundred where he played attacking strokes right from the word go. Getting even half of that score would contribute a great deal to the team. TBC...

  • informmaha on December 28, 2007, 1:30 GMT

    Don't you feel that more hype has been created for yuvi and dhoni as far as test matches are concerned? Every one knows that dravid is out of form and to regain his confidence, should bat with the older ball, where he can also rotate strike..and australia is not a team in which we can test..play the gamble with sehwag..why has he been picked for then? Hope that indian team wakes up on this and get to work atleast in the next 3 test matches and keep the series alive. Hope to see a good fight from India in this series, and that's what everyone expect to see. Wish good luck for Indian team.

  • ChuckingMuraliMakesMeSick on December 28, 2007, 0:22 GMT

    Dravid yesterday was a virus that infected all his side - and only the strong of mind came through with a clean bill of mental health. The top 3 not only don't like genuine pace - few do - but don't have the fortitude to successfully combat it. It is the severity of the examination doled out by the Australians yesterday that illustrate that Tendulkar is so much better than the other supposed Indian masters, with Ganguly showing he is a much better batsman that we in Australia give him credit for. Sehwag must come in, if only to add an initial positive mental riposte, because India MUST win in Sydney (assuming they can draw in Melbourne). You can be sure that Hogg will not play in Perth (and India WILL NOT win there) and Tait will complete a pace trio not seen since the West Indies were in their pomp. It wouldn't hurt their cause if they tried in the field either, with most efforts varying between inept and indolent - and you can't afford that against the best side in the world.

  • dab1 on December 28, 2007, 0:02 GMT

    India never learns. Last 30 years it is the only cricket playing country which has sacrificed the players as openers. We never put faith in our opening pair and we have never developed an opening pair. Then there is screwed up logic - 1 down batsman is almost an opener. We can extend that - 2 down is almost a 1 down and so on. Ponting and Lara never opened the inning. Ponting success is largely depends on the opening pair her hardly comes before the shine has gone. If we stick with an opening pair we will have decent game. India produces middle order batsmen and to accomodate them we sacrifice the opening pair. How ridiculous...... Now we blame Dravid. Why not ask Tendulkar to open - after all he has the best technique and has played 140 games. We will never learn ..

  • tcadarsh on December 27, 2007, 23:23 GMT

    Was Dravid opening really the worst option? The way Dravid played was his downfall and not the slot he batted at. This is India's problem - off the top six batsmen, if Yuvi HAS to be included, then Dravid must open (or dropped!!). Having Yuvi open is the worst thing they could do to Yuvi's confidence and form (remeber laxman!!).

    In my view, There are two options: 1) Have Sehwag or Karthick open with Wasim, and let dravid go back to #3 or 6. Yuvi can wait. 2) Open with Sehwag, Drop Dravid, Have Yuvi come at #6.

    My pick: Open with Sehwag and rest Yuvi. Sehwag is hungry just like Ganguly was and he knows how much this innings mean to him. Dravid, if he fails again, should be given one last chance, but must be told in no uncertain terms about it.

  • vksid on December 27, 2007, 22:10 GMT

    We can not blame Rahul Dravid alone. All the batsmen are responsible for put themselves in such a defensive mode. After doing such great job with a ball, they should not have played like that. What happened to great Indian batting line-up? Did they loose their confidenence? or scaring to face an Australian face bowling? Just they played more for survival rather than get rid of an Australian bowling. Everybody knows that Indians can make it but they are lack of mental strong ness and came up with wrong plan in the second day. Please be positive and play your natural game. Once again we can make it in Australia.

  • VinaySiddhanthi on December 27, 2007, 22:04 GMT

    The whole line up looks shaky..too many people batting out of their comfortzones.Saying this, Its a bit too harsh to judge our batting.. From a low bounce slow wicket you give them a sporting track with Lee..Johson..its takes a little tunning..Not all are Tendulkar's to just come out of sleep and start scoring.

    We need people like Sidhu, who are just bent on one mode..attacking..and the only man available to rattle Lee and co is Shewag..Get him on the park and might just work...

  • joyanand on December 27, 2007, 21:32 GMT

    How in the hell can a team experiment with the batting position of one of it's best batsman against a series with australia in australia.Juggling a batsman in middle order( from 2 down to 4 down) doesn't require too much of change in approach or temprament but requesting a middle order batsmen to open is asking too much of him. Dravid is a team man to the core and he would bat at any position without showing any displeasure but to make best use of his talent we should spare him from opening position. Also, dravid should not be pushed to mediocrity 2 accomodate Yuvraj, who according 2 me is still not 100% ready for tests. My order for next innings: 1)Jaffer 2) Yuvi 3) Dravid 4)Tendulkar 5) Laxman 6) Ganguly; for next match i will bring in Sehwag to replace yuvraj at the top. Guys, despite today's performance i can say for sure that india will put up a fight in this test...be assured for that

  • rock_13 on December 27, 2007, 21:23 GMT

    Yuvraj as an opener is the most impratcical of choices. Anything can work but this is the most unworkable situation. First of all, Yuvraj plays very loose and lacks the technique to deal with the new ball. Putting him there to accomodate him means wasting 2 outs for no contribution, which in Aus is too much. The problem that India had yesterday was that 4 1/2 (Laxman did half a job) out of 7 batters didnt do their job. The wicket isnt one on which you can ever be in and as Sachin points out thats the beauty of test cricket. This meant we needed atleast 5 batters tos core 40 somethings and only 2 and 1/2 did. That ultimately is the difference in the game. Yuvi and Dhoni for whatever reason didnt contribute the 100 runs that they absolutely needed to, to make a match of this with even 1 staying with Saurav maybe wed have reached about 250. Its important to realise there are very few batters in the Indian team that play the power game unlike Aussies thus our limited scoring on big grounds

  • drneilmukherjee on December 27, 2007, 21:20 GMT

    All this talk about DONT TINKER WITH DRAVID will disappear in the next test when India will open with Sehwag and Jaffer and Dravid will come in at no3. What wont happen though is an Indian victory! Dravid is extremely handy at batting out 4 sessions to draw a test match but what he cant do is score at 4+ an over as hes not looking for singles. So, unless you get the Aussies out twice in 6 sessions of a match, a Dravid innings will not lead to a win. We will see how GREAT he is at defending if he can bat out possibly 6 or more sessions of this Boxing Day test to save the game for India. I will most certainly eat my words if he can somehow win or save this match in his next innings.

  • MasterClass on December 27, 2007, 20:50 GMT

    The reason that Dravid did not score initially is because Johnson was bowling WIDE to him EVERY BALL tempting him and Dravid did the right thing by letting them go. Johnson could not produce any swing or movement. The ball was just angled across Dravid wide. How can anyone call that GOOD BOWLING. It was pathetic and laughable!! He was wasting the new ball. In contrast Lee and Clark were bowling TO THE BATSMAN making him play. And that's why Clark got his wicket

    To be sure the indian batsmen (Jaffer) did not rotate the strike by taking a single or by moving in the crease or down the pitch, and that's something I'm sure Dravid will think about and adjust next time.

    As far as the chances, the 1st was a very tough one and the 2nd Dravid heard the NB call and went for the risky shot. Look at the replay Dravid stays at the crease b/c he knew the NB call unlike the cluless Johnson and Aussies!

  • Nampally on December 27, 2007, 20:46 GMT

    Dravid should have played his natural game rather than stonewall defense. He is a natural stroke player and it does not make sense playing 66 balls for meagre 5 runs. It lets the bowlers get on top of you. I thought both Jaffer and Dravid destroyed the Indian batting with such senseless defensive tactics. I would much rather have Sehwag and Ganguly opening the innings and let Dravid bat in his usual attacking style at number 3 or 5. Also having a left hander at the top makes more sense than having 2 right handers. It was disappointing to see 4 of our top 7 batsmen getting out in single digit. How can we expect high scores when majority of our batsmen do not show up.

  • Awesome on December 27, 2007, 20:16 GMT

    Dravid has been an outstanding batsman at number 3. After Langer retired did the Aussies ask Ponting to open? Its unfair to ask Dravid to open. Get Kartik or Sehawag to open with Dravid at number 3 and Laxman at number 6. Yuvraj has to wait

  • moronic on December 27, 2007, 20:07 GMT

    I read the article and all other comments in this forum. Why would one need to open with Sehwag when we all know that he hasn't played well in a long time. I am surprised that he was even seleced for the tour. If one can bring Sehwag after a long list of failures, why not let Karthik continue? Karthik played well in South Africa and England as an opener and should have been allowed to continue. Karthik and Jaffer complement each other with their batting styles and India needs to groom these 2 young men as an opening pair for the next decade. The inclusion of Yuvraj Singh was not necessary at this juncture. His explosive innings in India came against second rate pakistani bowling attack. He will fail miserably in Australia. Harbhahan Singh has been ineffective for a long time and the Indian selectors keep bringing him back again and again. We should have included Pathan in the line up. All we can hope now is for India to prevent a whitewash in this series.

  • Sunil_India on December 27, 2007, 20:01 GMT

    We simply need Sehwag at the top of the order,forget about his technique, his form.There is no point in taking him here and not playing him.Aussies always play huge on everybody's mind and it's the time to do something to get to their minds.Only Sehwag and Sachin can do it.That would also mean Dravid doesnot have to open,a position he doesn't like for sure,but as usual agrees for team cause.Better do Yuvi experiment on any other tour, but not against Australia in Australia.

  • Hkundeti on December 27, 2007, 19:39 GMT

    India unfortunately, does not have a settled opening pair going into this test match. In my opinion, if the responsibility was given to Dravid in the first place, he should be persisted with, atleast in this test. I am sure the first word of advice given to the openers at the start of the first innings was to see off the new ball. Usually, Dravid is good at taking singles and weathering off the storm in his usual one down position. When he opened, it seemed as though, his thought processes freezed. It happens to the best of people when they are not used to a peculiar position. The danger is, this might happen with Yuvraj too because, he is not used to that position. Remember the way he got out to Brad Hogg and then to stuart clark and it happened with an old ball. In the second innings, hopefully, the word from the dressing room to the openers should be to keep the score-board ticking, while seeing off the shine.

  • Shatadru on December 27, 2007, 19:21 GMT

    Dravis has superb technique, but a flawed mind.The much touted 'flexibility' algorithm seems to have fallen flat on its face when it comes to Dravid. At this level, and specially against the Aussies, this is a mind game. Dravid has to come good, else face the axe. He should take a leaf out of Sourav's comeback..and make a determined effort.

    Yuvraj , certainly cannot be dropped. He is perhaps India's most attacking batsman at this point of time.

  • HipHipHurray on December 27, 2007, 19:11 GMT

    What's this talk of Sehwag providing a flying start! He would be lucky to survive one over from Lee. Better option would be to ask Yuvi to open. He has a very good hand-eye co-ordination and a better chance to succeed. For all those who want Dravid to play Ranji to get his groove back - He did play there and was one of the better performers. Its just that Test cricket is a different ball game. Dravid is too good to be out of form for long. He'll be back, I am sure. Go Dravid!

  • Hkundeti on December 27, 2007, 18:59 GMT

    I dont think there is anything wrong with Dravid's technique. Test cricket is all about taking pressure to the opposition. One way of doing it is going out on an all out attack like Hayden did. The other way of doing it is to take singles and change ends. If you are dead-blocking every ball, the bowler has the opportunity to work on the tactics to get you out. All RD's got to do is to concentrate on dropping his wrists and taking singles. Agreed, its not all that easy with the outside-off stump angling from an accurate leftie at 85+ mph. To negate that kind of attack, standing outside the crease with a slightly open stance helps. I dont have to tell this to classy, experienced RD. The problem unfortunately is with his mindset steeped in his high elbow wielding self-awareness of being the 'wall'. Hope he experiments with his technique a little bit, taking the cue from his Bangalore-mate, who did it with his bowling.

  • crick_admirer on December 27, 2007, 18:25 GMT

    I don't understand why Sachin can't open the batting - he prefers the slot in the one-dayers - he has one of the best techniques and cricketing minds - I donnno why he is so scared to change his batting positions - as much as I admire his batting and want him to do well, I think he is too selfish and not a team player at all ... How about Jaffer, Sachin, Rahul, Laxman, Ganguly, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Kumble, Sreesanth/Munaf/VRV, Zaheer, RP Singh??? I think Harbhajan should be dropped and one of the 3 quicks has to take his place for India to be anywhere close to taking 20 wickets ...

  • Nirupama on December 27, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    To ask Rahul Dravid to open the batting so as to bring in Yuvraj Singh into the side, was simply not correct. Instead, if India did really want Yuvraj in the side, they should have thought of opening with Dinesh Karthick and Jaffer, with Yuvraj coming in for Dhoni.

    However, despite his success against Pakistan in the last Test, I for one, do have my doubts about Yuvraj's batting technique when it comes to batting away from the sub-continent. Similarly, my concerns about Dhoni's technique away from the subcontinent's flat, low bounce wickets. I was at the Lord's Test earlier this summer when rain saved India, and Dhoni really struggled against the English pace attack - he was very lucky to survive. Dinesh Karthick, on the other hand, proved himself as an opener in England.

  • The_Strategist on December 27, 2007, 18:12 GMT

    Dravid as a slow opener puts undue pressure on the middle order.

    For the second innings, it would be better to open with Yuvraj and Jaffer. Yuvraj is a natural strokeplayer who loves to take on fast bowling and will keep the scoreboard ticking while Jaffer drops anchor.

    Also, the umpiring for this match has been pathetic. If Indian batsmen will offer any resistance, the umpires will definitely wrap up this match for them nicely and quickly. ICC needs to address the issue of bad umpiring by allowing umpires to borrow technology liberally and refering more decisions to the third umpire.

  • panky3042001 on December 27, 2007, 18:00 GMT

    Let me start from the top to down the order. The opening combination was not right bcos dravid is always good at no-3. he is alwasy uncomfortable at opening. one has to change the mind set and he never looked confindent batting as openner. both the openers were very defensive. we needed someone like sehwag to unsettle the aussie bowler. Everytime its Dravid on whom the axe falls. Why not Tendulkar can Open. He is the Best Batsman of all time why cant he open. he has been opening in ODI then why not Test. then his Answer will be a BIG NO. I personally think india should have played sehwag as opener. the bolwing line up was also not good. 2 Left Handed fast Bolwers. India should have gone with one of the new bolwers either Ishant or Pankaj. i would prefer Pankaj Singh as he has both good Height and good body built to bounce the ball from good length on Aussie pitches. My 11 would be Jaffer,Sehwaq,Dravid,Laxman,Ganguly, Tendulkar,Dhoni,Kumble,Zaheer,Irfan,Pankaj.3Pacer,1Spin with Tend,Seh

  • groundsman on December 27, 2007, 17:40 GMT

    Personally I think, that Dravid is too good a player to be sacrificed at the opening slot. It is just not worth it to open with him in order to fit Yuvraj in to the playing eleven. Opening is something that Dravid has never liked and has never looked comfortable doing and plus he's had a poor run and last thing he needs is the pressure of performing as a opener because he definitely needs to work out a few cinks in his mental approach to the game just like Tendulkar and Ganguly seem to have done recently. So bottom line is to open with Karthik or Sehwag while Yuvraj, as good a batsman he is, will have to wait until circumstances demand his place in the line up.

  • chell on December 27, 2007, 17:38 GMT

    DRavid has been made a scapegoat -It is a pity that the Indian team management chose him to open despite knowing that he has been out of form in the past seven tests or so. Why could they not ask young players like Yuvi to open who have not played very many tests and test him out if he is capable of fitting into the team if asked to bat in any order. He has shown form in T20 and one day games and it is the time to try young players like me whether they can cope the pressure of test cricket. Eve if he had scored an zero like he did when he came down the order it would not have much difference to the team. Why put players who have shown their mettle in past and currently out of form to this test.I am true follower of DRavid and none in the current team have the compact game when he is in form.

  • kkdb on December 27, 2007, 17:31 GMT

    Dravid is a fantastic player - he just needs a few runs under his belt to rise and shine. We should stick to him as an opener (Sehwags consistency is always under the scanner). I would just hope that he puts in an effort to take more singles and keep rotating the strike in the second innings. Runs arent going to be easy to make - every opportunity should be cashed in. Take your singles!

  • king_dhoni on December 27, 2007, 17:24 GMT

    Rahul Dravid has made true the worst fears of India again. He takes India back to the defensive and spineless way of playing ..something that never works against Australia. Aggressive and bold players are a must. You just have to go back and see what Sehwag did on the last tour and what the new generation of players did in Twenty20 to Australia. Thats how the aussies play. If Sehwag is out of form then why not pick Uttapa? India without Dravid were talking about fighting fire with fire, but with him its more like fighting fire with gas. India should get rid of all defensive and negative players in and around the team. Top on that list is Mr. Dravid and Mr. Gavaskar who obviously his god father and always seems to be influencing the team.

  • Vijay-Chakravarthy on December 27, 2007, 16:52 GMT

    The Aussie attack was not as menacing as the ones Indians touring down under are used to.It only involved playing out Michael Clarke and handling Brett Lee with caution not for the pace but for the slightly low bounce.Hogg and Johnson were not going to be much of challenge for the famed Indian line up and it showed.Guess the batting is going to click very soon as none of the batsmen looked at the Aussie attack in any kind of horror.They were just lacking in aggression and application at a few key moments.

  • soumik on December 27, 2007, 16:33 GMT

    Let's think about the numbers-in cricketing terms as it's always believed that if 6 batsmen can't do the job for you then 7 can't do it either.This frees up one spot-you can play an extra bowler OR take some risk with a guy who can't be called a good batting prospect given his current form but can prove lethal to Aussie strategy - SHEWAG.It's a gambling worth taking at this point given the following things into considerstion - 1. This will help India attacking Aussies more at the very beginning given the current Aussie strategy of not feeding Indian batsmen to their strengths//2. This will leave the opening slot intact with Laxman at No.3 and Dravid at 6. I think Dravid deserves a fair chance of coming at No.6 and regain his form.//3. Drop Yuvraj.We don't need flamboyance,we need solidity.My money is on Dravid.Let Yuvi wait,he has time.But don't put him in the team at the expense of Dravid.This is not the time and most importantly this is not the place.

  • whatabigjoke on December 27, 2007, 16:31 GMT

    Dravid is the best batsman in the team. You dont jeopardize the best batsman to include a batsman who just had one good series so far. Dravid @ #3 is the best option. If they send Dravid out to open again I hope it backfires again!!!

  • Grudge.Kid on December 27, 2007, 16:24 GMT

    Well, the fact is that, we have no way out right now. There has to be a winner for this test and it cannot be drawn (the weather looks good by the way). I am not saying that the Aussies will win and hell, they have a much better chance, in the most optimistic view. We all saw that Rahul was uncomfortable opening and forget about the next match, think about this one. Like someone above mentioned, try Yuvi as the opener for this match and send everyone back to their positions. Yuvi can be aggressive and he can surely relieve the pressure of Jaffer. Dravid can come in at his #3 and build his innings from there. If Yuvi is not successful at #1 try Karthik or Sehwag in Sydney. If dravid still can't build his innings in the 2nd innings, then let yuvi come at #3 and try Sehwag or Karthik as an opener. The selectors are supposed to be pundits. Well, I have a small message for these "so called pundits": STOP MESSING WITH THE PRECIOUS MIDDLE ORDER!!!!!!!

  • Graeme_Pollock on December 27, 2007, 16:13 GMT

    The root cause of India's opening conundrum is the need to accomodate Yuvraj Singh in the team, that already possesses four accomplished middle order batsmen. How then, does one fit Yuvraj into the side without disturbing nos 3,4,5 and 6? The answer, in my opinion, is simple: HAVE HIM COME IN AT #1 ! Yuvraj's eye and hand-eye coordination are second to none in this Indian team. The Indian team management should show him a video of his innings against the same Australian attack in the T20 semifinal, give him a pat on his back and ask him to go out and think as if it were T20 time all over again: a license to destroy the fast bowlers at the outset. Clive Lloyd did that in 1975-76 when he pushed Viv Richards to open the batting against Lillee and Thommo. Some might argue that Yuvraj is no Richards, but then Lee and Co. aren't exactly in the same league as those two feared quicks either!

  • trublue on December 27, 2007, 15:44 GMT

    I knew Jaffer was going to fail. He had 200 against a weak opposition and booked his seat to Australia. Its just such a disappointment. Because, its not that these dont have talent, they just dont have heart. Just because someone scores runs doesnt mean they have heart. It takes 2 people to build a partnership and take the game to the opposition. The batting has always been over-rated. I really dont care how many runs they score in home pitches. It doesnt mean anything. Look what happend to hockey? The world changed pitches and India fell behind. The rot starts from the board, its not all the players fault. The board has become more of a self-sustaining bureaucracy and the operations are a farce. National politics have no place in sports. Sports has its own politics to deal with. Take NFL (US Football) for example, Everything they do is about making money and it is very political, but not at the cost of compromising the quality of the game. You cant kill the golden goose.

  • ymdkalem on December 27, 2007, 15:35 GMT

    india had made blunder by opening with dravid .their tactics and attitude were totally wrong.india have another choice of opening with tendulkar or ganguly or both.it might have had worked in onedays but for fourth innings they should not open with dravid.and fornext match we can go with pathan in place of harbhajan and to drop dravid and replace by shewag as opener because dravid is not in a good nick presently.the captain has to decide everything he should to responsible in choosing a winning team who has a current performance not with previous

  • usha on December 27, 2007, 15:28 GMT

    Hold on to your horses the match is not over untill the last wicket falls. I am sure Dravid will come through. Like most of you I was watching the maiden overs that Mitchell Johnson bowled at him. In other circumstances, that bowling could almost be called negative bowling. It was almost diagnol to the pitch - what do you want Dravid to do step outside off-stump and go fishing..that would have been perilous too..Lee was genuinely good and no other team could have even done what India did today. I doubt if even the aussie batsmen could have done well against him today. It was Tony Greig commenting on Sky sports in England...I must say he came as a nasty surprise to me...He ranted on and on about Kumble dropping a catch at slips and about poor returns from the deep... However not much was said about the catch at slip being floored or several poor returs to Gilly from the deep. Just because they are in a commanding position does not make them flawless Tony..try not to be partisan...

  • NPP-SL on December 27, 2007, 15:26 GMT

    The problem here, i think is that the Indian XI has many specialist batsmen at the similar spot. i.e) all Dravid, Laxman, Tendulkar, Ganguly have been batting at No.3 or 4 and they're good at it. So when this happens there is a re-arrangement and Dravid is opening here. It was a total failure in this innings. I do agree with the suggestions that Sehwag will make a good opener. Atleast one of the openers should be an aggressive player.

  • VincentSunder on December 27, 2007, 15:18 GMT

    We need an aggressive batsman in the opening slot. Simple. The struggling Sehwag is perhaps a wrong choice. Someone gusty like Robin Uthappa - he dared to dance down the wicket to the Aussie and other pacers - would have been a better bet.

    Dravid is too classy a bat to be derided in this manner. He will come back strongly, but he is clearly more suited at # 3.

  • Prabhat99 on December 27, 2007, 14:59 GMT

    Leaving Dravid out at this juncture in the series - one in which you need to brace yourself with all the 'positive forces' (read 'Best memories of the past' - a la Harry Potter :-)) may not be the best idea. However asking him to continue to open would be a bigger mistake. Not just for Dravid as a player, but for the Indian team as a whole. Relunctance at the top puts unneccessary doubts in the minds of the batsmen to follow. And more than that it plants that flicker of control in Australian bowling attack, and we all know how they fan such a spark! Without undermining the capability of Indian batsmen, one thing has been made amply clear through the years and that is "Australia carry enough momemtum to be simply blocked", and Sehwag is definitely a 'everything-to-gain' kind of an option, especially if india go down in the first test. C'mon give the man a chance to go wild once again!

  • drneilmukherjee on December 27, 2007, 14:54 GMT

    Isnt team selection a job where one needs to pick the best 11 for the job? If that were the case Dravid wouldnt feature in it and neither would Harbhajan Singh. What Dravid began seemed to run through the Indian middle order like a plague! Dravid has been perhaps the best technical batsman for India after Gavaskar but this 66 ball 5 is not only bad for India but test cricket in general. It will kill test cricket! It's time for Dravid to play some 1st class, understand why hes not in the ODI squad either and perhaps make a miraculous comeback like Ganguly. We need to play Pathan and Sehwag!!

  • weakGK on December 27, 2007, 14:48 GMT

    Actually, Dravid must be given sufficient time to get back to his form. Ever since Saurav Ganguly became the captain, Dravid was pushed to be a factotum- be it batting order or wiket keeping.

    Most of Saurav's victories came off by the flexibility of Rahul Dravid and his poistioning. Rahul Dravid's average is still good in both forms to be in the Eleven. Even now, he's constantly pushed into different number up or down the order. The captain must realize his potential and use him in the right place.

    Yuvaraj does not have time; he got to buckle up quickly. Shewag is the right choice to open the innings as India doesn't have choice now. In the place of Dinesh Karthik, India should have picked up an opener or a utility player.

    In the second innings, if Yuvi is not gonna meet the requirement, then it's good to push Shewag to open; Rahul to three; Sachin to four, Laxman to five, Saurav to six (as he can coordinate and collaborate well with tail enders).

    Rahul can still rock; will

  • kr_kinshuk on December 27, 2007, 14:43 GMT

    whether dravid is the right choice or not for the opener's role or not is a debatable thing, but, i'm not so sure that india really have a better alternative available.

    sehwag would be a gamble....a gamble with very low chances of success........

    yuvraj wud hv 2 b removed frm the side 2 accommodate karthik... i dont know if that would b advisable............

    opening with yuvraj is again a gamble, but chances of this one succeeding are marginally higher........

    by the way, i get the feeling that ganguly and tendulkar wouldn't have seemed half as positive if they wouldnt have had the chance to cash in on hogg's overs..............a luxury which jaffer and dravid didn't have..........

  • paarthbest on December 27, 2007, 14:37 GMT

    Dravid is still the best batsman in the indian side despite his recent form. I think he is best suited for no.3, which the Indian think-tank is forgetting. You cannot sacrifice a world class batsmen just for accomodating Yuvraj singh? rahul dravid is more experienced and a far better player than yuvraj. rahul dravid, if brought down to no.3, will surely give the aussies sleepless nights!!!!!! all the best dravid!

  • Flex001 on December 27, 2007, 14:33 GMT

    Personally, I feel the selection of Yuvraj has upset the whole team balance, in an attempt to accomodate an extra batsman. Furthermore, what was the point in taking along Sehwag if their was/is no intention to play him!

    It's early days and India can still claw things back in this test but it will take a monumental effort on the part of the team part to achieve this.

    I would've selected this team (in batting order): Jaffer, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Ganguly, Dhoni, Pathan, Kumble, Khan, Singh

  • brave_hearts on December 27, 2007, 14:22 GMT

    Its very bad everyone again blaming Dravid for his play today. If we go few years back when Tendulkar was brought down the order in oneday, he didnt feel comfortable and he failed,and he started to open once again. But why we are forcing dravid to open the innings that too when is under pressure of the board politics. we cant just say he is not in good touch. he showed his class in ranji trophy. Why we are not letting him to settle in favourite place N0.3 and prove himself. Why the managment is not asking others to open the innings who we say they are in good form?

  • Kedar-1969 on December 27, 2007, 14:04 GMT

    As V S Naipaul says, India revels in its own unparalleled levels of mediocrity and any consequent success is despite all efforts to the contrary in the first place! How true even when read in a cricketing context! And finally search for that elusive Indian commodity second only to the quest for "Yeti", an out and out Indian fast bowler! Even in the 21st century, when diets and scientific training remains the watchword for most teams, this constantly remains a pipe dream. What could be a sadder indictment for a wanna be super power!!

  • Kedar-1969 on December 27, 2007, 14:03 GMT

    VVS' feeble reaction to a well directed bouncer may be too early to read into, but is clearly a sign of slowing reflexes at the end of a grossly under achieved career. India would need to invest in youth over the next year and can delay only at her own peril! Guys like Robin, Rohit, Parthiv need to be ushered in. Quite why the useless BCCI do not arrange more "A team" tours to countries other than SL, Bangladesh and Bhutan etc is patently beyond me, but that is how India has always worked apparently.

  • TrueIndianFan on December 27, 2007, 14:01 GMT

    I was surprised at the great bowling display...Should the guys stand up for their bowlers with much better batting display this would have been a TEST to remember... Now it's time to sit down and get the beating! They would accelerate their run rate and would declare with India needing like 400 odd runs...Let us see how the batting is going to be then :)

  • Kedar-1969 on December 27, 2007, 13:56 GMT

    Oz is the most unforgiving kind of place for a diffident mind set as Sanjay M would vouch for and one which RD currently appears to be plagued with. The sooner he plays with unfettered freedom the better. I hope to see RD scratch his way back to form in 2008, but shall still not be holding my breath as he needs some serious introspection and technical work in the nets with say Sunny and co. The current ploy of playing Yuvi in the test side is a classic example of how to unsettle an established line up. I am also far from convinced that Veeru's reinstatement at the top of the line up would pay huge dividends in the long run as he is clearly on the wane. All in all, time to adopt a positive mind set and hit the Aussies with everything they have got. Clearly Captain Kumble would expect nothing less than that!

  • Kedar-1969 on December 27, 2007, 13:55 GMT

    Being an avid SRT fan, I find it a sacrilege to compare RD to SRT. First there is SRT and then there is the next level of batsmanship. It would be a shame to drop RD from this side, but if he does not buck up his act, that fate looks more and more likely. After all Sourav G did not escape that ignominy but at least used it constructively. RD I am sure realises the chasm between a Ranji double hundred against the likes of that perennial underachiever Agarkar and world class attacks, but there may be no substitute to a few months on the sidelines playing first class games, either in India, SA or England and rebuilding the fragile confidence. It also appears that he has not recovered from his abdication, which strangely was the most sensible thing he has done in a while and clearly this must affect his otherwise Zen like concentration.

  • Kedar-1969 on December 27, 2007, 13:50 GMT

    Siddharth, very well said indeed! I have watched RD for a long time and have mostly admired his grit. Of late his technique appears severely flawed and his bat keeps on coming down from the third slip which is often a sign of bad form, unsure mental attitude and possibly slowing reflexes. RD on yesterday's tenuous demonstration of "how not to bat" down under appears to have retreated to circa 1999, when he could not buy a run for love nor money! It is sad, but RD appears to have brought this upon himself. After all post the GC fiasco, he could have given up captaincy and focussed on his batting in stead. I watched him closely at Lords in the nets and was convinced that his feet were not moving as well as they had during his halcyon years. I knew it then that his slump of the past 18 odd months was set to continue for a while yet. RD is undoubtedly a class act, but his own hype about being the "master technician" and "the wall" et al might have got to him and clouded his judgement.

  • sanjaybhai on December 27, 2007, 13:42 GMT

    Personally I think this opening combination is never going to work, India need someone to get them off to a flier like Virender Sehwag, and if you have realised both Dravid and Jaffer are very defensive players early on, therefore theyare just putting themsleves under pressure more and more and finally they give their wicket away. If someone scores from the other end then it puts the pair under less pressure as tey are satisfies that runs are coming. Bring in Sehwag!

  • DRSK on December 27, 2007, 13:35 GMT

    Agreed ... Dravid is having a mediocre time on the field. Its really baffling to see him repeat his Oval performance here! Its just in the mind. It appears as he has too many things going on in his mind. He should free his mind .. and like the experts say ... enjoy his cricket again. Probably Sourav is the right person to talk to him at this juncture. Regarding "resting" him from the team ... mind says give him a break ... but my heart says just give him one more chance. :)

  • apoorv_singhal on December 27, 2007, 13:33 GMT

    In the shadow of Yuvraj's recent achievements, the management seems to have forgotten the importance of dravid in this team, the man who has contributed, at times single-handedly, to our brilliant showing against the Aussies in 2003-04 and 2001. Dravid was obviously not going to refuse the request for opening. And even with all this pressure and blame everyone's putting on him, he still isnt going to wilt. MIND you dravid did see off the new ball, and it was the middle order's job to consolidate on that. If Yuvraj cant open, then he should make way for Sehwag, after the Sydney test.

  • SSTapaswi on December 27, 2007, 13:31 GMT

    I think, the best batsman / playmaker should bat at No. 3 in Test cricket. For India, their best batsman in this form is Dravid (exclude the last 7-8 Tests. There is no point in asking him to bat aa a opener, if he is un-comfortable. This will not only drop his confidence, but in turn builds enormous pressure on the later batsman...The same has happened today..... I think the openers should be Jaffer and Yuvraj.... (A RHB and a LHB)....This combination will certainly disturb the opposition bowlers consistency.

  • Hope_for_the_best on December 27, 2007, 13:30 GMT

    Dravid is under tremendous pressure not only to prove his credentials but to survive as an opening batsman. Indian team always had hard time finding a good opening pair for test matches, especially overseas. No doubt Yuvraj deserves to be in the test side after his performance in the last test match against Pakistan but instead of having him on the side if selectors have given a chance to Sehwag or Karthik with Jafer as opening pair, India will be a stronger force to deal with. There is a big difference between playing as an opening batsman and a one down. There is not a better batsman than Dravid in the third position. His form may not be on his side at this time but I am sure he will rise from sand like a phoenix.

    Good Luck Dravid for the second inning.

  • SanjivSanjiv on December 27, 2007, 13:24 GMT

    I think our openers are out of frame how to play Australia in Australia. Unlike last time, this time is more or less like a tour before when India lost in Australia by 3-0. And at that time it was the same problem ie of the openers. Dravid needs to be shifted back in the middle order or be out of the team for some time. To make the changes right the word go, India should open with Jafer with Yuvraj in the second innings and see if the experiment works. Can some body become Gavasker of 1979 when he made 221 in the Oval, England! It requires miracle to save this test now!

  • kapsy on December 27, 2007, 13:22 GMT

    i was at the boxing day test both days sofar. india did well yesterday but the aussies still scored at 4 runs an over. it was perplexing to see dravid making heavy weather of a flat pitch today. dravid can open but his rightful spot is still no.3. what india do need is a regular opening partner for jaffer. yuvraj was clearly unlucky at being given out caught behind as was the lion hearted kumble. dhoni's lbw was a bit harsh too - the ball was too high. nevertheless, the aussies' bowled very tight and to a plan.

    however, despite the fact that india are 180 runs behind with 3 days to go and the aussies having all 10 wickets intact, india musn't lose heart. they must bowl all out and try to restrict the aussies to 400 runs. india's batting lineup can still fight back. all that they need to do is to think and act like their fearless leader - anil kumble. kumble is the ONLY player in the indian side who plays his cricket like the aussies. a few more like him is what india need!

  • ZUBBU on December 27, 2007, 13:21 GMT

    India have gone with the wrong 11 in this test.They should have given the opening role to Sehwag and brought in Pathan in place of Harbajan. Also, could have given Ishant instead of RP Singh, so that the pace combination is not monotonous.Fine,people might argue about Sehwag, but the same was done to Yuvi in the test against Pakistan and just because of that innings, today the whole team is being re-arranged. Atleast it would be heartening to see if the batsman specially the opening try to rotate the strike. 2-3 runs per over is more than sufficient. Atleast a decent fightback in the 2nd innings will go well, else this tour is going to be a 4-0 whitewash. Without our batsman firing, we will not be able to make a fight in any of the coming matches for sure. All the best to Kumble to make the right decision and speak to the guys whom he is going to drop in the next match.

  • chennakesavareddy on December 27, 2007, 13:18 GMT

    Before giving a thought i have some quqestion for Indian board:

    1)Do we really need Yuvaraj in the middle..? 2)Is it reasonable to give a chance to open the innings to Dravid..? 3)Why did they take sehwag in to the team, what is the purpose

    Thease and all politics and games playing by Vengi,I(on behalf of Indian people) should say there is no clarity in the selection comity.

    and come to the thought :

    We don't need to put Dravid from the field, still we have chances to come back for the game.The only thing we have to now is need to change the opening pair.

    what is the use of eating balls at the bigging, not even taking single run for 10 overs.

    Really vengi needs to send out Dravid from team .He tried to do that for DADA.Fortunatly he came back with is batting

  • indianpunter on December 27, 2007, 12:52 GMT

    dravids approach was baffling to say the least.if we havent learnt by now, that the only way to set the aussies thinking is to play aggressive cricket,then its too bad.as yur correspondent points out rightly, dravid has done this time and again. he seems tied in knots,mentally and looks like a strokeless wonder.maybe getting him to open, when he was in the worst form of his career, was a move bound to backfire.what he did today created so much pressure on himself and on the batsmen who followed him.dravid needs to clear the cobwebs again, otherwise he may soon be curtains for one of the greatest test batsmen of our time.

  • Rajit on December 27, 2007, 12:48 GMT

    It is easy to say now that Darvid failed miserably today in the opener's role,but promoting him to open hasn;t been a wise decision.More than anything else his body language was not at all suggestive of a team that did exceedingly well on Day 1.Sehwag,though on current form will not give any bowler around the globe sleepless nights leave alone Lee and Co.,but atleast he would have scored at a fast clip if he had stayed on for atleast 30-45 minutes and that would have set in some momentum..Anyways from here on India will really struggle to save this match if weather doesn't come to their rescue.

  • Manu_Sirohi on December 27, 2007, 12:41 GMT

    Siddhartha ur write up is very analytical.I would not go for Dravid being dropped from the team.Cricket is a team game & it would b unfair on him being singled out.Rather I would wish that Sehwag should bat as an opener & Dravid occupy the middle order since two openers of static mode can't help the cause we need dynamic opener who can punish the bowlers at other end while the other partner is tiring & irritating the bowlers with solid defense of course with ample runs at better pace.Dravid needs to talk to himself a bit & convince himself that he has got the best technique what needs to be done is conversion of good delivery into run getting deliveries.

  • TeamIndiaWellwisher on December 27, 2007, 12:31 GMT

    Definitely not. Dravid gets into these shell every now and then and it is just a bad phase for him. The point is when one batsman is finding the going tough, the other one can ease it for him by scoring comparitively quickly and also rotating strike so that dravid doesnt have to face the same bowler. We know how positive Jaffer was against Pakistan. He is the man in form and its on him to take the onus and relieve some pressure off Dravid. It is a team game after all. Last time around in Australia, even when Akash Chopra was blocking one end, the presence of Sehwag at the other meant runs kept coming and there was no undue pressure. This is not to say that Sehwag is the solution, but the other batsman should be more positive. See the stats, when we have done well against Australia, we have batted positively, be it Sehwag or Laxman or Sachin leading the way. Hope we learn soon.

  • philipbkk on December 27, 2007, 12:14 GMT

    India's batting order has remained unchanged for almost a year and a half since the south african series....and lo the moment its changed we fall like a pack of cards.To the purists each and every batting position should have a specialist..its not for nothing that when batting positions are shuffled averages take a serious hit...looking at australia someone like mike hussey had to wait probably a good 5 to 6 years for his turn...and it wasn't beocoz he was out of form...its all in the mindset...we accomodated yuvraj and then we have dravid opening and laxman coming in at 3...looking at today the only batsmen who scored runs sans dhoni were sachin and sourav who came in at 4 and 5 respectively...positions from where they have scored the maximum runs in their careers....i feel kumble when he said that "dravid had no choice but to open" was expressing his anguish at the very frustrating system breeding in indian cricket..sometimes harsh decisions have to be taken for greater good..

  • MParikh on December 27, 2007, 12:00 GMT

    Dravid, and for that case, the Indian strategy to see off the new ball was the most negative tactic after such a brilliant work done by its bowlers. The mindset shown by Dravid suggests that India had no game plan to will the test after Australia posted a handsome total from where their chances of losing the game were distant.

    Had India set out with an attacking mindset that would have set a positive tone, not just for the innings or match, but the entire series. This negative mind set of the batsmen, on whom Captain Kumble was counting at the beginning of the series is now a big question mark. The bowlers will have to toil all throughout the series as the batsmen have given away undue confidence to the Aussie bowlers. Jaffar has to prove himself so has Dravid to do. The only thing/change India can do now is to replace one of the openers with Sehwag and get a mix of caution and aggression to counter the Aussie bowlers.

  • MrCricketCricketers on December 27, 2007, 11:54 GMT

    I think they should take out Dravid and bring in Sehwag Because when Ganguly was taken out of the team he came back strong and look at the performance in 2007... Thats one thing wrong with the indian team once a player plays good in 1 or 2 games they keep him in to another 20 games. Dravid is really having a POOR year so i say next test Bring in Sehwag but try him again as 2007 may not have been his Lucky year But 2008 might just be the year which dravid and the indian team is lookin for.

    Take Dravid out let me play a few pratice games and see how it goes then bring him back But next test i would like to see Someone else Opening or Sehwag in the team.

    What are your thoughts ?

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  • MrCricketCricketers on December 27, 2007, 11:54 GMT

    I think they should take out Dravid and bring in Sehwag Because when Ganguly was taken out of the team he came back strong and look at the performance in 2007... Thats one thing wrong with the indian team once a player plays good in 1 or 2 games they keep him in to another 20 games. Dravid is really having a POOR year so i say next test Bring in Sehwag but try him again as 2007 may not have been his Lucky year But 2008 might just be the year which dravid and the indian team is lookin for.

    Take Dravid out let me play a few pratice games and see how it goes then bring him back But next test i would like to see Someone else Opening or Sehwag in the team.

    What are your thoughts ?

  • MParikh on December 27, 2007, 12:00 GMT

    Dravid, and for that case, the Indian strategy to see off the new ball was the most negative tactic after such a brilliant work done by its bowlers. The mindset shown by Dravid suggests that India had no game plan to will the test after Australia posted a handsome total from where their chances of losing the game were distant.

    Had India set out with an attacking mindset that would have set a positive tone, not just for the innings or match, but the entire series. This negative mind set of the batsmen, on whom Captain Kumble was counting at the beginning of the series is now a big question mark. The bowlers will have to toil all throughout the series as the batsmen have given away undue confidence to the Aussie bowlers. Jaffar has to prove himself so has Dravid to do. The only thing/change India can do now is to replace one of the openers with Sehwag and get a mix of caution and aggression to counter the Aussie bowlers.

  • philipbkk on December 27, 2007, 12:14 GMT

    India's batting order has remained unchanged for almost a year and a half since the south african series....and lo the moment its changed we fall like a pack of cards.To the purists each and every batting position should have a specialist..its not for nothing that when batting positions are shuffled averages take a serious hit...looking at australia someone like mike hussey had to wait probably a good 5 to 6 years for his turn...and it wasn't beocoz he was out of form...its all in the mindset...we accomodated yuvraj and then we have dravid opening and laxman coming in at 3...looking at today the only batsmen who scored runs sans dhoni were sachin and sourav who came in at 4 and 5 respectively...positions from where they have scored the maximum runs in their careers....i feel kumble when he said that "dravid had no choice but to open" was expressing his anguish at the very frustrating system breeding in indian cricket..sometimes harsh decisions have to be taken for greater good..

  • TeamIndiaWellwisher on December 27, 2007, 12:31 GMT

    Definitely not. Dravid gets into these shell every now and then and it is just a bad phase for him. The point is when one batsman is finding the going tough, the other one can ease it for him by scoring comparitively quickly and also rotating strike so that dravid doesnt have to face the same bowler. We know how positive Jaffer was against Pakistan. He is the man in form and its on him to take the onus and relieve some pressure off Dravid. It is a team game after all. Last time around in Australia, even when Akash Chopra was blocking one end, the presence of Sehwag at the other meant runs kept coming and there was no undue pressure. This is not to say that Sehwag is the solution, but the other batsman should be more positive. See the stats, when we have done well against Australia, we have batted positively, be it Sehwag or Laxman or Sachin leading the way. Hope we learn soon.

  • Manu_Sirohi on December 27, 2007, 12:41 GMT

    Siddhartha ur write up is very analytical.I would not go for Dravid being dropped from the team.Cricket is a team game & it would b unfair on him being singled out.Rather I would wish that Sehwag should bat as an opener & Dravid occupy the middle order since two openers of static mode can't help the cause we need dynamic opener who can punish the bowlers at other end while the other partner is tiring & irritating the bowlers with solid defense of course with ample runs at better pace.Dravid needs to talk to himself a bit & convince himself that he has got the best technique what needs to be done is conversion of good delivery into run getting deliveries.

  • Rajit on December 27, 2007, 12:48 GMT

    It is easy to say now that Darvid failed miserably today in the opener's role,but promoting him to open hasn;t been a wise decision.More than anything else his body language was not at all suggestive of a team that did exceedingly well on Day 1.Sehwag,though on current form will not give any bowler around the globe sleepless nights leave alone Lee and Co.,but atleast he would have scored at a fast clip if he had stayed on for atleast 30-45 minutes and that would have set in some momentum..Anyways from here on India will really struggle to save this match if weather doesn't come to their rescue.

  • indianpunter on December 27, 2007, 12:52 GMT

    dravids approach was baffling to say the least.if we havent learnt by now, that the only way to set the aussies thinking is to play aggressive cricket,then its too bad.as yur correspondent points out rightly, dravid has done this time and again. he seems tied in knots,mentally and looks like a strokeless wonder.maybe getting him to open, when he was in the worst form of his career, was a move bound to backfire.what he did today created so much pressure on himself and on the batsmen who followed him.dravid needs to clear the cobwebs again, otherwise he may soon be curtains for one of the greatest test batsmen of our time.

  • chennakesavareddy on December 27, 2007, 13:18 GMT

    Before giving a thought i have some quqestion for Indian board:

    1)Do we really need Yuvaraj in the middle..? 2)Is it reasonable to give a chance to open the innings to Dravid..? 3)Why did they take sehwag in to the team, what is the purpose

    Thease and all politics and games playing by Vengi,I(on behalf of Indian people) should say there is no clarity in the selection comity.

    and come to the thought :

    We don't need to put Dravid from the field, still we have chances to come back for the game.The only thing we have to now is need to change the opening pair.

    what is the use of eating balls at the bigging, not even taking single run for 10 overs.

    Really vengi needs to send out Dravid from team .He tried to do that for DADA.Fortunatly he came back with is batting

  • ZUBBU on December 27, 2007, 13:21 GMT

    India have gone with the wrong 11 in this test.They should have given the opening role to Sehwag and brought in Pathan in place of Harbajan. Also, could have given Ishant instead of RP Singh, so that the pace combination is not monotonous.Fine,people might argue about Sehwag, but the same was done to Yuvi in the test against Pakistan and just because of that innings, today the whole team is being re-arranged. Atleast it would be heartening to see if the batsman specially the opening try to rotate the strike. 2-3 runs per over is more than sufficient. Atleast a decent fightback in the 2nd innings will go well, else this tour is going to be a 4-0 whitewash. Without our batsman firing, we will not be able to make a fight in any of the coming matches for sure. All the best to Kumble to make the right decision and speak to the guys whom he is going to drop in the next match.

  • kapsy on December 27, 2007, 13:22 GMT

    i was at the boxing day test both days sofar. india did well yesterday but the aussies still scored at 4 runs an over. it was perplexing to see dravid making heavy weather of a flat pitch today. dravid can open but his rightful spot is still no.3. what india do need is a regular opening partner for jaffer. yuvraj was clearly unlucky at being given out caught behind as was the lion hearted kumble. dhoni's lbw was a bit harsh too - the ball was too high. nevertheless, the aussies' bowled very tight and to a plan.

    however, despite the fact that india are 180 runs behind with 3 days to go and the aussies having all 10 wickets intact, india musn't lose heart. they must bowl all out and try to restrict the aussies to 400 runs. india's batting lineup can still fight back. all that they need to do is to think and act like their fearless leader - anil kumble. kumble is the ONLY player in the indian side who plays his cricket like the aussies. a few more like him is what india need!