Indian Cricket January 4, 2008

Laxman was sublime but India need more

One of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Yuvraj has to get a century
159

Peter Roebuck has said all that needs to be said about the umpiring on the first day of the Sydney Test. The Indian bowlers, given how thin the attack looked on paper, were first-rate. Disregard the static about how a truly resilient bowling attack would have picked itself off the floor: this one just did. RP Singh and his fellows took Mark Benson's gift to Ricky Ponting in their stride and reduced Australia to 134 for 6. (Ponting, by the way, did a Yuvraj and moaned about getting a bad decision having benefited from his let off!). The spinners then gamely tried to put Steve Bucknor's hearing-aid moment behind them by having Andrew Symonds stumped twice but the third umpire was astigmatic and didn't give the first one, so Bucknor sensibly didn't refer the second stumping to him to stop him from giving technology a bad name.

For the Indians, RP Singh and Sachin Tendulkar were exceptional. The four wickets that RP Singh took were actually out, which, with umpires like these, must count for something. The outstanding Australian player was Brad Hogg. He started the counter-attack and caned the bowling with such smiling good cheer that Anil Kumble and the rest must have wondered if he was Adam Gilchrist's cousin. Then Brett Lee did his part by putting the boot in on the second morning. It's the depth of this Australian lower order that kills visiting sides off; if the batsmen don't get you the allrounders will. This Test may well turn on Symonds' big hundred but that had so many fathers that it must count as a collaboration, not an individual achievement.

I haven't watched a lovelier innings than the one VVS Laxman played today in years. The cover drives were reliably sublime but it was the onside shots, the whips and pulls and flicks that made me grin and nod like a hypnotized child. When threading a packed off-side field wasn't challenging enough, he seemed to experiment, for the sake of his art, with more improbable angles. Long legged and stooped, Laxman occupies the crease like a slightly worried, but marvellously graceful stork. His stroke-play is non-violent; when he's in his zone the strokes seem to be played in some abstract cause - beauty? geometry? - rather than the needs of the contest itself. It isn't true, of course. His epic innings have always been played in ferociously competitive contexts; it's just that he never looks dogged or fierce or elaborately determined.

That said, this innings mightn't rank amongst his best because it doesn't seem big enough. Size matters; India needed a repeat of his two previous centuries at Sydney, a hundred and fifty at least. If stumps had been taken on the second day with Laxman and Rahul Dravid at the crease, Indian fans could have gone to bed dreaming of six hundred runs, Kolkata redux. As things stand, a sensibly optimistic scenario would have India matching the Australian score over two sessions and a bit on the third day and then look to RP Singh, Kumble and the enigmatic Harbhajan Singh to keep the Aussies down to a plausible fourth-innings target. One of Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh has to get a century for any of this to happen. If it is Yuvraj, he will have earned his Test spurs and this blog will happily abase itself and acknowledge its absolute ignorance. But someone had better do it, because if they don't, Laxman's magical innings will be diminished; it'll become one more pretty thing to be salvaged by desis from the familiar wreckage of defeat.

Mukul Kesavan is a writer based in New Delhi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Punter007 on January 7, 2008, 21:26 GMT

    Ahhaa, Even Zimbabwe could have won this test match with those two umpires around, And I don't understand why australians are celebrating so loud, Hmmmm....I think this is the way they always win, Many people by now understood why all visiting teams have lost or protested against the upmiring standards or sludging, which is Australia thinks they are playing in cricketing spirits, I don't understand whys ICC is not considering sledging as poor sportsmanship and ban it.

  • Rahul Razi on January 7, 2008, 5:22 GMT

    what is with people complaining over Australia's so called double standards, i bet if you ask Ricky Ponting what he was really fumming about when given out would not be the decision but the fact he fell to Harbajan again and a critcal moement in the game and the fact he wasnt out would of added to it at the time. Australia play Very hard cricket and to win, at all cost unlike the other 7 or 8 test nations DONT - Thats a fact, INDIA are coming along but still lack that killer instinct to be a great team. Why is so much being put on Symonds over the Dravid wicket caus he was batting so will what a joke.. droped could of easily been given out LBW 2 or 3 times give me a break. Im from india as well by the Way.

  • Gee on January 6, 2008, 14:05 GMT

    sorry Dave but just tot will add d much needed corrections to your post mate! Here it goes..

    Victory...a SHAMEFUL n Disgusting Aussie victory! Once again, the (UMPIRE)ful Australians serve up a big bowl of bulls**t and make the better deserved Indians eat it, utterly humiliating the Australian team spirit after Steve Waugh yet again.

    This is one of the saddest test match victories ever - getting lucky as they did from 6-134 to post two totals of over 400 (only losing 17 wickets, which actually was probably 27 after d shocking decisions n d aussie spirit shown),and then bowling out a side in 70 overs (8 out of 10 batsmen atleast), inspite ponting n clarke appealing for grounded catches!

    The Aussies must be utterly humiliated and the prospect of facing the reality in near future cud b seen on ponting's face! Thanx Dave n im sure ud remember d 99WC semis after seeing ganguly's dismissal

    India werent outclassed at the sport mate but im sorry, Aussies seem better Drama artists!

  • Travis on January 6, 2008, 11:39 GMT

    Dave, yes we're all happy that we won. But I find the way you're rubbing it in distasteful and ill-timed. If the boot was on the other foot I'd be feeling a tad peeved myself. Have a little empathy, dude.

    That said, I'm in no way going to "put an asterisk" next to this win as somebody above suggested. Yes, Australia had the better of some incredibly bad umpiring. But until some proof is shown that the umpires were a part of some vast conspiracy to deny a valiant India side, this is merely a statistical oddity. Nothing more.

  • Mark Lees on January 6, 2008, 10:50 GMT

    Forget about Bucknor, he's finished. Rather than harping on about bad umpiring no one is offering a fresh solution. TECHNOLOGY IS NOT THE answer!. Why? Because the rules state that the umpire is the sole judge etc etc. The ICC cannot make better umpire magically appear but..... here is an idea..... Why not have 3 or even 4 umpires appointed for every test match. They could "interchange" at drink and session breaks. That way no one perso is required to concentrate 100% of the time for 2 hours x 3 sessions x 5 days. If we want to get closer to perefect decisions then we should be looking at why umpires have mind blanks etc. No one asks the sportsman (batsman, bowler or fielder) to concentrate for 450 overs why do we think that unpires can? It's not much easier being at square leg than the bowlers stumps so an umpire needs to be "on" all the time. Umpires are only human.... well just.

  • Jason on January 6, 2008, 8:06 GMT

    Yuvraj Singh = bahahahahahahahaha!

    Anil Kumble deserves praise for his true captain's knock and one can't help but admire him for it.

    Dravid copped an absolute shocker. It's funny just before that decision I was thinking that he was having a really lucky run this series- caught off no-balls, absolute sitters dropped off him etc but his luck ran out in the most terrible way today.

    I can't recall ever seeing such poor umpiring in a cricket match, and more errors went in Australia's favour than India's, but you still can't say Australia wouldn't have won- you can't speculate what would have happened, and at the end of the day India just haven't been good enough this series so far. They really were completely outclassed (and poorly captained) when the game was there to be won on days 4 and 5.

    Credit has to go to Laxman for being the man who took Australia on from which Tendulkar, Kumble, and to a lesser extent Ganguly took their leads.

    Oh and Yuvraj Singh... bahahahahahaha!

  • dave on January 6, 2008, 7:54 GMT

    Victory, glorious Aussie victory.

    Once again, the masterful Australians serve up a big bowl of crow and make the racist, self-deluding Indians eat it, utterly humiliating them yet again.

    This is one of the greatest test match victories ever - recovering as they did from 6-134 to post two totals of over 400 (only losing 17 wickets), defending a 500+ total and then bowling out a side in 70 overs, despite some dreadful umpiring decisions going in India's favour.

    The Indians must be utterly humiliated and the prospect of facing the Aussie quicks in Perth must be terrifying.

    And what do I hear form the Indian supporters- moan, moan, moan.... face it, your team is outclassed and will continue to be.

  • jay on January 6, 2008, 7:37 GMT

    Recent umpiring decisions have been so blatantly biased towards England and Australia and against Asian teams that even Anglo and Aussie journalists have been embarrassed even to speak out against them.

    The attempt to keep the Asian teams 'in their place' has been going on for some time now through every kind of dirty trick imaginable - umpire-rigged matches, selective punishments, pressurising of Asian cricket boards, gagging orders, rule changes etc, etc.

    May I suggest a way to fight the beast? Rest guys like Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar for tours to England and Australia. Give junior guys a chance to have a practice tour, knowing that any fair and serious cricket is not going to happen in those countries. Let the English and Australian authorities continue to wallow in the self-congralutaory orgy that is the Ashes and let them be denied the chance to see the cream of Asian cricketing talent in action. Maybe then they will be forced to change tack.

  • ed on January 6, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    I can't watch this test match any more, having just seen Umpire Bucknor giving Dravid out caught behind off the middle of his pad.

    If the Aussies' winning streak is to continue, there needs to be an asterix against this game, as the 2 umpires have done more to win the game for the Aussies than the combined Aussie XI....

    Fundamentally incorrect decisions against India at critical times have altered the entire course of the game. Symonds caught behind on 30, then stumped on 48 - he went on to get 160 odd. Ponting caught behind on 17 (he then had the temerity to complain about his even worse LBW decision when on 55). In the Aussie 2nd innings - Symonds (61) plumb LBW first ball (Hawkeye - you were wrong!); Hussey caught behind on 45, then scores 145 not out...Now Dravid in India's game saving dig - Bucknor is utterly hopeless and has been a liability for years. India would have wrapped up the test by now if these decisions had been made correctly - that makes it 1-1!!

  • Eddie Keys on January 6, 2008, 5:11 GMT

    In this Test Australia had an unfair advantage. They also had Steve Bucknor(decisions:Symonds and Dravid) in their team.It is high time that this incompetent official masquerading as an umpire was sent packing. He passed his sell by date at least three years ago!

  • Punter007 on January 7, 2008, 21:26 GMT

    Ahhaa, Even Zimbabwe could have won this test match with those two umpires around, And I don't understand why australians are celebrating so loud, Hmmmm....I think this is the way they always win, Many people by now understood why all visiting teams have lost or protested against the upmiring standards or sludging, which is Australia thinks they are playing in cricketing spirits, I don't understand whys ICC is not considering sledging as poor sportsmanship and ban it.

  • Rahul Razi on January 7, 2008, 5:22 GMT

    what is with people complaining over Australia's so called double standards, i bet if you ask Ricky Ponting what he was really fumming about when given out would not be the decision but the fact he fell to Harbajan again and a critcal moement in the game and the fact he wasnt out would of added to it at the time. Australia play Very hard cricket and to win, at all cost unlike the other 7 or 8 test nations DONT - Thats a fact, INDIA are coming along but still lack that killer instinct to be a great team. Why is so much being put on Symonds over the Dravid wicket caus he was batting so will what a joke.. droped could of easily been given out LBW 2 or 3 times give me a break. Im from india as well by the Way.

  • Gee on January 6, 2008, 14:05 GMT

    sorry Dave but just tot will add d much needed corrections to your post mate! Here it goes..

    Victory...a SHAMEFUL n Disgusting Aussie victory! Once again, the (UMPIRE)ful Australians serve up a big bowl of bulls**t and make the better deserved Indians eat it, utterly humiliating the Australian team spirit after Steve Waugh yet again.

    This is one of the saddest test match victories ever - getting lucky as they did from 6-134 to post two totals of over 400 (only losing 17 wickets, which actually was probably 27 after d shocking decisions n d aussie spirit shown),and then bowling out a side in 70 overs (8 out of 10 batsmen atleast), inspite ponting n clarke appealing for grounded catches!

    The Aussies must be utterly humiliated and the prospect of facing the reality in near future cud b seen on ponting's face! Thanx Dave n im sure ud remember d 99WC semis after seeing ganguly's dismissal

    India werent outclassed at the sport mate but im sorry, Aussies seem better Drama artists!

  • Travis on January 6, 2008, 11:39 GMT

    Dave, yes we're all happy that we won. But I find the way you're rubbing it in distasteful and ill-timed. If the boot was on the other foot I'd be feeling a tad peeved myself. Have a little empathy, dude.

    That said, I'm in no way going to "put an asterisk" next to this win as somebody above suggested. Yes, Australia had the better of some incredibly bad umpiring. But until some proof is shown that the umpires were a part of some vast conspiracy to deny a valiant India side, this is merely a statistical oddity. Nothing more.

  • Mark Lees on January 6, 2008, 10:50 GMT

    Forget about Bucknor, he's finished. Rather than harping on about bad umpiring no one is offering a fresh solution. TECHNOLOGY IS NOT THE answer!. Why? Because the rules state that the umpire is the sole judge etc etc. The ICC cannot make better umpire magically appear but..... here is an idea..... Why not have 3 or even 4 umpires appointed for every test match. They could "interchange" at drink and session breaks. That way no one perso is required to concentrate 100% of the time for 2 hours x 3 sessions x 5 days. If we want to get closer to perefect decisions then we should be looking at why umpires have mind blanks etc. No one asks the sportsman (batsman, bowler or fielder) to concentrate for 450 overs why do we think that unpires can? It's not much easier being at square leg than the bowlers stumps so an umpire needs to be "on" all the time. Umpires are only human.... well just.

  • Jason on January 6, 2008, 8:06 GMT

    Yuvraj Singh = bahahahahahahahaha!

    Anil Kumble deserves praise for his true captain's knock and one can't help but admire him for it.

    Dravid copped an absolute shocker. It's funny just before that decision I was thinking that he was having a really lucky run this series- caught off no-balls, absolute sitters dropped off him etc but his luck ran out in the most terrible way today.

    I can't recall ever seeing such poor umpiring in a cricket match, and more errors went in Australia's favour than India's, but you still can't say Australia wouldn't have won- you can't speculate what would have happened, and at the end of the day India just haven't been good enough this series so far. They really were completely outclassed (and poorly captained) when the game was there to be won on days 4 and 5.

    Credit has to go to Laxman for being the man who took Australia on from which Tendulkar, Kumble, and to a lesser extent Ganguly took their leads.

    Oh and Yuvraj Singh... bahahahahahaha!

  • dave on January 6, 2008, 7:54 GMT

    Victory, glorious Aussie victory.

    Once again, the masterful Australians serve up a big bowl of crow and make the racist, self-deluding Indians eat it, utterly humiliating them yet again.

    This is one of the greatest test match victories ever - recovering as they did from 6-134 to post two totals of over 400 (only losing 17 wickets), defending a 500+ total and then bowling out a side in 70 overs, despite some dreadful umpiring decisions going in India's favour.

    The Indians must be utterly humiliated and the prospect of facing the Aussie quicks in Perth must be terrifying.

    And what do I hear form the Indian supporters- moan, moan, moan.... face it, your team is outclassed and will continue to be.

  • jay on January 6, 2008, 7:37 GMT

    Recent umpiring decisions have been so blatantly biased towards England and Australia and against Asian teams that even Anglo and Aussie journalists have been embarrassed even to speak out against them.

    The attempt to keep the Asian teams 'in their place' has been going on for some time now through every kind of dirty trick imaginable - umpire-rigged matches, selective punishments, pressurising of Asian cricket boards, gagging orders, rule changes etc, etc.

    May I suggest a way to fight the beast? Rest guys like Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar for tours to England and Australia. Give junior guys a chance to have a practice tour, knowing that any fair and serious cricket is not going to happen in those countries. Let the English and Australian authorities continue to wallow in the self-congralutaory orgy that is the Ashes and let them be denied the chance to see the cream of Asian cricketing talent in action. Maybe then they will be forced to change tack.

  • ed on January 6, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    I can't watch this test match any more, having just seen Umpire Bucknor giving Dravid out caught behind off the middle of his pad.

    If the Aussies' winning streak is to continue, there needs to be an asterix against this game, as the 2 umpires have done more to win the game for the Aussies than the combined Aussie XI....

    Fundamentally incorrect decisions against India at critical times have altered the entire course of the game. Symonds caught behind on 30, then stumped on 48 - he went on to get 160 odd. Ponting caught behind on 17 (he then had the temerity to complain about his even worse LBW decision when on 55). In the Aussie 2nd innings - Symonds (61) plumb LBW first ball (Hawkeye - you were wrong!); Hussey caught behind on 45, then scores 145 not out...Now Dravid in India's game saving dig - Bucknor is utterly hopeless and has been a liability for years. India would have wrapped up the test by now if these decisions had been made correctly - that makes it 1-1!!

  • Eddie Keys on January 6, 2008, 5:11 GMT

    In this Test Australia had an unfair advantage. They also had Steve Bucknor(decisions:Symonds and Dravid) in their team.It is high time that this incompetent official masquerading as an umpire was sent packing. He passed his sell by date at least three years ago!

  • Carly on January 5, 2008, 23:17 GMT

    I swear, I will be so glad when this series is over and we are rid of these whiny Indian supporters. No wonder their team is such a whimpy bunch of children - they reflect the constant whingeing and sense of entitlement their supporters have. Even the English were better than this lot!

  • Satya on January 5, 2008, 23:09 GMT

    If it turns out that Harbhajan has referred to Symonds as a monkey, then he has not only let down the Indian team, he has let down the whole nation. He should be dropped.

    We put up with 150 years at the bayonette end of English racial slurs and brutality, where we were treated as little more than monkeys, purely because of the colour of our skin.

    And the African people who were the slaves in the Carribean, through whom Symonds traces his heritage - put up with 400 years of the same.

    For any one of us to now turn around and imitate this despicable behaviour is the height of shame. Someone posted here recently the statement that we think we're as good as anyone - as good as the whites -and rightly so, but do we think we're better than the blacks?

    The egalitarian foundations upon which this country was built, for which Mahatma Gandhi starved himself so that we could be free, forbids us to dehumanise another, because of their race or the colour of their skin.

    We are better than that.

  • TonyP on January 5, 2008, 21:02 GMT

    Further, if someone disagrees with an Indian that may have nothing to do with race.

    Racism is a sustained hostility to members of different races that classifies all members of those races as possessing shared negative attributes.

    Saying that all Indians are over-sensitive & easily aggravated while all Australians are aggressive, loud & boorish is culturally insensitive, grossly simplistic & racist.

    Many of the generalisations that have been bandied about in this column are really quite offensive, & they have come from both sides. I am ashamed of many of the things that have been said by other Australians & I am disappointed with the readiness of many others to offer thoughts that are just as hurtful.

    I would like us to get back to talking about the wonderful cricket that is being played by both sides & Mukul's fine article. Maybe we can set an example for mature dialogue & hope that cricketers from both teams will follow suit.

  • TonyP on January 5, 2008, 20:43 GMT

    There are a lot of allegations of racism flying back & forth on this list & I think it's time we took a step back to get some perspective.

    The first point I would make is that if something bad happens to an Indian, even if it is caused by a non-Indian it is not necessarily anything to do with race. Falling rocks, meteor strikes, earthquakes, car accidents & bad umpiring decisions can & will befall Indians.

    Have India suffered more frequent & more poorly timed bad umpiring decisions than the Australians in this test?

    Indisputably.

    Is this racially motivated?

    No.

    When I was young the West Indies were the best team in the world & they too tended to benefit from a lot of umpiring errors. Weaker teams were less confident in their own ability & more desperate for positive results. They appealed indiscriminately & were hostile to the umpires when they didn't get their way. The West Indians were more assured they would win anyway & brought less pressure.

    To be continued...

  • TonyP on January 5, 2008, 20:22 GMT

    Claims by the Indian management that Harbhajan was provoked into mis-behaving are simply drivel. Harbhajan's an adult & responsible for his own actions. Saying "They made me do it" sounds like the whining of a 6 year old.

    IF Harbhajan did something wrong (& I am yet to see proof that this is the case) he will have no-one but himself to blame, no-one will have forced him to do it. Yes, he may have been angry, or fired up, or competitive, or whatever, but that isn't an excuse. Unacceptable behaviour is behaviour that can't be tolerated regardless of context & if he lacks the self-discipline to behave like an adult then he must accept the consequences.

    I *still* don't know what was said unto whom so I don't know that Harbhajan is guilty of anything or for that matter that the Australians involved are innocent of wrong-doing.

    I will say that based on his press statements Harbhajan has done more than his fair share in creating a volatile antipathy between himself & the Australian team.

  • take that on January 5, 2008, 19:15 GMT

    Australians are the ones who are lucky. LBW decisions are always controversial, but when a batsmen is stumped and given not out (twice) and nicks (thrice) and given not out is ridiculous. further more ANDREW SYMONDS is a SOB so are those drunk Australian crowds. Indians are giving them some competition(on field) so they are running scared. and have started mind games. Further more all teams that tour down under have complained about dubious umpiring, crowd trouble (for ages)which I think is true and cannot be neglected.

  • TonyP on January 5, 2008, 18:58 GMT

    Also, we could use some restraint about accusations of racism. Harbhajan has been charged but we don't know he's guilty, we only have the vaguest idea what really happened. Let's wait before leaping instinctively onto the nearest band-wagon.

    I will say this as an Australian:

    1) I feel it is inappropriate to talk directly to an opposition player on the field unless it is directly concerned with the conduct of the game or being civil.

    2) What most Australians call "banter" I call "abuse". I'm not saying Symonds or anyone else did anything wrong but we leave ourselves open to allegations by not maintaining a high standard of on-field behaviour.

    3) Harbhajan's behaviour leaves a lot to be desired. If he wants to make public comments designed to irk opponents or engage in on-field exchanges with the opposition he has to expect repercussions. I think he would be better advised to be more restrained. Ganguly has the same resolve but creates much less furore, he presents less of a target.

  • TonyP on January 5, 2008, 18:44 GMT

    If I were an Indian fan I would feel frustrated & upset by the standard of umpiring in this test & that Australia are in a position to win when they might already have lost if correct decisions had been given. I sympathise. I want Australia to win by playing good cricket, not by being lucky. If India play the better cricket they deserve to win.

    However, I've been an umpire & I know what it's like. I've made many bad decisions, that've cost players & robbed teams of victory. I tried the best that I could to be fair & correct but it wasn't enough. I can't do anything to change the past, I have to live with it.

    So I sympathise with Bucknor & Benson, who I think are enduring great pressure doing a hard job & getting no gratitude. With no umpires there would be no game.

    It's not as easy as TV makes it look & just like being a test player, most of us will never be good enough to come even close. The umpires are talented, highly skilled & trying their best. Let's be mature & recognise that

  • aussiefan on January 5, 2008, 18:29 GMT

    bhajji has ponting's number !!! the only way ponting can do something this series is to make false allegations against Bhajji and try to chuck him out. Hopefully the truth will come out during the hearing and Ponting will be deservedly disgraced.

  • aussiefan on January 5, 2008, 18:29 GMT

    bhajji has ponting's number !!! the only way ponting can do something this series is to make false allegations against Bhajji and try to chuck him out. Hopefully the truth will come out during the hearing and Ponting will be deservedly disgraced.

  • Rohit on January 5, 2008, 16:17 GMT

    Why are the Aussies so quick to play the race card. Here is Mr Steve accusing me of playing the race card because I criticized the umpires. Race wasn't in my mind at all when I made that comment but it seems it is certainly in your mind. If an umpire is corrupt in my opinion, I'll call him corrupt. If an umpire is biased against subcontinental team (for whatever reason), I'll call it. I can't read people's mind but I can always point out the facts the way I see it.

    I watched Clark yesterday shamelessly holding his ground after edging the catch to slips. What have these Aussies become? I think they are the worst sportsmen in the whole cricketing world (am I playing race card again?). I have watched cricket in Aussie bars and I can tell you that this kind of behavior is supported by most fans. Even the young women who usually are well behaved in most parts of the world are very nasty in their comments and attitude,

  • Sreekaanth on January 5, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    Hi Jason Steve etc Benson afforded a brace of reprieves to Hussey - the first a extra confident leg-before-wicket shout from Kumble, the second a leg-side catch from the bowling of RP Singh - which replays of both suggested were out.

    This is from sydney morning herald. Please don't keep talking about how Australians had their share of bad decisions. it is balderdash.

    As to australians not whining , my dear Steve :-), please read how Ponting whined about umpiring when he was in India and murali kartik did not walk. I presume when Ponting whines, it is a feedback and when others do so, it is whining. As to racist slurs, let us wait and see what actually happened. Probably hayden and symonda played their part too as a report from Sydney morning herald suggests. I guess it is a complaint to put India on the backfoot. Oz is a superior team and so it is pathetic to find double standards in them. Gilly is the only true sportsman you have in your team.

  • Satyajit on January 5, 2008, 15:38 GMT

    Why is Symmo so touchy about racism? Does he have an inferiority complex? Was he subjected to racism in Australia in his childhood? These are the questions we should think objectively. Australia has not been free of racism historically (please refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_by_country#Australia). I am not including all Australians here and I guess a majority (like 80%) would be non racist but 20% can make lot of difference. We know Symmo didn't have a great childhood. I think Ponting has used Symmo's insecurity beautifully. In the beginning of the test he claimed vehemently that he is not Bhajji's bunny; but alas, he is! On the racism bogey even Bhajji can claim to being targeted racially as he wears a turban and looks quite different (2 sikhs were killed in US after 9/11 as they wore turban). I think it's his good grace that he doesn't think so. Probably because of a good childhood being raised in India?

  • Punter007 on January 5, 2008, 14:56 GMT

    I think No ball's should be signaled like the one in long jump by third umpire or someone who watches only no balls, this makes umpires to concentrate at the strikers end. I thinks its pretty hard to do umpiring, ICC is planning to introduce three third umpire appeals like in Tennis, so why don't they expirement like this. Coming to Laxman's innings its just another classic innings from him, which saved India and which will be forgotten by the selectors for next series and they may drop him again for fifth bowler or to give confidence to player who never performed in a test.

  • Travis on January 5, 2008, 12:02 GMT

    Some of the shots played by Laxman were amongst the most elegant and beautiful that I have ever seen. His timing is incredible. It was unfortunate that he seemed to go back into his shell after giving the chance that Gilchrist dropped. I think he was so much "in the zone" that he was truly shocked that he had miscued a shot. Thanks for some great memories, VVS.

    It's also unfortunate that people are, and always will be (unless India win), talking about Bucknor's performance rather than Laxman's when this Test is discussed.

    Bad umpiring decisions are a part of the game. I hope they always will be, as bringing in technology would invalidate the statistical records of 130 years of the Test game we all love. End of story.

  • Charm on January 5, 2008, 10:44 GMT

    Aussies are masters of creating controvercies and make all the oppostion teams confused and finally get the undue advantage from it. There are several occations in the past,it happened to Sri Lankane team in 1995 series creating problems for Murali.

  • Steve on January 5, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    Posted by: Rohit 5 hours, 22 minutes ago

    People, stop trying to be politically correct. These are not umpiring "mistakes". These are intentional and sometimes premeditated. Funny how the umpires have hearing problems only when one team is batting. It boggles my mind why the Indians don't protest. The BCCI is not even going to make a formal complaint against the umpires. Ponting gets one little chance and he files a complaint against Bhajji.

    This is the worst piece of garbage I have ever seen published here. Rohit - you are the epitome of everythign that is wrong with Indian Cricket supporters and Indian cricket - the vilest racist supporters in the world but all too quick to play the race card when it suits the, You disgust me.

    Australi ahs had just as bad a catalouge of poor decisons, yet you don't hear us complaining (or racially abusing your players), What you see is us winning and teaching you Indians how to play the game.

  • rext on January 5, 2008, 8:00 GMT

    Just to make it absolutely clear regarding Ponting's report to the ground Umpires re Singh. Before the Melbourne Test Ponting and Kumble were called to a meeting with the ICC Representative and were instructed to report any comment heard by them or reported to them either on the field or from the crowd! This was to prevent any recurrence of the disgraceful behaviour from sections of the Indian crowd and Indian Cricket Officials during the recent ODI Series. Had Ponting not reported this incident to the Umpires he would have been charged with a disciplinary Offence. Kumble would have been required to do exactly the same thing if the situations were reversed. Clear enough? Probably not, given the self righteous self pitying mentality of some of the bloggers on this site! Whether Singh is guilty or not will be decided by an independent authority NOT the bloggers on this site.Personally I love cricket more than childish jingoism!

  • Adrien Brodkin on January 5, 2008, 7:52 GMT

    I am responding to a very ignorant comment below by someone called Jason. Harb Singh is not "black" as you stated. He is Asian. There is a big difference

    "Posted by: Jason 6 hours ago

    funny how all the Indians cry "racism" when an lbw decision doesn't go in their favour, yet their players are the only ones who actually engage in racist behaviour. Moreover, does anyone see the irony in an Indian racially abusing a black man (Andrew Symonds)? Does Harbhajan not realise that he himself is also black?"

  • Charlie on January 5, 2008, 7:25 GMT

    The Indian cricket team has no credibility any more - resorting to vile racist slurs as a disguise for their many failings as cricketers and men. H Singh should be put of out of cricket for a good long time for this. And Tendulkar, as well, for his defence of it.

  • Rohit on January 5, 2008, 5:04 GMT

    People, stop trying to be politically correct. These are not umpiring "mistakes". These are intentional and sometimes premeditated. Funny how the umpires have hearing problems only when one team is batting. It boggles my mind why the Indians don't protest. The BCCI is not even going to make a formal complaint against the umpires. Ponting gets one little chance and he files a complaint against Bhajji.

  • R. Singh on January 5, 2008, 3:29 GMT

    Ricky Ponting's master plan to get rid of Harbajhan singh as he is scared of him. Main reason for trying to muster up a fake charge of racial slur as he keeps getting out by Harbajhan. Autralia the biggest sledgers are now acting like cry babies. I will take Tendulkar's word over Ponting any day and tendulkar said H.S did not say anything racial. Shame on Ponting to uase such tactic so that he can score runs.

  • Jay on January 5, 2008, 3:12 GMT

    Satya, I felt the same while following the scores online that Sachin is playing selfish game. At the same time I kept wondering if this is a strategy to let the tail attack, so as to boost the moral of our bowlers (remember we could get the Aussie top order cheaply but failed to clean the tail in the first innings). And I think this ploy worked. Again after reading Sachins interview I felt that was an excellent strategy, killing two birds with one stone.

  • Jay on January 5, 2008, 2:55 GMT

    Regarding the comments by ppl about Sachin not protecting the tail, I think that was the tactics. Since the Aussie tailenders scored well against Indians, it was a good ploy to let the Indian tail enders take it back to Aussies. If Harbhajan has failed doing that we would probably had seen a different tactics. But now its crystal clear that the Aussie attack is toothless, and they are easily beatable, if the umpires stop helping them.

  • jiten on January 5, 2008, 2:51 GMT

    Symonds is a cry baby, just trying to get cheap attention by bringing out his race, he did that in India and now trying the same game in Australia. Racist are those people who think they are superior to others, and in that regards Indians dont consider themselves superior, we consider ourselves on equal footing with each and every other race in the world.

  • Jason on January 5, 2008, 1:44 GMT

    funny how all the Indians cry "racism" when an lbw decision doesn't go in their favour, yet their players are the only ones who actually engage in racist behaviour. Moreover, does anyone see the irony in an Indian racially abusing a black man (Andrew Symonds)? Does Harbhajan not realise that he himself is also black?

  • Bill on January 5, 2008, 1:42 GMT

    Bye Bye Punter

    Austalia need to cut Ponting loose - he is a mental wreck and we cannot afford to be sentimental. This is a second rate Indian team and we should be crushing them. Ponting is the weak link - Gilchrist knows what it takes to beat these Indians - let him have at them.

  • anyonya on January 4, 2008, 23:56 GMT

    there was a post comparing sachins and laras 232 test innings, clearly the post leans towards suggesting that lara is a better batsmen looking at the statistics, but I think overall sachin is a better cricketer, everybody forgets his 40 odd test wickets and over a hundred onedayinternational wickets

  • JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 4, 2008, 23:08 GMT

    Laxman's hundred is anytime better than Tendulkar's 160 n.o., at that time when Laxman came in, it was very difficult to play and it was obvious from the way Jaffar got out and the way Dravid was playing. Laxman's 46 came in only 31 balls but, his 50 in 43 balls and that is mainly due to Dravid. He got a life on a no-ball and then he was also dropped by Gilchrist, so Laxman had to slow down. The way he batted, I wonder what makes the Indian selectors think he is only a test player and not an ODI player?

    And guys on this blog please stop complaining about bad umpiring decisions, it happens everywhere and India is not immune from that. In my opinion the worst thing that is going to happen now is the banning of Harbhajan Singh from the rest of the matches and to me that appears like a pre-planed, well orchestrated ploy from Ricky Ponting, who got out 7/8 times against his bowling and there is no better way of getting rid of him by way of provoking him when he was batting not like a tail-ender batsman but more like an accomplished batsman.

    I think Symonds is over acting here and Ponting has already insisted umpire Mark Benson to report the matter which he did. The way Benson was covering his mouth with his hand i.e., not to let the camera detect his words from lip movement, is very, very sinister. Symonds had been crying wolf while he was in India and now he is the only one who seems to have got a direct threat from some Pakistani so-called terrorist! It seems that ONLY his life is in danger and that is why he is opting to stay out of the Pakistan tour. Neither, the government of Australia, nor their cricket board or the captain is talking about canceling the tour except for Roy Symonds. This bully boy must really be suffering from ADD (attention deficiency disorder).

  • Dave on January 4, 2008, 22:45 GMT

    I think it tragic to see that India have had to resort to their old tactics of RACIAL ABUSE in this test match. It totally takes any credit away from their performance, which in parts did demonstrate their may be some fuzz on their peaches after all. Still, their cowardly and selfish batting and incompetent capatinacy have cost them any chnace fo victory in this game, and even if Punter offers them a chase for victory, the Indian way is to play for the draw anyway.

    This is why Australian cricket will always be superior to Indian cricket.

    And the Indian fans moaning about the umpiring decisons is truly pathetic - they are making up bad calls now to justify their panty flapping rage. They complain about bad sportsmanship yet seem to do nothing but complain about umpires and condone the racial abuse of Australina players. Sickening.

  • Peter on January 4, 2008, 22:08 GMT

    "Enough is said about India, however one must remember that INDIA is the only team in the world which can challenge and beat AUSSIES in their own land." Oh yeah Ash? Just how many series have they ever won in Australia? Don't waste time looking it up - the answer is...none!!

  • Manish Bots on January 4, 2008, 22:01 GMT

    I agree with Jason's above post. Most of the Indian batsmen are over rated except of course Laxman. Sachin is the most talented batsman but not certainly not among the greatest cricketers.

  • Grud on January 4, 2008, 20:41 GMT

    Ok. Mukul Good one. I like yuvi but he is not performing like you have mentioned. and I think Sehwag should be given a shot. I really didn't wanna get into this comments for many reasons. But some of the guys who posted the comments are so stupid. There are more but let me start with SR...you said there was no whining when Murali admitted he niked one through....just to refresh your memory, Ponting did say Umpiring went against them and that is whining my friend. Rex and co...yes ponting has double standards but I will give him credit for at least saying he wasn't sure if he had taken the catch. As for Sachin and Sourav being selfish, its not worth talking about it to some dumb people who cannot accept the fact they are couple of the biggest legends of all time. Of course Laxman is surely one. & If ponting wants to file a complaint against Bajji....well Symonds started it because he could get to take Bajji's wicket.....pussy!

  • nfa on January 4, 2008, 20:37 GMT

    For those of us who seem to have lost perspective;

    1.Australia ARE a much better team overall.

    2.The umpiring decisions 'might'have evend out in terms of quantity but in terms of their affect on the match result. 3.Walk or not to walk is a redundant discussion.Left to the batsmen.....if you want to ,go ahead...nothing should be taken away from those who do not though. 4.There are stupid racist Australians out there just as there are stupid racist Indians....and we CANNOT let them get away with the discourse.

    As an Indian ,my only sore point is that the bunch of idiots that BCCI seems to be friettering away the potential for India to lead the cricketing world...in terms of performance and pioneering both.There is no reason a nation of a billion people obsessed with just ONE sport should be cheering mere odd test wins.....they should be murdering every other team out there.

  • Akash on January 4, 2008, 20:23 GMT

    Steve Bucknor has been Australia's 12th man for ages, so this isn't the first time. Why is there such a hue and cry about it? India just have to take Bucknor's blindness and deafness in their stride and win this Test.

  • TonyP on January 4, 2008, 20:16 GMT

    So what is the path to better umpiring?

    Limited player challenges might be one way but I think even better would be a larger pool of elite umpires & a back foot no-ball rule.

    Going to a back-foot no-ball rule would give umpires more time to raise their eyes from the crease at the bowler's end to follow the trajectory of the ball. That extra fraction of a second would more than double the time the umpire has to assess trajectory, pitch & bounce. It would cut down significantly on the stress & eye-strain umpires must suffer.

    Umpiring is physically & mentally demanding, requiring intense concentration while knowing that any mistake will be endlessly dissected by millions of people sitting in armchairs enjoying the benefits of slow motion, zoom-lenses, replays, & heaven knows what else.

    It's tough, high-pressure work & the elite panel schedule is really hectic. More umpires would give longer recovery time, ease more stress & allow better performances.

  • TonyP on January 4, 2008, 19:58 GMT

    Thoughts on players walking:

    1) Players don't always know they're not out, it has happened. Are we suggesting that players should have their decision to walk reviewed to prevent them mistakenly giving themselves out?

    2) We expect players to walk if adjudged out even when they know for a fact they aren't. Are we saying that errors that favour the fielding team should count but errors that favour the batting team should not? Isn't that biasing the system?

    3) Has anyone raised the issue of teams getting wickets by appealing for things that aren't out? Isn't that just as overt a form of cheating? Is there a similar crusade to stamp this out? For fielders to call back batsmen they think the umpire has wrongfully dismissed? Last I heard that was an event so rare it was worthy of mention in Wisden.

  • Anonymous on January 4, 2008, 19:57 GMT

    Sachin's average against australia 56.48 8 hundreds lara has 51.09 9 hundreds in 8 more matches.

  • TonyP on January 4, 2008, 19:36 GMT

    Neil's assertion that Symonds is disgracing the game by being honest about a decision he received is quite simply gibberish.

    He should get up in front of the international press & just openly lie about it? Or perhaps pusillanimously offer no comment in the interests of confidentiality?

    The umpires are subject to ICC reports giving reviews of their decision-making skills & the percentage of correct decisions. The umpires are going to know when they make a mistake of this magnitude, it's in the report, papers, TV, scoreboard, & radio. If they expected not to have their mistakes trawled through with a fine tooth comb & need their delicate egos nursed they should've become lawyers.

    Given that players can unquestionably comment when they think the umpire made the right decision, a player declining to comment would be an obvious sham: "I'm not going to say he got the decision wrong, but I don't think he got it right"

    Symonds has acted blamelessly & without duplicity.

  • TonyP on January 4, 2008, 19:21 GMT

    I'm an Australian & an Australian fan but in my opinion Australia do benefit from the rub of a lot of umpiring errors. There are 3 factors I think contribute to this:

    1) They don't generally appeal spuriously. Teams that over-appeal seem desperate & insulting, they alienate the umpires & will more often have close decisions go against them. And yes, I'm looking at you Harbhajan.

    2) They play entertaining cricket that I think the umpires, like all cricket fans, enjoy & admire. This has a sub-conscious impact on umpires to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    3) They work at getting to know the umpires & being on good terms with them (which I'd think ALL teams would do).

    Are the Australians or the umpires cheating? I don't think so. I think the umpires are trying their best. They're fallible like the rest of us. I think the Australians try to be on good terms with umpires but they don't do anything outside the spirit of the game, or indeed anything the other teams can't also do.

  • Neil on January 4, 2008, 19:21 GMT

    @ Mick...for all ur reservations about guys playing the racism card....look whos playing the card now...a certain Mr. Symonds, and guess what... he doesn't play for India!!

  • Raj on January 4, 2008, 19:20 GMT

    I agree with Rajesh,USA.Steve bucknor must retire after this test immediately.His glaring mistakes apart,not referring the stumping to 3rd umpire is really shameful.His optical and hearing senses have weakened beyond point of correction,even with aiding devices.He must,therefore,quit for the sake n well being of game.Though aussies are not to blame for this,teams visiting australia dont get fair deal from the umpires.The rub of green always goes in favor of aussies.Not only India,but all visiting teams have been on the receiving end of umpiring when playing against australia.Had Symmonds been given out the first time itself,imagine which way this match would be heading.Outright win for India.

  • Rohu on January 4, 2008, 19:05 GMT

    @ sachin

    Dont say kumble cant win matches outside asia. Its not because he doesnt have the ability but because he never had even 1 match winning bowler forget even 3. So by the time he came 2 bowl the batsmen were well set. in this decade he has had a good bunch of fast bowlers who atleast get 1 or 2 early wickets and then he can the middle order out. Look how murali struggled against the aussies. he had no clue. now look at kumble he gets 5 wickets on the 1st day track of MCG ( mind u he rarely gets so many wickets cheaply even on flat indian tracks) so dont blame him

  • Sreekaanth on January 4, 2008, 19:02 GMT

    I was waiting for a comment about murali kartik nicking the ball in the 7th ODI. But, ponting's comment to rameez raja was " then he should have walked" Sour Grapes I think. Unfortunately rameez didn't ask him how many time ricky walked when he was out and not given out :-) If ricky felt so strongly then, why not tell his team to walk like gilly. gilly is the only wonderful sportsman australia have. they have a great cricket team but most of whom are not real sportsmen in the accepted definition of the term.

  • Sid on January 4, 2008, 18:57 GMT

    About the umpiring descisions, the ones given onfield might be forgiven (the nick of Symonds was more than just a blunder, but just for argument's sake lets ignore it), but the one given by the 3rd umpire makes no sense whatsoever. The 3rd umpire had to be stoned on marijuana or something to give that not out.

    Also, I think its a personal choice of the batsman to walk or not and one should not be judged by that. Imagine Gilchrist edging a ball( a very faint nick) but not realising that he has nicked it. He wouldn't walk, and then we would brand him as a liar etc.

    So my Aussie mates and Indian yaars, stop arguing!! and hope to watch some enthralling cricket int he next couple of days, and hopefully India can take the challenge to the next step down under.

  • Rahul on January 4, 2008, 18:50 GMT

    Haha..each response is a gem in itself..The Indians are back to talking as to how India has the firepower to take on australia and beat them at their own backyard..while 2 days ago all of them were accusing the BCCI of incompetence and how India will loose 3-0 or 4-0..and the best is the praise tendulkar is getting while a couple of months back all indian fans were in favour of dropping tendulkar from the team...the sydney test is not even over and the indian fans have already assumed that their team is winning...as for the aussie posters..well ..out in full force to prove how "umpiring blunders" have cost their team a substantial 1st innings lead when the same "blunders" were responsible for aus puttinng up a decent 1st innings score...truly each post is a gem..and guys please keep the gems pouring in.

  • Sidney on January 4, 2008, 18:49 GMT

    Oyyee Afzaal. Go and worry about Benazir Bhutto and your Pakistani team, rather than commenting in an Indian Aussie blog.

  • Ananth on January 4, 2008, 18:23 GMT

    Well, just wanted to clear the air about Ricky Ponting's magnanimity in acknowledging that the ball turfed before he caught Dravid...I doubt he would have done it if it hadn't been for his knowledge that cameras would have caught the true picture...having said this I admire Adam Gilchrist!

  • Neil on January 4, 2008, 17:54 GMT

    What about Jaques in the 2nd Oz innings. The ball was just outside the off stump, coming in to the middle stump of the LH batsman. Ive seen the likes of Simon Taufel and Rudi Kurtzen give those out for RH bowlers to RH batsmen. In my book that could have been just as out as the lbw shouts that Sachin and Laxman survived. Surely, Australia have 12 players playing for them as they have about 70% of the umpiring going their way. Even ex-Aussie players admit that. However, had Symonds been given on 30 then perhaps India would have a lead of 150-200 (would not bat as well as usual) and the game would be 75% India. Right now its even. Perhaps umpire Bucknor made it an interesting match after all!

  • Rajesh, USA on January 4, 2008, 16:47 GMT

    Without the umpiring blunders, India would be in a winning position now. Counting how many errors favoured which side is ridiculous. It is not the numbers, it is the timing that is the most important. If Ponting and Symonds had been given out when they were out the first time, Australia most likely would not have scored 200 runs. It would have been a very different game then. Now even if the umpires favour Indian batsmen, the most likely result is going to be a draw. And that would be a shame because Sydney was India's best chance to win.

    Even in the first test, India got some bad calls in the first innings. They did get some good calls in the second innings but by then they were already chasing 500 in the fourth innings. Time and time again we have seen this in Australia. Umpires like Bucknor will never allow Australia to get into a really bad spot. For a visiting team to win in Australia, they need to overcome not only the Australian team but also the umpires.

  • Parthiv on January 4, 2008, 16:35 GMT

    FAO DYNANESH

    Regarding your final paragraph.

    My interpretation of your points leads me to believe that as opposed to anyone being racist, the only sensible conclusion is that you are in fact an idiot.

  • Senthil on January 4, 2008, 16:34 GMT

    I always had a feeling that Steve Bucknor sold himself to Aussies. Every time he has made a questionable decision in an Aussie game, it always used to go in favor of them!

  • Neil on January 4, 2008, 16:20 GMT

    ANDREW SYMONDS HAS DISGRACED A NOBLE SPORT MUCH LIKE AN ENGLISH CAPTAIN IN THE 1930s. Its purely upto the batsman whether to walk or not but to go on an tell the media that he was out is ludicrous! What if Sachin comes out after the test and says he took 'performance enhancing drugs' when he score 150* but the umpires failed to see it? Why is Shoaib failing a drug test after a match such an issue then? Symonds has shown that his character is as beastly as his appearance by being chatty with the media about this. Thats my problem with him, not that he got lucky with decisions!! About Sachin, we know he wanted to be not out but its just as well as I dont think he'd make any more than 30 odd by hogging the strike and hitting out. Sharma and RP Singh did slightly better than Sachin could given the fields and the fact that he's batted for 5hrs at that point. Remember hes 34 and runs real fast between wickets when needed!

  • sachin on January 4, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    @ Jason Sachin has not won more games for India. Ponting stewe waugh could win games for their sides because they had 10 other players who were equally good. give sachin one of Mcgrath or warne or atleast one of wasim or waqar, even he would have won games. In 1990's we did not have a potent pace attack. Kumble could not win games outside Asia. there was no opening pair. rahul Laxman were not there. wicket keeper batsman was not there. India was one man army. many sides had simple strategy for India--- Sachin out, India out. and for Inzy pleas have a look at his stats outside Asia. and moreover he comes at number 5 in batting order where he jus need to finish the game which is already set up for him. so naturally his contribution for winning will be higher than sachins. but for sachin he always had to set up games but there were no finishers for him.

  • pritam on January 4, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    Mukul, i'm ur on eof the most vociferous crtics. Perhaps my dislike for you is only exceeded by your's for YUVRAJ. However, i'm eating a humble pie and agree with you that yuvraj is not fit for tests,, not at present maybe in future. Still, you don't need to mention Yuvraj while mentioning mistakes committed by others, like you did at the start of this blog. I still believe that you are being over critical of the guy

  • sachin on January 4, 2008, 15:37 GMT

    hey all those aussie who are saying that Sachin and Laxman were given lives by umpires just get it right. Laxman was dropped by gilli on 45. and that lee's lbw decision was correct. It was going down leg side and may have just clipped leg stump. the appeal against sachin was not a whole hearted appeal even though thats out. what we are saying is use technology in cricket. its aussies who are against using that. saying that it wastes time is ridiculous. how many replays would it take to say symonds or ponting or for ur sake sachin was out.

  • sitaram reddi on January 4, 2008, 15:30 GMT

    Attention Steve Bucknor. The IPL is offering contracts to ICC panel umpires. If you need job references I am sure the whole Indian Team would give you glowing references.

  • SR on January 4, 2008, 15:21 GMT

    Remember this quote? "and yes, I did nick one through to the keeper (big smile)!" That wasnt Symonds...that was murali kartik in game 7 of the odi series vs Aus. The only reason India won that match. Dont recall anyone whining about umpiring at that time. Also, tendulkar got 3 lives in the chandigarh match..no complaints again I see.."coincidentally" these were the only 2 matches India won in the series. Also, where were the calls for Bucknor's retirement when he denied a plumb LBW to Monty against Sreesanth at Lords? The only reason India won the test series in England. Hypocrites all those who said the english media should get over it. Its for this reason I cant stand the Indian media and I read the Aussie newspapers even though am an Indian. I cant stand the complex they have. Everyone apparent has an agenda, has it in for them etc etc. Face it. Stuff happens. Deal with it.

  • Satyajit on January 4, 2008, 14:30 GMT

    Good stats and analysis from Eddy on comparing Lara and Sachin. However, you got one wrong. Sachin's avg against Aus is better. Before this match it was M:22 Runs:1936 hst:241* Avg:52.32 (from StatsGuru). Since, today's was a 150+ not out and he may have been out about 35 times in 22 test, it will add another 4+ to that avg. So, it's 56+. However, we don't need to go into such nitty gritties; both are great players. If Lara got lot of big innings and still his avg is less, then it clearly shows he was less consistent of the two. I would rate both equally good in test cricket and Sachin decidedly ahead in ODI.

  • anant on January 4, 2008, 14:24 GMT

    good batting by the Indians...well played...just to get back to the umpiring...we should not compare subjective decisions such as LBW with stumpings and caught behind...Sachin was prob out today but Symonds was most definitely out yest (he was actually out 4 times)...Even aussies must admit that India have gotten by far the rougher of the umpiring and yet they are in a position of ascendancy despite being bucknored once again...no mean feat when playing against the best team in the world on their home soil...chak de

  • Sudhir on January 4, 2008, 14:04 GMT

    Well, I wouldn't make too much of Tendulkar not taking the strike with the tail. When he came on strike, all the fielders were pushed to ropes and there was no chance for him to make fours of sixes. But the tail with the field up were able to take advantage of it and score runs.

    As to umpiring during the Aussie innings, it was pathetic. It was just incomprehensible that the umpires supposed to be of international standards would deliver a third class performance. I always believe that the umpires should be fined for their mistakes as well.

    More over, I still don't understand why they don't use the technology when it is available. They should be able to reverse the decisions if they are given wrongly. For example in Symonds case, the third umpire could have intervened and sent him packing, but, as it transpired, the third umpire himself made a serious blunder by reprieving Symonds. This is where they should be fined.

    I hope the ICC does something drastically very soon.

  • TonyP on January 4, 2008, 13:47 GMT

    Mukul's comments seem pretty spot on, India are proving extremely competitive & without some egregious umpiring would be well on the way to a dominant victory (which they might yet manage anyway).

    Umpires are going to make mistakes & over time those errors should even out but they can turn any one particular match. That's the nature of the beast.

    I've not been able to watch the series so this comment may be off-base but I've often thought sub-continental teams would do themselves a favour by appealing less often. They used to appeal for all sorts of things which can only antagonise the match officials. When you appeal for something obviously not out you're telling the umpire "I think you're idiot enough to give that". Over time the officials become increasingly skeptical & unsympathetic (heaven only knows how Warne got away with it as successfully as he did).

    Again, this may have no relevance to the current series, it's just something that I had bouncing around in my head.

  • surajk on January 4, 2008, 13:31 GMT

    eddy, Sachin has scored 117 runs against Warne at an average of 39?I remember Sachin taking apart Warne in 1998 and 2001 home series against Australia? Which world are u in buddy? Get your facts right before posting!!!!!

  • BT on January 4, 2008, 13:22 GMT

    Bucknor & Benson muckups in favour of Australia: Symonds caught behind, stumping, stumping, lbw Ponting caught behind Total = 5

    Bucknor & Benson muckups in favour of India: Laxman = lbw Tendulkar = lbw Total = 2

    I'm sure I've missed others but these are the ones I've observed, except for Tendulkar's lbw. Anyway, Australia have had more than twice the amount of favours than India...

  • Kay Gemini on January 4, 2008, 13:13 GMT

    A rhetorical question on Symonds not walking when he knew he was out.

    Imagine being given wrongly “out” as akin to getting pick-pocketed and losing your wallet and imagine finding a wallet on the street being akin to given “not out” when you are out; are you the kind of person who keeps the wallet found on the street and don't turn it in ? And, do you count the money in it to find out if it is more than or less than the money that you've lost some other time (this question is especially for those who want to use statistics to explain whether bad umpiring decisions even out in the longer term).

    Ask this of yourself . Also ask yourself whether you want to pay good money to see well-paid professionals who would rather not ask themselves questions like these.

  • Dnyanesh on January 4, 2008, 13:10 GMT

    All said and done. Decisions against Laxman and Tendulkar were LBW shouts (Lucky the ball didnt hit Sachin's shoulder or else he would be out) and not clear snicks.

    All umpires give a huge dollop of benefit to batsman for LBW unless its plumb. I am sure there would have been a couple of close shouts of LBW against Australia too.

    But we expect snicks to be heard clearly.

    And we surely expect the third umpire to be 99% right.

    And when was the last time a match referee called an Aussie cricketer or one Mr Andre Nel for behaviour. Asian cricketers find themselves in the dock more than normal. Isnt this racist?

  • Jason on January 4, 2008, 12:42 GMT

    contd.... Laxman is the exception- he is all class. As Bill Lawry said "We've seen players like Lara, David Gower etc but when it comes to timing there has been none better than Laxman". He also has the runs on the board, and he's done it against the best in the world (in both tests and odis) unlike pretenders like Yuvraj who all his supporters say "would" do the same, but guess what? He doesn't!

    VVS Laxman is the ideal #3.... Tendulkar made the really big score, but Laxman was the one who turned this match, and indeed the series, on it's head! He took on the Australians, grabbed the initiative for India, and I believe he really gave them the belief that they could do it, which is what a good #3 should do. Dravid's days as a #3 should be over as he simply can't do what Laxman did anymore- had Dravid come in at #3 you get the feeling India's innings would never have gained momentum and we would have had the Melbourne test all over again. Well done VVS (see I'm not racist!)

  • Jason on January 4, 2008, 12:34 GMT

    how come whenever someone criticises an Indian player they all cry "racism"? For starters I'm not Australian and I support no team- I'm merely a cricket lover giving my objective viewpoint. I never said Tendulkar's innings wasn't a good one, I said when numbers 10 and 11 were in he appeared to play selfishly, and even the commentators were saying during the last few overs that they were just wasting time coz Tendulkar wasn't looking to score runs so India may as well have given themselves a few more overs to have a crack at the Australian batsmen late in the day. I stand by my comment that 99% of Indian cricketers are over-rated... they inflate their averages by smashing runs on lifeless dustbowls but when they are faced with a decent attack on other wickets they're useless. Tendulkar is a great batsman, but unlike Lara, Ponting, Steve Waugh, and Inzamam etc he doesn't win matches for his side which is why I rate Lara above him.

  • Rohu on January 4, 2008, 12:33 GMT

    Great performance by sachin and bhaaaji as slater says. But i think the law is not held for all. When yuvi stud there 4 some time referee fined him ( i know he got reprieved later ) but when ponting says a few words there is no problem . this is nonsense and i think it is high time to stop these double standards

  • Sai Prakash on January 4, 2008, 12:24 GMT

    I have always wondered why a batsman of Laxman's undoubted ability and class reserves his BEST while facing the Australians. His 5th Test century against them was right up there if not in terms of volume of runs then at least in terms of finesse, grace and unnatural talent.He was toying with excellent Test bowlers like Lee, Johnson and Clark. Coming back to my initial observation on Laxman's affinity to the Aussies, could it be the genius in him craves to perform against the best and in the most testing conditions.5 centuries out 12 in total against the best means a ratio of nearly 50 %, overall.A guy who has an average of nearly 60 against Australia has a career average of under 45.Ganguly on the other hand has 1 century against Aus, as against 14 overall. The conclusion I have come to, is that Laxman needs to be challenged to do well otherwise he gets bored and throws away his wicket. Sad for his diehard fans like me who would have loved to see him get many more big scores.

  • Jineesh C Jacob on January 4, 2008, 12:14 GMT

    According to me three possibilities are there in this test match:

    1,Australia will bowl out around 300-350,In this case India's target will be above 250+.3 sessions for india to chase the target and for australia to take 10 wickets.Past history shows target more than 250+bit difficult for india.In these case chance for loosing the game for india is large. 2,Next possibility is india couldn't bowled australia tmrw.In these case australia will bat one session in last day and will put a target of around 350.In these case india will get 2 sessions.Result will be a DRAW..... 3,Last possibility is australia will bowl out less than 300.Then india's target will less than 250.So Chance for indian victory will be highhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

  • Sai Prakash on January 4, 2008, 12:12 GMT

    Umpiring was bad but maybe it has been BAD all along and it is just that we have been aware of the obvious mistakes that Bucknor and his tribe are making.The errors are noticed only because of the increasing number of cameras that TV crews have been employing.So, theres no point blaming either Bucknor or Benson because through the naked eye or even ear WE might have made the same mistakes.Its just that because a majority of these mistakes have effected India that we feel outraged. The problem is that the ICC should not take any half measures.Either completely go with the On field Umpires OR use the technology of cameras and Videos to ensure that every difficult decision is reffered. The ICC has to take a stand.

  • Satya on January 4, 2008, 12:02 GMT

    when i was watching sachin giving strike to tail, even i thought, he was playing a selfish game. i was amazed why he was doing that. it was clear that he was giving strike to tail deliberately.

    in TV i couldnt really see, how the field was changed for Sachin vs Tail. i vaguely remember setting catching position for RPSingh and he hit a SIX. But i didnt comprehend that any team would put close field for tail and boundary protection for Sachin. so i assumed like that. but later when i heard sachin's statement, i started recollecting, and it clearly makes sense.

    so people stop fighting about this. i felt sachin was playing selfish, when i was watching and i totally understand now that, sachin wont be a great batsman like him, if he cant think of these simple strategies.

    if u think about it, its a simple strategy for bowling team, to set close field for tail and boundary protection for a batsman on 140.

    and its also as simple strategy for batting team to ask tail to attack

  • Thirucumaran on January 4, 2008, 11:40 GMT

    Another good article, Mr. Kesavan.

    Despite criticism of umps by my friends, I have always told them that they are human and that they too make mistakes, but, frankly, the decision that let off Symonds off Ishant was simply unbelievable! The ball definitely changed direction after it hit Symmo's bat and the snick was clearly heard, but I can't actually believe that he couldn't hear it! Also, the fact that the TV ump couldn't get the stumping right was also a glaring mistake.

    One more thing, Mr. Kesavan, I would like to know. When a decision is doubtful, as in the case of the Symonds' stumping, wasn't the rule changed during the 2006 India's tour of WI that the benifit of doubt should go to the fielder?

  • Adam on January 4, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    "If it is Yuvraj, he will have earned his Test spurs and this blog will happily abase itself and acknowledge its absolute ignorance."

    I will also join you in this and eat my hat.

    But i doubt that will be necasary because the bloke is completely lost. Just watch him in the field

  • joechristopher on January 4, 2008, 11:35 GMT

    I guess we need to realign the middle order. Yuvi, Dhoni are looking very inadequate. It is imperative that we need to send Dravid back to middle order. Yuvi is a pretender at this level. Any decent bowling attack (see his performance in WestIndies 2006) will sort this guy out. Dhoni, but for a solitary innings in England hasn't done anything in tests/odis that he has played outside the subcontinent. It would foolish to sacrifice Dravid at WACA. No idiot will trade a rook for a pawn. I guess its time we need to analyse Dhoni. He has not done anything to note, but for accidental winning the T20. I guess Parthiv Patel will be ruing his luck, and Dhoni's plight should encourage Karthick n Patel to rework on their glove work, as they bat better than Dhoni. CongraTs to VVS& Rahul. Lets not ignore Rahul's vital contribution. Sachin& Saurav have scored well, but without VVS& Rahul(Indias most abused cricketers) we would have been starring into the barell. Good work VVS, well done Rahul.

  • Ash on January 4, 2008, 11:31 GMT

    Enough is said about India, however one must remember that INDIA is the only team in the world which can challenge and beat AUSSIES in their own land. Time and again, we proved it and today's play confirms the same!

  • joechristopher on January 4, 2008, 11:24 GMT

    Sensible batting at the top, Sachin& Saurav accumulation, tail's bravado has ruled out the possibilty of an India defeat. However, before congragulating ourselves we need to see the cracks in the side, as play the next test at the dangerous WACA. SCG is a superb batting track. Sachin's was abominable, towards the end of the innings. He was not even willing to take the strike.While it is good to respect and trust the tail, it actually doesn't do any good if you don't take risks against bowlers like Hogh.I guess Deepak hasn't seen the match. Sachin played the last over of Hogh before attempting to pull/sweep Hogh for four off the last bowl n let Lee bowl to Ishant. In the past he gave the impression that he likes to have an asterik next to his big scores and this innings was no different.Ishant was positive and would have added more runs if Sachin had dealt in 4s, instead of 1&2s. Sachin hit six at Melborne and SCG is a smaler ground. Yes fielders were on the fence but he didn't try.

  • eddy on January 4, 2008, 11:24 GMT

    Today (4th January 2008) shall be a day long remembered. Why? Today Sachin completed his 232 inning in test cricket. A brilliant 150 against world champions Australia. Brian Lara retired on 232 test match innings. Only now I believe you can make some general comparison between the two great batsmen.

    A couple of things stand out straight away. Although Tendulkar has scored 4 more tons in the same about of innings as Lara, (both have 48 half-centuries) he has scored 433 runs less than Lara. 11520* compared to Lara’s 11953. We can also see that Lara batted in more of the matches he played in than Tendulkar has. 131 against 144 and counting. What does this tell us? Tendulkar wasn’t needed to bat as often as Lara was. Does this not say as much about their respective teams as it does about the individual players but this also suggests that Tendulkar was denied the chance to complete 25 of his innings A further example of this can be seen in the ‘not outs’ each player earned in their careers. Very rarely did Lara come to the crease having just 20 or 30 runs to knock of to win the match. Lara’s not out total (6) is closer to that of an opener than it is to a middle order batsman. People may say that when Tendulkar and Lara were batting with their respective tails Tendulkar’s and Lara’s attitude may have been quite different i.e. Lara – let me get as much runs as I can before number 11 gets out, or Tendulkar – number 11 will get out soon so why should I lose my wicket?. That is debatable and not formed of any facts only conjecture.

    There has always been this great debate about who was the better batsman. Pundits have often stated that Lara’s genius is blighted by dips in form and that Tendulkar is by far the more consistent player. The cold hard stats do not suggest this is so cut and dry. Lara score 34 tons in 232 innings, Tendulkar scored 38. That’s a hundred every 6.8 innings for Lara and 6.1 innings for Tendulkar. They both scored 48 half-centuries, that’s one every 4.8 innings. When you remove the not outs from each player’s stats you get the true picture of how many runs each batsman actually made per inning. Lara made 51.52 runs per inning, on average, in his Test career. Tendulkar has so far made 49.66 per inning.

    Weak Opposition??? Tendulkar has played 9 test matches against Zimbabwe making nearly a 1000 runs and three tons, one of them a double. Lara played 2 matches against Zimbabwe making 200 runs with 1 ton. Tendulkar has played 5 test matches against Bangladesh scoring 550 runs with 3 tons , one of them a double. Lara played 2 matches against Bangladesh scoring 170 runs with one ton. So against these weaker teams Tendulkar has played 14 matches scoring 1550 odd runs picking up 6 tons. Lara played 4 matches scored 370 odd runs two tons. Now that’s not Tendulkar’s or Lara’s fault but Tendulkar has played over 3 times as much cricket against these weak teams as Lara did.

    Strong opposition!!! Tendulkar has played 23 matches against world champs Australia scoring 2000 runs making 8 tons (one double) and averaging 49. Lara played 31 matches against Australia scoring 2850 runs making 9 tons (3 doubles) and averaging 51.

    And how did our two champion batsmen fare against the world champions finest bowlers? Lara averaged 41.40 against Glen McGrath scoring 621 against him, Tendulkar averaged 22.16 scoring 211. And against the greatest leg-spinner of all time? Lara averaged 54.57 scoring 635, Tendulkar averaged 39 scoring 117.

    And what if we were to throw in their respective battings records?

    Lara has broken the test record high score twice 375 and 400*. He holds the record for the most runs test runs scored ever. He has scored more runs in one over than any other in test history ,28. Tendulkar has scored more tons than any other player in test history, 38. for a more detailed look at the records of these players Wikipedia is recommended. Tendulkar is the undoubted king of one-day cricket and in the top 4 or five in test cricket history. He will no doubt go on to break Lara’s most runs in test cricket total. But Ricky Ponting will go further than him. Will, can, either of these batsmen break the 400* or score match winning knocks like the 153* or single handily carry their team for years on end?

  • Ghost of Jardine on January 4, 2008, 11:11 GMT

    What's all this fuss about, dosts and mates? Cricket is all about exploiting weaknesses. If the umps get a couple wrong, a seasoned cricketer sees it as a blessing in disguise. You should be able to whine, pout, guilt trip and innuendo your way to snatching six lbws in your favor for the two catches they gave the other blokes. The two or three lbws the Indians managed to wrest from Benson & Co. seems below par to me, frankly.

    That's just cricket, folks. You do a little gamesmanship between the overs, give the batsman or the umpire a mouthful, toss some mind flippers off the pitch along with the wrong 'uns on it, and then let the best man win and share a beer afterwards.

    I liked the way Ricky snatched the moral lead when it threatened to run away from him. I'd disclaim that catch even if I'd taken it. Btw, when is Gilly going to cash in on his reputation as a walker? Dude doesn't have too many tests left, so now's the time I say.

  • Dan on January 4, 2008, 11:04 GMT

    I was going to post to complain that nobody mentions Sachin's vital (and howling) LBW let-off after having screamed for days about Symonds but...everybody seems to have got in before me and that's got all my bile out for me.

    Now I can relax and enjoy remembering the following lovely innings (none of which were flawless, but no less beautiful for that): Symonds, Hogg, Lee (he's so keen!), VVS, Dravid (lovely for grit, not style), Sachin. Ahhh! Gotta love Test cricket! And the game's only half over! :D

  • deepak on January 4, 2008, 11:02 GMT

    if u guys remember andrew symonds did the same thing as sachin yest morning.he was on 137* and finished on 162*he added 25 runs while aus added more than 100 runs on the second day.indians had the field back and symo took the single.we brought the field in for johnson and he smashed 30 runs and so did brett lee who played lik harbhajan.but not even a single aussie newspaper or blog criticise symo's approach.when he wasnt confident of clearing the the long boundaries at the scg how can an aging sachin do it.but so many indians r scathingly criticisng him.he took a gamble and it paid off big time .we added nearly 200 runs for the last 3 wicks.he cud hav easily got 180 and got out but india wud hav been behind by 75 runs..not ahead.dont always critice our players.aftr batting so well he still gets the wrath of so many people.i feel sorry for sachin!

  • Satyajit on January 4, 2008, 11:01 GMT

    Jason, John, Dini to name a few experts of the game! Doesn't ring a bail? well people like Jason has added capability of face reading. He can tell whatever you are thinking with just once glance at you face. When a certain Steve Waugh makes the tail play more balls than him in an over, it's hailed as good strategy. After seeing that restrictive field has been setup for him, Sachin does the same, he is accused of selfishness. Even after the ploy had worked wonderfully! Get a life guys and don't try to teach cricket to Sachin. On Saurav's supposed jealousy, you just forgot that this guy was second highest scorer in 2007 and even now playing well enough to be jealous of anybody. The support and relationship between fav-four is going strong and they do not think ill of each other (this is not based on any face reading, this is based on the comments they have given about each other in recent past).

  • deepak on January 4, 2008, 10:41 GMT

    if u guys remember andrew symonds did the same thing as sachin yest morning.he was on 137* and finished on 162*he added 25 runs while aus added more than 100 runs on the second day.indians had the field back and symo took the single.we brought the field in for johnson and he smashed 30 runs and so did brett lee who played lik harbhajan.but not even a single aussie newspaper or blog criticise symo's approach.when he wasnt confident of clearing the the long boundaries at the scg how can an aging sachin do it.but so many indians r scathingly criticisng him.he took a gamble and it paid off big time .we added nearly 200 runs for the last 3 wicks.he cud hav easily got 180 and got out but india wud hav been behind by 75 runs..not ahead.dont always critice our players.aftr batting so well he still gets the wrath of so many people.i feel sorry for sachin!

  • Parthiv on January 4, 2008, 10:27 GMT

    Remind me, how many blogs was it since this Kesavan... was lambasting England for feeling hard done to over an umpiring decision? And I recall that blog having a litany of comments by his adoring...suggesting that England should shut up. Time to take your own medicine my dears!

    No wonder Kesavan himself refers to Indian supporters as "lazy, pampered know nothings".

  • kinshuk on January 4, 2008, 10:23 GMT

    yes, sachin did get a life (i'm not sure abt laxman though)............

    but, he got just the one life......and tht 2 was an lbw.... it wasn't a big outside edge or a stumping referred to the third umpire (or "not" referred to the third umpire ;-))........

    nd i dont think it still evens out.... b'coz if the "5 or 6" mistakes in the uassie innings nd the "couple" tht were made in the indian innings had been avoided, india'ld have won this game...... smthing not very likely now.........

    nd why do people keep talking about umpiring in the sub-continent.... the umpiring was biased in favour of the home side throughout the world.......

    but, i guess it's too much to expect these people to be objective if they r blind nd cant see what went wrong in this test match.................

  • westindies on January 4, 2008, 10:08 GMT

    Correct me If Im wrong. Symonds has a west Indies connection through his parents and our bucknor is also from the same country. ICC will have to do a detailed study and determine if a umpire is neutral on all grounds. I can understand umpires erring on LBW decisions and giving the benefit of doubt to the batsmen but that caught behind of symonds was too bad. At the end of 3rd day just visualize this; OZ allout for 200-250 and India 500 plus. bucknor you deserve the man of the match award and the third umpire should be retold which one is the button for not out and which one for out.

  • Maverick on January 4, 2008, 10:07 GMT

    Guys lets face it...we are seeing a match setup inspite of 14 aussie batsman playing ..is something amazing from indians given the strength of aussies,day 2 of SCG was just one of the greatest batting displays one would ever get to see in recent times...hats of to VVS you really are Very Very Special..underrated yes,selfless teamman yes,soft dismissal asusual,i would rate his 281 as one of the best i have seen in my life,I would pay to watch him play any day..looking forward to a good second one and series..all the best.As far as decisions we are talking about clear nicks and stumpings,pls dont bring LBW in between..its high time we get technology and good decision making people sitting there pressing the button..unlike in case of symo .. Let the game be the winner.

  • dhruv on January 4, 2008, 9:58 GMT

    Shielding the tail means taking most of the strike to guard their wicket. Sachin did not shield the tail. Harbajan , Sharma played well. All he cared was for his average. Being not out. I expected him to get few runs from hodge's bowling. Every additional was imp at stage.

  • Srikanth on January 4, 2008, 9:54 GMT

    All the comments about the decisions going against the Aussies are heard of. None of them can be decided with a naked eye or ear. Be it Laxman's LBW appeal, which showed 2 stumps in clear view when the ball hit the pads or be is sachin's LBW.But what about a 3rd upmire, with so many angles to watch, so much time to decide going wrong? What about a nick, heard by the coffee vendor outside the SCG, and Mr.Windies getting it wrong?It has nothing to do with Australian palyers. Yes they do speak of morals and being straight. Beyond doubt it's proved that it is only a talk good to hear and make but not to follow.Still you can't blame the players for standing their ground as it is not their job to walk, and there are people to decide on that.Finally, India should consider itself very very unlucky as Symonds played 3 innings and Ponting 2. On another day, India would have been bowling at the end of the 3rd day with a lead of 200.

  • Satyajit on January 4, 2008, 9:48 GMT

    So much talk about plumb LBW. Pete et al, it's you whining now. It's interesting that you guys preferred to comment on the under written single paragraph on umpiring rather than other 3 paras in Mukul's blog. LBWs are always subjective and nobody started counting the possible LBWs against Aussie batting. Most of the teams including Aus would be out within 150 if Hawk-eye on LBW is implemeted. People were talking about clear edges and stumpings, those are much easier to decide using technology. Last time I checked Wasim Akram, Steve Waugh, Ian Chappel, Peter Roebuck were not Indian. So, it didn't take an Indian to criticise the umpiring on day1. I am proud that Indians took a good lead even after Aussie total was inflated by bad decisions. That should be the spirit in the team, play your best game irrespective of any external factors.

  • Supratik on January 4, 2008, 9:47 GMT

    Contd... As of Laxman, one doesn't find words to describe it. He can exault and he can exasperate, thankfully today it was the former. At one time yesterday it was looking like it will be repeat of Eden 2001, unfortunately the late strikes pegged India back. However, the little champion who has now fully embodied Sachin Mark II was exemplary and Ganguly carries on merrily in sublime form, with a flawless innings. It is sad that Yuvraj is failing to get his bearings. But he still needs to be backed specially now where the problem seems more in the mind than in skill. His poor outfielding is giving this away. No wonder India has a tough job of replacing the Big 4 in the future, unless we have selectors in the mode of one 'Jason' here who seems to read minds and faces where there is nothing to read. No wonder India is an inconsistent team, when you have such cricket followers around (assuming that this fellow is an Indian). Just like governments, you get teams that you deserve.

  • Vicky on January 4, 2008, 9:45 GMT

    Despite da umpiring errors, this turned out to be a really good test match and the main thing is India showed fight after long time despite moral destroying errors. Though I still think, India needs to sort out their opening pair and bring Sehwag in and swap Jaffer and Yuvraj's position as Yuvraj is not great batsman of spinners. Maybe drop one of these two and try Karthick, got nothing to lose

  • Dini on January 4, 2008, 9:41 GMT

    Sadly I have to say I agree with Jason. really dissapointed that this so called 'great' batsman played such a dull, pathetic, spineless innings. I mean he played decently with ganguly in the morning but even after he got his hundred he was still missing balls consistently, how long does it take to get your eye in?? What a selfish batsman to let number 9, 10, and especially the 19 yr old Sharma to face the likes of brett lee!!! so much for sheparding the tail.. I thought he might have had a plan with bhajji but he honestly didnt care much abt the team situation. where was the urgency?? If he wanted to anchor the indian innings fair enough but when they were 9 down surely that was the time to attack if any?? what a gutless innings.. before watching this innings i held this guy in very high esteem, Ive never seen an inings more singleminded and monotonous than that, the ch 9 commentators didnt know what to say... at least his average at the scg has gone up..

  • john on January 4, 2008, 9:34 GMT

    I feel that Gilchrist will make a better captain and is definetely more sportive than Pointing..I just hope that he gets his chance to captain..I also agree with Jason on sachin..Iam an Indian and I was utterly disappointed with him trying to keep his wicket intact to maintain his average..that was selfishness at its height..

  • racism card played by Indians? on January 4, 2008, 9:21 GMT

    And Mick,this is not a blog about racism.If the non-whites write about racism against them it will fill a library.You suppose in a perfect world the umpire who wronged us would have been white.Mate,every time you suppose,do you do it in such an obtuse way?I envy people like you who make such allegations without responsibility.Does anybody seriously think that India plays the racism card?Funny,when it is an Australian cricketer who is the latest to complain about racism.

  • Sree on January 4, 2008, 9:15 GMT

    Give a big hand to Jason ... The one who can read people's expressions! Hail Jason!

    Give us a break dude ... all australians are patriots who play for the country, and all indians are selfish who play for themselves, is it??!!

    There is a reason why we say you guys are racist. It drips from every pore and every word you say.

  • Fulton on January 4, 2008, 9:14 GMT

    Jason - u've got it all wrong mate. If u heard what Sachin said about why he let the tail enders take strike u might not say it was a bad idea. After all it did pay off. He played the whole day and probably was tired to get big shots. Aussies set an attacking field for tail enders and kept men in the boundary for Sachin. So it made sense for playing the way he did. Dont let ur bitterness show this way mate. We've got to give credit where it is due.

  • deepak on January 4, 2008, 9:09 GMT

    rext is the greatest champion cricketer of all time..in fact they hav askd rev to replace richie benaud in channel 9s commentary team!!some fools who havint even been to a cricket field comment that sachin batted selfishly lik the above fool jason.when 7 players r placd on the bopundaries by the aussies and they bowl a containing line to sachin how do u expect him to hit 4s and 6s.?if he had got out trying to hit while harbhajan was new india cud hav been all out for 370 odd.he saw tat there were no demons in the pitch and saw the tail enders were determined so gave the strike to them.and see the result!so many boundaries.please jason,he has played the most test cricket aftr allan border..he knows wat to do in situations..give him credit man.ya a 156 n.o wil improve his batting average by 0.15 maybe.instead of 380 all out with sachin out on 180 we have 532.if the former had hapnd then senseless guys lik u will say"when sachin scores a ton india never wins"!feel so bad for sachin!

  • anonymouscricketfan on January 4, 2008, 9:06 GMT

    Mr Jason your comments about some Indian cricketers being overrated is probably true. However its stupid to say the same about the fab four of the current team. Also please get it into your thick head that all men are not alike and each one may have a different means of expressing his emotions. However just like a lot of other assholes you too seem to be a member of the "Hate Indian Cricket" and "Hate Ganguly" brigades so guess its too much to ask for any rational thinking from the likes of you.

  • qusai on January 4, 2008, 9:05 GMT

    Jason, this aint psychology 101 mate, so stop analyzing the ulterior motives and behaviors of players off the field. You would be better served looking at the telling contributions that Ganguly and Tendulkar provided to the Indian total, in addition to making this match a very competitive one indeed. And I think there have been enough obvious umpiring gifts (like catches and stumpings) handed out to the aussies, that you would consider not whinging too much about an LBW decision in favor of sachin, which is not as obvious to judge as say a catch or maybe a stumping, right? Well I hope so. I do agree with you though that Yuvraj is overrated and not completely ready yet to play test match cricket, but claiming that 99.9% of Indian cricketers are overrated would really reflect badly on your ability to acknowledge the obvious facts (just look at the umpteen stats) and with that judgement of yours, I wouldnt be suprised if you were taking umpiring tips from Mr. Bucknor himself.

  • Supratik on January 4, 2008, 8:59 GMT

    I thought this was supposed to be a post on a VVS innings, instead it has digressed to walking, non-walking, Bucknor, etc. Mukul, you need to screen the responses more closely so that no mudslinging is allowed by 'the lazy pampered know-nothings' to borrow your apt term. History tells us that most visiting teams have copped it when touring Australia in the past. Some of them absolute shockers! Infact there was a time when India would get it real rough when touring overseas, where as our own poor umpires would get brow beaten by the aggressive visiting players like Tony Greig, Chris Old, Alan Border, Greg Mathews,the West Indians,etc. We are supposed to be hospitable you see! But what Bucknor has been doing for the past 4 years and 'Shocker' De Silva before he got chucked out is laughable. It is not just the dismissals, but look at what response Yuvraj got after showing 'dissent' and what Ponting got after showing 'disappointment'. One wonders if we have got the definitions right!

  • Sriram on January 4, 2008, 8:52 GMT

    I have to say that there are fair cricketers in both Australia and India. Gilchrist is a supreme example for Australia (Ricky Ponting was straight forward yesterday when he said he was not too sure if he had caught Dravid) and Sachin is an example for India. Whilst it is regrettable that these decisions are were bad, it must be noted that it is not anybody's domian to comment about it as an umpire's descision as it is final and must be respected for what it is. What is the need to have these umpires on the field if the rest of us can make descisions sitting in our armchairs? On a different note, the comments from Jason above is very inflammatory and ill-informed.

  • Afzaal Khan on January 4, 2008, 8:50 GMT

    Im Pakistani and thus support Pakistan, but this team austrlia is wonderful, they are the best and there is no 2nd best. Aus is on another plane then rest of us mortals. I think cricket should be banned for masses, and Pak India and others shouldnt have a say game should be run by elites for elites. Most of indian pakistani fans dun know crap abt cricket yet wana talk crap, dun like it go watch soccer. Leave my game alone

  • DRSK on January 4, 2008, 8:50 GMT

    It was great moment when Sachin got his 100 .. FINALLY !!!. But he spoilt the magic by playing the way he played with RP Singh and Ishant. And ... when he says something like the team winning is more inportant than his century .. it gets more irritating. Comeon Sachin, accept that you play ONLY for your own records.

  • talking about racism card? on January 4, 2008, 8:47 GMT

    hey Mick,your nonsense opinion is matched only by your short memory.You can be so haughty beacuse your team is no.1,but remember all cricket teams have ups and downs (remember the 80's?)And by the way the Indians regularly match your team not by whining against genuine bad umpiring;they fight it out against a much more professional and prepared side.And I would think that people have the right to call a blooper a blooper.If you think we have come to lose the series and then cry foul,you are in for a big surprise,mate. Interestingly,crucial decisions have seldom gone against your team in this decade(Tendulkar''s shoulder before wicket,Sangakkara's outrageous dismissal comes to mind).Steve Bucknor played a bigger part than Steve Waugh in saving the SCG test last time.But we didn't complain,like you vehemently did in Kolkata. I really love this Australian side for their game.But when pride turns into arrogance,the future becomes bleak

  • victor on January 4, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    I fail to understand why Tendulkar was taking singles off the first ball of each ovr when Sharma was at the other end considering that his highest fst class score was less than 10.Yuvraj will struggle against good spinners.Sehwag can be tried at Perth ahead of Jaffer.

  • Murali Krishnamurthy on January 4, 2008, 8:29 GMT

    Mukul is right. We need to move on leaving behind what has happened. But hats off to Sachin and the three bowlers for adding nearly 200 runs to the Indian score. And to compare them with no. 1,6 and 7 adding a mere 7 runs!!. I think the time has come for us to take a realistic view and have specialist players taking the field for Tests. We have always been guilty of comparing our one-day cricket to Tests. For example, before the series started, every Tom, Dick and Harry were saying Yuvraj was the best that happened to Indian cricket. Now after 3 innings our "knowledgable" journos are saying we should drop him!! come on guys, wake up and be pragmatic. Test cricket needs specific and special skills.

  • Sree on January 4, 2008, 8:28 GMT

    I think that an Umpires pay should be docked 25% for each wrong decision...only then will these dudes concentrate or think of retiring...Bucknor surely would retire. Laxman's stroke play is like magic....just doesn't seem to use any effort...Incredible! It is a pity that the selectors sword seems to always rest on this poor blokes neck.

  • Naeem on January 4, 2008, 8:17 GMT

    Bad umpiring-defintely and most of it went against the Indians, but on the whole this Indian team thanks to Laxman, Tendulkar and yes, Dravid, played great cricket. I will be surprised if they loose this game. Next game India must include Irfan Pathan for Yuvraj Singh.They are showing that they have the right stuff to beat Australia.

  • Vino,Bangalore on January 4, 2008, 8:13 GMT

    @Jason, I agree with you on Yuvraj. Everything happened so soon to him. He is not a 100% test player. If he should be there for the fielding alone in the team, sachin and ganguly fielded better than him in this test. He is a total waste and arrogant player to be played for the test matches. there are so many talents in india like Subramaniam Badrinath,Amol Mazhumdar not getting any place in the side.

  • Sorab on January 4, 2008, 8:08 GMT

    I think that what most Indians would complain about are the fact that the third umpire got the stumping decision against Symonds wrong (he was plumb lbw to Kumble too btw but I think that very few umps give a lot of lbws so I think those evened out). To get the stumping wrong with all the angles available, the man has to be either blind and incompetent or a cheat (I will be charitable and go for option number one). Ian Chappell has been quoted as saying that "even when the technology is being used, they don't get it right" with reference to this decision. I believe that the Benson decision against Ponting was what our friends in the US would call a "make-up" call. The finger was going up almost as soon as the appeal was made :). Have to commend him for correcting an earlier eggregious error. No such luck with Bucknor. There was no difference in the Dhoni dismissal (given) and the Symonds dismissal (the caught behind not given). Is it a wonder that Indian fans and writers complain?

  • Agni on January 4, 2008, 7:58 GMT

    Rext and Rev probably need some umpiring goof-up to point out that the errors evened out,but there is a critical difference between CLEAR OUTS like edges and stumpings and LBW that would always be subjective..

  • keshav on January 4, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    any person who has watched more than a highlights package of test cricket would realize the crafty wisdom in sachin's handing over most of the strike to singh and sharma. the scg is a large ground and with spread out fields, had sachin gone after the bowling himself, we would have ended up with a lead of about thirty odd runs. instead with close in fields, sharma and singh were able to gather some valuable runs for the TEAM by merely lofting the ball into empty spaces. i wonder how someone could label sachin selfish for giving the strike to others and thus gathering runs for the team.

  • Vaibhav on January 4, 2008, 7:48 GMT

    Thanks Mukul for the very balanced view and openess on Yuvraj. He failed yet again, kind of underlying your point but thanks for not labelling an Indian cricketer as a "pretender" We are after all different than the media and press of the poms :)

  • ShankarNarayanan on January 4, 2008, 7:38 GMT

    To Jason

    And mate you seem to have a good future reading faces of people and giving meaning to their expression. Ganguly clapping with envy, jealousy, your face reading is ridiculous

  • dhruv on January 4, 2008, 7:37 GMT

    Jason , i think u hit the nail on the head , abt lax being under rated and sachin batting selfishly. After playing cricket for so many years you expect him to protect the tail (the tail was good, well -- thats another story ).

  • ShankarNarayanan on January 4, 2008, 7:36 GMT

    To Jason Learn to appreciate good things. Sachin's innings was the fulcrum around which the Indian innings was built. When wickets were falling at the other end one has to be cautious. I dont think he was slow. Please see strike rate and it is perfectly okay for test match cricket. Coming into bat today he was on overnight score of 9 and he has added 145 runs with mostly the tail batting with him. And for your comments on Indian batsmen being over rated just dont warrant any kind of reply. The world knows of the feats of Sunny, Kapil, Vishy, Dilip and a whole lot of Indian batsmen who gave a lot of moments to cherish in different parts of the world. So if you dont know anything about that just keep your gob shut and just support your team. As for Laxman he is a class apart and we dont need you to tell us how he is rated ok. Your post warranted a reply and I think you just cannot digest that India scored over 500 because no other team has come anywhere near this.

  • Bala Yugandar on January 4, 2008, 7:33 GMT

    Folks-We can discuss about umpiring adnauseum....but let's pause and marvel at 'Object D Art' VVS! Watching him play the last couple yrs stoically instead of the free-flowing sublime style that we(hard core Laxman fans headed by Mukul)so desperately covet.....I worried whether VVS would ever recapture the incandescent form of 2003-4 series in Australia. This innings was so magical and beautiful I pinched(more than couple times) myself to see whether it was true especially after the drubbing in Melbourne. Isn't it laughable and utterly ridiculous that Laxman gets dropped in favor of XYZ in inconsequential series. He needs to be presevered and cherished. For India's sake and for his hardcore fans' sake may he flower like Steve Waugh in 2nd half his career....scoring a min of 30 centuries and 10K runs.....all the while enthralling with his pure, un-emulatable(lack of better word)strokes of symmetrical beauty! Game on and VVS pretty much very very special!

  • YU on January 4, 2008, 7:31 GMT

    Many a times I am critical of this blog... not today. Well said Mukul. It was a great inning from Laxman and yes he should have gone on. With a smile on my face I can write that one of the three did go on to make a big hundred. Sachin delivered uner pressure. Big time.

    Whiners, give Yuvraj and Dhoni time in Australia. It is not easy to change your instincts. Remember even Laxman had clicked only in his last match (in his first series).

  • Ravi on January 4, 2008, 7:31 GMT

    I don't get the casteist blog that Peter Lalor wrote about Indian fielding. From what I've read so far, his articles are nicely biased towards Aussies supremacy. Mukul, might I point out that the Aussies first need to hold the catches that matter, and then talk about their fielding being supreme, and Indians (and any other international team) lacking in it. This Australian attack is toothless.

  • agm on January 4, 2008, 7:27 GMT

    The "posting guidelines" note that "the following are not allowed under any circumstances:

    * racism and accusations of racism * comments about bias by officials against specific teams or players"

    There are clear instances of both in the posts to date. Go easy people!

    Yes, India got the worst of it in 2003-'04 and probably should've won 2-1. Yes, Symonds' 162/3 was shocking umpiring, but Sachin and VVS also were lucky to survive very confident shouts.

    Let's just hope umpiring mistakes are kept to a minimum, that they even out - and that the ICC uses common sense for once and brings in increased use of technology very quickly.

    Hopefully teams head to Perth 1-1 :).

  • Prasanth Nottath on January 4, 2008, 7:19 GMT

    As regards to Sachin not being given out despite being out LBW as you say, that's a mistake of the umpire. I agree it was a howler. But after atleast 4 dismissals turned down in favor of Aussies, this was the least favor the shylocks-in-white-coats could do to the Indians. Also do not forget that so called "unselfish" Ponting who "upheld the spirit" of the game by not claiming a catch, did not walk despite being clearly caught behind. Double standards, cap? However, it has to be acknowledged it was within his rights, so was Sachin. So get over it.

  • Mick on January 4, 2008, 7:17 GMT

    'Indian': how can you complain about our supposed whingeing as you whinge yourself. Go look up hypocrite in the dictionary...

    Other than that I have little to say as my friend Shaival has summed it up with more poise than could be hoped from any of the nationalistic ... that has spread like a virus across all of cricinfo's blogs...I suppose if it brings the punters in...

  • Prasanth Nottath on January 4, 2008, 7:16 GMT

    Jason, funny you seem to be branding Sachin and Saurav as selfish when both of them were playing attacking aggressive cricket. And as regards to whether they dominated the bowling, a strike rate of 85 and 65 respectively proves it. Or better, ask a certain Mr.Hogg. It's no wonder 3 of the Aussie bowlers went for over 100 runs, with Mitchell Johnson, remarked as a bowler in a generation by Lillee, a whisker away from a well deserved 150.

  • rev on January 4, 2008, 7:10 GMT

    Longmemory - its not what you said, but rather what you didn't.

  • Jason on January 4, 2008, 7:01 GMT

    Once again Yuvraj Singh showed he has no class and is terribly over-rated (like 99.9% of Indian cricketers in history) whilst VVS Laxman showed he is terribly under-rated and one of Indians best ever batsmen. Tendulkar was plumb LBW to Clarke, and didn't once dominate the bowling- he played selfishly with RP Singh and Ishant Sharma, appearing to only care about wanting to remain not out at the end rather than get extra runs for his team. Sourav Ganguly is the most selfish cricketer of all time, and when they showed the Indian dressing room standing and applauding when both Laxman and Tendulkar reached their centuries you could see Ganguly only clapping because he "had" to, and the look on his face was one of jealousy and bitterness.

  • Dhananjay on January 4, 2008, 6:59 GMT

    The difference between what happened to Australia and India is simple. India were denied four CLEAR (two stumpings and two catches) wickets by the incompetence of the umpires. Australia were denied two wickets because of their own (Gilchrist's) incompetence. You can't blame anyone except yourself when you drop catches. That sort of a let-off is quite different from what Bucknor and Bensen engineered when Australia was batting.

  • Indian on January 4, 2008, 6:57 GMT

    It is incredible that these australians are actualy crying about LBWs not given.Mate there is a hellova lot of difference between a run out or snick and an LBW where only GOD knows whether the ball hits the wicket or not.and FYI the Indian team has refused to complain about the umpiring unlike you whingers in 2001.

  • dhruv on January 4, 2008, 6:49 GMT

    he seemed to experiment, for the sake of his art, with more improbable angles

  • Shaival on January 4, 2008, 6:27 GMT

    Questioning the morals of the Aussies is definitely not the right thing to do here. The days of walking are long past. So I have no problems with batsmen not walking. But at the same time, the same batsmen can not expect the opponents to walk.

    Anyway the point that the cricket administrators and aficionados must discuss very seriously is embracing technology the right way. Umpires are human indeed and there is no way you can blame Symonds for the incorrect judgements. Very soon ICC must do something about that. You can not let umpiring errors ruin good contests.

    In my opinion the errors against weaker teams are magnified simply because they can not overcome these errors. Whereas same number of errors against strong teams don't affect them as much. Getting Australia out for cheap is difficult as it is, with the umpiring errors it just becomes impossible.

    On a different note, it was brilliant to see Aussie PM Mr. Rudd come and talk to Harsha and Sunny in Star Cricket Commentary box.

  • Mick on January 4, 2008, 6:09 GMT

    Well, I don't have a longmemory but i'm reasonably content with my short to mildly short memory. Anyway, its good enough that i remember all the Indian fans carping on BEFORE the series started about how hard done they are by the umpires. Sometimes your dreams do come true. Just admit that deep down you're glad you got some bad decisions so that in case your team loses you can whinge and whine ad nauseum about how the world is against you and Australia is the great satan of world cricket. I suppose in a perfect world it would have been a 'white' umpire who wronged you so you could play your beloved racism card.

  • Ghurri on January 4, 2008, 5:11 GMT

    so from when has lbw qualified to be injustice !!! If that was the case ... ne team would lose out thanks to hawk eye. Mr.Rext and Mr.Rev, the point here was about not getting the audibility of "thick edges", and to miss out on stumping((s) - coz they were 2 of them).

    Henceforth ... no evening up has actually happened ... am not cribbing ... but I guess you need to get the point.

    Am enjoying our no.9 belting (thats true .... belting the leather out of the kookaburra) .... catch up with ya later !!!!

  • Rajesh NJ on January 4, 2008, 4:27 GMT

    If there is a more pretty and elegant batsman today in World Cricket than V.V.S. Laxman I would really like to see him all day !!

  • ajay ramachandran on January 4, 2008, 4:17 GMT

    nothoing can make good the loss .....whatever my be the case.....especialy in cricket who knows what would have happend if all the three decisions against the australians had come off well and good .

  • Dave on January 4, 2008, 4:08 GMT

    Longmemory,

    Um, while I'm not happy with Ponting and his whole "fair catching" and "no walking" I think as a whole Australians are very fair. Gilchrist is a great example of someone who walks ALL THE TIME, not just when it doesn't matter like a certain West Indian left handed maestro...

  • Pete on January 4, 2008, 3:29 GMT

    You reckon Bucknor and Benson are wearing Aussie sweaters under their coats, Dave? They aren't biased like the mid-80 Pakistanis, just incompetent, they're making bad calls against The Aussies as well. I'm just saying Mukul could bare that in mind when he goes off on one about umpiring, especially when he starts his blog saying that enough has been said about it.

  • andy on January 4, 2008, 3:26 GMT

    When traditions/practices are forced in the throats of protesting public, you may be sure someone is making lots of money on the side. Like lack of universal health insurance in USA, the drugmakers and insurance companies make money. It makes me wonder what could be the reason behind not adopting technology which is readily available for umpiring. Show me who benefits monetarily from such stupid decisions. NFL games are officiated with the help of instant replays, coaches challenge etc. which makes the game very fair. Cricket is unfair and what is perplexing the moment somebody mentions use of technology, former players, journalists jump on it as if somebody is slaying the holy cow. Now aussie cricket chief wants to go back to the days of widespread cheating i.e. home umpires. So instead of going forward and adopting technology, cricket wants to regress. What next!!

  • Longmemory on January 4, 2008, 3:23 GMT

    Hey Rev: does the word "double standard" mean anything to you? I never said non-Aussie batsmen walk, and barring good old Vishy, Indian batsmen rarely walk. I was merely saying that no other country makes such a fetish of saying the umpire's word is final and yet bang on when questionable decisions go against them as the Aussies do. If you really think the umpire's word is all there is to it, keep the same damn expression whether you've been reprived (as Ponting was against Ganguly early in his innings) or given wrongly out (as he was when he inside-edged Bhajji onto his pads). Get it?

  • Ad Nauseated on January 4, 2008, 3:18 GMT

    This backbiting rubbish just has to stop. The only thing ruining this match is the carping and whinging on both sides of the fence. This includes supporters, media and retired cricketers. The match is not even half over and it really is turning out to be match. Australia will have to put India to the sword quickly and construct a defensible total, and India will have to show some mettle and make short shrift of the Australians if either is to have a chance to win this match. It is laughable to say that this match will swing on a handful of umpiring blunders. Cricket is winning - out on the field. It is only in places like this where the muckracking and t**d-polishing are taking the shine off it all.

  • James on January 4, 2008, 3:13 GMT

    Two things seem pretty clear: (i) The vast majority of cricketers - including the Indian batsmen - are non-walkers (in the sense that, like Symonds, they do not walk if the umpire has definitely signalled not out; some players walk in clear cases before the umpire has decided). (ii) There's no evidence whether close decisions in international cricket tend to go to the stronger team. Pretty obviously, our personal impressions here will be skewed. Close decisions going to the weaker team will generally be less critical - and so less easy to bring to mind - because they are less likely to be built on.

    If I'm wrong, put up a relevant link and let's have a properly informed discussion about the cricketing morals of Symonds and the Aussies. Otherwise, what possible ground is there here for singling out Symonds for abuse, or whinging about Australia? Instead, surely, Ravi Shastri was right in simply expressing sympathy for India and calling for Bucknor to retire. And now let's move on.

  • Shadaab on January 4, 2008, 3:00 GMT

    I wouldn't have cared if Symonds' decision had been tough, or if it was a one-off. But he was reprieved not once, not twice, but THREE times. First one was a nick heard around the ground; in the second one, the umpire had all the time and visual angles he needed; the third was a routine referral denied.

  • Rev on January 4, 2008, 2:55 GMT

    Gotta laugh at fools like Longmemory (how ironic) who would perhaps be better titled LongIndianMemory instead. It gets only better when Ponting is singled out for not walking when we saw the exact situation in Melbourne with Yuvraj.

    Face it people, the overwhelming majority of batsmen from all nations don't walk! And as rext stated, Tendulkar got a life, as did Laxman. Move on, what goes around comes around.

  • rext on January 4, 2008, 2:20 GMT

    Seeing that you are so critical of the umpires in this match I'm sure you would insist on being objective and even handed, and so perhaps you can explain why Tendulkar was given not out to Clarke on 36? Too high? No! Pitched in line? Yes! Hitting middle stump? Yes! "Out" according to Cricinfo commentary (Indian)? Yes! Hawkeye "Out"? Yes! And Laxman yesterday? Out! But I'm just explaining, not complaining as only self pitying whingers do that! I hope Tendulkar makes 200 as he is a champion batsman if only a slightly above average cricketer given his inability to lead, his tactical and strategic weaknesses,failure to inspire, motivate and unite as a captain! Champion cricketers are much more than just champion batsmen or bowlers only in my view.

  • Ramjee on January 4, 2008, 2:13 GMT

    I was just wondering if Symonds was not going to play the next two tests, that the umpires wanted to be benovalent by making him play multiple innings in this test itself. Anyway, the crowd cannot complain if he misses out on the next two as he is done with his quota of innings for the entire series.

  • Nilay on January 4, 2008, 2:08 GMT

    Yeah, Bucknor totally killed things off. There are way too many mistakes being made and I find it difficult to attribute them to human error. Even the third umpire managed to muck things up. Yes, Laxmans batting was magical but like Mukul said, it might not be enough to win India a test match. With all due respect to the Australian team, the scenario of this match should have been dramatically different and in favor of India.

  • Longmemory on January 4, 2008, 2:01 GMT

    Thanks to Dave for that comment about Ponting's double standards, which should really read "Aussie double standards". If they believe the umpire's word is the last word, as they claim ad nauseam, they should accept all decisions with the same aplomb. But as Ponting just showed - and literally hundreds of Aussies before him have done - they will abide by the ump's decision when it suits them, and whinge and moan when it does not. Guys like Slater who never walked could create a scene when Dravid stood his ground back in Bombay in that historic series (and he wasn't even out!), and Langer never once thought he was out even if he was clean bowled. Its this double standard that infuriates the rest of the world - and of course the fact that on sheer cricketing merit, the Aussies are far and away the best team in the world ;) Oh well, at least there's VVS and a few others. We'll have to count our moments of individual brilliance - as always - and cede the spoils to the better team.

  • Dave on January 4, 2008, 1:08 GMT

    Fair go, Pete! That umpiring was as bad as any of the dark days of Pakistani umpires, and these guys are meant to be neutral. Umpires make mistakes, yes, bu this whole series may ahve been ruined by a guy who should have retired years ago. It's not just players who should know when to bow out. And don't even get me on Ponting's double standards...

  • Pete on January 4, 2008, 0:28 GMT

    You say Roebuk has said all that is needed about the umpiring, then whinge about it for a paragraph. Then you neglect to mention Laxman's umpiring life. And fail to remember the multiple LBW shouts that went India's way in Melbourne. Classy journalism, mate.

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  • Pete on January 4, 2008, 0:28 GMT

    You say Roebuk has said all that is needed about the umpiring, then whinge about it for a paragraph. Then you neglect to mention Laxman's umpiring life. And fail to remember the multiple LBW shouts that went India's way in Melbourne. Classy journalism, mate.

  • Dave on January 4, 2008, 1:08 GMT

    Fair go, Pete! That umpiring was as bad as any of the dark days of Pakistani umpires, and these guys are meant to be neutral. Umpires make mistakes, yes, bu this whole series may ahve been ruined by a guy who should have retired years ago. It's not just players who should know when to bow out. And don't even get me on Ponting's double standards...

  • Longmemory on January 4, 2008, 2:01 GMT

    Thanks to Dave for that comment about Ponting's double standards, which should really read "Aussie double standards". If they believe the umpire's word is the last word, as they claim ad nauseam, they should accept all decisions with the same aplomb. But as Ponting just showed - and literally hundreds of Aussies before him have done - they will abide by the ump's decision when it suits them, and whinge and moan when it does not. Guys like Slater who never walked could create a scene when Dravid stood his ground back in Bombay in that historic series (and he wasn't even out!), and Langer never once thought he was out even if he was clean bowled. Its this double standard that infuriates the rest of the world - and of course the fact that on sheer cricketing merit, the Aussies are far and away the best team in the world ;) Oh well, at least there's VVS and a few others. We'll have to count our moments of individual brilliance - as always - and cede the spoils to the better team.

  • Nilay on January 4, 2008, 2:08 GMT

    Yeah, Bucknor totally killed things off. There are way too many mistakes being made and I find it difficult to attribute them to human error. Even the third umpire managed to muck things up. Yes, Laxmans batting was magical but like Mukul said, it might not be enough to win India a test match. With all due respect to the Australian team, the scenario of this match should have been dramatically different and in favor of India.

  • Ramjee on January 4, 2008, 2:13 GMT

    I was just wondering if Symonds was not going to play the next two tests, that the umpires wanted to be benovalent by making him play multiple innings in this test itself. Anyway, the crowd cannot complain if he misses out on the next two as he is done with his quota of innings for the entire series.

  • rext on January 4, 2008, 2:20 GMT

    Seeing that you are so critical of the umpires in this match I'm sure you would insist on being objective and even handed, and so perhaps you can explain why Tendulkar was given not out to Clarke on 36? Too high? No! Pitched in line? Yes! Hitting middle stump? Yes! "Out" according to Cricinfo commentary (Indian)? Yes! Hawkeye "Out"? Yes! And Laxman yesterday? Out! But I'm just explaining, not complaining as only self pitying whingers do that! I hope Tendulkar makes 200 as he is a champion batsman if only a slightly above average cricketer given his inability to lead, his tactical and strategic weaknesses,failure to inspire, motivate and unite as a captain! Champion cricketers are much more than just champion batsmen or bowlers only in my view.

  • Rev on January 4, 2008, 2:55 GMT

    Gotta laugh at fools like Longmemory (how ironic) who would perhaps be better titled LongIndianMemory instead. It gets only better when Ponting is singled out for not walking when we saw the exact situation in Melbourne with Yuvraj.

    Face it people, the overwhelming majority of batsmen from all nations don't walk! And as rext stated, Tendulkar got a life, as did Laxman. Move on, what goes around comes around.

  • Shadaab on January 4, 2008, 3:00 GMT

    I wouldn't have cared if Symonds' decision had been tough, or if it was a one-off. But he was reprieved not once, not twice, but THREE times. First one was a nick heard around the ground; in the second one, the umpire had all the time and visual angles he needed; the third was a routine referral denied.

  • James on January 4, 2008, 3:13 GMT

    Two things seem pretty clear: (i) The vast majority of cricketers - including the Indian batsmen - are non-walkers (in the sense that, like Symonds, they do not walk if the umpire has definitely signalled not out; some players walk in clear cases before the umpire has decided). (ii) There's no evidence whether close decisions in international cricket tend to go to the stronger team. Pretty obviously, our personal impressions here will be skewed. Close decisions going to the weaker team will generally be less critical - and so less easy to bring to mind - because they are less likely to be built on.

    If I'm wrong, put up a relevant link and let's have a properly informed discussion about the cricketing morals of Symonds and the Aussies. Otherwise, what possible ground is there here for singling out Symonds for abuse, or whinging about Australia? Instead, surely, Ravi Shastri was right in simply expressing sympathy for India and calling for Bucknor to retire. And now let's move on.

  • Ad Nauseated on January 4, 2008, 3:18 GMT

    This backbiting rubbish just has to stop. The only thing ruining this match is the carping and whinging on both sides of the fence. This includes supporters, media and retired cricketers. The match is not even half over and it really is turning out to be match. Australia will have to put India to the sword quickly and construct a defensible total, and India will have to show some mettle and make short shrift of the Australians if either is to have a chance to win this match. It is laughable to say that this match will swing on a handful of umpiring blunders. Cricket is winning - out on the field. It is only in places like this where the muckracking and t**d-polishing are taking the shine off it all.