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India v Australia, 1st Test, Bangalore, 5th day
Ian Chappell: Kumble a worry for India
October 13, 2008
Both sides had their opportunities and will now head to Mohali better prepared and more confident
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'There is a zip missing from Anil Kumble's bowling that is a big problem for India' © Getty Images

Ian Chappell: After both teams had advantages - probably Australia had the greater advantage at the halfway point - neither side were able to fulfil their dream of getting off to a very good start by winning the first Test of this series. But it was an interesting game and in the end the Indian batting, which has so often failed in a fourth-innings chase, held together extremely well and thwarted any chance that Australia might have had of pushing on for victory.

Australia got off to a very good start picking up Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid, two very important members of the Indian batting line-up, early; Sehwag, because he was probably the one player who could have won the game for India and really given Australia some headaches; and Dravid, because he is the sort of guy who can bat for a really long time in a match-saving situation. So those were two great breakthroughs and at that point Australia looked to be well and truly on top in the game.

But I thought Sachin Tendulkar looked really positive against the quick bowlers. His feet were moving well which suggested he was relaxed. It was only when Michael Clarke came onto bowl that he looked a bit tentative. But helping India with that situation was Gautam Gambhir who was playing the spinners very well, while he was a bit tentative against the quick bowlers. So between them they made quite a good combination and they settled the Indian dressing room down. Gambhir was out when he missed what was a pretty straight slower ball from Mitchell Johnson and once again the nerves would have been a bit tight in the Indian dressing room.

But VVS Laxman and Tendulkar then played extremely well and confidently and at the stage it looked like 1) India were pretty much going to save the Test and 2) Tendulkar would go on and break the record for the most number of Test runs. But Tendulkar was a bit tentative in using his feet to the spinners; he didn't want to use his feet even to Cameron White and that eventually cost him his wicket when he holed out at cover. He also seemed to be a little distracted with the light. I was a bit surprised with that; I thought he would have wanted to stay out there, with Clarke and White bowling, and get rid of the weight of the record to ensure he went into the second Test with a fresh mind. But eventually White picked up Tendulkar and got his first Test wicket.

So the match petered out into a draw from there. Both sides will feel a little disappointed that they had opportunities but they weren't able to capitalise on them. India will be pleased all their batsmen have had a good workout in this Test so they will be better prepared for the second Test. Some very good things came out of this Test for Australia, particularly the bowling of their faster bowlers and the batting of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey. The Australians will have felt if they had knocked the Indian batsmen cheaply in one innings, they could have got the Indian selectors jumpy enough to make a change or two in that batting line-up. They will be disappointed it won't happen now.

The one real area of concern for India is their captain Anil Kumble. He says that he is hoping to be a 100% fit for Mohali. I don't think he is 100% fit. There is a zip missing from his bowling that suggests that he has got a shoulder problem and that is a big problem for India.

Both sides I think will be better prepared for Mohali after this good, competitive hit-out in Bangalore. We can probably expect a better cricket wicket in Mohali. So I think both teams will go into the Test pretty confident.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is a cricket commentator for Channel Nine, and a columnist

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Posted by Bis on (October 14, 2008, 9:24 GMT)

Ian Chappell is once again right on the mark - telling it like it is and giving no quarter to national sensitivities in his determination to support the good in cricket and denounce the bad. In this respect he is the true legatee of the traditions of cricket ennobled by his grandfather Vic Richardson and his brothers Greg and Trevor. It is so satisfying to see this great batsman from yesteryear bring his penetrating insight and years of experience to bear in analysing the modern game and its bewildering permutations. Hopefully both the Indians and the Australians can learn from his sagacious observations and the game of cricket will be the winner.

Posted by Jatin on (October 14, 2008, 9:15 GMT)

I do agree with Chappel that Kumble has lost a zip in his bowling but that isn't going to be there for long time. I would say Kumble has just had a bad test match and he'll smash in the next match if he plays. Zaheer and Bhajji smashed it with their batting must have frustrated ozzies. Im just waiting for a blast from Viru which will put australia on the backfoot. I would say Ponting played a captain innings with so much pressure on him to do well. Bhajji should be oiling his fingers to stop ponting to even get into double figures.chak de India

Posted by Sajin on (October 14, 2008, 6:04 GMT)

It is quite contrasting that one or two failures will make a good test captain as an ineffective one. Everybody was praising kumble's captaincy when we won Pakistan series and after Australia series and now they are targeting him. I strongly believe Dhoni is not fit for Test Captaincy, though some of his gambling moves might have worthy. We should give more time to Kumble as a captain till we find a suitable replacement as one of the strong contenders of that high profile post are yet to claim the same with his consistent scoring. Or we have to think the way South Africa did with Graeme smith.

Posted by Arthur on (October 13, 2008, 23:07 GMT)

They may have had a good "workout" but would the performance of India's recognised batsmen really leave the BCCI selectors confident? No centuries among any of them, in fact just a single half-century (an only just a half-century at that) from the top order on a good deck is hardly an indication that a big pile of runs is around the corner. The two top scores were made by bowlers in a rearguard action which hurt Australia's chances at a win, but to get the trophy, India need to win more tests than Australia, not save games.

I'm also surprised at the expectation that India will improve over the series as they get more comfortable. They're playing at home, most of them are senior players, they've just completed a test series on similar pitches recently - really, how much more comfortable can they get? One team clearly has more room to improve based on age and experience going forward. And that team was the only one ever with a chance of winning at Bangalore.

Posted by Babu on (October 13, 2008, 18:32 GMT)

Ian Chappel is absolutely spot on Anil Kumble. Yes, zip missing from Anil's Bowling and this happened in Srilanka, South Africa and Australia Series where India lost series. As a Bowler, he lost the touch and not effective and as a Captain, Kumble's field placements are not aggressive and a huge contrast between Ricky's field placement having a well planned for every Indian batsman's strengths.

As a bowler, Its time for Anil step down and give a way to younger bowlers who are doing extremely well. As a Captain, he needs to step down and give a way for more agreesive captain Dhoni (proven in 1Day and T20 formats) and was very effective in placements and using the bowlers when Anil missing the field during the first Test. Selectors needs to focus on 100% fit and effective team for Mohali and rest of tour and should not ignore coach and former selectors opinion on Anil's in-effective recent performances leading to a disappointment for millions of Indian cricket Fans around the world.

Posted by Kalyanaraman on (October 13, 2008, 16:33 GMT)

Another very good analysis from Chappell. It is a pretty indicative statement when he says that Sehwag is the one batsman in this Indian team who opponents believe can genuinely win a test match with his batting. That doesn't say much about the other batsmen spare Dravid the wall. However it must be noted that Sehwag has rarely come good in the second innings just like the other batsmen. So let's not pin the blame solely on the fab four. I believe that if Kumble was at the peak of his bowling prowess, India would have played a very different match. Will India play Kumble or Amit Mishra or Munaf in Mohali? Will they go in with 5 bowlers?

Posted by Ashok on (October 13, 2008, 15:27 GMT)

India with more balanced and experienced bowling attack failed to get Australians out. This was the main reason for the drawn game - failure of the Indian Spinners. If India wants to press the advantage, a left arm spinner (Mishra or Ojha) should be included in the line up at the expense of one of the "Fab 4". In addition I like to see Kumble taking rest in the next test match and giving way to P.Chawla who bowled so well at the Hyderabad game against the Aussies. Ishant and Zaheer bowled well. Other bowling places are up for grab. Kumble should not play unless he is 100% fit. As I stated in the past, only 2 of "Fab 4" should be in the line up which will make the fielding side much stronger. India could have saved 50 runs in each of the Australian innings by improved field placing, catching and fielding. Australians batted well but were handicapped by lack of spinners. Johnson bowled well but Lee and Clarke need to improve if Aussies are to win this series. Hadin also needs to improve.

Posted by Marco on (October 13, 2008, 15:15 GMT)

To be truthful, for all the hype this was a pretty tedious match for the most part.

What stood out for me was that we're seeing a new Australian side now that has come back to the pack in its mental approach and their incredible aggression and self-belief they've had for over a decade has significantly diminished. They'll still do well but their aura has gone and the results will reflect this.

This was what Zaheer meant in his post-match comments although imo it was the batting, not the bowling that best highlighted this. Yesterday they looked as if they were 70 runs behind, not ahead, until Watson/Haddin got together. I'm sure India would've been privately happy with Katich hanging around for so long for so few runs.

Still, a fair few positives for Australia out of this match. Watson made valuable contributions with bat and ball and Johnson had his best Test day. But Ian was right when he wrote that the more overs he's required for, the less effective Clarke is as a bowler

Posted by Manoor on (October 13, 2008, 14:44 GMT)

Someone from cricinfo please ask Ian Chappell why he is targetting Kumble. Is he, indirecty; putting pressure on Kumble? I think so. I have posted for his first comment on the same issue. It looks like he is part of the Australian team and he is doing his job demoralising the opposite captain. May be I am specifically looking for his comments on Kumble, but repeatedly criticising one person is not sports journalism or expert commentary.

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