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India v Australia, 3rd Test, Feroz Shah Kotla, 4th day
Ian Chappell: Shoddy fielding does India in
November 1, 2008
A very poor day for India and it will give Australia great confidence going into the final Test in Nagpur
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Anil Kumble is not the bowler he used to be but was defiant as ever © AFP

Michael Clarke made the Indians pay for their shoddy fielding; he was dropped early on the fourth morning, dropped at mid-off by Ishant Sharma, a catch that should have been taken off the unfortunate Amit Mishra.

From there, Clarke went on to really cash in and made sure that Australia not only avoided the follow-on but got very close to India's mammoth first-innings total. Clarke gave a couple more chances before he actually reached the hundred and it really was a very poor day for India in the field. They should have learnt from what England did against Australia in the Ashes at the Adelaide Oval, when England started to think that that match was going to be a draw. The Australians never stopped thinking about the victory and they finished up winning that game. I doubt that that's going to happen in this match, but India should never have let Australia up off the floor once they had them down, and because of their shoddy fielding they let the Australians grow in confidence.

Michael Clarke played with a good mixture of aggression and watchfulness and went on to get a hundred where his team-mates had done well but were not able to pass the three-figure mark. Clarke guided the lower-order players, first past the follow-on mark and then close to the big Indian first-innings score, 112 to Michael Clarke.

Shane Watson was bowled by Virender Sehwag, and he obviously did not trust his team-mates in the field because his five wickets came in the form of one lbw and four bowleds, and he had good reason to not trust them. They dropped a couple of catches off Michael Clarke before he reached the hundred, catches that should have been taken. Cameron White was in a bit of trouble early on but he fought through that and went on to make 44 and then Mitchell Johnson was out slogging in the end. Sehwag, the best of the Indian bowlers with five wickets, was very aggressive in his thinking, (and) was always thinking wickets. Sehwag spun the ball nicely, flighted it well and got a few balls to do miracles.

Anil Kumble, as courageous as ever, came on to the field with his hand bandaged up; he picked up three wickets, he is certainly not the bowler that he once was and I doubt that he is going to be fit for the last Test match with eleven stitches in his hand. But there was one little incident right at the end of the innings that showed Kumble to be as defiant as ever, right till the end. He had Mitchell Johnson slogging and it just cleared Amit Mishra's head in the outfield. Kumble wasn't thrilled with it, he yelled at his young legspinning team-mate and the next ball was skied high and looked like landing in in between three players so Kumble set off after it himself and despite the sore hand he took the catch and then angrily threw it into the ground. As competitive as ever right till the end, it is just sad that Kumble isn't the bowler that he used to be because of his shoulder injury, because if he had been at his best then I think India would have probably gone on and won this game.

India then made another mistake when Australia bowled. Brett Lee bowled well, signs that Lee might just be coming out of a little bit of the fog, and a good one got rid of Sehwag. Then India sent in a nightwatchman, when really Rahul Dravid should have been coming in to make sure that he was there first ball in the morning to get on and get some batting practice. As it turns out, he will be there for the first ball in the morning because Stuart Clark got rid of Ishant Sharma.

A poor, very poor day for India in this Test match and the worst thing about it was that it will give Australia great confidence for the match in Nagpur.

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

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Posted by Deepak on (November 2, 2008, 7:39 GMT)

Well we may not be the number one team, but India make the Kangaroos hop. If not for the shoddy umpiring decisions the Down Under Series would have been more hurting for the Aussies than being stopped from the unbeaten run. Remember thats the second time that runs been stopped and by the same team. I agree that Kumble is unimaginative. He is a great bowler but will never be remembered for being a good captain. Bring in Dhoni. Under him Aussies would never have reached this close and then press for victory. Even today, if he was in-charge, he might have declared at 180-200. Remember Border-Gavaskar Trophy - 4th Test 2004/05 season.

Posted by Aswin on (November 2, 2008, 5:10 GMT)

What a fantastic test match this has been? First, Gambhir and Laxman scored to double centuries to take India to 613 and Australia crawled back to 577 thanks to contributions from the top 5. Going by the proceedings, I can see only one team trying for a victory and that ain't India. It is sad to see Kumble trying out for a draw, If I were captain, i would definitely ask my batsmen to go for runs and set Aussies a tricky target. It's a shame that the Indians are lagging behind now, even with batting greats like Sachin, Sourav, and Laxman, we, Indians, are hesitant to go for quick runs and make Aussies chase a tricky target, say 250 in 55 overs. All said and done, I would end my comment by saying this, "To be the best cricketing team, you have to play like one, you cannot afford to play like ordinary cricketing teams, I am afraid India is not playing like a great team". I wish Kirsten could just tell Kumble to ask his boys to score quick runs.

Posted by Peter on (November 2, 2008, 0:59 GMT)

What really gets me is all this talk about Australia being past it and are power in decline. This wishful thinking started back in 2005 Ashes (where we were one snick throug slips by Kasper away from winning). Then the jealous vultures like Ian Chappell began crowing, the team was too old, Hayden was finished etc etc. Well three years later we are still up there as number one. We have commenced a new era without our old stars and we are holding our own. Have faith in the total development structure in Australian cricket! It is the best in the world and that is why we are the best at the game. Just wait, new superstars are on the horizon. The system produces them.Why aren't the pundits talking about the ageing Indian team. They will soon lose five of the best. How will they replace such players? With the 20/20 hit and hope generation? I don't think so. The five day grind of Test Cricket and the Sheffield Shield competition is what produces great players.India will never be number one!

Posted by Shridhar on (November 2, 2008, 0:29 GMT)

Kumble lacks imagination as a captain. He persisted himself and Amit Mishra for long spells of bowling eventhough they were not able to break the partnership. Kumble could have tried Tendulakar his leg spinners. Sewag got 5 five wickets as a part time bowler and why not Tendulkar given a chance.


Posted by N on (November 1, 2008, 19:02 GMT)

JoeChris, While I initially felt like you did, hindsight is 20/20. Kumble put Aus in for the last 15 overs of the day thinking the players must have been tired after a long day on the field. He unlucky that they didn't get a wicket or we might be singing a different tune. In hindsight the other approach of getting 700 odd runs would have worn down Australia even more and that could have had a psychological effect. What is even more shocking is India's approach of sending in Ishant. That really perked up the Aussies. The ONLY reliable defense against Austalia is offense. Show any weakness to Australia and they pounce on it. Dhoni's attitude of taking a blow and not flinching is an example of how to deal with Australia. Now India may pay a heavy price for a weak attitude. If not in this test likely in the next.

Posted by Ram on (November 1, 2008, 18:13 GMT)

Both Ponting and kumble have captained poorly in the series. Their defensive thinking has killed this match. Bring Dhoni and clarke.

Posted by PRIYANTHA on (November 1, 2008, 18:09 GMT)

Sometimes confidence gained in one match does not mean anything for the next one. In Sri Lanka, Indians suffered a heavy defeat in first test only to bounce back and win the second. On that occasion, Sri Lankans provided some openings to Indians and they capitalized. If Aussies do the same thing and pull off an unlikely win on final day Indians will have only themselves to be blamed. It is rubbish talk by "joechris" that Indians would have batted on to make 700+. The declaration was timed so that Indian bowlers could have a fair go at exhausted Aussie batsmen on second day. Anyone with a bit of common sense would agree that it is the most logical thing. Both selectors for making him captain and Kumble himself for keep playing are at fault. If Aussies retain the trophy, by winning in Nagpur this bad decision will be the main reason for that. It is a pity that such a great bowler is making a fool out of himself by continuing to play when he is well below his best.

Posted by Chickoo on (November 1, 2008, 17:38 GMT)

I dont think India will lose this one from here. For one, Kotla is not Adelaide oval;ball is spinning very slow. Secondly, it is (new) India and not England! India have been caught napping in the past, but I think the stakes are too high for them to take it easy on the final day and I am pretty sure they wont. But good thing that Aussies have come back strongly which makes the last test at Nagpur very interesting indeed. Cheers

Posted by joe on (November 1, 2008, 16:37 GMT)

Now it looks like the Indians have their backs to the wall. I guess India lost the plot when they declared on the second day. They should have gone on to bat. May be an extra seventy odd runs would have made the difference. With VVS was batting really well in the company of an aggressive Zaheer with Ishanth to come in next, India could have posted 700- 720 by the close of play. The 15 overs that the the Australian batsmen successfully negotiated on the second day has given them a great fillip. Australia can square the series here.

Posted by Shruti on (November 1, 2008, 16:22 GMT)

India may not lose this test but Australia can score few brownie Points and go to Nagpur with a great opportunity to square the series and retain the Gavaskar -Border trophy.The best thing that can happen at present to Indian Cricket is Kumble 's absence in NAGPUR TEST.He is over the hill and was needed to be accommodated at Kotla at the expense of a proven matchwinner Harbhajan.

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