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India v Australia, 4th Test, Nagpur, 1st day
Chappell: 'Why was Krejza left out?'
November 6, 2008
The Sachin Tendulkar-VVS Laxman partnerships sets India up, while debutants Krejza and Vijay impress
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'Sachin Tendulkar came along and did what he has been doing so well right through his career: he scored his 40th Test century' © Getty Images

All the spotlight was on the man playing his last Test - Sourav Ganguly - and the man playing his 100th Test - VVS Laxman. While that was going along, Sachin Tendulkar came along and did what he has been doing so well right through his career: he scored his 40th Test century, and in partnership with Laxman, he gave India the opportunity to post a really good total on a pitch that is already helping the spinners.

But first up it was Virender Sehwag who got things moving for India and boy, didn't he get things moving in a hurry. He took just 45 balls for his half-century and he had a very solid and confident partner in the debutant M Vijay at the other end. And importantly for India, Vijay ran well between the wickets with Sehwag. He was prepared to take the singles and I was extremely impressed with his debut. I think he has got a good future: he is confident, he was looking for runs and he ran well between the wickets. He was eventually out to a good piece of bowling from Shane Watson who has improved his bowling on this tour. He bowled a short one to Vijay and then followed it up with another short one that took the edge and Brad Haddin took the catch.

That triggered a bit of a collapse. Sehwag had gone after Jason Krejza, who was included in the Australian side, and he had belted the first couple of overs from Krejza and looked like he was trying to hit him out of the attack. The fall of Vijay brought in Rahul Dravid and with the form that Dravid has been in, he really should not be batting ahead of Laxman at this stage. But he was only there for two deliveries and fell to a good, bouncing delivery from Krejza. It was a good fightback from the offspinner after the treatment meted out to him to him by Sehwag and he got his first Test wicket in the form of a big name in Dravid. He followed it up by getting rid of Sehwag when a good field change from Ricky Ponting enticed Sehwag to try and run the ball down to third man and he inside-edged it onto the stumps. Suddenly Australia were right back in the game with three wickets down at lunch.

But from then on it was the Tendulkar-Laxman partnership that took the game right away from Australia. Tendulkar was playing confidently and it was only when he got into the 90s that he looked a bit different. He seems to have got the horrors of late when he gets into the 90s. I guess when you make seven of them in one year in Test and one-day cricket, you do get the jitters a little bit. The Australians helped him out with two dropped catches; the one dropped by Mitchell Johnson should have been taken and it would have been another wicket for Krejza. It wasn't to be and it was hundred No. 40 for Tendulkar and the tenth against Australia. He got terrific support from Laxman; that pair seem to love batting together and they really did make it look pretty easy. The ball was turning and bouncing for Krejza but that partnership took India to 262 before the fourth wicket fell: Laxman falling to Krejza as he was looking to cut the ball.

The second new ball was taken and once again it was an abysmal over-rate from the Australians. They couldn't reach their quota of 90 overs even though play was extended to 5 pm. Mahendra Singh Dhoni came in instead of sending a night-watchman which I thought was good, positive captaincy. He's there with Sourav Ganguly and I think probably a score of 400 will be the best way to win this match for India. The way Krejza bowled makes you wonder why the selectors have kept him out of the side, particularly when he was the spinner selected in the original squad while Cameron White was only a replacement. Krejza can be very proud of that debut. He showed a lot of courage and the ability to spin the ball and get it to bounce.

At 311 for 5, India are extremely well-placed at stumps and a score of 400 will put a smile on Dhoni's face.

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

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Posted by Chris on (November 8, 2008, 2:45 GMT)

well Krezja i think is a just a one-hit wonder and got a bit lucky. a first-class average of more than 50? 0/199 in the practice? i would've picked white because fo his batting and dropping stuart clark at the start of the test?? foolish move but has it paid of? austrlia's next test i think is against new zealand is brisbane expect them to play 4 quicks plus watson/symonds and they HAVE to play noffke in brisbane. he's a very good player

Posted by Riyas on (November 7, 2008, 11:37 GMT)

I am very happy for Krejza's courage inspite of the onslought by Sehwag. Welcome to international cricket. Fielding department of aussies bit sloppy, which is surprising.

Posted by Ricky on (November 7, 2008, 9:57 GMT)

43 first-class wickets at an average of 50? The selectors must be mad. Eight wickets did you say ...?

Posted by Riley on (November 7, 2008, 9:29 GMT)

You have to question the Australian selectors judgement in not playing Krejza in earlier tests. 8 wickets on debut is a great effort even if they cost 215 runs. Look at Cameron White's figures - nothing like Krejza's & he's played most of the series. I can't remember the last test series when Australia's attack has taken such a ponding!

Posted by James on (November 7, 2008, 8:18 GMT)

It seems to me people are giving Ponting too much credit for team selection. I don't believe he has that much say. It is easy to say in hindsight Krejza should have played, but there is absolutely nothing in his first class or tour match record to suggest the case was compelling. Having said that I'm happy for 'Crazy' and I thought Ponting captained him brilliantly. Many captains would have taken him out of the action after 3 overs and the Aussies would be looking at 600+ (again). White was retained because conditions are expected to suit the spinners and Watson has been doing a more than admirable job of 'keeping an end tight'.

Posted by Ausram on (November 7, 2008, 4:02 GMT)

I am very happy for Krejza's courage inspite of the onslought by Sehwag. Welcome to international cricket. Fielding department of aussies bit sloppy, which is surprising. Great batting display by Sachin and VVS. I think it is going to be a great finish for this match. Good luck to Vijay who batted like his 20th test match. He has a good future ahead. Once again Ponting lost the toss. Good luck to him and the team to show a good fightback when they come to bat.

Posted by Vipul on (November 7, 2008, 3:19 GMT)

Going purely on the basis of stats Jason averages 48 runs per wicket at the first class level and hence it was a bit of a surprise when he was selected. He enjoys the reputation of being a big turner of the ball but in the tour game in india he had trouble even landing it and went for 199 runs with no wkts to his name. But boy , whatever little I could see on the various news channels of his bowling he certainly had the courage to flight the ball even when the batsmen were going after him and to induce a batsman of the calibre of Sachin to come down the track and play false attacking shots calls for a great deal of skill. Kudos to him ! Must admit that Australia is the only nation which understands spin bowling.

Posted by Anton on (November 7, 2008, 2:50 GMT)

ok although i can see most people here are enjoying a bit of a ponting-bashing session, lets cool it. the reason that krejza didnt get a bowl was his first class record and his performance in the tour match. obviously. the reason clark has been dropped is that he was very obviously not fully fit in the last game, bowling a lot of overs off a shortened run. its easy to blame ponting for being defensive, but he can only work with the team handed to him- blame has to fall on the selectors for giving him a part-time legspinner and an offspinner with a 50plus 1st class average when a decent chinaman bowler was available. also his field placings in this test have been nice and aggressive, keeping men up for krejza etc. oh yeah and for what its worth i would like to see haddin's place in the team reviewed.

Posted by Ramakrishnan on (November 7, 2008, 2:29 GMT)

Very good analysis by Ian about the state of the game.. However, I feel whether any captain would give a chance to a young spinner like Krejza particularly after he got hammered and went wicketless in a tour game. Probably, Ponting had more confidence in White especially due to his batting qualities. Dropping Clark to accommodate Krejza seems to be a foolish move by the Australian think tank. Though Clark had little success in this tour, he was the one who was able to plug the runs at one end. With regard to Brad Haddin, the Australian selectors should think hard. To expect Haddin to fill the place of Adam Gilchrist, is asking for too much. There appears to be a big task ahead for the Australian selectors in naming a winning combination for the future.

Posted by Nick on (November 6, 2008, 22:11 GMT)

Having seen Krejza bowl firsthand, as well as keeping an eye on his stats, I knew why Ponting was hesitant to play him; his first class performances have been quite mediocre. This is the state of Australian spin bowling. However, I thought he performed reasonably well. You can't expect a Narendra Hirwani debut all of the time, and I think that he is promising. Remember that Shane Warne took 1 for 160 in his first Test innings. As for Brad Haddin being a poor replacement, he is certainly not a poor player. He's one of the best batsman in the Australian first class system, and was a shoe-in to replace Adam Gilchrist. This is only his second series in the Australian team, and he still finding his feet at this level. I do agree that Australia could do with Andrew Symonds back in the team. He hasn't been performing well for Queensland, but he is a much better allround player than Shane Watson, who is really a batsman who can bowl a bit. This way, Australia can play Stuart Clark and Krejza.

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