A fitting finale to a thrilling series
The six match one-day series ended in Mumbai amidst great excitement with both teams winning three each. India should have won the series by a 5-1 margin but for their reluctance to learn from earlier mistakes. This was more apt in the case of the middle-order batsmen and once again they made a hash of things when the Indian side was cruising to a victory.
Ganguly was forced to bring himself on with Trescothick getting stuck into the spinners in their early overs. The skipper has the knack of providing breakthroughs and he, in fact, went on to claim two wickets in his only spell. With the visitors in sight of something around 300 runs, Ganguly in a last throw of the dice re-introduced Harbhajan Singh. The Turbanator got into the act as if in vengeance by getting two wickets in an over including that of the danger man, Trescothick. The English middle order has competed with that of their rival team by caving in on earlier occasions but Harbhajan completely outwitted them at the Wankhede Stadium. He returned his best figures. It was good to see Harbhajan bowl like he did against the Australians a year ago. Unfortunately, Harbhajan's efforts were not supported in the end overs as the last wicket put on enough runs to pile the pressure on the Indians.
Ganguly's dismissal rekindled the flagging spirit of the visitors and the hosts repeated what they did in Delhi in impeccable fashion. In the end, the visitors clinically strangled the lower order batsmen and leveled the series before embarking on a flight to New Zealand.
There were quite a few aspects, which were consistent, and unfortunately none were on the positive side. To start off, the visitors played their middle overs badly after good starts, which was aped by the hosts as well. Secondly, the youngsters in the Indian side have not utilised the opportunities that came their way. Thirdly, the incompetence of the umpires was quite obvious and the mistakes were horrendous. The entire nation was embarrassed by some disgraceful umpiring decisions in the one-dayers and it is about time that real good umpires are appointed.