Australia v New Zealand, TVS Cup, Game 3, Faridabad

Done in by the conditions

The Wisden Verdict by S Rajesh

October 29, 2003

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Daryl Tuffey: could have finished on top had New Zealand bowled first
(c) AFP


The most important ingredient for a well-contested one-day international between two evenly matched teams is for conditions to remain constant over the entire duration of a match. The Nahar Singh Stadium failed to meet that condition, and the result was a match which effectively finished within 10 overs of the start.

Batting first after winning the toss is usually a sensible approach in India, but a look at the past record at Faridabad would have suggested that bowling first might have been the best way to win here: four of the previous six matches have been won by the team chasing a target.

A more compelling reason, though, was the look of the pitch and the atmospheric conditions when play started. In the northern part of the country, there is usually a nip in the air at this time of the year, and a 9am start ensures that bowlers get plenty of assistance for at least an hour. Coupled with that was a pitch which had a fair sprinkling of grass - one wonders if the grass would have remained had India been one of the teams playing - and there was every reason to unleash Daryl Tuffey in conditions which were more Hamilton than Faridabad. Stephen Fleming's baffling decision at the toss meant that by the time Tuffey did come on to bowl, the sun was blazing down, the pitch had lost most of its juice, and, most importantly, New Zealand had almost nothing on the board to defend.

It was also a lucky reprieve for the Australian batsmen, who were coming off a disappointing performance at Gwalior. Instead of being subjected to some testing seam and swing bowling, they only had to ease off the runs which not only gave them their first win of the tournament, but also handed them an easy bonus point.

Nathan Bracken showed exactly how much assistance there was for the fast bowlers. At Gwalior, his deliveries all angled away from the right-hander; here, he swung it in an alarming amount, and he did it on a regular basis, getting all three wickets off that type of delivery. That McGrath, Gillespie and Lee were missing mattered little, and neither did Venkat's decision which reprieved Craig McMillan early in his innings.

New Zealand's next two matches against Australia are both day encounters, at Pune and Guwahati. Hopefully, conditions won't be as lopsided there.

S Rajesh is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo.

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
Related Links
News : Bulletin
News : Stats
Players/Officials: Nathan Bracken | Stephen Fleming
Series/Tournaments: TVS Cup (India)
Tournament Results
India v Australia at Kolkata - Nov 18, 2003
Australia won by 37 runs
India v New Zealand at Hyderabad (Deccan) - Nov 15, 2003
India won by 145 runs
India v Australia at Bangalore - Nov 12, 2003
Australia won by 61 runs
Australia v New Zealand at Guwahati - Nov 9, 2003
Australia won by 44 runs
India v New Zealand at Cuttack - Nov 6, 2003
New Zealand won by 4 wickets (with 15 balls remaining)
More results »
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News | Features Last 3 days