November 8, 1999

India get their own back with interest

Geoffrey Boycott

Geoffrey Boycott analyses the second one day international between India and New Zealand at Hyderabad

After the beating India took at Rajkot, I think the Indian team said whatever you can do we can do better! And they did with an awesome batting display which was reminiscent of Ganguly and Dravid at Taunton in the World Cup.

This time it was Tendulkar who was determined to make up for his last match dismissal and Dravid who looked in great touch from the first ball. The New Zealanders were stirred up with superb cricketing shots and perfect placement. Both batsmen kept pace with each other and 300 runs always looked on the cards. What we did not expect was the carnage that took place once they had made centuries. Dravid accelerated so quickly after reaching the milestone that he outscored Sachin plundering runs all over the park with effortless classic strokes. Eventually he succumbed to a mistimed slog to mid-wicket.

At the other end Sachin would not be outdone. He improvised with quick thinking and enormous power. Young bowlers like Chris Drum tried to stick it in the block hole but the master got his left leg quickly out of the way and kept smashing to and over mid-wicket. At one stage the young seamer bowled four full tosses and was hit in four different places. He was trying for yorkers but by this time the brain was scrambled. Nobody was queuing up to bowl as Sachin moved around the crease. Sachin was awesome as he out thought, out hit and out batted the bowling. They couldn't live with his stroke play as he plundered boundary after boundary beating and bashing the bowling into submission. By the time New Zealand walked off the field they must have been shell shocked. Records came and went as Tendulkar and Dravid claimed the highest partnership ever in one day cricket and Tendulkar the highest score by an Indian. In years to come people will say I was there. I saw it and it was mind blowing.

Once fielders and bowlers have had such a pounding and mauling it depresses the dressing room. Nobody is in the right frame of mind to bat and batting is always the mental thing. Psychologically the New Zealanders would have to concentrate on scoring 7-1/2 runs an over for 50 overs. That scoring rate plays on the mind as batsman after batsman has to keep up the run rate by playing chancy strokes. Sometimes the risky shots come off but more often than not when you are up against it then your batsmen 'hole out' and so it proved as Tendulkar was able to spread his men out immediately onto the 30 yards circle. He could give the batsmen singles but try and cut off the boundaries and wait for the New Zealand batsmen to commit harakiri. Spearman mis-hit to deepish mid-on, Astle mis-pulled to mid-wicket, Twose tried to work across the line a straight ball and the captain Fleming tried a big hit into the deep. The match was over by the fifteenth over. Parore got himself stumped off a wide and the dangerous Cairns was run out again by a team mate. The whole innings was in shambles as wickets tumbled at regular intervals and lower down the order O'Connor and Vettori got run out through bad calling. The pressure of the mammoth total scored by India killed the New Zealand batting.

India were outplayed in Rajkot but here in Hyderabad they got their own back with interest. Whichever side bats first on these flat pitches has the best chances of batting the other team out of the game but even with changes to the Indian squad I think they will have the better of New Zealand in the 5 match series.