India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 3rd day November 14, 2010

Harbhajan ruins New Zealand's best-laid plans

ESPNcricinfo staff
The visitors had choked the Indian top-order by denying the singles, but Harbhajan's onslaught left them demoralised
47

The New Zealand outfit that trudged off the field was unrecognisable from the one that had competed fiercely for the majority of the third day.

One moment captured the spirit that had kept them on par with India for two-and-a-half sessions. In the 71st over Kane Williamson, the weakest link in New Zealand's attack, had delivered a full toss on middle and leg stump. VVS Laxman leaned forward, and with a snap of his gifted wrists, whipped the ball with precision towards the midwicket boundary. Brendon McCullum, who moves on a cricket ground like Carlos Tevez does on a football field, sprinted to his right in the in-field and dived full stretch to intercept the speeding ball with one hand. The seven other New Zealanders in the inner ring cheered.

As Brent Arnel ran in to deliver the first ball of the 125th over, however, the cries of encouragement from his team-mates were faint. Apart from the wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins, the rest of New Zealand's fielders were weary on the edge of the boundary, bracing for another free-spirited swing from Harbhajan Singh. As Arnel approached his delivery stride, Harbhajan prepared to punch New Zealand in the gut. Despite the challenge of nine boundary riders, he stepped out of his crease, cleared his front foot and smashed the ball where Daniel Vettori couldn't place any of his men - straight over the bowler's head. The visitors were at their lowest ebb and had been turned inside out during the last hour of play.

Had Vettori aborted the strategies that brought New Zealand success against India's top-order too soon when Harbhajan began his momentum-wresting innings? For much of the morning session, Vettori had only one slip, a gully and a short leg catching for the fast bowlers but he had five other fielders saving singles at point, cover, mid-off, mid-on, and midwicket. The man at long leg was the solitary boundary rider. The Indian batsmen had to pierce small gaps, or hit over the top for their runs. The tactics were in contrast to India's: Dhoni had several catchers but sprinkled most of the others around the boundary.

Unlike the Indian spinners, Vettori kept mid-off and mid-on up when he bowled and denied Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid the singles batsmen crave to get settled on a new day. Tendulkar perished while trying to break free by clearing the in-field. Dravid and Laxman were more patient but had to contend with rigorously disciplined lines and lengths backed up by tenacious fielding.

Chris Martin and Tim Southee bowled dead straight with the old ball, aiming to swing it into the batsman's pads. Three men - a short leg, a short midwicket, and a short square leg stationed deeper and in-between the other two - waited for the uppish flick from Dravid. For Laxman the short square leg dropped to a more conventional position. While they were given no catches, the fielders flung themselves to cut off well-timed flicks and drives.

Leading the effort, at cover, was McCullum. The ball had to be hit over or extremely wide of him to get past. India managed more than two runs in only three of the first 20 overs. They scored 59 in 30 overs during the first session. Dravid, who watched many a drive, flick or cut stopped by a diving New Zealander, spoke of the effect it had on the innings.

"What stood out today was their fielding," Dravid said. "Their ground fielding was exceptional, they stopped so many runs. When Laxman and I were batting, we were trying to pierce the gap. Their fielding really helped create a lot of pressure."

Vettori opted for more conventional fields - two slips and a gully - when he gave the second new ball to his fast bowlers immediately after lunch but persisted with men saving singles. The field spread slightly when Laxman began to threaten along with Raina, but never did New Zealand fall into defensive mode. Their approach paid off and India began to lose wickets steadily as they approached New Zealand's first-innings score of 350.

Their ground fielding was exceptional, they stopped so many runs. When Laxman and I were batting, we were trying to pierce the gap. Their fielding really helped create a lot of pressure
Rahul Dravid

The match began to turn shortly after Harbhjan walked in following Laxman's dismissal, with the score on 326 for 6. He took on Vettori, who had operated with McGrath-like accuracy until then, and clouted him over mid-on before sweeping to the fine-leg boundary. For the first time in the day, perhaps prompted by the fact that India were drawing level, Vettori pushed his mid-on deep. Harbhajan attacked Martin as well and collected his first two boundaries off the fast bowler with an edge over the keeper and an unorthodox, awkward shot straight down the ground. Soon the in-field that had kept India's top-order in check was sparsely populated.

"It [the spread fields] happened pretty early, I think," Ross Taylor said after play. "He [Harbhjan] hit Dan Vettori for a couple of fours early on and showed his intentions. The momentum shift with him coming in happened fairly quickly."

New Zealand had given up actively trying to get him out, and Harbhjan hurt them by choosing his moments and clearing the boundary riders several times. "It's a tricky one, and I've been in that position myself," Dravid said. "I think they [New Zealand] were trying to get him out initially but he started hitting a lot of shots. Even with men on the boundary line, Harbhajan was still taking them on and he was clearing the ropes. There's not much you can do. So the tendency is to push people back and try and get the No. 11 out."

That No. 11 was Sreesanth, who survived 47 balls and watched as Harbhajan manipulated strike and ruined in one hour the advantage New Zealand had created over five.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • knpradeep77 on November 16, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    you said it itsudeep

    i cannot post a comment less than 25 charectors, so i write once again

    you said it itsudeep

  • Avery_Mann on November 15, 2010, 21:03 GMT

    I think the real story here is how Harbhajan's lower-order rescue missions is the only difference between these teams (India, ranked 1st and at home; New Zealand 8th and away). It's nice that the Indian press can still find a silver lining when by all accounts their superstars should have wrapped up two innings victories by now.

  • itssudeep on November 15, 2010, 8:02 GMT

    A couple of good innings from Bhajji and people are already talking about Sachin, Dravid, VVS et all learning from him - I just cant stop laughing!! I am just amazed at the number of followers in this country who base their analysis and conclusions on the most recent innings and the batsman's score, and dump all that has happened before to the dustbin. People, get some perspective. @Nampally - You say "It is amazing that a bowler like Harbhajan has suddenly become a consistently performing batsmen,Whilst the leading batsmen like Sachin, Dhoni & Raina are consistently failing to perform" - please, you need more than a couple of innings to qualify to be called consistent. And Sachin has been consistently failing to perform?? Come on, I am sure we all can do better than this as cricket followers/ analysts and not get carried away by just yesterday's scorecard - and I mean yesterday in a broader way.

  • on November 15, 2010, 6:14 GMT

    he should bowl better.we dont need another irfan pathan

  • on November 15, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    @Gulshan_Grover : And what do you have to say about the great Suresh Raina? If anyone in our team can handle SA in SA, it's Dravid. If he is played in more than 1 test in SA , it is safe to say that Raina will return an average of less than 20. He is best suited to tennis ball cricket.

  • NagarajaG on November 15, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    @Gulshan, what the ---- is negative batting man? Playing a defensive game? Now, playing a defensive game is not negative cricket. Secondly, it eases pressure on the other batsmen; does not create pressure on them. When the scoring rate is a big concern, defensive game can create pressure on other batsmen, but definitely not in test cricket especially on day1, sessions 1 and 2. Rahul Dravid's game in this innings has kept NZ players at bay, and his calm approach and steadiness lets others play their game well because the other end is secured and they don't have to worry about falling wickets. Well, if you don't understand cricketing fundas, go do something else instead of passing exactly opposite opinions about our star performers!!

  • on November 15, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    why everyone is vying for dravid's blood? if at all u want to change something abt dravid, change his batting order from one down to three down and bring laxman at three down.

    look at the performance of dhoni. he is failing since last 7 test matches (3 against SL, 2 against aussie and 2 against NZ). he is failing behind the wicket too. drops some catch every match and that batsman makes 100. remember dhoni was made capitain because he was a wicketkeeper with great battting. it is time to look a replacement of dhoni, at least for the tests.

    also raina is failing since last 4 test matches, 2 against aussie and 2 against NZ. he simply throws his wicket if he is tied down. let us keep raina for 20-20 and 50-50 only. get cheteshwar pujara in place of raina for the test matches.

  • knpradeep77 on November 15, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    OK, all the guys who says Sachin, Dravid etc. should learn from Harbhajan, do you want Sachin and Dravid to hit century once or twice in their lifetime like what bajji has done? If SRT and Dravid play like Bhajji, that is what going to happen. Bhajji is simply trying his luck and now he is at his best batting form. But for a top order batsman, he has to do this in most of his innings and hence need to be careful, for the sake of the team. Still, Bhajji did great in this series so far. good going

    But i agree SRT and Dravid to be little bit more aggressive, which will help reducing the pressure and the runs will start flowing automatically. Pls see my previous comment also

  • jimbond on November 15, 2010, 4:00 GMT

    Harbajan's batting is like Irfan Pathan's- a desparate survival strategy- of course its always good that the lower order contributes with the bat, but bowling is their key job. Because Harbajan's bowling has gone over the years from good to averge to bad. Its time we unearth some new spinners from the under 19 ranks. Harbajan, Ojha, Mishra, Ashwin, etc can only be stop gap arrangements.

  • on November 15, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    Dhoni & Sachin should take a lesson from Bhajii.As he has shown that if u play ur natural game there is always sucess for u.He scored 50+ Scores in his last three innings.Dhoni as usual showing he can stay at wicket but ha had forgotten that u just don't have to stay at wicket but u also have to score runs.And Mr SRT the greatest Iam a big fan of his but sorry to say but he is playing diffrently from previous series against Austriala.He should be possitive and not thinking about the 50th undred i think he is worried about that and looking to complete that in the same inning when ever he comes to bat.He should remove all like Bhajji did and play what SRT is Known for.There is no one who can beat the Master.Come on SRT hit the bowiling apart.Play Naturally Dear. And Mr Dhoni he will be same always. Only the Luck factor is taking him all the way.When he came to International cricket he was knowing for his brillent hitting.Same as Shewag was known.So Play Naturally MSD.

  • knpradeep77 on November 16, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    you said it itsudeep

    i cannot post a comment less than 25 charectors, so i write once again

    you said it itsudeep

  • Avery_Mann on November 15, 2010, 21:03 GMT

    I think the real story here is how Harbhajan's lower-order rescue missions is the only difference between these teams (India, ranked 1st and at home; New Zealand 8th and away). It's nice that the Indian press can still find a silver lining when by all accounts their superstars should have wrapped up two innings victories by now.

  • itssudeep on November 15, 2010, 8:02 GMT

    A couple of good innings from Bhajji and people are already talking about Sachin, Dravid, VVS et all learning from him - I just cant stop laughing!! I am just amazed at the number of followers in this country who base their analysis and conclusions on the most recent innings and the batsman's score, and dump all that has happened before to the dustbin. People, get some perspective. @Nampally - You say "It is amazing that a bowler like Harbhajan has suddenly become a consistently performing batsmen,Whilst the leading batsmen like Sachin, Dhoni & Raina are consistently failing to perform" - please, you need more than a couple of innings to qualify to be called consistent. And Sachin has been consistently failing to perform?? Come on, I am sure we all can do better than this as cricket followers/ analysts and not get carried away by just yesterday's scorecard - and I mean yesterday in a broader way.

  • on November 15, 2010, 6:14 GMT

    he should bowl better.we dont need another irfan pathan

  • on November 15, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    @Gulshan_Grover : And what do you have to say about the great Suresh Raina? If anyone in our team can handle SA in SA, it's Dravid. If he is played in more than 1 test in SA , it is safe to say that Raina will return an average of less than 20. He is best suited to tennis ball cricket.

  • NagarajaG on November 15, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    @Gulshan, what the ---- is negative batting man? Playing a defensive game? Now, playing a defensive game is not negative cricket. Secondly, it eases pressure on the other batsmen; does not create pressure on them. When the scoring rate is a big concern, defensive game can create pressure on other batsmen, but definitely not in test cricket especially on day1, sessions 1 and 2. Rahul Dravid's game in this innings has kept NZ players at bay, and his calm approach and steadiness lets others play their game well because the other end is secured and they don't have to worry about falling wickets. Well, if you don't understand cricketing fundas, go do something else instead of passing exactly opposite opinions about our star performers!!

  • on November 15, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    why everyone is vying for dravid's blood? if at all u want to change something abt dravid, change his batting order from one down to three down and bring laxman at three down.

    look at the performance of dhoni. he is failing since last 7 test matches (3 against SL, 2 against aussie and 2 against NZ). he is failing behind the wicket too. drops some catch every match and that batsman makes 100. remember dhoni was made capitain because he was a wicketkeeper with great battting. it is time to look a replacement of dhoni, at least for the tests.

    also raina is failing since last 4 test matches, 2 against aussie and 2 against NZ. he simply throws his wicket if he is tied down. let us keep raina for 20-20 and 50-50 only. get cheteshwar pujara in place of raina for the test matches.

  • knpradeep77 on November 15, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    OK, all the guys who says Sachin, Dravid etc. should learn from Harbhajan, do you want Sachin and Dravid to hit century once or twice in their lifetime like what bajji has done? If SRT and Dravid play like Bhajji, that is what going to happen. Bhajji is simply trying his luck and now he is at his best batting form. But for a top order batsman, he has to do this in most of his innings and hence need to be careful, for the sake of the team. Still, Bhajji did great in this series so far. good going

    But i agree SRT and Dravid to be little bit more aggressive, which will help reducing the pressure and the runs will start flowing automatically. Pls see my previous comment also

  • jimbond on November 15, 2010, 4:00 GMT

    Harbajan's batting is like Irfan Pathan's- a desparate survival strategy- of course its always good that the lower order contributes with the bat, but bowling is their key job. Because Harbajan's bowling has gone over the years from good to averge to bad. Its time we unearth some new spinners from the under 19 ranks. Harbajan, Ojha, Mishra, Ashwin, etc can only be stop gap arrangements.

  • on November 15, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    Dhoni & Sachin should take a lesson from Bhajii.As he has shown that if u play ur natural game there is always sucess for u.He scored 50+ Scores in his last three innings.Dhoni as usual showing he can stay at wicket but ha had forgotten that u just don't have to stay at wicket but u also have to score runs.And Mr SRT the greatest Iam a big fan of his but sorry to say but he is playing diffrently from previous series against Austriala.He should be possitive and not thinking about the 50th undred i think he is worried about that and looking to complete that in the same inning when ever he comes to bat.He should remove all like Bhajji did and play what SRT is Known for.There is no one who can beat the Master.Come on SRT hit the bowiling apart.Play Naturally Dear. And Mr Dhoni he will be same always. Only the Luck factor is taking him all the way.When he came to International cricket he was knowing for his brillent hitting.Same as Shewag was known.So Play Naturally MSD.

  • akash20102009 on November 15, 2010, 3:27 GMT

    why everybody is after Dravid. He is doing much better than Dhoni, Raina. Specially being captain Dhoni should lead by example. Instead he never plays like a captain.

  • 11Noobs on November 15, 2010, 2:11 GMT

    I laugh at the fools who think Dravid is creating a problem. Thanks to many who have commented here (in support of RD), there is nothing wrong with him. I dont know why people can't and don't understand that not everyone can be aggressive. But I do think Dravid needs to be dropped down the order. Go blame Raina (for playing T20) and Dhoni who is also struggling for form like RD, but isn't giving himself a chance.

  • knpradeep77 on November 15, 2010, 1:26 GMT

    I agree with both point of views, as with the experience of playing in state level cricket i feel when a batsman scores slowly, the batsman as well as the team start feeling the pressure. And several times Sachin and dravid (mostly Sachin) has proven that when they score slowly, they get out cheaply. I have been observing this for a long time now.

    Regarding Harbhajan's innings, a top order batsman cannot follow that style, because Harbahajan i s basically a bowler and he or the team has nothing to loose even if he gets out cheaply. On his lucky day, he can score good runs. But for a top order batsman, he has to keep his wicket for the sake of the team, but ofcourse score in a reasonably good rate too

  • mysbay on November 15, 2010, 1:26 GMT

    Dravid is a very hyped batsman. He is very bookish. Sports is all about innovation and adopting to the situation. Dravid wouldn't even qualify for national level if was playing for Australia team. That shows his skills.

  • gochargers999 on November 15, 2010, 1:02 GMT

    it's time we looked beyond dhoni and raina..dhoni is not test-level batsman..he is fine for ODI n T20 stuff but for tests we need someone with more class..does anyone know how parthiv patel's glove work is these days? is it same old crap like before or any improvement? wat are the other options from Ranji cricket? as far as Raina is concerned we all know he was brought in and supported by Dhoni..but i think he also ODI-T20 flat-deck batsman like Yuvi and wud struggle in bowler-friendly conditions..time to get in a proper batsman with solid first-class record a.k.a Pujara

  • RahulSachinVVSViru on November 15, 2010, 0:59 GMT

    Does one good innings merit that Pujara should play instead of Dravid? Pujara certainly looked good in his debut innings but then so did Raina! Raina hasn't scored much at all since then. Dravid's been a consistent performer for team India and despite his mental struggles he obviously still has the ability. In my opinion, if he announces when he plans on retiring (whether a year or two) it would make his life and everyone else's life so much easier.People will know what to expect at the very least. Besides he's still a good enough player and we might see an encore towards the end of this amazing career that we've been so fortunate to witness. For the team's sake and for his sake, I hope it happens.Also he should get to 200 catches fast. Why was he not in the slips? MS Dhoni- He's a good captain but he needs to be consistent. He can't pick Raina over Yuvi after one innings, but keep Gambhir despite Vijay's good form. Gambhir scored a 50 and it augers well but Dhoni is far too biased.

  • Hardy_1984 on November 14, 2010, 23:57 GMT

    Bhajji proving himself as a pure cricketer like Sachin, Dravid, Shewag, Ganguly , Laxman & Kumble He is great character on the field in dressing room, every where in the ground Punjabis always rocks ..I would like to see in the company as well place of Raina. I do believe if yuvraj come dhoni will also perform because is right hand of dhoni. Selectors and dhoni should have to give some opportunity to Yuvraj. He is a temperament and technique to hit the ball not like Raina who can be hit in T20 only. I am really excited to see bhajji second consecutive century he and dressing room will be excited to bhajji celebration also. Bad luck for Laxman is amazing player he had done so well so far brilliant player solid middle order player india have got. Bhajji Rocks

  • on November 14, 2010, 23:41 GMT

    The real ly weak links in India's batting line-up are #s 6 and 7, Raina and Dhoni, both showing an appallling lack of technique. Raina's failings against pace and seam bowling are universally known, but he was all at sea against Vettori yesterday, jabbing awkwardly at the ball in defence and finally getting out to an outrageous shot. As for Dhoni, his lack of technique has been masked with constant references to his "strong bottom hand", "bat speed" and other commentator cliches, but the fact of the matter is that his technique is not only ugly but ineffective. Added to his mediocre wicketkeeping skills, maybe it's time we looked for a replacement, about time we admitted that the emperor is not wearing any clothes.

  • pavandeep on November 14, 2010, 23:37 GMT

    Harbhajan has played a larger than life innings...Truly phenomenal stuff.

  • pavandeep on November 14, 2010, 23:36 GMT

    To Mr. Analytical_Sathya:

    You stated that Harbhajan performed cuz he has no pressure and go for his strokes and thats why he succeeded while top order batsman has to bat sensibly.

    well raina tried clearing the fence and couldn't. The fact is that Bhajji is a power hitter and now a genuine allrounder. His performance with the bat has made India proud. Hopefully he will get the second hundred today...It will be truly well deserved. He is the highest run scorer from both sides in this test.

  • on November 14, 2010, 23:24 GMT

    Poor batting by Dhoni and Raina..Though they are good players, they dont have patience and composure to play long innings. Pujara , Vijay are far better in terms of playing long innings. Even Badrinath is neglected in national side, where he is scoring century after century in first class. He has more composure and technique and patience to play long innings.

  • ScottNZ on November 14, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    Man you guys are harsh on Dravid.

    I would swap any NZ batter for him, infact how about we give you 2 players for Dravid? You can have 12 take the field and we take Dravid.

    People just are too impatient these days due to that T20 crap. Seriously it has ruined cricket and people's opinions of good quality test players. Snowsnake makes some good points (apart from India bieng only country that can win now, NZ can still win, Ryder and McCullum can operate at more than 3 an over buddy...) but apart from that he is right, India is to be commended on its ability to win batting second.

  • SnowSnake on November 14, 2010, 22:47 GMT

    I was a Dravid critic. However, after seeing Raina and Dhoni play, I have to say that Dravid is not really a big problem. There are others like Raina and Dhoni who should be let go/criticized before Dravid. Dravid is OK-- not that great-- but slightly better than some of the other batsmen.

  • on November 14, 2010, 21:18 GMT

    It is unfair to criticise Dravid for being "too slow", while Harbhajan may have scored runs very quickly, not everyone can play in such an aggressive mode. By grounding it out like Dravid does, he also grinds down the bowlers. I can tell you that there is nothing more annoying in a test or first class situation than a batsman who slowly grinds out your bowling. There is nothing wrong with the way that Dravid approaches an innings.

  • BiSONN on November 14, 2010, 21:16 GMT

    @Gulshan_Grover - Dravid is a test match SPECIALIST. Just like Laxman is. Do you remember what Dravid's score was after he faced a 100 balls while Sehwag was going crazy in the first test? 17. That's right, 17, his strike rate was 17.00. He was struggling. MOST batsmen would throw their wicket away in this day and age or at least try to emulate Sehwag at the other end briefly. Dravid went on to score a well made century. These are type of batsmen, regardless of the influence of T20 Cricket, have given test cricket the respect it most definitely deserves. Without players like Dravid or Laxman, our team would collapse every now in then in every test match. Please don't try tell them to look at Bhajji for inspiration, regardless of his current form.

  • on November 14, 2010, 20:18 GMT

    Gulshan Grover, Get a life, Rahul Dravid 's record is unsurpassable. The main reason India is number one is that the top batsmen (R.Dravid and S.Tendulkar) have scored over 26000 runs. Rahul Dravid is the second best batsman India ever had, and like all batsmen (including Sacin) he has been through a lean patch. However, there are few batsmen in the entire history of cricket who have avreaged better than Rahul, and at one stage (when he was feted as The Wall) he was avearging better than Sacin. Give him a break we are entirely fortunate to have such a gifted batsman in our country. He is not the reason India suffers, it is players palying shots out of their skull to get themselves out, look at hoe Suresh raina got out, how come you are not on his case? bring on Pujara nad get rid of Raina!!

  • on November 14, 2010, 20:07 GMT

    whys is every one on Dravid and poor scoring rate...first of all NZ need to be commended they bowled tight stump to stump lines with close in fielders and fielded brilliantly and tied down both Dravid and Lakshman...Tim southe swung the ball with great frequency... it was only towards the later half of the day when nz bowlers were tired and sprayed the ball around a bit and harbhajan and lakshman cashed in big time...

  • AdityaKumar88 on November 14, 2010, 20:06 GMT

    I don't know why Dravid is being talked about much. Dravid is playing his part well despite the fact that he is not the same wall anymore. If we are going to question anything, i believe it has to be Raina and Dhoni's performances. I agree dhoni has a captaincy record which none of the past Indian captains possess, but as a player he , now, is a liability due to his poor performances both front and behind the wicket. May be his injury is affecting his performance but selectors should think of some other options as well . Also, Raina is a very good 20-20 and ODI player but to put him in the test side due to his ODI and T-20 performance is not a great idea when the likes of Pujara and others are still due to be given a chance. Pujara in place of likes of Raina and Yuvraj can fetch us much better result as Pujara has a better temperament for test cricket after scoring heavily in 4 day format for the last couple of years.

  • anikbrad on November 14, 2010, 19:35 GMT

    TEAM FOR NEXT TESTS INDIA: BEST TEAM POSSIBLE BELIEVE ME SHEWAG; GAMBHIR; VIJAY; TENDUL; DRAVID; LAXMAN; PUJARA; RAINA; RAHANE; DHONI, ZAHEER, 3 SEAMERS : ZAHEER; DHONI (AT THAT TIME DRAVID WILL KEEP) AND RAHANE 4 SPINNERS SHEWAG; TEND, LAX; PUJARA; RAINA USELESS TO PICK BOWLER OTHER THAN ZAHEER I THINK AVG OF DHONI AND RAHANE WILL BE SAME AS ANY OTHER SEAMERS AND SHEWAG AND RAINA ARE BETTER THAN PRESENT SPINNERS. FUTURE BATTING STARS : PATHAN AND BHAJJI THEY CAN TRY A BETTER FUTURE AS BATSMAN. AT LEAST TIS TEAM WILL SCORE HEAVILY AND MAY HAVE SOME BATTING RECORDS OTHERWISE ONLY OUR BOWLERS ARE SCORING RECORD (BEST AVG IN TEST 100+ IN BOWL).

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 14, 2010, 18:35 GMT

    Negative batting by Dravid is creating a lot of pressure on batsman downstream and helping bowlers get in to their groove. He should be eased out of the team rather than blatantly thrown out because he has been one of our best batsman in the past but wow he is way past his sell date. He is batting with the strike rate in 20s most of the time which is even super slow by Bycott standards who was as correct as Dravid. If Harbhajan can bat like that why cant Dravid play with more positive outlook, no one is asking him to play with slam bang t20 cricket but no one plays test cricket like this and wins. No wonder all great batsman in the game had positive outlook such as Bradman.

  • on November 14, 2010, 18:28 GMT

    Crazy day 3. However, this day showed how to ruin a good position and surrender the initiative that the openers had given. Whatever the lead is, it will be very hard for the one and half men bowling army to take 10 Kiwis wickets quickly!! hopefully, Sree and Ojha will also be able to change their passenger status.

  • Dr.AlexKuruvila on November 14, 2010, 18:13 GMT

    Dear Mr. Gulshan Grover, you wrote "So Harbhajan rescues India in both tests after Dravid screwed up in both tests. Obviously, lower order batsman won't work in SA so if Dravid creates pressure on Tendulkar and Laxman as in this series we are doomed" Not sure what you are "smoking". In Ahmadabad, Dravid was only one of the three Indian centurions (Sehwag and Bhaji, the other two) and even in this test, albeit rather slow, he scored 45 and was in a 75 run partnership with VVS. I think you should pick on players like Gambhir, Raina and Dhoni who have not been performing welli in this series. In fact, barring his reasonably good captaincy skills, Dhoni has become a liability in the Indian side, both behind the wickets and as a batsman...may be his hand injury is contributing to his woes.

  • Jim1207 on November 14, 2010, 18:10 GMT

    Harbhajan has better batting average In Australia than what Ponting has in India. When Bhajji is adventurous, opposition captains have found him difficult to handle and this is what happened today too. It sometimes clicks, but he now plays with more maturity while still keeping his surprising flair - that's good batsmanship.

  • SnowSnake on November 14, 2010, 17:53 GMT

    India cannot lose this test from this point forward. They should go in for a win. NZ will play at a strike rate of below 3 rpo, which means that till lunch they will be trailing India. The only lead NZ can hope for now is 200 runs or less, which India (depending on time and overs left) can either wipe out to win or hold on to a draw. For readers, here is a point to think about: India has made a habit of winning batting second. To me winning batting second is a very big acheivement. Most teams win batting first.

  • on November 14, 2010, 17:35 GMT

    why everyone is vying for dravid's blood? if at all u want to change something abt dravid, change his batting order from one down to three down and bring laxman at three down.

    look at the performance of dhoni. he is failing since last 7 test matches (3 against SL, 2 against aussie and 2 against NZ). he is failing behind the wicket too. drops some catch every match and that batsman makes 100. remember dhoni was made capitain because he was a wicketkeeper with great battting. it is time to look a replacement of dhoni, at least for the tests.

    also raina is failing since last 4 test matches, 2 against aussie and 2 against NZ. he simply throws his wicket if he is tied down. let us keep raina for 20-20 and 50-50 only. get cheteshwar pujara in place of raina for the test matches.

  • on November 14, 2010, 17:35 GMT

    why everyone is vying for dravid's blood? if at all u want to change something abt dravid, change his batting order from one down to three down and bring laxman at three down.

    look at the performance of dhoni. he is failing since last 7 test matches (3 against SL, 2 against aussie and 2 against NZ). he is failing behind the wicket too. drops some catch every match and that batsman makes 100. remember dhoni was made capitain because he was a wicketkeeper with great battting. it is time to look a replacement of dhoni, at least for the tests.

    also raina is failing since last 4 test matches, 2 against aussie and 2 against NZ. he simply throws his wicket if he is tied down. let us keep raina for 20-20 and 50-50 only. get cheteshwar pujara in place of raina for the test matches.

  • Nampally on November 14, 2010, 17:34 GMT

    India owed their total to Harbhajan & Laxman. It is amazing that a bowler like Harbhajan has suddenly become a consistently performing batsmen,Whilst the leading batsmen like Sachin, Dhoni & Raina are consistently failing to perform. Head is going strongly, #3 & 4 have become very shaky except and tail is strong, led by Harbhajan, who is heading the batting averages. What a turn around. I think Harbhajan seems to be perfectly filling the vacant #7 spot. India could afford to have one more bowler to replace Raina, with Harbhajan at #7.It remains to be seen whether the next test match will see at least 2 changes on these lines - one bowler added + a new batsman at #3 spot or just Yuvraj replacing Raina to add one more all rounder. Currently this Indian team is ineffective in bowling and needs a wicket taker in addition to Zaheer & Harbhajan.Also the rest of the batting apart from Sehwag, VVS & Harbhajan needs to show up.Drawn games against #7 NZ team for a #1 team, is poor showing.

  • on November 14, 2010, 17:33 GMT

    What I don't understand is why no one is questioning Dhoni's performance. He is riding on past laurels and the Captaincy by winning games where rest of the team is performing. It is like Steve Waugh for Oz...Dhoni's is there as a batsman but his performance has been less than desired. Agree that Dravid is passed sell by date...he is good or has been good but team needs a change with young blood rearing to perform.

  • NagarajaG on November 14, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    @Gulshan - Are you out of your minds? When batsmen bat on and score runs, does it create pressure or ease the pressure? When Dravid walked in in the first test the score read 60 for 1, and before he got out the score was 312 for 2, at a net run rate of 3.82; soon it was 412 for 8 and the net run rate at the close of innings was 3.2. Dravid eased the pressure and set a platform for the later batsmen to score freely, but they failed and they scored at much slower pace than Dravid. Dravid has lifted the team with performance that was second best after Sehwag's fine innings. Correct your fundas in cricket!

  • Sharath_Sher on November 14, 2010, 17:11 GMT

    Sadly, people dont see the statistics before commenting. Look at the strike rates of the other batsmen before finding fault with Dravid. If he hadnt soaked up the good bowling in the morning from the New Zealanders, Bhajji would not have been able to score so freely in the last session when the bowlers were tired. If he had tried to take the risk like Sachin did and failed, India would have been All out for less than 350. Dhoni has been doing very little consistently with the bat not to mention his terrible wicket keeping and dropped catches. Raini is a Hit or Miss.

  • Analytical_Sathya on November 14, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    The main reason for Harbhajan's performance (Agreed that he's improved his batting.Hope he will not become another Irfan.His first innings 4 wickets not withstanding, his bowling is hovering around the 'average'): 1.When he comes to bat being a bowler (especially after taking 4 wickets)he has nothing to loose.So the lack of fear of loosing the wicket makes him to go for the shots and succeed too.Even the opposition team tries some thing different than what they have been doing. 2.The same is not the case with top order batsman.Their only job is to do well as batsmen. Anyway NewZealand was fantastically comptent for the 80% of the day.

  • on November 14, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    On such conditions test cricket needs pinch hitters and unconventional thinking. The reason why Sehwag is so destructive in Tests (and not so much ODI and T20) is because his style is so different from orthodox test play. The bowlers get confused and captains have to alter the plans. In the same way teams need to experiment with more unorthodox bowling and batting (or fielding like black caps today) to surprise their opponents. Dravid should also ponder deep if his block and hold on a flat track is not adding pressure on his team. He was defending as though he was playing on a bouncy Wanderers track.

  • Koushik_Biswas on November 14, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    That is exactly why India is Number 1. 6 out of the first 8 may perish - the 2 that don't will take her home. It is the sheer depth that ensures that there is at least 2 who would turn up on any given day to steer the ship. This innings - it was Viru and Bhajji. Ahmadabad 2nd innings: it was VVS and Bhajji. Ahmadabad 1st innings: it was Viru and Wall. In Bangalore versus Aussies, it was Tendya and Vijay. Mohali versus Aussies 2nd innings: VVS, Ishant. Mohali 1st innings: Tendya, Raina. I can go on, but you guys get the point, don't you? So sword swishers - an early warning for you: do not judge a team by the ones who fail. Rather, judge a team by the ones who succeed, and whether someone or the other succeeds all the time. In bowling department, it has to be Zaks and Bhajji all the time, and that is what bothers me: we need a few more hands rising when things are tough for Zaks and/or Bhajji...

  • on November 14, 2010, 16:35 GMT

    great work by harbhajan.he is the new sehewag of india in the lower order.hope india wins this match.

  • on November 14, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    Another Harbhajan hundred seems to be on the cards. Apart from the excitement, it is also good for the game and more. http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/11/importance-of-harbhajan-hundred.html points out that it gives hope that one need not specialise to perform.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 14, 2010, 16:24 GMT

    So Harbhajan rescues India in both tests after Dravid screwed up in both tests. Obviously, lower order batsman won't work in SA so if Dravid creates pressure on Tendulkar and Laxman as in this series we are doomed. He must be fired before third series and Pujara must be brought in to get into test rhythm.

  • vilas on November 14, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    majority of the fourth day?? you mean 3rd

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  • vilas on November 14, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    majority of the fourth day?? you mean 3rd

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 14, 2010, 16:24 GMT

    So Harbhajan rescues India in both tests after Dravid screwed up in both tests. Obviously, lower order batsman won't work in SA so if Dravid creates pressure on Tendulkar and Laxman as in this series we are doomed. He must be fired before third series and Pujara must be brought in to get into test rhythm.

  • on November 14, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    Another Harbhajan hundred seems to be on the cards. Apart from the excitement, it is also good for the game and more. http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/11/importance-of-harbhajan-hundred.html points out that it gives hope that one need not specialise to perform.

  • on November 14, 2010, 16:35 GMT

    great work by harbhajan.he is the new sehewag of india in the lower order.hope india wins this match.

  • Koushik_Biswas on November 14, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    That is exactly why India is Number 1. 6 out of the first 8 may perish - the 2 that don't will take her home. It is the sheer depth that ensures that there is at least 2 who would turn up on any given day to steer the ship. This innings - it was Viru and Bhajji. Ahmadabad 2nd innings: it was VVS and Bhajji. Ahmadabad 1st innings: it was Viru and Wall. In Bangalore versus Aussies, it was Tendya and Vijay. Mohali versus Aussies 2nd innings: VVS, Ishant. Mohali 1st innings: Tendya, Raina. I can go on, but you guys get the point, don't you? So sword swishers - an early warning for you: do not judge a team by the ones who fail. Rather, judge a team by the ones who succeed, and whether someone or the other succeeds all the time. In bowling department, it has to be Zaks and Bhajji all the time, and that is what bothers me: we need a few more hands rising when things are tough for Zaks and/or Bhajji...

  • on November 14, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    On such conditions test cricket needs pinch hitters and unconventional thinking. The reason why Sehwag is so destructive in Tests (and not so much ODI and T20) is because his style is so different from orthodox test play. The bowlers get confused and captains have to alter the plans. In the same way teams need to experiment with more unorthodox bowling and batting (or fielding like black caps today) to surprise their opponents. Dravid should also ponder deep if his block and hold on a flat track is not adding pressure on his team. He was defending as though he was playing on a bouncy Wanderers track.

  • Analytical_Sathya on November 14, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    The main reason for Harbhajan's performance (Agreed that he's improved his batting.Hope he will not become another Irfan.His first innings 4 wickets not withstanding, his bowling is hovering around the 'average'): 1.When he comes to bat being a bowler (especially after taking 4 wickets)he has nothing to loose.So the lack of fear of loosing the wicket makes him to go for the shots and succeed too.Even the opposition team tries some thing different than what they have been doing. 2.The same is not the case with top order batsman.Their only job is to do well as batsmen. Anyway NewZealand was fantastically comptent for the 80% of the day.

  • Sharath_Sher on November 14, 2010, 17:11 GMT

    Sadly, people dont see the statistics before commenting. Look at the strike rates of the other batsmen before finding fault with Dravid. If he hadnt soaked up the good bowling in the morning from the New Zealanders, Bhajji would not have been able to score so freely in the last session when the bowlers were tired. If he had tried to take the risk like Sachin did and failed, India would have been All out for less than 350. Dhoni has been doing very little consistently with the bat not to mention his terrible wicket keeping and dropped catches. Raini is a Hit or Miss.

  • NagarajaG on November 14, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    @Gulshan - Are you out of your minds? When batsmen bat on and score runs, does it create pressure or ease the pressure? When Dravid walked in in the first test the score read 60 for 1, and before he got out the score was 312 for 2, at a net run rate of 3.82; soon it was 412 for 8 and the net run rate at the close of innings was 3.2. Dravid eased the pressure and set a platform for the later batsmen to score freely, but they failed and they scored at much slower pace than Dravid. Dravid has lifted the team with performance that was second best after Sehwag's fine innings. Correct your fundas in cricket!

  • on November 14, 2010, 17:33 GMT

    What I don't understand is why no one is questioning Dhoni's performance. He is riding on past laurels and the Captaincy by winning games where rest of the team is performing. It is like Steve Waugh for Oz...Dhoni's is there as a batsman but his performance has been less than desired. Agree that Dravid is passed sell by date...he is good or has been good but team needs a change with young blood rearing to perform.