India v West Indies, 1st Test, New Delhi, 4th day November 9, 2011

A victory at last, but far from a perfect one

India's selectors can congratulate themselves on new additions to the bowling attack succeeding but conceding a 95-run lead to modest opposition should sting the team
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The Feroz Shah Kotla Test ended with a short burst of mirth and entertainment: Yuvraj Singh was bowled with one left to win, the West Indies fielders came in to stop the single, MS Dhoni inside-edged his first ball, Darren Sammy pantomimed the start of his run-up to the hoots of the crowd. VVS Laxman then whipped one to square leg and put an end to all the tomfoolery. After eight innings of misery in England, victory was to be shown full respect. In the last 15 months, Laxman has been involved in three 200-plus chases for India and was not about to mess with that track record.

The 0-4 loss in England must not be forgotten but the win at the Kotla comes accompanied by a sigh of relief. Control needed to be seized quickly in the three-Test series against West Indies so that the selectors can tinker and tailor before Australia. While Kotla, Eden Gardens and the Wankhede are as far removed from Australia as Oxford is from Ouagadougou, this is an ideal time for Indian try-outs against opposition that can stir but not quite shake.

In less than 24 hours, the selectors will meet to pick the team for the next two Tests and can indulge in some self-congratulations at how their choices for Delhi worked out. The most significant changes were made - as the bowlers will always grumble about - in the attack.

In their first Test after the England tour, India's bowling attack at the Kotla, barring Ishant Sharma, was completely remodelled from the line-up at the Oval. Making his return to the Indian team after a year out, Pragyan Ojha became the lead spinner and two new men were included. One of them, R Ashwin, ended up with nine wickets on debut, the Man-of-the-Match award and the biggest smile to take to his wedding day on the eve of the Kolkata Test.

The other, Umesh Yadav, held up manfully on a low, slow wicket. In his first showing, he bowled at full pace, hurrying the batsmen in short spells, before fading away slightly in his final spell. In the second innings, he came on after the spinners, and broke through with key wickets. Kirk Edwards' off stump went first as the batsman shouldered arms and opened the door for the West Indies' middle order to be taken apart by Ashwin.

West Indies are not the most formidable opposition for a debutant, and to their credit both Yadav and Ashwin did not treat their lesser batsmen like they were. It is their wagon wheels against Shivnarine Chanderpaul, though, that should give them clues about what life may be like against more-accomplished batsmen.

Captain MS Dhoni was pleased overall. "You weren't 100% sure what you would get from players who have not played this format like Ashwin and Umesh Yadav. With Ishant and Ojha, we knew they'd perform at this level." Ojha's first-innings performance has gone somewhat unnoticed due to Chanderpaul's century and India's first-innings collapse. But on a wicket that offered little help on the first day, he was able to extract some turn, get a bit of drift and keep asking questions of the batsmen. "Ojha has been in and out of the XI. It was good to see him bowl well in the first innings when the pitch was flat and it was not easy to bowl.

"Umesh did well and there was an improvement in the way he bowled in the second innings. Of course he bowls a fraction short but that will get better as he plays more and more Test matches. In the second innings, Ashwin did well. He did not get a lot out of the wicket but it was his variations that helped him. He was flighting the ball nicely and then he has the carrom ball and the topspinner."

Asked whether Ashwin's performance would make it difficult for Harbhajan Singh to return to the team for the Australia tour, Dhoni, who has backed Harbhajan against selectorial opposition, was deadpan. "Let us see because Ashwin has played one game, Ojha has done well. Let us see how it goes."

While describing the Test, Dhoni used his favourite adjective, a word he uses to tackle questions that are best left unanswered: "difficult." The Test, he said, "was not easy; there was nothing much for the bowlers in the pitch and there was nothing for the batsmen. The batsmen had to play a lot of deliveries to score their runs. The scorecard will say the match got over in four days but it was a difficult game."

India's batting gains from this Test will revolve around the sight of Virender Sehwag lashing the ball to all parts (his sudden dismissals will continue to be discussed even after he retires) and the runs accumulated by the experienced middle-order triad across both innings. There was, however, the disconcerting awareness that Dhoni at No.7 is followed by a tail so long, snow leopards would envy it.

Regardless of the final result, conceding a 95-run lead to West Indies at home should sting. "If we had got the first-innings lead I would have thought it was a perfect way to start the series," Dhoni said. "We lacked a few things when we batted first but there's nothing we can pinpoint about the performance. There was not much turn yet more than 20 wickets fell before the start of the third day, so the batsmen from both sides will feel they could have played better."

A darn sight better is what you'd expect from India.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Johnny_129 on November 12, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    Given Aust inexperienced bowling attack, I would not mind India going in with a batsman short in order to bolster their own attack - depending on the batsmen showing good form in the warm-up matches. How about this line-up for Aust tour: 1. Gambhir 2. Sehwag 3. Dravid 4. Tendulkar 5. Laxman 6. Dhoni 7. Ashwin 8. Bhajji 9. Zak 10. Ishant 11. PK/ UY/ VA? Given Ojha's recent success, it is hard to leave him out but I do feel that Ojha is better suited to Indian conditions. He can be tried in future tours. Ability of Ashwin and Bhajji with the bat partially makes up for the missing specialist #6 batsmen. This lineup would have the best chance of dismissing Aust twice - they will be hurting after the recent collapse in SA and they will be fighting hard in their own back yard!

  • Johnny_129 on November 12, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    Dear Sharda, With all due respect, you sound like a bit of a depressant - need to start focussing on the positives a bit more. Very good come-back win by India and respect for the fighting qualities fo the WI. I think the Indian selectors are doing it right by giving many youngsters the opportunity to play alongside the greats - Yuvraj, Kohli, Raina, Pujara and even Bhadri have had a run...even if somewhat limited and unsuccessful ones. Their learnings would be immense...they now have to put their learnings into practice. I would also like to see Rehane & Rohit being given a run in tests and thus creating a healthy competition to secure the #6 batting slot. On the bowling side it is great to see India trying to develop in the 'pace' (not high-school pace) department! Looking ahead to the Australian tour, India may struggle with four specialist bowlers only - I would not mind seeing Bhajji, with his experience, back in the side along with Zak.

  • Vikram_Afz on November 12, 2011, 2:48 GMT

    Yeah Sharda, a mild WI-team hosting series sandwiched between tough Eng and Aus series. But it would be difficult not to reciprocate our tour of WI which took place shortly before, right? After all, the modern bullring demands you play your opposition home and away and decide who's the true winner!

    The only way out to avoid this hosted WI series is to have avoided touring them earlier. And it be snobbish to have done that. right? :)

  • on November 10, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    C'mon, India fans. We have to win at home, that is a must anyway. We have to learn to win, consistently, away from home, to get back to the top. Please lets not get fooled by performances against WI in India...

  • swarzi on November 10, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    It's a pity Sachin did not get this elusive 100 in this match. I think the matter is hitting the urgency button for him now. He has to do it against the modest stuff that's now being presented by the WI. And, the Indian public is showing signs of impatience, calling for fresh blood - better investment for India cricket. They have already said that the selectors should keep Dravid only; but I don't know if they can do without Laxman - their perennial saviour. The smart guy Sachin is, I predict he would not tour Australia. Having just been embarassed by the English ruthless pace machine, I don't think he's going to embarass himself so quickly again, against a pace machine that would be just as ruthless; and, in Australia of all places. He knows that Australia is very hungry right now to become the world's No1 again; and they would be very devastating at home. hence, the little that he's capable of now would be preserved for for his usual feasts on the shortcomings of the minnowes.

  • Flat_Pitch_Bully on November 10, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    I asked this question on another post, but got no takers - hope to see some responses here. Between Sach, Rahul and Very Very Spl, in what irder do you think they should retire and why? who do you think should replace them?

  • natmastak_so-called on November 10, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    @ randyoz :instead of taking a dig at Sachin, will you please explain me the role of punter in current australiian test team.and rest assured Sachin wont retire after 100th ton coz he can still put a 20 someone to shame by his play.punter meanwhile will ffind it hard enough to find a place in trinidad and tobago test team if one exists.

  • Naresh28 on November 10, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    Talking about spinners - it is quite obvious that the faster spinners like KUMBLE, ASHWIN, AFRIDI, BHAJJI take wickets on the slower subcontinent pitches.On the faster pitches the reverse happens - slower spinners take wickets. The Indian team composition should take this in consideration when choosing spinners for games abroad. I feel someone like Jadeja and Ohja would do better outside India compared to say maybe Ashwin.

  • orangtan on November 10, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    @RanilHerath, thanks for your comments, but better worry about Sri Lanka who are really struggling. Apart from Sanga, no one seems capable of staying at the crease, Mathews is not really Test class. As for the bowling, Herath is so mediocre. And this on the desert tracks, I feel for you guys in SA against Steyn & Co

  • wambling_future on November 10, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    after 4-0 drubbing in England we all were expecting a win and not a "perfect win"...

  • Johnny_129 on November 12, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    Given Aust inexperienced bowling attack, I would not mind India going in with a batsman short in order to bolster their own attack - depending on the batsmen showing good form in the warm-up matches. How about this line-up for Aust tour: 1. Gambhir 2. Sehwag 3. Dravid 4. Tendulkar 5. Laxman 6. Dhoni 7. Ashwin 8. Bhajji 9. Zak 10. Ishant 11. PK/ UY/ VA? Given Ojha's recent success, it is hard to leave him out but I do feel that Ojha is better suited to Indian conditions. He can be tried in future tours. Ability of Ashwin and Bhajji with the bat partially makes up for the missing specialist #6 batsmen. This lineup would have the best chance of dismissing Aust twice - they will be hurting after the recent collapse in SA and they will be fighting hard in their own back yard!

  • Johnny_129 on November 12, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    Dear Sharda, With all due respect, you sound like a bit of a depressant - need to start focussing on the positives a bit more. Very good come-back win by India and respect for the fighting qualities fo the WI. I think the Indian selectors are doing it right by giving many youngsters the opportunity to play alongside the greats - Yuvraj, Kohli, Raina, Pujara and even Bhadri have had a run...even if somewhat limited and unsuccessful ones. Their learnings would be immense...they now have to put their learnings into practice. I would also like to see Rehane & Rohit being given a run in tests and thus creating a healthy competition to secure the #6 batting slot. On the bowling side it is great to see India trying to develop in the 'pace' (not high-school pace) department! Looking ahead to the Australian tour, India may struggle with four specialist bowlers only - I would not mind seeing Bhajji, with his experience, back in the side along with Zak.

  • Vikram_Afz on November 12, 2011, 2:48 GMT

    Yeah Sharda, a mild WI-team hosting series sandwiched between tough Eng and Aus series. But it would be difficult not to reciprocate our tour of WI which took place shortly before, right? After all, the modern bullring demands you play your opposition home and away and decide who's the true winner!

    The only way out to avoid this hosted WI series is to have avoided touring them earlier. And it be snobbish to have done that. right? :)

  • on November 10, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    C'mon, India fans. We have to win at home, that is a must anyway. We have to learn to win, consistently, away from home, to get back to the top. Please lets not get fooled by performances against WI in India...

  • swarzi on November 10, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    It's a pity Sachin did not get this elusive 100 in this match. I think the matter is hitting the urgency button for him now. He has to do it against the modest stuff that's now being presented by the WI. And, the Indian public is showing signs of impatience, calling for fresh blood - better investment for India cricket. They have already said that the selectors should keep Dravid only; but I don't know if they can do without Laxman - their perennial saviour. The smart guy Sachin is, I predict he would not tour Australia. Having just been embarassed by the English ruthless pace machine, I don't think he's going to embarass himself so quickly again, against a pace machine that would be just as ruthless; and, in Australia of all places. He knows that Australia is very hungry right now to become the world's No1 again; and they would be very devastating at home. hence, the little that he's capable of now would be preserved for for his usual feasts on the shortcomings of the minnowes.

  • Flat_Pitch_Bully on November 10, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    I asked this question on another post, but got no takers - hope to see some responses here. Between Sach, Rahul and Very Very Spl, in what irder do you think they should retire and why? who do you think should replace them?

  • natmastak_so-called on November 10, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    @ randyoz :instead of taking a dig at Sachin, will you please explain me the role of punter in current australiian test team.and rest assured Sachin wont retire after 100th ton coz he can still put a 20 someone to shame by his play.punter meanwhile will ffind it hard enough to find a place in trinidad and tobago test team if one exists.

  • Naresh28 on November 10, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    Talking about spinners - it is quite obvious that the faster spinners like KUMBLE, ASHWIN, AFRIDI, BHAJJI take wickets on the slower subcontinent pitches.On the faster pitches the reverse happens - slower spinners take wickets. The Indian team composition should take this in consideration when choosing spinners for games abroad. I feel someone like Jadeja and Ohja would do better outside India compared to say maybe Ashwin.

  • orangtan on November 10, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    @RanilHerath, thanks for your comments, but better worry about Sri Lanka who are really struggling. Apart from Sanga, no one seems capable of staying at the crease, Mathews is not really Test class. As for the bowling, Herath is so mediocre. And this on the desert tracks, I feel for you guys in SA against Steyn & Co

  • wambling_future on November 10, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    after 4-0 drubbing in England we all were expecting a win and not a "perfect win"...

  • Farce-Follower on November 10, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    @Zico123 : Rest Dravid and Laxman??? Nothing sounds stranger than this... Then let's call this a 'For Records Only Series', for without these two guys, you can kiss Test victories a good bye. Also shows your pretty dim understanding of Test cricket. Go back to IPL, please.

  • aruntheselector on November 10, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    I totally agree with Sharda.India did win the Test,but the batsmen did not put up a good show due to which WI had a lead of 95 runs.India has not managed to score 300+ in the last 5 Tests.This shows that apart from bowling,batting is a grave concern.It has been proved that even with the 3 stalwarts in 3,4 & 5,lot depends on the start given by Viru and Gauti and their absence in England was a major factor that led to disaster.I think it's time to start rebuilding the batting after the Aus tour.The big3 must quit and youngsters must be made to play on rotation so that in 2 yrs a formidable lineup can be built.Position wise options-No3:Rahane/Kohli/Mukund/Pujara,No4:Kohli/Badri/Rohit,No5:Rohit/Badri/Manoj Tiwary/Yuvi/Raina,No6:Yuvi/Raina/Tiwary/MSD/Jadeja,No7:MSD/Jadeja.Backup openers could be Mukund/Rahane/Dhawan/Vijay/Parthiv.In case there is a situation where both Viru and Gauti are unavailable,then an experienced guy like Jaffer or Chopra could be called in along with a youngster.

  • Romenevans on November 10, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    @Herath-UK - Talking about sachin? What about Lasith Malinga left your test team, just because he wants to play our IPL? What About Sanga and Mehela refusing too join the team in ENg earlier for practice games, because they wanted to play and complete our IPL first? LOL Got your answer?

  • Fast_Track_Bully on November 10, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    @Herath-UK. or they can ask to give wides and thus deny the 100...:P....even if they can't stop India from winning!

  • sld1963 on November 10, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    I liked the views raised by Karn Mamgain about Sachin. How true these comments are. No matter what Sachin does, people will always always find some fault using any yardstick. Sometimes, I feel Sachin should have been an Australian or Englishman !!! Can not even think of how different the reactions in those countries would have been.

  • RogerC on November 10, 2011, 2:57 GMT

    Funny to see some Sri Lankan fans commenting about Tendulkar going for 100. If scoring century is not so important for you guys, can you explain why Randiv intentionally bowled a wide to concede a match when Sehwag was on 99?

  • on November 10, 2011, 2:24 GMT

    @Ranil Herath I guess you should keep your mouth shut and worry about your own team who haven't won a single test in Australia,South Africa and India or a proper test series in England but call themselves "Best Team in the World".Let us see what your "Bradmans" do against the might of Steyn.

  • on November 10, 2011, 2:19 GMT

    Get a life.To chase 276 and win on such a poor wicket after conceding a 95 run lead in the first innings is great,irrespective of the opposition.And credit to West Indies for competing well and giving themselves a chance to win this game.

  • on November 10, 2011, 2:13 GMT

    I propose there be a new field a study: SachinBashery. If he plays, people have a problem because he's not giving the youngster chances; if he does, they still have problem because he's putting himself ahead of the team, as they say. If Sachin scores tons, they say, those runs are selfish and don't contribute to the team; if he scores runs, but not tons (and the runs help India win), they say, he should have hung around for the ton, and that he was being selfish, trying to rush things. If Sachin doesn't score runs and India wins, he's called the elephant; if India loses, he's asked for his retirement. Do it or not, Sachin, it's always your fault. Sucks to be Sachin.

  • AvidCricFan on November 10, 2011, 1:55 GMT

    Sachin scored when India really needed and that too in the second innings!!

  • Nampally on November 10, 2011, 1:51 GMT

    India owe this victory to Ojha & Ashwin for taking 16 wkts. between them.They made Indian team look like a champion bowling side.While India took pride in their batting line up, bowling always got ignored. ZAK & Harbhajan were the "accepted" bowling nucleus. While ZAK has been plagued with injuries, Bhaiji has bowled poorly for the past 18 months - he claimed economy in runs is his role. Hence India ended up with no known wicket takers. Hence the appearance of the spin twins in Ojha & Ashwin,adds venom to the wicket taking ability. Both these guys are young & economical as well. I was amazed Dhoni cold remark,not high praise "Ashwin has played one game & Ojha has bowled well".It is the first time after Kumble's retirement, India has lethal spin attack & I want to see Dhoni boosting these 2 guys with high praise.They may not take 16 wkts.betwn them often but will always bowl economically & take wkts.India now needs 2 good young fast bowlers. This is what the Selectors have to focus.

  • Vijay_P_S on November 10, 2011, 1:43 GMT

    Kohli had his chance during WI tour but he blew it. He doen't give me more confidence than Yuvi at no.6. Pujara would be a more solid choice.

  • on November 10, 2011, 0:50 GMT

    Problem for Tendulkar is once he saw a hundred in sight he stopped playing for the team and started playing for himself. He turned down a single of Bishoo's first ball and started to frenetically go after the bowling instead of playing his natural game. If he had concentrated on getting the singles a hundred was there for the taking. I think Tendulkar lacks mental toughness in pressure situations.

  • on November 10, 2011, 0:48 GMT

    @Herath-UK Whch was the team again that went on to bat for four days on a dead pitch killing the test match to ensure their two batsmen got to triple centuries?

  • on November 10, 2011, 0:44 GMT

    Thank you Harbhajan, for all the great work you had doe for India for such a long time. But, for now & future there are quite a few, in the line to play your erstwhile role. Ojha, Aswin, Rahul Sharma, Iqbal Abdulla, Ali Murtaza, and many more. Even someone like Appanna may grow up into fill the role. Chawla is still young enough NOT to be discarded. So, it was a great to have you with us for so long, so nicely. Mumbai Indians and Punjab still need you for a long long time, for your all round skills-- still good; but others need to be groomed for representing the country in the future. Feel a little sad though.

  • RogerC on November 9, 2011, 23:31 GMT

    Well done India. Congratulations to the selectors for making good changes to team. Not sure why so many negative comments here even after a good show from India.

  • brittop on November 9, 2011, 22:27 GMT

    Sharda Ugra: Think conceding a 95 run first innings lead did sting India - they came back to win after all!

  • RandyOZ on November 9, 2011, 22:19 GMT

    @Herath-UK , good call, we know they don't care about winning, only individual records! Tendulkar mightve retired after the first innings!

  • Shan156 on November 9, 2011, 21:49 GMT

    Wait for Ashwin to fail one game before Harbhajan returns. I am 100% sure that Harbhajan will be India's only spinner in the playing XI against Australia.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 9, 2011, 21:42 GMT

    Ugra, Windies are no pushovers. They are a very talented bunch and are in the process of rebuilding. This is a very good win for us, coming back to win a game with our backs firmly pushed to the wall. I'm not surprised that Windies played such competitive cricket. Just imagine what would have happened if just another of their batsmen (for example if Darren Bravo had the rub of green and went on to score a 50+)! We would have been in serious trouble. So, bottomline, don't underestimate this Windies team. They don't have Gayle! That's a huge plus for them.

  • on November 9, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    Maybe we should send some of our groundsmen to train in Australia and England to learn how to make better pitches. They can either make flat dead pitches or terrible broken pitches. No wonder Indian bowlers struggle outside India. If you are constantly bowling in wickets where neither you, nor the batsmen, nor the groundsmen know how the ball will behave, how are you even supposed to learn how to bowl properly. Hello BCCI -- can you share some of the millions of rupees you are bleeding off Indian people and make better wickets?

    Wankede will be a bit better. Eden gardens will be terrible the 4th and 5th day with the ball turning 90 degrees. Better not to bat 4th in Eden.

  • on November 9, 2011, 20:37 GMT

    I saw India fielding 3 spinners in the next Test. A Test Cap for Rahul Sharma. Two pacemen in Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron. Umesh Yadav and Yuvraj Singh can be rested.

  • SanjivAwesome on November 9, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    I am happy with the final outcome for Team India. A win is a win. Am I happy with how it was won? Well, of course we could have done better. But a win builds confidence for the next performance. Therefore I look forward to the next test match to see if the team can lift its performance a wee bit more - and the result will take care of itself. My observations - drop Yuvraj Singh for Virat. Keep Harbhajan on extended garden leave. Importantly, this is a good WI team - they will come back strongly. In fact, I want them to win the next test match to make it 1-1. It will keep the series interesting!

  • Nampally on November 9, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    Sharda, You say that the Selectors can congratulate themselves for the new additions to the bowling. But ojha & ashwin are NOT new & were available for the past 2 years but dropped in favour of a solo Off Spinner Harbhajan. Yadav & aaron were available for England trip too but Aaron was benched after being specially flown in to reinforce the bowling!. It is Dhoni's reluctance to try New bowlers that has to be questioned. Hopefully Dhoni will change his thinking after Ojha & Ashwin showed India what they have been missing in bowling talent.Now will Dhoni give Rahul Sharma a chance in the XI or cut him altogether?Rahul is a very talented leg spinner ideally suited for the Australian pitches with fast, bouncy leg breaks.India has a lot of telent in both bowling & batting. But if you never play them how can you assess their capability?This is the real question the Selectors & Dhoni need to ask themselves. India needs visionary selectors to develop young talent into future Cricketers.

  • PradeepR on November 9, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    Probably Ravindra Jadeja is a better choice than Yuvraj Singh for tests. Also, somehow Virat Kohli needs to be in the team.

  • Herath-UK on November 9, 2011, 18:25 GMT

    Did the WestIndies miss a trick here;had they allowed Sachin to get his hundred in the first innings at this place,India might have settled for a loss! Ranil Herath - Kent

  • on November 9, 2011, 18:22 GMT

    Imperfection & Winning does not match. Great to see always a team winning irrespective of the quality of the opposition. Of late, Pakistant with no established names except Younus, Mishbul and Gul destroyed sri lanka in short 3 test matches to win the series. It was not expected looking at the ranking of Pakistan in the recently announced test rankings. Fourth innings total of anything above 250 and with background of being out for paltry amount would generally make our team collapse like pack of cards (as we usually experience). It is pleasant to see Sehwag playing natural best under the circumstances and refreshing to watch sachin carrying on to bat close to viscinity of victory (second innings average of tendulakar recently improving), Laxman showing the old glimse of his regular saviour character, Bowlers regularly taking the wickets and gaining the confidence on not so friendly pitch are the postive things we carry forward to second test (after disaster tour of england)

  • zico123 on November 9, 2011, 18:09 GMT

    India should play Ishant, Ojha and Ashwin in all 3 test matches, can give Varun Aaron 1 match in place of Yadav, should play Ajinkya Rahane in remaining 2 matches either in place of Yuvraj or by resting Dravid and laxman in 1 match each.

  • on November 9, 2011, 18:01 GMT

    Sharda, many comments have already indicated what I feel. You seem to writing as someone with a grudge. I believe there were more positives than negatives in this test for India but you focussed primarily on negative. Its your column and you can write what you want but you surely lost a few more of your readers.

  • on November 9, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    Sharda keeps talking about the loss in England... I understand and accept that it was bad and it had to be criticized. We have done enough of that and can we move on now? The only thing she talks about for the past 3 months is about the losses to England and nothing else. Where were you and what were you doing for the past 2 years when Indian team was winning? Why couldnt you see these "pitfalls" during those two years? Now that they lost to England you have come to criticise the Indian team. If you were a real sports journalist, you could have pointed out these chinks during the past 2 years which you didnt for obvious reasons. When Australia came to India for 1998 series and lost test matches did people say they have lost their aura? wasn't it considered as a learning curve and move on? Didnt Australia go on to dominate cricket matches for few more years? So why not this Indian team? why cant we move on? Please give them a break and look ahead instead of looking back at English tour.

  • Ravi_kumar_Kinnera on November 9, 2011, 17:44 GMT

    If India lost to WI, Dhoni would have told that too much of cricket caused India to lose test match. When will you give a chance to "Varun, Aron"? You want him to wait for 6 more test matches like he did for ODI debute? What problem you have with "Varun, Aron". Looks like selectors wants "Varun, Aron" to play but you don't want…. Please make him play in second test, because he has got pace and reverse swing which we have seen in ODI matches.

  • Krishna_M on November 9, 2011, 17:34 GMT

    I am astonished at the shallowness of many of the comments which talk about the negative tone of the article. It's balanced, realistic & puts things in perspective. Beating a mediocre WI at home doesn't mean that India is back. This win had some positives undoubtedly but this win says far, far more about the Windies than it does about India. India's dominance in this series has to be a necessary but not sufficient condition to doing well in Aus which, to me, is the real test of whether the disaster in Eng was an abberation or the start of a decline. There are several unanswered questions still and as the article says, this series could answer some questions to get the right combo for Aus. The batting isn't performing to full potential as yet and the ability of our bowlers to take 20 wickets in ALL conditions is still in question. All this series does is give us some clues and Ind has everything to lose & not too much to gain. So let's put things in perspective as the article tries does

  • NatarajR on November 9, 2011, 17:30 GMT

    To enter into the Indian side some miracle should happen.... Either selection politics should mercy and bring him back or he has to really fight hard to compete with the talented youngsters....

    Good Bye Bha'G'.... Welcome 3G(Ashwin, Ojha and Mishra).... Future of Indian cricket....

  • AK_25 on November 9, 2011, 17:18 GMT

    @StopSmoking...well said....i do agree...india mightnt be the strongest team...bt its allways been an entertaining teams.....

  • 2011Wc on November 9, 2011, 16:53 GMT

    Raina should be selected ahead of yuvi.. His presence can do wonder in the field.. and he is a quick learner and he will gain confidence with this superb batting order.. If he get some experience and confidence, he certainly will be a huge asset for test cricket. He is 24 now and @26 or27 he will be among one the best test batsmen, if he was given some time to get settled. Remember great player are not born.. they are developed..Raina will be the future captain as well.

  • on November 9, 2011, 16:49 GMT

    Sharda Ugra has a negative mindset,her negativity is simply astounding,if India wins the next test too she will just talk about the players who didn't perform,most of the Indian sports writer belong to the generation where being negative was normal,its about time some new sports writer come up and change this trend of criticizing their team all the time,I am getting tired of this.

  • aarpee2 on November 9, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    Chanderpaul has been a thorn in India even when Kumle and Bhajji were at the best.Lest one forgets the duo in their heyday struggled to dismiss left handers like Jimmy Adams,Andy Flower,Hayden,Gilchrist and Jayasuriya on Indian wickets-please check the averages and huge scores of these batsmen in India and you will get a true picture.Let us give Ojha and Ashwin some credit.Ashwin in the words of Jimmy Adams expert on Sky TV is impressed with his consistent domestic record in 4 dayers . More importantly Adams feels Ashwin is a thinking bowler,planning and plotting ways to dismiss the opposition batsmen.

  • anuradha_d on November 9, 2011, 16:38 GMT

    the team showed CHARACTER came back from behind chased successively what is consdired a BIG 4th inning total espeically in subconintnetal 4th innings.... fought as a unit buried the ghosts of Harbhajan singh put a brand new fast bowler on display who hits 95mph ( and yet called RM by CI) got Sehwag kickking got the opening partnership kicking in both inning.... got runs from most of the rusty middle order....

    and INSPITE of all the above Sharda still sees imperfections and keeps lamenting the english tour Life has to move one what you must remmeber we were 18 months #1 let's see how long our successors last there

  • on November 9, 2011, 16:36 GMT

    India has been consistently bad in first matches of all previous tours. So this is a remarkable achievement, however weak the opposition is. On top of that, we took 20 wickets with a predominantly novice bowling attack on an unfriendly wicket. Seniors who were injured or were out of form, like sehwag, sachin, vvs and gambhir all eased back into form. Dhoni's captaincy was good. All this are good signs that we may peak in time for australia. I wish they drop Yuvraj and give more practice for kohli and raina, who are the future. Yuvraj has been a consistent failure in test matches. It is possible that he may play well in the last test match and that will give an illusion that he is fit for test matches in australia.

  • Elvis_Dinesh on November 9, 2011, 16:25 GMT

    I am a person who would like to be happy when India wins, unlike some grumpy one's. Most of your articles are negative and pessimistic. "There was, however, the disconcerting awareness that Dhoni at No.7 is followed by a tail so long, snow leopards would envy it." - Seriously??? Ashwin for one, is a key batsman in Tamilnadu team... Compared to the age-old tail-enders this is better... The very fact that a batsman of Dhoni's caliber is coming in at No. 7 should be appreciated!!!

  • shrastogi on November 9, 2011, 16:19 GMT

    Barring injuries I think the Indian batting shouldnt be tinkered as they need to spend time in the middle and score big. Its payback time for Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman. So they would be more critically evaluated than others. Its good to see Laxman playing till end and Sehwag giving good starts but Indian first innings was a repeat of what one saw in England. Tendulkar got out to poor strokes in both the innings and when he got out in second he should have known very well that Dhoni is not doing too well so he needs to be extra careful. At least in Indian conditions batsmen are expected to regain their confidence. After the spinners' performance Harbhajan's comeback would be even more difficult.

  • StopSmoking on November 9, 2011, 16:09 GMT

    You still haven't stopped insulting team, have you? Criticizing 24/7. Why? You still haven't changed your tone towards team. (I still remember your first rant, that media had to wait for team for an hour, still keeping that grudge?) Respect this team, not many teams around the world is doing this!!! We barely have 4 strong test teams around the globe. And India is one of them. MSD won the world cup for crying out loud. Our team is one of the least boring team, so much flair among players. I don't want that boring Australia or WI past, I want my team to lose sometimes, so I feel the pain get even more happy when they win next time. I like sports this way. So, leave MSD and his team alone.

  • on November 9, 2011, 16:01 GMT

    Spinners are not gonna be able to win matches for India in Australia, South Africa and England. And we saw in the first match against WI how affective Indian fast bowlers are. Unfortunately, I got no hopes from Indian team when they play in Australia later this year. They would keep winning when they play in India and keep losing when they play on seamer friendly pitches.

  • on November 9, 2011, 15:54 GMT

    sharda ugra is always trying to please the english men...he is concentrating on all the negatives...and it is taking away the positives that inidan team gained after the debacle in england. they came back from behind and made a comfortable victory at the end. They were not nervous on a difficult pitch. give them credit man rather than trying to appease the english men with indian bashing. In england India failed because we lost saheer when we were at the top and our total team balance was affected rather than a great english performance. India played much better in south africa and england when we were at our full strength. I am sure they can beat them next time...but one advice to you Ugra...stop trying to appease the english men and wrote what is the right....:-)

  • on November 9, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    Please give credit to the spinners. Especially, Ashwin got 3 wickets in First Innings. After conceeding 95 runs lead to WI in I innings, the main concern would be to save the test by containing the runs, he not only contain the flow of runs, got crucial break throughs in his test debut. Why all speaking about return of Harbhajan. Look at his records for past 2 years, nothing done by him.

  • on November 9, 2011, 15:20 GMT

    West Indies is going one extreme -- too many newbies in the top six-- (leaving out Gayle, Bravo, & Sarwan et al, all at one stroke. And India going the other way, keeping all golden oldies in tact. And not readying a few more for the future. Both need to take a mid-path. For India, at least the 6th spot should be used to try out more players like Kohli, Raina and a few others. Rotate guys at that spot, and keep ready with a pool of two or three who can be drafted smoothly in, when the time comes, when the seniors ride into the sun set, hopefully, one by one.

  • longlivewoodoo on November 9, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    I don't see @HarbhajanSingh coming in to the squad for aus tour untill selectors show mercy to him. Yuvraj has to re-think about his apporach otherwise a bunch is looking at him. Does MS stands there only because of his captaincy as sometimes sourav was ? This could be a question after some time.

  • on November 9, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Yuvraj is Micheal bevan for India...should play shorter games with Raina. Time Pujara, Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Rahane are given a shot at it....

  • Yorker_ToeCrusher on November 9, 2011, 14:54 GMT

    So negetive articles..Please give us a break

  • Naikan on November 9, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    While many may view the west Indies team as not too strong an opposition, I for one feel that their current side seems to be on the way to re-building and there are clear signs of having good potential. The team has been gelling better as a unit and will improve with some experience along the way. So in that sense - a couple of years down the line - India may well view this as a good win (better than what it is being rated now).

  • on November 9, 2011, 14:46 GMT

    Jadeja's left-arm spin should be tried for consideration as number 8 against Australia. His fielding and batting would be a plus. Tail would need to contribute against Australia. The wickets in Australia won't have too much lateral swing as in England. So, Raina and Mukund who had done well against pace in WI should be considered. VVS could be rested for the WI tests to try out two young legs at 5 and 6 and select one of them in playing 11 for Australia.

  • on November 9, 2011, 14:41 GMT

    Sharda Ugra: i have been going thru your articles.. and i find it a bit negative.. sure u state the facts but reading your articles some time removes the josh of cricket..

  • Fast_Track_Bully on November 9, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    India pick 2o wickets with an in-experienced bowling lineup...full credits to Aswin,Oja and Umesh , Ishant picked crucial wickets in the context of the game...BUT the batting is not looking good other than opening. Even-though all of them other than Yuvaraj played well at least in 2nd inngs. Yuvi must be aware of the missing opportunities!

  • on November 9, 2011, 14:24 GMT

    Continuing with her tradition, Sharda's article is steeped once again in one complaint or another! Bottom-line is that India won, and the win is all the more creditable because India conceded a large first-innings lead. So let us concentrate on complimenting our bowlers for bringing us into a position from where we could win the game by coming from behind, instead of harping on the negatives.

  • on November 9, 2011, 14:14 GMT

    Any other side Say Australia,South Africa , England could have the game after taking vital 95 runs lead

  • Y2SJ on November 9, 2011, 14:09 GMT

    The first innings was bad. But the way the team responded in second innings with the ball and bat was good. Need not be concerned against Australia as Indian team always lifts its game against stronger opponents and lets it low against minnows.

  • Optimistix on November 9, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    Once again, extra negativity - "eight innings of misery in England", even though India actually took the lead in the first innings of the second test, so at least those two innings couldn't really have been "miserable".

    Sharda Ugra is Cricinfo's resident pessimist, always ready with a downer or two.

  • indianpunter on November 9, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    what about the elephant in the room? Yuvraj singh was, is and will continue to be a mistake in the indian test team. He should be summarily consigned to the shorter versions of the game, where he is indeed more suited. In 10 yrs , he has not made himself a test bat and i cannot see that happening in another 10 yrs. We need the youngsters to have some experience by the time the trio are gone. Yuvraj in the middle does not reassure many indian fans. And, harbhajan singh.. see ya.. thanks for the memories.

  • maddy20 on November 9, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    Come on , give us a break. The seniors are coming off after a long break. They are bound to be a bit rusty. As you can see the second inning performance was more of an India-like stuff. They will make life a wee bit harder for the Caribbeans in the next game.

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  • maddy20 on November 9, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    Come on , give us a break. The seniors are coming off after a long break. They are bound to be a bit rusty. As you can see the second inning performance was more of an India-like stuff. They will make life a wee bit harder for the Caribbeans in the next game.

  • indianpunter on November 9, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    what about the elephant in the room? Yuvraj singh was, is and will continue to be a mistake in the indian test team. He should be summarily consigned to the shorter versions of the game, where he is indeed more suited. In 10 yrs , he has not made himself a test bat and i cannot see that happening in another 10 yrs. We need the youngsters to have some experience by the time the trio are gone. Yuvraj in the middle does not reassure many indian fans. And, harbhajan singh.. see ya.. thanks for the memories.

  • Optimistix on November 9, 2011, 14:08 GMT

    Once again, extra negativity - "eight innings of misery in England", even though India actually took the lead in the first innings of the second test, so at least those two innings couldn't really have been "miserable".

    Sharda Ugra is Cricinfo's resident pessimist, always ready with a downer or two.

  • Y2SJ on November 9, 2011, 14:09 GMT

    The first innings was bad. But the way the team responded in second innings with the ball and bat was good. Need not be concerned against Australia as Indian team always lifts its game against stronger opponents and lets it low against minnows.

  • on November 9, 2011, 14:14 GMT

    Any other side Say Australia,South Africa , England could have the game after taking vital 95 runs lead

  • on November 9, 2011, 14:24 GMT

    Continuing with her tradition, Sharda's article is steeped once again in one complaint or another! Bottom-line is that India won, and the win is all the more creditable because India conceded a large first-innings lead. So let us concentrate on complimenting our bowlers for bringing us into a position from where we could win the game by coming from behind, instead of harping on the negatives.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on November 9, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    India pick 2o wickets with an in-experienced bowling lineup...full credits to Aswin,Oja and Umesh , Ishant picked crucial wickets in the context of the game...BUT the batting is not looking good other than opening. Even-though all of them other than Yuvaraj played well at least in 2nd inngs. Yuvi must be aware of the missing opportunities!

  • on November 9, 2011, 14:41 GMT

    Sharda Ugra: i have been going thru your articles.. and i find it a bit negative.. sure u state the facts but reading your articles some time removes the josh of cricket..

  • on November 9, 2011, 14:46 GMT

    Jadeja's left-arm spin should be tried for consideration as number 8 against Australia. His fielding and batting would be a plus. Tail would need to contribute against Australia. The wickets in Australia won't have too much lateral swing as in England. So, Raina and Mukund who had done well against pace in WI should be considered. VVS could be rested for the WI tests to try out two young legs at 5 and 6 and select one of them in playing 11 for Australia.

  • Naikan on November 9, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    While many may view the west Indies team as not too strong an opposition, I for one feel that their current side seems to be on the way to re-building and there are clear signs of having good potential. The team has been gelling better as a unit and will improve with some experience along the way. So in that sense - a couple of years down the line - India may well view this as a good win (better than what it is being rated now).