India v West Indies, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 1st day

Tendulkar's exquisite straight drive

Plays of the day for the opening day of the first Test between India and West Indies in Mumbai

N Hunter

November 14, 2013

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

R Ashwin reacts to M Vijay dropping a catch off his bowling, India v West Indies, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 1st day, November 14, 2013
It was a mixed day for R Ashwin in the field © BCCI

The drop
Mohammad Azharuddin and Rahul Dravid used to field at first slip. Hands that picked some of the best catches. A bowler would trust them completely and likewise, these guys built his confidence. However R Ashwin, who fields at the same position, has never given that same kind of assurance. Today he had already seen a difficult chance, an outside edge from Kieran Powell fall a yard in front of him. But a few overs later when Powell was beaten by the superb seam movement of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashwin spilled a straightforward catch. The ball was going to his left. Ashwin moved quickly but tried to pouch the ball, probably, with hard hands because the ball bounced off his left palm, trickled across his arm before bouncing off his lap onto the ground even as he tried to hold on to it in vain. Ashwin looked to the heavens for assistance. The bowler, too, did the same.

The shot
The ball was pitched on a good length. It was slightly fuller. Sachin Tendulkar's eyes lit up. He opened his stance, quickly moved forward and using his left elbow to lend direction, he punched that exquisite straight drive -past Darren Sammy, past mid-on for another four. It was a shot that comes to mind when you think Tendulkar the batsman. It is shot the roaring Wankhede took home.

The word of caution
Narsingh Deonarine was playing his first ball of the series. He tapped Bhuvneshwar towards mid-on and set off for a single without even realising Pragyan Ojha was standing well inside the circle. If that was not enough, Deonarine, who replaced Veerasammy Permaul, should have at least realised his partner was the as-safe-as-they-come Shivnarine Chanderpaul. The Guyanese, playing his 150th Test match, did not even blink as he turned his back to Deonarine, who had to retreat swiftly. An annoyed Chanderpaul indicated his displeasure by drawing a question mark with his hands.

The plan
The ploy of making the batsmen play as many balls as possible is a rule good fast bowlers never forget. Bhuvneshwar deployed that strategy successfully against all batsmen including Chanderpaul, who was defeated by the bowler's accuracy and persistence. In his third over of his first spell after lunch, Bhuvneshwar bowled four balls to Chanderpaul of similar nature: pitching back of a length, on leg or middle stump and moving away. Chanderpaul left a couple of deliveries alone, but the other two he was tempted to play, only to get squared up. In his next over, Bhuvneshwar improvised by pitching on the leg stump and creating an angle that forced Chanderpaul to play at the ball. The thick edge went to Ashwin, who did well to hold a good catch.

The catch
Deonarine seemed in a hurry as he tried to play most of the balls. Trying to defend a delivery from Ashwin which had pitched on the middle stump and was turning away, Deonarine stretched forward, but could not get to the pitch of the ball. The outside edge flew to the left of M Vijay, at short gully, who dived to pluck a spectacular low catch.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2013, 6:27 GMT)

For those who say ashwin is not good in slips please remember the other dismissal which is a much tougher than it is thought and he has taken many brilliant catches at slips in champions league.

Posted by Bokesh on (November 15, 2013, 5:08 GMT)

SRT today is reminding me of the original Tendulkar he used to be.Just look at the exquisite straight drives, cover drives, this is how he used to play. Really getting jealous of people how are in just by stroke of good fortune!!!!) .

Posted by Prats6 on (November 15, 2013, 3:37 GMT)

Ashwin is a bad fielder. Good bowler but bad fielder and to see him in slips does not inspire confidence. Its a way to hide him on the field. Those drops can wreck havoc in a match. India should prepare someone like Pujara - who looks to be someone with a calm mind in the slips, instead we put him in the firing line against the spinners. What a joke.

Posted by 777aditya on (November 15, 2013, 2:25 GMT)

"The bowler, too, did the same." Ashwin's response to why he cant catch - it slips! you cant run, you cant 'hide' - of course not till he is alive anyways!

Posted by baskar_guha on (November 15, 2013, 2:20 GMT)

Would like to see a bold declaration by India with just 100-150 ahead and a West Indies fightback so that India can be made to get 100-150 in the second. Would make for an exciting test. In its current pace, it will be done 2-3 sessions after India declare.

Posted by dimpu303 on (November 15, 2013, 1:22 GMT)

Great man has done so far so good in his well compiled 38 except the first run! He swept it almost blind, nervous, could have been LBW or Bowled by that perfect Shillingford delivery..... Now settled after that first jitter, his 52nd ton in test cricket is clearly visible - Dhiren

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (November 15, 2013, 0:16 GMT)

It is so disheartening to see some foolish comments here putting down Ashwin. In the middle of all this Tendulkar drama, we have so conveniently forgotten Ashwin 100 wickets historical milestone. This is why Indian fans are some of the WORST cricket lovers on the planet. It is time we treat every cricketer with respect and recognize his achievements. WELL DONE ASHWIN !!!

Posted by   on (November 14, 2013, 22:23 GMT)

the play of the day must have been when Vijay got out to uproarious applause no!?

Posted by AnkushDeshmukh on (November 14, 2013, 19:04 GMT)

Ashwin in slips is like asking Dhoni to bowl.... he'll get you wickets once in a while but HE IS NOT a bowler!! Ashwin should be kept at third man or fine leg busy with his warm ups and stretching... not trying to be in that ultimate important position of slips....hope Dhoni doesn't try him out at backward point in ODIs someday...!

Posted by GRVJPR on (November 14, 2013, 18:53 GMT)

Whenever ashwin does well with ball people start finding some other mistakes to discredit him. Similarly when kohli scores 100 people start telling lies about his attitude!

Posted by   on (November 14, 2013, 17:56 GMT)

continue and Once shikar Dhawan goes out of form or start fading away after 4-5 years like Gambhir than Chand can be added as he will be enough mature till that time.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2013, 17:53 GMT)

India should play Ojha in test as a regular as adding of jadeja had made impact on his carrier as Dhoni was giving more overs to Jadeja and Ojha was neglected or dropped in favour of Bhajji in tests vs Australia. Jadeja is not a test player he was just luckly as Australians were not able to play spin or anything on the Indian pitches. India should play Rahane now and make him regular he and Pujara are the kind of batsmen who will be more succesful in Test for India if abley supported by Dhawan at top and Rohit in middle order. I doubt Kohli and Vijay will last long in test team. Kohli dosnt have that patience to play test cricket whenever he has shown patience it was just block for nothing it is not a technique. Slowly and steadily India should add Vijay Zol, Baba Aparjith and Sanju samson in the squad and than team in next 2-3 years. Shikar Dhawan, Baba Aparjit, Pujara, Rahane, Rohit, Zol, Samson should be the team after 2015 world cup in tests thats the future.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2013, 17:43 GMT)

Come on guys, give Ashwin a break. It wasn't long ago, many people have praised Ashwin for his slip catching, saying that he's better there. Even Harsha Bhogle said this many a times in the Champions Trophy that we found a good slip fielder after trying Virat Kohli in a few games.

Posted by GRVJPR on (November 14, 2013, 17:30 GMT)

It seems to become a fashion in India to criticize players for one odd mistake. Yes Ashwin dropped a dolly, but it happens. I have see the record holder Dravid dropping dollies too, it happens!

Posted by Haleos on (November 14, 2013, 16:09 GMT)

Ashwin is a great bowler but lacks fielding skills. With him India always field a X and not XI.

Posted by Malret on (November 14, 2013, 15:25 GMT)

common man, get ashwin out of that slips. Please. Let common sense prevail.

Posted by Sachin_The_Greatest on (November 14, 2013, 14:29 GMT)

guys i can not describe what an amazing feeling it was to be at the ground. no words can describe this feelings.

Posted by nainil0683 on (November 14, 2013, 14:29 GMT)

From the first over I saw Ashwin standing in the slips, I could not help but say "Has Dhoni lost it??? Why is Ashwin standing in slips?????" And to live upto my expectations, Ashwin duly drops a sitter. He is not the quickest of fielders. Why have in stand in slips. You have Tendulkar, Kohli, Vijay, Pujara, even Shikhar Dhawan to stand in slips. You simply cannot have Shami, Bhuvaneshwa or Ashwin be anywhere near the batsman.

Posted by SamRoy on (November 14, 2013, 14:12 GMT)

I am still to decide who is the worser slip fielder. Kohli or Ashwin??? Both are really bad though. Wanted a few good slip fielders!! Now that we have a good pace attack of Bhuvi, Umesh, Shami we need a good slip cordon to catch all chances. If we do that we might actually win that elusive test series in Australia.

Posted by govisri on (November 14, 2013, 12:59 GMT)

Watching Ashwin fielding in slips reminds me of Erapalli Prasanna asked to man the slip cordon in the 1974-75 series against WI. He dropped Gordan Greenidge thrice in the first test In Bangalore,I think, and Greenidge went on to score a big hundred. Dundan and MSD, pls understand that hiding your worst fielder in slips is asking for trouble,big time - you could get away with this WI team:-) I don't understand Vijay fielding in slips as well.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2013, 12:56 GMT)

It was great to see the Umpires joining the guard-of-honour. Whilst they are supposed to be neutral at all times, maybe the occasion got the better of them, and why not?

At the end of the guard-of-honour Pujara was there to knock gloves with the great man. He will cherish this and mention it to his grandchildren.

What was absolutely mind boggling was how the great man himself ignored all hysteria around him yet again and got on with the job. He is moving well. Can we dare to dream for one big one for the last time?

Shameful to see the stands empty when there is so much demand. This is what happens when tickets are allotted to clubs and not available for sale to individual fans. Pathetic!

Ashwin has had a great start in Tests. He will get even better when he focuses on bowling mainly offspin with an occasional doosra and not try too many variations. He should stop stupid things like pausing before delivering the ball and improve his athleticism, fielding and running between wkts.

Posted by PSandeepMath on (November 14, 2013, 12:48 GMT)

This being Sachin's last series, and that WI aren't troubling India have shadowed a couple of important factors that could affect India's chances in the future tours. 1. India's fielding has been patchy at best. Virat known for his fielding drops too many catches, and India has no confident fielder in the Slips. 2. India needs bowlers who can use the older ball. Currently only Shami comes to mind, but he's too inexperienced. India never produced the kind of pacemen like Pakistan, but India needs a bowler to support and guide Shami to build a strong bowling lineup. Zaheer could be the man..

Posted by MJ1234 on (November 14, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

Disappointment of the day was watching so many empty seats at the stadium, even when Tendulkar was at the crease for the last hour or so. MCA owes the nation an answer - where did all the tickets go?

Posted by   on (November 14, 2013, 12:17 GMT)

If Ashwin dropped catches...Vijay dropped on Aswin bowling too....

Todays play of the day was thew moment WI team given gaurd of honour To Sachin..Nice to watch..

Posted by kevaldedhia813 on (November 14, 2013, 12:04 GMT)

Where are all the tickets? I could see many seats vacant. Ridiculous management.

Posted by Chak-De-India-Deux on (November 14, 2013, 11:41 GMT)

Thank you Tendulkar for playing all my fav. shots!!!

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