India v Australia 2008-09 / News

India v Australia, 1st Test, Bangalore, 5th day

'Australia can't take 20 wickets' - Zaheer

Cricinfo staff

October 13, 2008

Comments: 46 | Text size: A | A

Zaheer Khan: "They [Australia] couldn't get me or Bhajji [Harbhajan Singh] out. So we are in with a big chance" © Getty Images

Zaheer Khan produced a Man-of-the-Match performance in Bangalore before saving his most vicious delivery for after the game. Not satisfied with his all-round efforts, Zaheer attacked Australia's bowlers for being ineffective throughout the opening contest.

"They know they can't take 20 wickets and they are on the back foot," Khan said. "They couldn't get me or Bhajji [Harbhajan Singh] out. So we are in with a big chance. They are under pressure - we know that. So we are looking ahead at the second game."

The teams will head to Mohali on Tuesday carrying extra tension following Zaheer's comprehensive post-mortem of the tourists' performance. Australia were unable to dismiss India on the final day - bad light cost them ten overs and a little momentum - after setting an unlikely target of 299.

After the match Zaheer said the Australians had employed defensive tactics and their spin bowling was a huge weakness. "I have never seen an Australian team play such defensive cricket, which is a good thing for us," he said.

"On a fifth-day pitch the spinners could not do us any harm. That shows what their spin attack is all about." The debutant Cameron White and part-timer Michael Clarke combined for only three wickets in the game.

But Zaheer wasn't finished. "Even the pacers didn't look like getting wickets at any stage today."

Ponting was bemused by Zaheer's "defensive" charge. "I don't know what he means, to tell the truth," he said. "We were the only ones trying to take the game forward. We played aggressive cricket. He can have a little bit of a chuckle on the inside at what he's had to say. I don't think it means too much to us."

The exchange adds weight to a rivalry that has simmered since Australia beat India 2-1 at home in 2007-08. It also ensures there will be more spice in the lead-up to the match in Mohali starting Friday.

Zaheer was involved in a short, heated argument with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin while he was batting on the third day and said he expected such behaviour from his opponents. "We all know Aussies do all these kind of things," he said. "We settled the matter on the field and did not take it any further."

Zaheer collected six wickets for the match, including 5 for 91 in the first innings, to go with his unbeaten 57. Ponting said Zaheer's partnership with Harbhajan, when they rescued India from 232 for 7 on the way to 360, was a big turning point.

"Up till then we were way ahead," he said. "The lead went from 180 to 200 to 70. They took the momentum."

Zaheer was pleased to have succeeded with the ball along with Ishant Sharma in the first innings. "It was very important for me when we lost the toss that the fast bowlers took responsibility," he said. "We responded and are very happy that as a bowling unit we did that for this match."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by bwats21 on (October 15, 2008, 17:17 GMT)

What game was India watching? There was only one team playing for a win and it certainly wasn't them. India needs to lose this whole "We are better than Australia attitude" it's just embarrassing to watch them trying to throw off the Australians with all these stupid comments they share with the media that don't even make sense. For the love of god just focus on your cricket and you might start winning some games, leave the drama at home and stop turning all of your matches into a soap opera.

Why is Z.khan ripping on Aus spinners? Australia used 2 part time spinners and one was in his first test (C.White). How did the Indian front line spinners go hmm? Oh yeah I guess that must have slipped your mind, they looked about as threatening as Dravid did with the bat.

Posted by joshreid on (October 15, 2008, 9:38 GMT)

I do find it hard to accept Australia were "more aggressive" scoring 250 on day one of a dubious pitch then expecting India to score 300 in two and a bit sessions on day five..... Hardly attacking, nor was the single slip to the first new ball on day five. Whoever won the toss should have won this match. Australia were well-placed to win, India were forced to defend, which they did well. The game of cricket ebbs, India were never in a position to attack, Australia were in good position, but didnt take the initiative winning the toss afforded them.

Posted by sashi94 on (October 15, 2008, 3:34 GMT)

I am amused by Ricky pontings comments and the Australian media blaming ganguly for delaying tactics. how can ponting say that Australia are playing new age cricket and were the only ones forcing for a win when he himself took 243 balls to score 123 runs, hussey took 276 balls for 146 runs, katich took 149 balls for a paltry 66 and haddin took 110 balls for 33 runs.. ON A FIRST+Second DAY WICKET?? come on give us a break.. and then they expect India to score quiclky and throw away their wickets on a fourth day pitch in fading light? truthfully though, Indian bowlers troubled the australian batsman thoughout the game. Thanks to Ishant and Zaheer. Guys like shane watson were luckyly hitting the cracks and getting the ball to "swing" and getting wickets(dravid). ponting after being abused and fooled by Ishanth, said it was only because he was being defensive early on, no credit to ishanth. please take your attitude, bias and denials somewhere else mr ponting. new age cricket.. hahahahaha

Posted by malc1241 on (October 14, 2008, 15:13 GMT)

I have been lucky enough to have seen the 20/20 tournament here in Toronto.If test cricket plays the way the Aussies and Indians played at 2 1/2 runs per over you can sweep up after the rush for the doors(gates)takes place. After winning the toss Australia never seemed the force they once were.When the TV snickometer or whatever the lbw technology is called kicks in(sooner the better get rid of doubt and bad decisions)and everyone has the same playing field the game will improve. The last few test series have all had bad decisions.So lets use every bit of technology so if we watch the slower type of cricket at least we are not jibbed out of victory by a series of shocking decisions. The 20/20 games were full of joy and fun and players trying to win and more importantly spreading the game.The last aussie/india match was a yawn

Posted by CricBigboss on (October 14, 2008, 13:02 GMT)

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...... After going thru this article and the posts I feel that Aussies are really sore at Zaheer's comments...... That too coming after Mr. Ponting claimed that the "Indians play old school cricket"????? Its a laugh to see someone dreaming of knocking out Zaheer's stumps with a Brett Lee yorker. ZAK seems to have really gotten to u guys??? Zaheer has already accomplished his entire series worth of batting by making the Aussies want his wicket the most. All their life the Aussies have been indulging in sledging and suddenly they wish to be called the fair hair child of cricket as they are getting back what they have always given and so have suddenly turned over a new leaf it seems. Also how relevant is it that the Aussie pacers were able to bowl lesser overs due to bad light, considering that Brett Lee and company were thrashed by Bhajji and Zak? As far as chasing down the target on the last day was concerned, India probably would have gone for it had Viru lasted.

Posted by hopeless_selection on (October 14, 2008, 12:41 GMT)

Australians are well known for being aggressive on and off the field. Is it really such a suprise that this sort of behaviour rubs off onto their opponents?

The 'polite and mild-mannered' India is dead, now is the time of the lower middle class to blaze into glorious summer and carve out their own corner of the game. Just as the likes of Merv Hughes, Boony, Ponting, Warnie, Haydos and M. Clarke have changed Australia into a far more gritty, potent (and less sofisticated) team - similarly hotheads and young guns are changing the face of Indian cricket, and I would say, for the better. Its time for the old guard to retire and for the likes of Dhoni, Ghambir, Zaheer, Ishant Sharma, Kholi, Yuvraj, Pathan's and Chawla to stand up. Finally Tendulkar should play his last test series and retire, and let Shewag take over as the marquee batsman.

Test selection should not be a matter of entitlement as is the case currently, but rather of confidence, performance and beligerance.

Posted by goldenmicky on (October 14, 2008, 12:19 GMT)

I think Zaheer is right on spot as usual. Oz never looked to be in hurry to score and take advantage of the lead to force the result. Having said that, India was also defensive and never took so called "Home" advantage. Indian spinners loked pathetic and India should look beyond Bhajji/Kumble - Piyush Chawla could be good deal. Sachin needs to be more positive and Ponting's batting performance was impressive. Indians should now take advantage of result of this match considering that they lost almost every session to OZ in first test but still could manage to Draw the test. And yes - You all OZ fans - STOP WHINING. OZ team is allowed to comment anything about opponents and everyone should consider it as OZ style of living! Your media even goes out of way to support it! When some other team takes a dig at you, you fellas feel "Disrespectful" Grow up guys!How can OZ media cry about bad light appeal and its decision? Simply Poor journalism guys!

Posted by Samdanh on (October 14, 2008, 11:56 GMT)

Our so called world class spinners could take no more than 3 wkts in the entire match. So Zaheer should first shut his trap. Aus managed to score 430 despite a substandard India pitch. India, despite individual brilliance from Zaheer and Harbhajan, could only manage 360 which by no means more than 430. And it was Australia trying to win the match and India trying to save fighting with their back to the wall. Does Zaheer think Indian cricket fans are mad or fools to get carried by his haughty thoughts. Let our cricketers stop talking and start performing. Let Zaheer realise that despite their spin dept being weak and they having been defensive, Aus had India on the mat and running for cover most part of the match, not in Aus pitch but in a rank bad Indian pitch. But for rain and bad light, India could have lost the game. Zaheer's wail really shows who had been under pressure.

Posted by Sriram_Krishnamurthy on (October 14, 2008, 11:50 GMT)

I could see a lot of Aussie suporters fired up in this message board. I dont think Zaheer was wrong. Infact Aussies have become a lot more defensive than what they used to be. I think after the 2001 Kolkatta test, they have stopped taking India lightly. These kinds of statements are expected to come by during an India Australia series. Its just that India is taking the lead this time to intimidate the Aussies. Have you guys forgotten Glenn Macgrath's statements "We can bounce out Sachin" "Sachin has a weakness outside off stump and we'll expose him" etc....Or even the latest one from Shane Warne (though not associated with International Cricket these days) "Australia will wipe out England in the next Ashes". I dont think we should give too much of importance to these statements and just enjoy some good cricket. Fact of the matter is this team is no where close to Steve Waugh's team that toured India in 2001. India has a good chance of beating Aussies and I hope they dont mess it up.

Posted by leroy2258 on (October 14, 2008, 10:59 GMT)

I just want to make one point about the dodgy umpiring decisions of this game because a lot of one-eyed Indian fans are again whining that they got the short end of the stick. The poor decisions (as happens in 90 per cent of games) went both ways. Hayden was undoubtedly shafted with the caught behind decision on day one, and was terribly unlucky to be given LBW in his second dig when striding forward while already batting well out of his crease. But this is never mentioned because -of course- it's only poor old India who get dodgy decisions. I think Dravid was also shafted with his first innings LBW. Gambhir was lucky to get away with the third umpire decision going his way with that run out in the second innings. Kumble's LBW was iffy. These things happen - it's how cricket works. I don't ever want to hear another Indian fan whining about how poor umpiring decisions cost them the game. Take that India patch off your eye and see it from both sides fellas.

Posted by MrBrian on (October 14, 2008, 10:48 GMT)

After witnessing this first gruesome test between India and Australia, a point can be made out that both teams struggled with their spinners. In this match, there were only six wickets taken by the spinners. (Harbhajan: 3, Clarke: 2 and White: 1). The pitch at Bangalore was slow and cracking. There were some moments when a bowler aimed for a crack, to swing/spin into the batsmen. The byes accumulated at the end of this test was flattering. There were 52 byes, 13 to Dhoni and 39 to Haddin. (Haddin holds the record for the most number of byes conceded by an Australian in a Test match). When the two teams battle it out again at Mohali on the 17th, Ricky Ponting will assure the Indians that we will redeem ourselves. I can sense that Australia will come back, strong as ever, make 3.50-4.00 runs per over, and bowl out the over-confident India team. I would love Zaheer Khan get out by a yorker from Brett Lee, because Khan thinks our bowling attack wasn't 'good' enough. We'll see. 2nd Test.

Posted by Slysta on (October 14, 2008, 10:33 GMT)

Ah, Zaheer... what a comedian. He must be conscious of his place in history - better say something outrageous, because he'll never be remembered as a bowler. Show me one passage where India attempted to advance the game, and I'll show you a failure! Clarke and White may not be the best spin pairing we've ever fielded, but they outbowled Harbhajan and Kumble!

How do India plan to take 20 wickets, anyway? Is that the best they can do, even on home soil? India avoided defeated, and there is merit in that (was Zaheer so confident when Dravid fell to the new ball before lunch on the last day?), but they'd do well to get their own house in order (as Australia are trying to do) before criticising others.

Comparing run-rates between Test series is ridiculous. Australian pitches usually reward attacking cricket, Indian pitches usually don't. End of story.

Posted by Strike86 on (October 14, 2008, 9:24 GMT)

I think the toss was important as the Pitch was supposed to be good for about two days, and start breaking up, and have something in it for the spinners. Australia benefitted from the toss and hence had at least two sessions in their favour. In close contests, small things make a big difference. Had India batted first and scored big, they could have also had the last session to exploit with their spinners and see the damage they could do. The Australians played strategic cricket since they are forced to use tactics that before were not needed as they were head and shoulders above the rest of the world. Australia has a lot of respect for India and hence employed their semi-defensive tactics as they focus on their strengths. Eg: Playing under pressure, getting under the skin of their opponents, running and fielding, and relying on India's last innings collapse to see them through

In conclusion Australia played semi-defensive cricket, thats true, but Zaheer should not fire up the Aussies

Posted by catchvp on (October 14, 2008, 8:38 GMT)

When I read on the comments, I find this article has 2 different topics. One is about Aussies being defensive and another being they can not take 20 wickets. About the first point, I totally agree with Zaheer, because we never saw Aussies playing so defensively. We never saw them scoring @ 2.5 runs per over. And as he said it was good for India because when India lost the toss, Aussies were on the driving seat but the didnt make anything much out of it specially when the 8th wicket partnership was built. About aussies can not take 20 wickets. I don't agree because even India could not do that. and even so called specialist Indian spinners also took only 3 wickets. I would be too early to say that Australia can not take 20 wickets because they will bounce back and bounce back strongly. So Zaheer, be prepared. I know Indian team can do this and I think this is the right time to prove it. Cant wait till friday.

Posted by nymt2 on (October 14, 2008, 8:26 GMT)

I think Zaheer's comments were thoughtless. Aussies seemed to play defensively but that was because they were playing withing their limits. They have lost 5-6 key players in last 2 years due to retirement and this is a new side, so they are not fools to play beyond their limits. Plus one of the main reason Aussies didn't win this match, was last two sessions of total of 60+ overs, they had 10 overs less due to bad light, plus after lunch Ponting was forced to use part timers, because if he had used pacers which is his main attack, Umpires would have offered the light to Batsmen immediately, which every one is forgetting here. Their pacers bowled 15 overs lesser on the last day by force. I can only laugh at Zaheer's statements, as to India who had Fab 4 plus Dhoni, couldn't go for the kill when part timers like Clarke and White were bowling. These statements even if were meant for mind games are in reality proving to be a stupid comedy act.

Posted by _Australian_ on (October 14, 2008, 7:57 GMT)

Some comments made by Indian players before and after this test really don't take the big picture in to context. Outside the 20 20 win India players really need to back up their talk with good performances not only v Aust. but all teams. When you are ranked no.1 in both Test and 1 day cricket and defeat Aust. on their home soil feel free to speak your mind. Till then it is all a lot of hot air that makes you look and sound stupid. Zaheer did have had a good game but to bag your opposition like this detracts from his performance. Also I think we are all a bit sick and tired of constant name calling and comments like these and we just want some good hard fought cricket. Zaheer leave the gutter talk where it belongs and lets put all this that has happened behind us and play some cricket. This test series has the potential to be a memorable one. I hope it is for the right reasons not like the last series.

Posted by rkannancrown on (October 14, 2008, 7:46 GMT)

I think Zaheer was spot on in his comments. The Aussies scored at about 2.5 runs per over with an attacking field set by the Indians. They won the toss , got the support of the umpires and still declared so late in the game that there was no chance for India to chase the target. If this is not defensive, I do not know what is? In fact , but for the three LBW decisions of Dravid, Ganguly and Kumble ( where there was no chance of the ball going even close to the stumps), the Ausies could have lost the game. Well done Zaheer & Co.

Posted by W.B.M on (October 14, 2008, 7:34 GMT)

You all including Zaheer are talking of how only Australia's part time spinners just took 3 wickets, but if my memory serves me correct didn't the mighty indian spinners also take only 3 wickets? India also didnt look to be able to take 20 wickets in the test match. The second innings of aus must not be used to say that india would have been able to because i believe aus was trying to put up a defendable target as quick as possible, and trying to bowl out a team in less than 3 sessions is usually a tough task anywhere in the world ( especially in india exept if a wicket is poorly prepared to help the indian spinners like the skocker that was prepared against south africa in the last test of their series against each other )

Posted by JB77 on (October 14, 2008, 7:32 GMT)

The hypocrisy of the Indian team/fans is unbelievable. At every turn they complain about the verbal gamesmanship played by the Australian team and yet the have no hesitation in making agressive statements whenever they like. As an Aussie fan I'll be the first to say that in the past the behaviour of some of the Aussie team has been both diappointing and embarassing, but only one team seems to be making an effort to avoid the tensions of last series - and it isn't India (Sehwag, Harbhajan and now Zaheer have all chimed in now). I have been very happy with the way the Aussies have conducted themselves on the field and off it this series.... I hope the Indian team continues the verbals - if only to prove that the "polite, mild-mannered Indian team" is noting but a myth.

Posted by Arun_N on (October 14, 2008, 7:22 GMT)

ZK, talk about the pot calling the kettle black. If the Australians were defensive then why could you not go on the offensive and score the 299 in 83 overs?? We ARE the better team, With the 'greatest middle order the world has ever seen' ,With the' greatest spinners the world has ever seen' and with their best batsman our Bunny.

Posted by Prats6 on (October 14, 2008, 7:01 GMT)

I think the comments by Zaheer was over the top, because Aussies were the only team trying to win it.Our skipper, Anil was very defensive from the first day itself. Maybe Zaheer was trying to upset the Aussies, otherwise his comments do not make a lot of sense, though this might be a good tactic for us to win this test series. But while playing against Australia, big words need to be backed up by deeds as well, hence its well advised to Zaheer and our team that they perform well. I would like to put it this way, India was relieved by the draw and the Aussies must have felt they had a really good chance, that shows who was the better and more aggressive side in this test. I hope this changes in the next test matches. Also, Anil seems to be more busy in finding excuses for his faults be it in SriLanka or now in India. He has an injury and if he walks into a match with it , he is surely doing a great disservice to the Indian teams' cause.

Posted by killeradi on (October 14, 2008, 6:02 GMT)

although me being a indian supporter i would say zaheer khan's comments were ridiculous and unnecessary.maybe his taken his success in d match to his head OR maybe his encounter with Haddin ( i dunno wat haddin said to but zaheer is not the kind who jus takes anything he likes to giv it back) has spurred him on even more. but nw one thing is guarnfuckinteed..wer in for one hell off a contest...with zaheer showing india's intent and stating tht hes nt impressed with ponting's men...i expect aussies to play their game harder nw....cant wait fr friday

Posted by Sameer.dh on (October 14, 2008, 5:58 GMT)

I completely agree with the way zaheer spoke out his mind. i too felt that the aussies played defensive implementing a sweeper on the off side for sehwag pretty early on in his innings rather than attacking. the only reason it could be done is ricky knows he cant get the wickets untill boundaries are stopped. that means he s not confident about his side taking 20 wickets. Zaheer did the correct thing by telling the truth even if people say Zaheer is thinkin too much of himself. there s no point in keepin quiet by thinkin that they(specially hayden) may come hard at Zaheer at mohali but the truth was aussies were pretty defensive.

Posted by Matty_Gerco on (October 14, 2008, 5:15 GMT)

"On a fifth-day pitch the spinners could not do us any harm. That shows what their spin attack is all about." The debutant Cameron White and part-timer Michael Clarke combined for only three wickets in the game."


A pair of batting all-rounders, and i use that term very loosely with Clarke and even with Cameron White, who undervalues his own bowling so much that he barely bowls for Victoria in first class matches, with just 16 test wickets between them going into the Test supposedly "could not do... any harm", while India's vaunted spin duo, Harbajan Singh and Anil Kumble, who have over 900 Test wickets between, garner just three between themselves, yet this goes unreported by the newest member of press, India's fast bowler Zaheer Khan.

Posted by Anish..R on (October 14, 2008, 5:01 GMT)

Chill out guys....

The way Australia batted mentions that they are defensive ... Take the peek at the run-rates of the previous test series and this first ... They hardly crossed the run-rate of 3 because of some cameos by White, Watson and Haddin ... In some tours they have partnerships above 100 with run-rate above 6 per over...

Comparitively, Australia are very very defensive.

Posted by rohanbala on (October 14, 2008, 3:39 GMT)

The success of taking wickets seems to have got into the head of Zaheer Khan.. Well, if he feels that this Australian team is defensive, why did he not advice his captain to chase the target of 299?

Posted by Benchman on (October 14, 2008, 3:10 GMT)

Zahir & Bhajji think too much of themselves.Harbahjan has become a bowler whose first wicket in a match even on cowdung laden tracks in India comes after bowling 25 overs and concedeing more than 70 runs.ZK started the world cup Final in South Africa by staring and glaring at Gilchrist - and there after what happened is history India got sverely thrashed. Dont understand - that being aggressive means you have to speak rubbish. Unless one is a true sportsman like Sachin, Dravid or Lakshman one can never rise above the ordinary and become greats.Inspite of all his big talk Zaheer will never be remembered as a bowler like Kapil or Srinath. One should never be disrespectful of the opponents. India is the best team in the world with Viru, Gambhir, The Great two Sachin and Dravid & the very good two (not in same class)-Lakshman & Ganguly, Dhoni The best wicket keeper batsman, young Ishant and the famous Spin Duo yet even in India we struggle to beat any team even in India consistently.

Posted by wizman on (October 14, 2008, 3:07 GMT)

It was a whimpering end to the game. The wicket was just too indifferent offering too little to the bowlers, being that once a batsmen got themselves in, they could push and nurdle at 2-3 runs per over with little risk and wait for a bad ball. The outfield gave such temendous value for shots that once the ball got past the fielder it was a boundary.

If Ponting was being too defensive, there would have been more boundary riders to cut off the Bhaji/Zaheer scoring, but there were not. The rain delay broke the concentration and momentum of the Aussies (their own fault for that) and the lower order cashed in as they should. Ofcourse failing to bowl enough balls at the stumps was the bowlers fault, but once in (as said before) you can just dead bat the straight ones with little or no risk.

I wish for a pitch that offers more to all the bowlers.

And only Australia were actually trying to win the game, too defensive or not.

Posted by tentoeights on (October 14, 2008, 2:52 GMT)

I can't wait until Hayden gets his chance in Mohali to spank you all over the field Khan. (clearly Hayden was shot out of this game by Rudi who if for consistency with the Sydney test match should be suspended like Bucknor was for making mistakes). The Indian fans are talking about this series as if they have already won it. BRING IT ON, you've only beaten Australia once in the past 4 series because you haven't been aggressive. You get a home ground draw and suddenly Australia's not playing aggressively. Seriously the Indians should have a long hard look at themselves for cheating in the Bangalore match. They should turn the flood lights on to get a result, instead of opting for a chance at Australia's weakened spin and taking the light on the fifth day. Disgraceful India, disgraceful. You should be kicked out of the ICC

Posted by Cr1cket_Lover on (October 14, 2008, 2:34 GMT)

Zaheer, and the rest of the team, should shut up and let their on-field performance speak for itself. In this case it wasn't like the Aussies were in danger of losing the game, it was India who have the weather to thank as well as a few lucky breaks.

Tendulkar might have saved the day, but if he makes 15 runs in the next innings, he should retire after this series.

Posted by Sloth80 on (October 14, 2008, 2:01 GMT)

Australia were too slow batting during the second half of the fourth day. I have seen Australia do this a few times since Ponting took over the captaincy, never would have happened under Steve Waugh or Mark Taylor. This is when Australia needed to bat quickly to give themselves more time to bowl India out. Despite his excellent record a few questions need to be asked about Ponting's tactical decisions, or lack of. He should have instructed the Australia batsmen to accelerate much earlier than was done.

However I think Zaheer Khan is simply wrong in his assesment of the match. India's spinners strugled more than the Australian spinners did. Let's compare the stats for spinners on both sides. India's Spinners took 3-370, average of 123. Australia spinners took 3-166, average of 55. Now we have to consider that India did not complete their final innings. But I think it's fair to say the Australia spinners averages would have atleast remained the same on a last day pitch bowling to the lo

Posted by AJCutajar on (October 13, 2008, 22:42 GMT)

Zaheer ought to choose his words very carefully...

Posted by popcorn on (October 13, 2008, 22:20 GMT)

The fLab Four. I don't think Australia should worry too much.The famed spinner, Kumble could not get a wicket! And Indians gloated on Australia's weakness to spin bowling? ! Even Harbhajan failed. The spinners from Australia - Michael Clarke and Cameron White got as many wickets as the famed spinners of India!

Posted by s-cube on (October 13, 2008, 21:57 GMT)

I would not read too much into these comments. For better or worse gamesmanship seems to be an integral part of the "modern" cricket game. Bottom line Aussies had the upper hand in the game but it was nice to see the Indian show some fight. This sets up a good series ...

Posted by fununlimited on (October 13, 2008, 21:52 GMT)

I don't know what Ponting doesn't understand about Zaheer's comment. Its simple. Zaheer and Harbhajan managed to make over 100 runs between them because the Aussies were defensive. I also feel the Indians were defensive in the first inning when they let Ponting and Hussey knock the ball around without any close catchers. Hopefully both captains will be more aggressive in the next game.

Posted by samlil on (October 13, 2008, 21:16 GMT)

Zaheer should take up slow bowling. With the amount of "spin" he has put on his analysis of the first test, he would certainly get some turn. I think both sides will be scratching to come up with too many positives to take out of this test. All bowlers struggled to take wickets, and batsmen were undone by themselves rather than excellent bowling. Some good individual performances from Zaheer and Hussey in particular, were the only highlights really to a match that ended with a whimper. Have to say the atmosphere around this series is fantastic though! Both sides want this bad. Things will come alive during the next couple of tests.

Posted by MasterClass on (October 13, 2008, 20:32 GMT)

I don't think Zak's comments were 100% true but there's more than a kernel of truth in there. Australia was unable to push home their advantage at several stages of the match, were benifitiary of some dubious umpiring decisions, and lucked out because India was 1 spinner short (Kumble being injured and ineffective).

Since Kumble is injured, I think Dhoni should be handed the captancy, and Chawla brought in replacing the injured Kumble. With those changes I believe India will sweep the remaining 3 matches. There is no doubt that under Dhoni's captancy India was a different team on the 4th day when tremendous pressure was exerted on Australia. It was sustained and brilliant and by far the most tense passage of the match. I believe Australia were on the verge of complete collapse. Unfortunately Kumble came back and everyone knows what happened after that.

Posted by patelville on (October 13, 2008, 20:25 GMT)

I think the Aussies were more aggressive than the India team. The spinners of both teams failed to do anything on this pitch. I hope Kumble is made to sit the next match and Mishra given a chance. I think Dhoni was aggressive when he was in charge. I think we could had won this match but Kumble was too defensive. The fielding setting was very defensive which allowed Haddin and Watson to take many singles. Kumble didn't use Sehwag as much as he should knowing that we just had one spinner active. So I feel that Zaheer's comments were a bit immature.

Posted by anishbhagoria on (October 13, 2008, 20:22 GMT)

It was a foolish statement made by the Zaheer Khan. Yes, I admit that he has done a brilliant job in this test match. But to say that Australia was defensive in this match is not right. Australia was the only team who played aggressively and tried to win this match. And also they set the target of 299 in 80 overs. It was also a great example of aggressive and positive cricket to make the game exciting and produce the result. This total which was much achievable but India did not even try to chase even. They just came with back foot and that's what they did. Either Sachin or Gambhir should have gone for a chase. Hope we will see some exciting and positive cricket in the next match.

Posted by RameshSrivats on (October 13, 2008, 20:14 GMT)

I completely agree with Zaheer. I've never seen Australia bat so slow. The only reason India had to fight to save the test is the fact that Kumble lost the toss. This is the most wimpish Australian team I've seen for a long time. They seem scared of defeat.

Posted by smale25 on (October 13, 2008, 19:10 GMT)

Well, nearly 8 months have gone by since India toured Australia. At that time, I had recommended that the result of the Sydney Test (Dt. Jan 2 - 6, 2008) be declared null and void on technical grounds. My arguments for this action had been posted on various forums including The Guardian and The Times.

Now, I want to record here that the game of spin and smokescreens thrown by the Australian media has well and truly begun. I have just finished hearing Ian Chappell's Match Analysis that the Australians were ahead of the game fully until the half-way stage in the just-concluded Bangalore test. This is patently untrue. The Australians had given the game away right on the first day. They had scored at a meagerly rate of 2.86 in their first innings. The score at the end of the first day was 254/4. Zaheer Khan has done commendable service to India by openly commenting about the Australians' below-par play.

Posted by C.Dog on (October 13, 2008, 18:49 GMT)

The aussies should get used to getting a little critcism. They do it all the time to other teams but they have truble receiving criticism.

Posted by valvolux on (October 13, 2008, 16:59 GMT)

Comments of a man trying to deflect the obvious pressure his own team is under onto the Australians. This is suppose to be the series that India dominates, but not for a second were they ever in with a chance to win this test match. Ageing batting lineup and a bowling lineup that talks a better game than ever actually produces. India are feeling the heat, their stars didn't perform. The bowling lineup might not of had success against the tail, but you don't always have great plans against the tail.What the Australians do have is a plan against the top order...a plan that is obviously working and has them worried. Weakened bowling lineup or not, Australia knows its strengths and plays to them.India is still under the impression that the battle against australia is won off the pitch and not on it...they should focus on their strengths.Talking nonsense has never been one of them.they will never win the battle off the pitch, trying to makes it harder for themselves to win on the pitch.

Posted by Matthew_17 on (October 13, 2008, 16:36 GMT)

Zak should hold his horses and save them for later.. Its not like India did a brilliant job to warrant such talk. Win the series and say such is alright but not now. That'll make the Aussies come even harder at us and if we dont win from hereon it'll definately be a shame. Nevertheless, all the best India for Mohali & to Sachin in getting those '15' runs..

Posted by kalyanbk on (October 13, 2008, 16:08 GMT)

If Ponting is not sure about Zaheer "defensive" charge, perhaps he should review the match tapes and look at the fields set when the premier bowler of Australia Brett Lee was bowling to India's No. 8 and No.9 when India was 200 runs behind. Even on the final day, he had only one slip when Brett Lee charged in with the new ball looking to bowl India out.

Posted by Nampally on (October 13, 2008, 15:51 GMT)

While agreeing with Zaheer regarding the defensive field setting by the Aussies, the field placing by Indians was rather poor and led to many runs which could have been saved. Although India had a better and more balanced bowling on paper, Kumble and Bhaiji could not exploit the pitch either. Lee and Clarke were not up to their usual form. Despite this Indian batting failed to overtake Australian first innings total. If India wants to win this series their spinners should be more effective. Tendulkar & Sehwag could also have been used to strengthen the bowling. Addition of Mishra/Ojha and Chawla should be seriously considered by the Selectors for the next test at the expense of Kumble and one of the Fab 4. The current Indian spin bowling was ineffective and needs significant improvement if India were to take 20 wickets. Indian fielding and catching needs improvement too. So all in all neither teams played to their full potential. Let us hope more aggressive next Test.

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