India v Australia 2008-09 / Features

India v Australia, 4th Test, Nagpur, 4th day

Rated O

Australia's continually tardy over-rates should cost them something more serious than money or a ban

Ali Cook

November 9, 2008

Comments: 36 | Text size: A | A


More time was wasted when Ricky Ponting argued with Billy Bowden over the overthrow runs awarded © AFP
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Australia's continually tardy over-rates should cost them something more serious than money or a ban, and will probably result in them losing the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on Monday. Having frightened India by taking six wickets in the second session, Ricky Ponting's men returned after tea with their opponents owning a lead of 252, a target which might have been in the manageable range on the final day.

Then Ponting quickly turned off the threats because he was about ten overs behind the over-rate and was facing a suspension for the opening game against New Zealand. During the next two hours the target moved from testing to record-breaking as Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh breezed to a partnership of 108. Unless Australia can manage the fourth-highest successful chase in history it was the moment India finally shut their opponents out of the game - and the series.

Over-rates have been a regular problem for Australia, but no matter how many times it is mentioned in team meetings or by the match referee, nothing productive has been done to fix it. So with Ponting facing a ban and the players a heavy fine, Mitchell Johnson got one over at the Pavilion End after tea before Cameron White was employed in partnership with the highly effective Jason Krejza.

White's first two overs went for 15, including a wide that cost five, and the lives of Dhoni and Harbhajan became bearable following a session of extreme stress for the hosts. Once White had no impact the medium-pace of Michael Hussey was called, and then Michael Clarke arrived. Krejza, who bowled well enough to take the fourth-best analysis of a debutant, was left stranded as the casuals could not slow India down. A tight contest swiftly became much looser.

India were as disbelieving as people watching at the ground and in homes around the world. Surely missing a game is less of a problem than losing such an important series. The former captain and current commentator Allan Border summed it up well when he said: "I'm glad Ricky can't read my mind right now, because he's not going to like it".

Tim Nielsen, the Australia coach, defended Ponting's approach. "I don't think for one second that Ricky hasn't pressed for the win," Nielsen said. "It's easy to sit up in the commentary box, or anywhere in the ground, and poke fire at the captain because of the decisions he's making out there."

On the fourth day Brett Lee, who has been struggling with nausea, delivered only ten overs while Krejza sent down 31. Still the team was in trouble despite Ponting being in regular discussions with the umpires and match referee.

"Everybody's aware of the consequences of the captain being more than six overs down at the end of the match. The captain then is put in a place where he can be suspended," Nielsen said. "We had used our fast bowlers before the tea break and had some success."

The success had mostly come from Krejza, who captured two wickets in two balls before the interval on the way to match figures of 12 for 358. "Ricky's got the responsibility to bowl the overs he has to bowl," Nielsen said. "There's no way India can come here tomorrow and bowl 20 overs because they feel we're going well. There's a responsibility for both teams, all teams, to make sure they bowl the 90 overs required in the spirit of the game."

A similar situation occurred in Perth in January when Australia, who were 278 behind, had India 160 for 6, but had to bowl Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds in tandem to avoid more meetings with the match referee. In Perth it contributed to a 72-run loss; here it should cost them a chance to level the series.

The Australians were ill-disciplined in other ways too. Brad Haddin had given away five penalty runs for lobbing his right glove at the ball in the middle session and briefly thought it amusing. During the Dhoni-Harbhajan stand Mitchell Johnson caused four overthrows by firing at the non-striker's end after Krejza had already accepted his cap from Aleem Dar. Every run is costly in a tussle like this.

Ponting had an animated discussion with the umpire Billy Bowden, insisting it should only be one run, and more time was wasted. The captain talks to his bowlers often and works with them on meticulous fields, which have already been discussed in the team meetings.

Even with Krejza operating so often, they were still adrift of the 90-over target, which eased when India was dismissed late in the day. A few of the players are sick, adding to the listlessness, but there is no urgency until it is late in the day, when they remember to rush like they are late for trains.

There have been a lot of disruptions for both sides during the series, but so far Australia have managed to escape fines and scrape into the acceptable limits with an extra half hour's play. It hasn't been a problem for India.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Bayman on (November 12, 2008, 5:32 GMT)

aadirag: I'm a city boy, I know very little about the habits of pregnant cows, or 'feminine venting', so I bow to your superior knowledge on that one. I also don't recall making any reference to last summer, or the Sydney Test but I'll think you'll find, if you read your Wisden again, the 2-1 series result still stands. To update you on your previous comment, re NZ, Australia have played them 22 times in the last 20 years (hardly a 'lot of matches' but 13-1 our way) while SA is yet to win a series against Australia since being readmitted. Throw in the Ashes series (even 2005) and that's a lot of away wins. When India has done that we can talk again. Perhaps SA can win this time, India did so anything's possible. Best of luck when the Fab Four (is is that five) are all in the commentary box. I suppose the next time we clash your boys will be 'on the road'. See ya aadirag, it's time for your medicine

Posted by Divinetouch on (November 11, 2008, 22:05 GMT)

Hayden should retire. He was fortunate to score as much as he did in his last innings.

Dale Steyn and Freddie Flintoff will emulate Ishant Sharma and knock over Ponting cheaply which will accelerate his departure from the game and save him from further criticisms for decisions he made in the thumping Australia received at the hands of India.

Posted by aadirag on (November 11, 2008, 12:27 GMT)

Bayman:Just when I think, "Surely this person has reached and encapsulates the limits of Internet tedium" you go and push the boundary even further. In future, kindly proofread your posts before assaulting unsuspecting readers of this message board with your hyperventilating rants.Did you learn that from a pregnant cow??Calm down.Australia hammered srilanka in australia.Good for you.So did we.2-0,6-1 in tests & ODI's respectively.&No you didn't thrash us.2-1 with the sydney test win is hardly a thrashing.You got thrashed in the ODI's though.Point is your team is highly overrated.It's not that I don't like watching oz play.I'm not saying that oz is finished like some others.You will still beat a lot of teams in your backyard.Not india though.Hayden is my favourite batsman alongwith Sehwag.Cricket isn't the be all & end all of life.In closing, I suggest the next time that you feel an urge to embarrass yourself and bore others, that you summon all your might, and resist.

Posted by Bayman on (November 11, 2008, 7:02 GMT)

aadirag: Are you allowed out on your own? Actually, bowling to an 8-1 field is very easy unless you're Mitchell Johnson who doesn't seem to be able to put it anywhere near where his captain might like. It's particularly easy when when the bowler puts it two feet outside off stump (actually, Johnson can do that). As for my Dhoni reference, I stand by it. If that's what we can expect from India in future you should have the grandstand all to yourself because nobody else will bother to pay to watch that rubbish. Enjoy your wins but nobody else will care. You know Australia hammered Sri Lanka last summer, they hammered you, what does it mean. Not too much. Before you go to bed tonight, don't forget your medication.

Posted by Bayman on (November 10, 2008, 23:34 GMT)

chopramo: With all due respect, you wouldn't know sportsmanship if it jumped out of the ground and bit you. Most Australian cricket followers I know are not too concerned with a loss here and there. It happens. It's why people keep score. Most Aussies, however, do know a bit about cricket and care for the game. Criticism of the match, the captains, the tactics is not bad sportsmanship. As you say with your '2-0' reference, it's a fact. Dhoni won the game but his approach was cynical. Four overs after lunch in 20 minutes with spinners operating. Standing outside leg stump to Sehwag until the umpires spoke to him. Aussies don't mind losing, it makes a rare change and stops boredom creeping in. And we love winning but we do prefer to win in style. Dhoni only began to attack when the game was clearly going to be won. With a 381 lead he could have attacked from the start. His first session tactics were a joke and a disgrace and India looked frightened to win. It's a fact.

Posted by aadirag on (November 10, 2008, 13:12 GMT)

The last 3-4 comments I've made haven't been published.Now a lot of rubbish is being allowed to be posted here & IMO my posts are quite allright compared to some mental-midgets over here.It doesn't rock my world,but it is irritating when you give your opinion & it's not taken when others who are at best wierd are all over the site's comments portions.I hope my last comment gets published & NOT THIS ONE.

Posted by aadirag on (November 10, 2008, 13:08 GMT)

Aussie fans suggesting unsportsmanlike behaviour from the indian team is a joke.The point is bowling to an 8-1 field isn't easy.2 boundaries to the onside will get a field change response.Oz used it against dravid & jaffer last winter & have continued even this winter.Those tactics were specifically for katich & hussey coz they're limited players.Australia should be happy with the 2-0 loss,it should have been 3-0.They're lucky harbhajan got injured & missed out in delhi.Also Kumble hurt himself in that game.It should never be forgotten that Oz play a lot of matches against new zealand who're not great & england is a team they play 10 matches every 3 years.It's allright beating modest teams in your own backyard,can you beat a good team like india??Apparently NO.Border-Gavaskar Trophy's been won 4 times by india & thrice by aus.10 matches won by each side including sydney.& calling Dhoni a major disappointment as captain is pure feminine venting.Actually,it doesn't warrant a response.

Posted by chopramo on (November 10, 2008, 8:22 GMT)

Funny, posts written by many here (Bayman etc..) suggest Australians are very very very very bad loosers. Shame and yes its very bad for the game to have no sportsman spirit, Aussies are never wrong, everything they do, even if it defies the norms can be defended!!! Funny stuff, LOL. Well India beat Australia 2-0 no one or no comment or no human can change that. Live with it.

Posted by Bayman on (November 10, 2008, 6:23 GMT)

Samadonline: Actually Ponting preferred another spin bowler to a pace bowler given this is a first time pitch and Clark had not threatened all tour. Enjoy your success Sammy but avoid making silly comments, it's unbecoming. Dhoni's captaincy was cynical, pure and simple, and I'm sure he would not have done it if India were trailing 1-0. When Australia were ruling the world they won their Tests in 3-4 days by dominating and attacking relentlessly. India's approach is no doubt because they are not used to winning and are playing safe and frightened. If you really are the better side, win it in 3-4 days and be glorious in so doing. Dhoni is a major disappointment as captain. I expected better after Kumble. And, yes, Ponting was disgraceful in his handling of the attack in the second innings.

Posted by wizman on (November 10, 2008, 5:55 GMT)

"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

OK, so we all agree that Ponting should have taken one for the team, and just bowled the best he had and try to win the damn game. We all agree.

India will win the series because they wanted it more. They were always prepared to do whatever was required to win. Australia weren't. India are supported and praised at home and abroad for it, and Australia are denigrated as losers and losing it.

Last series in Australia the Aussies did everything they needed to do to win and India didn't. Australia were denigrated and accused at home and abroad for it, and India were given a soft shoulder to cry on.

There is no double standard at work here, as Aussies were criticised on both occassions.

And don't talk about India's bowling attack either - it has only taken 20-wickets once this series also (day 5 may yet prove the second). The wickets have not been good enough.

Posted by Pravski on (November 10, 2008, 5:28 GMT)

Dear Harinder_Jadwani, you stated that Krejza may be the next Murali. I am appalled by this statement. It is ridiculous at best. Krejza, although he's taken 12 wickets, has given India hundreds of free runs. He has been spanked to all parts of the ground. His bowling is so average batsmen get over confident they try stupid shots (Sehwag, Dhoni) against him and get out. Its like when you're facing your little brother in the backyard and are just trying to blast boundaries. Sure he'll bowl the odd good one but you don't try to defend, you play a loose shot and get out. You'll try audacious late cuts and paddle sweeps and get bowled. But if you played him with respect, he'd get 0/200 off 30 overs.

Top marks to Krejza for his effort and enthusiasm, and he might be the next Jeetan Patel or the next Graeme Swann but he is definitely not the next Murali.

Posted by kvwar on (November 10, 2008, 5:10 GMT)

This is for POPCORN. I am not too sure if you have a good memory. Please check the match between Australia and West Indies played during the 1999 World Cup. This match was played on 30th May at Old Trafford. West Indies were bundled out for 110 runs and Australia needed 111 for a victory. Australia required 40 overs for 111 runs. They played very very slow. The reason they did not want to dent WI's run rate so that they could keep NZ out and get a weaker WI in the super six stage.Uncle Steve said that everything was within the rules of the game.I am surprised how all of the sudden the Aussies talk of both Spirit and Rule.

Posted by sadstatue on (November 10, 2008, 2:32 GMT)

Harry Potter: Australia's poor run rate on day 3 was by no fault of Ponting. It wasn't even their own fault. It was the negative, unsportsmanlike bowling of the Indian team that guaranteed slow, boring play. Their fast bowlers constantly bowled very wide of the off stump in an effort to make Australia score slowly. It wasn't positive play at all. The Indians clearly don't want to win this test; they're playing for a draw. They'll bowl the same today, it is almost guaranteed to happen. The same thing happened in the 3rd test. There was no effort on the part of India to try and win the test; all they wanted was a draw. It's terrible and it is compromising the very game we love.

Posted by Saibaskar on (November 10, 2008, 2:08 GMT)

Thanks for handing over Border-Gavaskar Trophy to India Mr.Ponting - An Indian Cricket Fan

Posted by Ecca on (November 10, 2008, 1:32 GMT)

Obviously, it's time for Ponting to get the chop. He is incapable of organising his bowlers and field placings without all these discussions which slow the run rate. He's been in trouble before and doesn't learn. Surely he can work it all out before taking the field. If not, he's not fit to be in charge

Posted by matt_82 on (November 10, 2008, 1:30 GMT)

As an Australian, I believe what Ricky Ponting did was absolutely disgraceful!! He's clearly put himself before the team. A one match suspension against New Zealand really doesn't compare to giving up the chance to retain the Border/Gavaskar Trophy in India!! If Ponting was suspended against NZ we would have easily been able to cover his position in the line up. Do you think maybe Ricky doesn't want to miss out on his match fee for Brisbane, or perhaps doesn't want Clarke to captain and outshine him??? Also well done to Krejza, i'll admit that i was suprised he was selected to tour India, but I believe we could have unearthed a real gem here, especially seeing as he should bring his economy down with some more experience (hopefully).

Posted by peddireddy_karthik on (November 10, 2008, 1:30 GMT)

It was fascinating day of cricket yeasterday.I think Bangolore kid is exaggerating that yesterday is aussie show.I too believe that dravid time has come but he is too reluctant to accept that he lack the self confidence and he always goes in to shell that gives enough time to bowler to settle down. He is no more batsman who won great battles in windies 2 years back.coming to yeasterday's, jason was bowling superbly.There is no one to blame other than dhoni to send dravid yet again in 1st down position.It was ideal to send laxman, but you know some people never change.like indians.so reluctant to bring change in life.I hope this change will come under the captaincy of dhoni..It was boon that they considered slow over rate seriously.ponting should have fallowed the footprints of ganguly...ban won't matter at all when it comes to win the present match..I know ponting is sometimes too vulnerable like he was in ashes 2005.He never have right amount of confidance.many times it is over or low

Posted by arya_underfoot on (November 10, 2008, 0:27 GMT)

all you people calling for dravid's sacking- it is FAR TOO EARLY to be writing dravid's obituary. remember what happened with ganguly 2 years ago!!!! remember how india's middle order struggled with new combinations and how the selectors were forced to return to ganguly. it will be exactly the same if dravid is dropped before his time. class is permanent, as tendulkar and laxman have recently demonstrated- it would be a shame to come to the same conlusion about dravid the hard way.

besides, what makes the decision even easier is that there is no adequate replacement in the reserve ranks. anyone who thinks that vijay is going to be a major force in test cricket is kidding themselves- pujara probably should've got the nod for this test match. and the rest of the hopefuls are either too raw (rohit, raina, kohli) or tried and failed (yuvraj, kaif, chopra, jaffer). (i havent mentioned badrinath because he should take ganguly's position in the team.)

Posted by ragzus on (November 9, 2008, 22:48 GMT)

Why is Dhoni not criticized for the way India went on batting till the end of day? I'm sure everyone will agree that chasing 325 on a 5th day Indian wicket is impossible. India could have tried scoring fast & declared early. This would have given India more time to bowl out Australia. Looks like Dhoni is playing a defensive game. Come on cricketers, know your responsibilities!. Millions of people are watching the game & wouldn't like a defensive attitude.

Posted by Rusty_1 on (November 9, 2008, 22:11 GMT)

Interesting day of cricket ahead. The series will either be a 1-1 draw, or a 2-0 Indian victory (well deserved). Looking ahead, upcoming opponents of Australia should be keenly watching.

Either: The strong Aussie batting line up will pull off the victory - saying to all other nations - "we might not be able to bowl you out as cheaply as we always have, but we can chase anything down" Or: The batsmen will fall short (I predict about 50-80 runs short)& the other teams will feel they have a real chance to upset.

Hayden, Ponting & Hussey will be key if Australia are to chase it down. Watson & White need their explosive batting to come to the party also. India will need to bowl like they did on the 3rd day to strangle Australia out of this match.

Posted by Samadonline on (November 9, 2008, 21:29 GMT)

Popcorn: Seems like even you're suffering from mental disintegration like your beloved captain. Your comments are hilarious.

You're quite pissed about Dhoni's 8-1 field. Did you not see Johnson's 7-2 field with a 2-feet off line, or Watson's leg side line throughout the series? Indian openers still managed to score at a brisk 4 per over, and hit Krejza all over the ground, while "Kat" and "Huss" didn't have the guts to even go after our spinners.

Btw, the first defensive move in this test was made by Ponting who preferred extra insurance in batting by selecting a No.7 batsman (White) instead of a proper bowler (Clark).

When exactly will Australian's learn not to be a sore loser?

Posted by Bayman on (November 9, 2008, 21:06 GMT)

On the evidence so far we can say Dhoni is as cynical a captain as any and Ponting has lost the plot. Dhono's tactics, while ultimately successful, were boring, uninspiring and will kill Test cricket if continued. Ponting put himself first and not the team by releasing the pressure. Take the suspension Ricky and win the game. If the over rate is slow, who's fault is that. Perhaps if the fast bowlers got back to their mark before the ball was returned, or shortened their ridiculous run-ups, or stopped trying to chat the batsmen every couple of minutes the game might speed up. This was a winnable game for Australia which is now unlikely because the captain forgot his real priorities. And the coach can put whatever spin he likes on it but it doesn't change the fact that Ricky was wrong and everybody knows he was wrong, India included.

Posted by PJ4701 on (November 9, 2008, 20:31 GMT)

I think any captain that puts himself before the good of the team or the result of the game should be sacked. Tim Neilsen should be cautious with his support because his underwhelming presence won't be missed either.

Posted by _IndianCricketFan on (November 9, 2008, 20:31 GMT)

To popcorn

Talking about defensive fields ("negative" according to you), Ponting too set defensive fields (7-2 offside) when Sehwag was ripping his bowlers apart. What about that? Sehwag found ways of dealing with it. If Australian batsmen couldnt find ways of coping with it, its their incompetency not negative tactics.

Posted by Punjabi1 on (November 9, 2008, 20:05 GMT)

India have a golden chance to make it 2-0 thanks to top performances by Sehwag, Dhoni, Harbhajan and debutant Vijay. Australia had their chance but they got caught up in the 'slow over rate' debacle. Someone mentioned Murali Kartik's name. I think, he has become a real victim of fate or circumstances (or may be poilitics)...I do feel Murali Kartik should have been given chance before anyone else after Kumble's retirement.

Posted by dicarry on (November 9, 2008, 19:58 GMT)

while watching the match,I was wondering what the penalty for the slow over rate was going to be and from your article,I usderstand it is something settled in terms of dollors/rupee/pounds, plus the caption getting a one test ban. Now what is this captain's priority? if I were him, i would happily pay the penalty and sit out the next test, but try to win this match. I believe that if he used Watson or Lee at the other end India, well, they might well have got a lead of 380 as they eventually did, but, more likely they would have been bundled out for 200 or thereabouts. I am sure nobody is fixing the match,Aussies migth well go on and score 370 on the final day! Well in any case,don't call Dhoni a great captain if he manages to win this one as well:if he was as competitive as he supposedly is,he should have declared at least after harbhajan singh was gone,if not earlier.Who knows, he might well have gone on all through tomorrows morning session,if the tail was still wagging.

Posted by sanjay3112 on (November 9, 2008, 19:44 GMT)

isn't cricket about winning???how come playing defensive cricket is regarded a sin???doesn't winning the series mean more than playing attacking cricket???i for one would like to see india win playing defensively rather than endure jitters playing flashy cricket... if australia was so attacking then how come they managed to take all 20 wickets for the first time in the series???their most low profile bowler put in a performance their high-fliers couldn't manage...their attack was insipid at best and their most attacking cricket wouldn't have done any wonders on the indian batting... obviously an 8-1 field means huge yawning gaps on the legside...if the australian batsmen cannot capitalise the blame squarely rests on them...they did not shuffle in the least...they did not try to heave the ball over mid wicket...in fact hussey tried once and flopped magnificently...i wouldn't be shocked if dhoni tries that again on day 5 hope india wins this series to send dada and jumbo off on a high!!!

Posted by chiraju on (November 9, 2008, 19:07 GMT)

Why am I surprised that no one even didn't bother to mention the ball tampering incident?? I am really surprised, if the same thing what white did today was done by a srilankan / Pakistani cricketer then it would have made a big issue of ball tampering but now there is no one talking about it so I am really surprised now. When aussies provoke other players no one speaks about provocation but all talk about the players reaction due to the provocation .... I am not trying to be racist here but we all saw what happened actually ....

Posted by DeeGee on (November 9, 2008, 18:54 GMT)

Bagalore Kid: To get the fab four, Australia gave a half century to Harbhajan. Coz they were 10 over behind and facing certain suspension and heavy fee fine for Ponting (fines for the rest). The target went up to 382. Which, if achieved will be the 4th highest ever in test cricket for a team in the 4th innings. How manageable does that sound to you? You may have a hunch but can you check the facts too? Pl. go throug the records and tell me when it was last a team batting on the 5th day scored 370 to win? Simply math makes that 4 an over. This is test cricket not ODIs with 30 yards circle and field restrictions. Over to you.

Posted by rck5054 on (November 9, 2008, 18:47 GMT)

after replacing kumble mishra has done nothing special...so replacing dravid could turn out to be bad idea. anyway kreza may not be in the level of kumble or warne. He is very easy to score. More than three hundred runs were score against him at the cost of 12 wickets may not be enough. Anyway this is his debutant game so we should wait and watch.As for india they could easily win the series as aus is not famous for chasing above 350 esp in the 2nd innings and that too in bowling pitch. though i will give 30% chance of draw and 10% or less chance of win.

Posted by Harry_Potter_ on (November 9, 2008, 17:34 GMT)

Aussie show??? Are you crazy!!! With Ponting's pathetic captaincy, Australia have NO chance in hell to win. Australia's poor run rate on day 3, their tactics on day 4 will cost them the match and the series. Well done Ponting, you are making the Aussie team easier to beat :)

Posted by popcorn on (November 9, 2008, 17:27 GMT)

Allan Border and Ian Chappell have becomer armchair critics now, so it is easy for them to point a finger at Ricky Ponting. In their playing days, the 90 over rule and suspension for the captain rule did not exist.And who is to penalise Aleem Dar for unilaterally ruling 5 runs when he has handed over Krekza's cap symbolically declaring, "over"? Why find fault with Ponting for that?And who will penalise Dhoni for negative tactics,asking his bowlers to bowl wide outside the off stump and setting amn 8 -1 field? And showing his ignorance of cricket and negative mentality by stupidly defending what he did,saying,"It is about winning the game,"Dhoni said when asked whether his fields were defensive."There have been strategies that have not been liked by opposition captains. But the thing that you want to do is to go out there and look to win games.Maybe they [Australian batsmen] could have done something different if we were bowling a bit away from them.We never saw anything like shuffling"

Posted by Hiresavi on (November 9, 2008, 17:11 GMT)

BangaloreKid - From one Bangalore lad to another:

Let's not do an Amit Mishra here :-) In spite of all the calls for him to replace Kumble forever after Mohali, I am still wondering if Piyush Chawla or Murali Karthik should be playing here instead!!

Vijay is not bad, and let him be - his time will come (or maybe has).

But, Dravid is obviously undergoing sheer mental torture after the whole captaincy debacle (we have to wait for some book to come out & tell us what happened there), and the selectors & team are doing the right thing standing by him. Let's hope they continue to do that - he's too important a Test player to lose at this point, with Saurav & Kumble both gone now. May not be an easy thing to take on England, esp. the current team.

Sorry for the digression, but I'd be more interested in reading Vijay Mallya's mind right now on future team compositions than Kris Srikanth's! :-P

Posted by Harinder_Jadwani on (November 9, 2008, 17:08 GMT)

I turned off the TV after the unbelievable runout of Tendulkar....looked like Sachin's fault, charging off without making sure Dhoni was ready....but it shows the tremendous pressure the 'debutant' Krezja was putting on India....even in the first innings aside from Sehwag there was a desperation in the way Indian batsmen including Sachin attacked Krezja - this is a world-class spinner Australia has found - and one who uses classic flight, turn and bounce - the ball that dismissed Ganguly for 0 had amazing drift!

When Krezja learns a few more tricks he may displace Muralitharan as the most dangerous offspinner in the world. India were lucky to get a reprieve in the post-tea session.....Harbhajan looked like the debutant in comparison....

Still all of this may be poetic justice for more than a decade of Australian bullying and mind-tricks - seems like they are the ones mentally disintegrating now if their captain has risked the B-G trophy to avoid a suspension..

Posted by CricketisMyPassion on (November 9, 2008, 16:58 GMT)

Australia is in the same predicament West Indies of the 70s and 80s was - poor over rate. What has compounded the problem is, unlike the Windies who were able to bowl out opposition, Australia have been unable to bowl out the opposition.

The much touted 'team comes first' myth has been busted with Ponting more keen to ensure his eligibility for the first Test against New Zealand rather than trying to even the series. Tim Nielsen can do all his spin doctoring he wants but this is a goofing irrespective of the final result in this match.

Posted by TwitterJitter on (November 9, 2008, 16:20 GMT)

Today was Aussie show. The fab four flopped in the second innings and that would prove crucial on the final day. Aussies have a manageable target on hand and per my hunch they will take this match and level the series. This should be Dravid's last match. He either drops himself or the selectors should drop him. At number 3 his cheap dismissals is putting pressure on the team. Vijay should be brought in at No 3 against England.

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