India v South Africa, 1st Test, Nagpur, 3rd day February 8, 2010

India get a taste of the future

N Hunter
A weak batting line-up was brutally exposed by a devastating spell of fast bowling
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India have got a glimpse of the future, and it's not a pretty sight. When, sometime over the next couple of years, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar - in no particular order - finally call it a day, all those with a stake in Indian cricket will hope that a succession plan is in place, and a better one than the shambles that is the Nagpur Test XI.

The folly of picking merely seven batsmen in a 15-man squad for this Test was brutally exposed on Monday by one of the most devastating spells of swing bowling ever seen in India. Take nothing away from Dale Steyn but at least part of his effectiveness was down to the lack of experience in the batting order.

Remove Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni from the line-up and you are left with M Vijay, S Badrinath and Wriddhiman Saha - the last two Test debutants, Vijay playing his fourth Test, Badrinath the oldest Indian debutant at 29 and Saha not a specialist Test batsman.

So when Sehwag lost the company of Gambhir and Tendulkar inside the first hour, he and India found themselves in an uncertain and unfamiliar position. There was no reassuring Dravid, no nonchalant Laxman to hold things together while he accelerated. Today he had to simultaneously settle down and calm Badrinath's nerves.

Typically, his comments after the day's play were direct. "We are very angry with the way we batted," Sehwag said. He was more critical of the fact that except for his solitary 100-plus partnership for the fourth-wicket with Badri, the other batsmen did not last long enough to tire the opposition. "It was not a pitch where you could get out so easily. If there were a couple of more partnerships their bowlers might have got tired. But you have to give the credit to the bowlers led by Steyn."

Increasingly, Sehwag is piloting most of India's surges; the Sri Lanka series was only the latest instance where his bludgeoning performances in the final two Tests allowed India to stun the Lankans and claim the top Test ranking. Even late Sunday evening, when India had four overs to negotiate, Sehwag set the tone with some positive batting and India went in at 25 for no loss.

It was the same positive intent that allowed him to take charge and help his partner to cut his teeth successfully on the Test mat. His first move was to shield Badri from Steyn. Incidentally, of all the opposition bowlers, Sehwag scored the maximum runs against Steyn in the first innings: 34 runs off 38 balls but crucially there were just 14 scoring shots. Another key part to his improvisation was to resist the short balls from the South African fast men.

"I am not a good puller or hooker of the ball so I decided to be patient for the ball in my areas which I could hit for fours and I did that," Sehwag said without any false modesty. That statement is a fantastic example of Sehwag's straightforward and simple approach to success. He understands his game and doesn't shy from talking about his weaknesses. Sadly, once Sehwag lost his concentration, chasing a widish delivery just before tea, the rest of the Indian batting failed to stand strong and fell in quick succession immediately into the final session.

Nonetheless, Sehwag was probably the best partner Badri could have hoped for in these conditions. The debutant had prepared for his innings with a spell of short balls from coach Gary Kirsten during the morning throwdowns but it required much more than that to deal with the real-time danger of Steyn & Co.

Badri survived a fierce first over from Steyn, then steadily found his own groove and notched his maiden half-century in the process, earning the vice-captain's praise. "Badri's debut was very good. He fought with me very well. I asked him to enjoy his game and score runs off all the given opportunities," Sehwag said.

Sehwag's contribution with the bat to this match is now over but he is still bullish on India's chances. He refused to accept that India stood on the brink of disaster, saying the hosts had the firepower to stage a fight back. "They need to play their own shots but they need to exercise patience."

He referred, of course, to the historic Test of the 2001 in Kolkata where India escaped to victory against Australia at the Eden Gardens. There is one crucial difference: that side had Laxman and Dravid. There is still an opportunity for their replacements in this game to script a similar miracle. Do Vijay, Badrinath and Saha have it in them? The next day or two could reveal some more interesting facts about the future.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY HKrocks on | February 10, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    Its not abt being number one on a day and then crumbling......the lack lustre performance of youngsters was clearly shown in the first test. Dravid and Laxman have been the wall and mortar for Indian test cricket saving many matches, however this has gone unnoticed. India needs to have a clear game plan for future make the youngsters play alongside the tendulkar, dravid and laxman and slowly prepare them for future. Also the bowling has just Zak services of Kumble clearly being missed, except for the Aus series initially harbhajan has not been effective, someone has to tell him clearly as a spinner uve gotto flight the ball to be able to get wickets. Wouldnt want to be over critical of India's performances, but future definitely does not look bright with the amazing batting line up on the verge of retirement and no replacements being available. Comeback of Irfan Pathan will be a welcome change if he is able to perform the way he used to initially.

  • POSTED BY Tom1m on | February 9, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    I think its time India dropped Harbajan and looked for other options. Maybe Piyush Chawla, maybe even Murali Karthik. India should also look at bringing back Irfan Pathan to bolster the pace attack. Suresh Raina could have been included in the team rather than going with a new batsman.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | February 9, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    Ankur Mathur, I think the point of the article was that this is a chance to see the `future` of Indian cricket live, and some of the new guys and all the bowlers have struggled. It`s all very well to shout `We are NUMBER ONE` from the rooftops, but the simple fact is that true No 1 teams (Oz ODI for as long as I can remember, and Aussie test team for the last decade) don`t need to tell everyone, everyone knows already. This Indian team is yet to prove that, and this match is strengthening the doubt in many minds. re `we will keep that slot for a long time`, well a week`s a long time in cricket I suppose.

  • POSTED BY krsriram on | February 9, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    While I do agree that we should not write off the youngsters on the basis of a few outings, please look at the records of Dravid and Ganguly when they came on to the Test scene in 1996. It looked clearly as if India had stars for the future, which turned out eventually. Cricinfo stats for the first few series (about 14 Tests) also show a 50+ average for Dravid, and high 40's for Ganguly. This is an era (pre-2000's) where batting averages were lower, where 50+ was the average of a great batsman, and mid-40's for a good Test batsman. Unfortunately, the new crop haven't delivered to that extent (probably the influence of ODIs and T20 - Although Badri is supposed to be a replacement for Dravid, TV shows that he is not as "safe" a batsman - coming to the pitch of the ball, footwork, gap between bat and pad etc.) Our hope should be that a few of these batsmen turn out to be "late bloomers". Warne himself was a fairly average spinner early in his career, so we can all hope!

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | February 9, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    Having said that, hopefully some of the strident critics of Chappelli`s recent article will pull their heads in a little. India`s attack is obviously weaker than Saf, Oz or England, with seemingly little depth as well. As he said, they will not remain statistically No.1 (tests) No.2 (ODI) for much longer if this does not improve significantly and quickly.

  • POSTED BY mkgarg2001 on | February 9, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    1. Please Note that India was on its knees against Bangladesh adn only the dropped catches of Sachin ( Like that of Yousuf Pathan in Duleep Trophy) helped to a respectable score against the Minnows. Again due to inexperiance of bangladesh , they could not chase though they managed their highest 4th Innings score.

    2. Why BCCI selects team in advance ? In the Board President XI match, Abhishek nayar scored a century yet Rohit was included in team and not him. And wonder W Saha got into the team. kaif is still doing good job but somehow is ignored.

    3. Our bowling has lost sharpness and batting is good only on placid wickets.

    thanx

    Manish Garg

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | February 9, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    Have to agree with many of the Indian posters here that the really worry for India is their toothless bowling attack. Any current team losing middle-order players of the calibre of Dravid and Laxman, and a fairly decent number 6 is going to struggle. Well, no other team has the batting depth of India at the moment, but I suppose it`s like Australia losing Clarke, Hussey and North for 1 test. Makes it very tough. That being said, badrinath played a very mature innings, and vijay also looked the part. The bowling, apart from Zaheer`s opening spell (one lucky wicket in there as well) was very poor though. Sharma`s loss of form is sad to see, I well remember the promise he showed as a tennager out in Oz last time around. The spinners were a little unlucky at times, but 2-300 odd between them...They will struggle against any of the other top teams, SAf, Aus, even England on a good day, if the bowling isn`t sorted out. I don`t think people should be in a panic after one poor batting test.

  • POSTED BY on | February 9, 2010, 6:47 GMT

    poor article , i agree with surenl , why writing an article wih or after jsut one test failure , a player needs 10 -15 games to get set in test cricket , and why alone india every team go through such a phase remove smith and kallis and de villers from sa or strauss and kp and collingwood from england and clarke and hussey and ponting from aus , then talk sir

    it make no sense in assuming about future without waiting for it to be seen live , india have terrefic batting reserves as said by VVS LAXMAN , tendulkar , well to find another sachin is impossible but we have adequae replacements available , we are NUMBER ONE in world and we will keep that slot for a long time , it doesn't matter to us about future predicitons by asrologers

  • POSTED BY aakashsethi on | February 9, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    Please get your facts right. There is a reasonable bench strength that is also injured including Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Raina among others. This is an unusual situation when so many of our players are injured and India have had to call Badri and Saha. Agreed this is an important match and the selectors choice hasnt paid off but I dont agree with the arguement that there is no one after Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar for India to turn to. You are no longer in the 90s when that might have been the case. Wake up author!!

  • POSTED BY on | February 9, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    i fully agree with the comment posted by a lot of people, why have we all of a sudden jumped the gun and left out player that were have test and ODI experience? I am talking about people like Mohammad kaif, Ifran Pathan, Dinesh Karthik etc? . If my memory serves correctly, Kaif was dropped after scoring some 150 odd runs in the test against West Indies in West indies? Kathiik was the highest run getter in England tour. Apparently the Board and selectors have always believed that if some one has scored a hundred in domestic, get him to the international side and maybe he will be lucky there too. The current players being used in the test squad are too green for test squad and will not hold out against a side like South Africa

  • POSTED BY HKrocks on | February 10, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    Its not abt being number one on a day and then crumbling......the lack lustre performance of youngsters was clearly shown in the first test. Dravid and Laxman have been the wall and mortar for Indian test cricket saving many matches, however this has gone unnoticed. India needs to have a clear game plan for future make the youngsters play alongside the tendulkar, dravid and laxman and slowly prepare them for future. Also the bowling has just Zak services of Kumble clearly being missed, except for the Aus series initially harbhajan has not been effective, someone has to tell him clearly as a spinner uve gotto flight the ball to be able to get wickets. Wouldnt want to be over critical of India's performances, but future definitely does not look bright with the amazing batting line up on the verge of retirement and no replacements being available. Comeback of Irfan Pathan will be a welcome change if he is able to perform the way he used to initially.

  • POSTED BY Tom1m on | February 9, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    I think its time India dropped Harbajan and looked for other options. Maybe Piyush Chawla, maybe even Murali Karthik. India should also look at bringing back Irfan Pathan to bolster the pace attack. Suresh Raina could have been included in the team rather than going with a new batsman.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | February 9, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    Ankur Mathur, I think the point of the article was that this is a chance to see the `future` of Indian cricket live, and some of the new guys and all the bowlers have struggled. It`s all very well to shout `We are NUMBER ONE` from the rooftops, but the simple fact is that true No 1 teams (Oz ODI for as long as I can remember, and Aussie test team for the last decade) don`t need to tell everyone, everyone knows already. This Indian team is yet to prove that, and this match is strengthening the doubt in many minds. re `we will keep that slot for a long time`, well a week`s a long time in cricket I suppose.

  • POSTED BY krsriram on | February 9, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    While I do agree that we should not write off the youngsters on the basis of a few outings, please look at the records of Dravid and Ganguly when they came on to the Test scene in 1996. It looked clearly as if India had stars for the future, which turned out eventually. Cricinfo stats for the first few series (about 14 Tests) also show a 50+ average for Dravid, and high 40's for Ganguly. This is an era (pre-2000's) where batting averages were lower, where 50+ was the average of a great batsman, and mid-40's for a good Test batsman. Unfortunately, the new crop haven't delivered to that extent (probably the influence of ODIs and T20 - Although Badri is supposed to be a replacement for Dravid, TV shows that he is not as "safe" a batsman - coming to the pitch of the ball, footwork, gap between bat and pad etc.) Our hope should be that a few of these batsmen turn out to be "late bloomers". Warne himself was a fairly average spinner early in his career, so we can all hope!

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | February 9, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    Having said that, hopefully some of the strident critics of Chappelli`s recent article will pull their heads in a little. India`s attack is obviously weaker than Saf, Oz or England, with seemingly little depth as well. As he said, they will not remain statistically No.1 (tests) No.2 (ODI) for much longer if this does not improve significantly and quickly.

  • POSTED BY mkgarg2001 on | February 9, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    1. Please Note that India was on its knees against Bangladesh adn only the dropped catches of Sachin ( Like that of Yousuf Pathan in Duleep Trophy) helped to a respectable score against the Minnows. Again due to inexperiance of bangladesh , they could not chase though they managed their highest 4th Innings score.

    2. Why BCCI selects team in advance ? In the Board President XI match, Abhishek nayar scored a century yet Rohit was included in team and not him. And wonder W Saha got into the team. kaif is still doing good job but somehow is ignored.

    3. Our bowling has lost sharpness and batting is good only on placid wickets.

    thanx

    Manish Garg

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | February 9, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    Have to agree with many of the Indian posters here that the really worry for India is their toothless bowling attack. Any current team losing middle-order players of the calibre of Dravid and Laxman, and a fairly decent number 6 is going to struggle. Well, no other team has the batting depth of India at the moment, but I suppose it`s like Australia losing Clarke, Hussey and North for 1 test. Makes it very tough. That being said, badrinath played a very mature innings, and vijay also looked the part. The bowling, apart from Zaheer`s opening spell (one lucky wicket in there as well) was very poor though. Sharma`s loss of form is sad to see, I well remember the promise he showed as a tennager out in Oz last time around. The spinners were a little unlucky at times, but 2-300 odd between them...They will struggle against any of the other top teams, SAf, Aus, even England on a good day, if the bowling isn`t sorted out. I don`t think people should be in a panic after one poor batting test.

  • POSTED BY on | February 9, 2010, 6:47 GMT

    poor article , i agree with surenl , why writing an article wih or after jsut one test failure , a player needs 10 -15 games to get set in test cricket , and why alone india every team go through such a phase remove smith and kallis and de villers from sa or strauss and kp and collingwood from england and clarke and hussey and ponting from aus , then talk sir

    it make no sense in assuming about future without waiting for it to be seen live , india have terrefic batting reserves as said by VVS LAXMAN , tendulkar , well to find another sachin is impossible but we have adequae replacements available , we are NUMBER ONE in world and we will keep that slot for a long time , it doesn't matter to us about future predicitons by asrologers

  • POSTED BY aakashsethi on | February 9, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    Please get your facts right. There is a reasonable bench strength that is also injured including Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Raina among others. This is an unusual situation when so many of our players are injured and India have had to call Badri and Saha. Agreed this is an important match and the selectors choice hasnt paid off but I dont agree with the arguement that there is no one after Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar for India to turn to. You are no longer in the 90s when that might have been the case. Wake up author!!

  • POSTED BY on | February 9, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    i fully agree with the comment posted by a lot of people, why have we all of a sudden jumped the gun and left out player that were have test and ODI experience? I am talking about people like Mohammad kaif, Ifran Pathan, Dinesh Karthik etc? . If my memory serves correctly, Kaif was dropped after scoring some 150 odd runs in the test against West Indies in West indies? Kathiik was the highest run getter in England tour. Apparently the Board and selectors have always believed that if some one has scored a hundred in domestic, get him to the international side and maybe he will be lucky there too. The current players being used in the test squad are too green for test squad and will not hold out against a side like South Africa

  • POSTED BY HarishBommas on | February 9, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    India's new middle order was defiinitely exposed in the first innings of this test match. Many a time, it is the team is almost written off... when the top order (Experience) fails. But we need to take positives from this game. A good debut for Badrinath, A fighting innings from Sehwag. On the other hand, An inspired bowling performance by Steyn and good batting by Amla and the ever dependent Kallis. The Indian team should learn from the South African to apply themselves better and to also believe in their abilities and think about the future... It is difficult getting to the top stop, but is MORE DIFFICULT, staying there... Wishing the "Boys" the best for the rest of the series.

  • POSTED BY chandru21 on | February 9, 2010, 5:46 GMT

    with one test u dont see future. even in this test,if india batted first , southafrica could have lost even badly. to me among middle order of playing xi, still india is superior.

  • POSTED BY muski on | February 9, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    It is indeed a blessing in disguise to know at least couple of years in advance that there is no much light at the end of the tunnel. Australia have adapted admirably to the loss of heavyweights such as Hayden, Gilchrist, Warne and Magrath. We cant say the same here. Yes- Badri could fit into the shoes of VVS over a period of time. Not so sure if Dravid and the little man could find ideal replacements for them. Guys like Abhinav Mukund and Manish Pandey could be given the long rope so that by the time Dravid and Sachin hang up their boots, we have some decent replacements in place. The doors for Yuvi in tests should be shut once and for all.

    More importantly, its high time BCCI prepared bouncy tracks at least for domestic cricket. Let the youngsters grow up on such tracks. Its understandable they dont want India to lose in India by preparing such wickets. However they have to understand that we will be thoroughly exposed when playing in Australia or New Zealand

  • POSTED BY pcbp on | February 9, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    Well, here is another take on India's showing in the first innings. Dravid, Laxman & Yuvraj got injured playing in a relatively less important series against Bangladesh, thereby losing out on playing against South Africa. We should realise the importance of providing opportunities to the likes of Badrinath, Vijay, Saha etc in a series against Bangladesh at the expense of a few of our proven performers who have nothing to prove against such opposition. Especially so when our next series is as important as the one that is ongoing against South Africa. Hope the Team India management learns from this experience!

  • POSTED BY avis_2010 on | February 9, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    I am afraid India didnt focus or plan for South African series at all well... First Injuries then selection blunders and after that poor final XI selection for the first test... Saha is not playing as a batsman, certainly not as a bowler and not even as a Wicket Keeper... he is justa filler while Indian could have gone with an extra bowler... maybe Tyagi or Ojha...Whats the use of shortlisting 7 full time Bowlers when you have to play only 4 of them... Imagine no backup for main 6 batsmen (Rohit was included at last moment) and 3 backup for 4 bowlers :-) ! Moreover its high time that Bhajji should be dropped and asked to play in domestic cricket.. He hasnt done that since ages and I am sure on current form he is the at the bottom of the list of world spinners.. below swann, ajmal, harris, hauritz, shakib, vettori etc and considering these spinners are able to bat and make some runs as well... Selectors should have gone for Jadeja as a support batsman and bowler...

  • POSTED BY SajinVarghese on | February 9, 2010, 4:49 GMT

    Sehwag said & did splendidly however,he should have stayed there in Ist Innings without losing wicket for a poor shot,he is the only batsman other than Tendulkar in the present squad to handle this kind of quality pace attacks.Badri has made a remarkable debut,let us pray & wait for his success in 2nd innings remarkably.Vijay is in a learning curve,give support despite his small failures

  • POSTED BY Nik777 on | February 9, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    Based on the headline, I was surprised by the content of this article.

    Instead of berating India's batting, I expected it to comment on India's bowling.

    Against India's bowlers, SA racked up over 500 for the loss of 6 wickets. India were blown away for less than 250.

    So assuming the pitch hasn't dramatically disintegrated, what caused the difference?

    I don't think that the SA batsmen are truly worth 550/6 against a good attack. Both an inexperienced Australian attack, and England's attack kept SA at bay.

    So I ask, has Zaheer Khan ever sent down a delivery like any of those that got Gambir, or Tendulkar out here? And if so, how recently?

    And if the answer is 'no', then what are India doing about it?

    Bhaji also seems to be past his use-by-date, going into defensive mode whenever he gets hit around.

    I'm just another armchair critic, and quite possibly wrong, but I think Mr Chappel was right, and India still need to find a world class attack

  • POSTED BY DEV_ME on | February 9, 2010, 4:30 GMT

    PEOPLE, why are you bashing the author for pointing out the truth. Hunter is not talking about individuals here. He is highlighting the state of affairs within. We, the Indian Fans, should look at the idiotic selection policies, the insane domestic structure, lack of a good India A team, and undue hero worshipping. If we talk of bowlers India are yet to find someone of Kapils class. Our best 'FAST' bowlers bowl slightly faster then a spin bowler. Our majority batsmen are not comfortable against the likes of Bangladesh and Srilanka also, thanks to Sehwag we didnt lose. The whole structure made by BCCI stinks. IPL has become more important then the actual game. Why are ppl like Modi advisors instead of the recent senior players lik Saurav, Akash Chopra, Kumble and Co.

  • POSTED BY on | February 9, 2010, 4:09 GMT

    Its about time that India should reconsider their approach of going in with 4 bowlers, specially on home pitches. They could have picked pathan for saha, who might have been useful with both bat and ball. Badri has shown that he is a cool headed guy and has an ideal temperament for test cricket unlike yuvraj singh who is an unjustified replacement of ganguly. He should replace yuvraj in the side.

  • POSTED BY RogerC on | February 9, 2010, 2:44 GMT

    Stupid article. Even Dravid, Laxman or Yuvraj have been part of losing Indian teams. Hunter talks about the great Calcutta test in 2000 where Dravid and Laxman saved India. He conveniently forgot what happened in the test before in that Ind-Aus series. In the test before, Indian batting collapsed to Australia twice even when it had Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly and Tendulkar. Be reasonable and give due respect Steyn's skills which is the main factor in the Nagpur test.

  • POSTED BY faron on | February 9, 2010, 2:31 GMT

    i think india has a bright future ahead of them its the selectors that are not doing the right thing. players like rohit sharma, virath kohl, chawla, utthapa and many more young players are still to be givin an opoututnity in tests if u look hard enough india has so much talent that can dominate international cricket in the future. as for pace bowling there is decent talent that can still to well in the future but these guys need opportunities to prove them selfs and improve from then on thatwill add preasure on the other first class creicket ers to improve eventually india will have a tougher and stronger selection to choose from .

  • POSTED BY manasvi_lingam on | February 9, 2010, 2:08 GMT

    Our bench strength in batting is quite good. Badri against a fired up Steyn and co, and against SA on his debut has returned a creditable performance. Because of his baptism by fire, he can go on to become a better batsman in the future. Vijay too has looked quite promising in the few matches he played and in the 2nd innings. Thus 2 slots out of 4 (Tendulkar, Dravid, VVS and Yuvraj) have been filled. There are also the likes of Rahane, Pujara, Kohli and Pandey waiting. One must give these youngsters an extended run and wait for them to get used to international cricket. Our main worry is our bowling which is weaker than anyone except the Windies, NZ and Bangladesh - especially our spin stocks. Harbhajan is useless and Mishra is no better.

  • POSTED BY JogeshPanda on | February 9, 2010, 2:07 GMT

    Do not expect a youngster coming in and fill up big shoes of Laxman and Dravid in day one, Poor fellow Saha, he himself could not have imagined his test match appearance. Its a biggest selection blunder in recent past. Badri showed little bit of character and showed what it means to get runs in domestic matches. Ask Rainas and Rohit Sharmas to pile up huge runs before they can seek an entry into the middle order. But I feel more disappointing was the bowling of bhajji and mishra. Far far below then average. It was not exceptional batting by proteas it was extra ordinarily poor bowling.Even Ishant, you cant take a leave way saying that its a flat pitch and you cant take a wicket.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | February 9, 2010, 1:47 GMT

    The Indian Selectors should get a strong message from this test. They were extremely casual in the team squad. India has good young batsmen in Raina, Kohli and Kaif.The Selectors never stick to a team and keep swinging players in and out like a Yo-Yo. Wake up Selectors. India has the worst bowling line up amongst the top 4 test teams.India wins only because of its batting. If India does not pick the best batsmen available they will lose each time. In absence of Laxman & Dravid, India needed 2 experienced substitutes - Not Saha. Firat the Indians should be banned from playing soccer before the game. Yuvraj hurt himself & now Rohit. Are these guys there for Cricket or Soccer?.Apart from its doleful bowling line up, India must know that SA has the best pace attack in the world. India needed experience & strength - not debutants. They could have flown Raina or Kohli quite easily rather than push Saha in casually. An innings defeat faces India today.Will this wake up the Selectors?

  • POSTED BY Chatla on | February 9, 2010, 1:32 GMT

    The article heading "India get a taste of the future" is not justifiable. How could the author predict during the first match of Dravid and Laxman's absence; having just 1 innings got over? This is just the beginning and it's not the future. First of all we are playing with just 10 (Saha - last min. inclusion as a batsman, as there was no option - he is a w.keeper back-up). India acquired No.1 position not because of 1 or 2 games, it's a hard work for couple of years. There are lot of up-coming players who are as good as Sachin, Dravid, and Laxman but it may take sometime a max. of 1 year to grow after they steps down.

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | February 9, 2010, 1:16 GMT

    Dale Steyn is probably one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time. He has at present 193 wickets from 37 Test matches and from the look of it is most likely to have his 200 by his 38th match. Syd Barnes of England I think it was who had similar figures. He was not such a tearaway though and was at best a medium pacer at most times. But he cut and swung the ball like very few could past or present. Against such a bowler and with so many of their team having been injured,and so many of their future stars not being available for selectorial gaffes it was inevitable that this sorry pass would come to be.It is not a true reflection of the future at all. In fact it is a typically unresearched article. Probably from one of the many waiting for India's fall from its lofty perch. It is very important for the fast bowlers to know what swing bowliing is all about and that pace bowling is not just about the speed gun.It would have been a great learning experience for our own band of bowlers.

  • POSTED BY sughosh on | February 9, 2010, 0:51 GMT

    Stupid analysis. How can you judge the players based on a single performance? In fact Badri was the next best after Sehwag and Vijay got a which would have troubled even Dravid. Only Saha doesn't belong to this class and everyone knows it. The real problem with India is its bowling.

  • POSTED BY SpiritoCricket on | February 9, 2010, 0:41 GMT

    I think India should blame Habajhan and Ishant who couldn't buy a wicket. Most Noticeable is that in their first innings India faced only 64.4 overs in scoring 233 runs. No one was prepared to concentrate and play a long innings. Regardless of the quality of Dale Steyn India are the number one team in the world and yet they are struggling at home. Lets see if Sachin can score a big century and save this test match.

  • POSTED BY zodiac123 on | February 9, 2010, 0:39 GMT

    @author Give the debutants a break. Vijay has never been in the test squad on a consistent basis so I wonder if you can call him an experienced batsman. You cannot replace the likes of Dravid, Laxman, Tendulkar and Ganguly overnight. These guys are not ordinary players, they are freaks!! And lets be honest, Steyn bowled beautifully! Some of those deliveries were just scorchers!

  • POSTED BY AvidCricFan on | February 9, 2010, 0:29 GMT

    Our limitations are getting exposed. There are number of gaps in the Indian line up. The bowling is average. Harbhajan is a spent force. He has not been a match winner lately. Ishant has lost the zip he had in the past. His pace in Bangladesh series was lower than Zaheer and most of Bangla seamers. Mishra is still finding his grove. On the batting front, Gambhir is getting taste of real fast bowling. All his big scores came with NZ, SL and BD. These teams do not have real fast bowling. Selection of Saha is mind boggling. Parthiv and Karthik are better options than Saha. I would pick Parthiv ahead of Karthik in batting against genuine fast bowling. Unless we prepare pacy wickets for domestic tournaments, our bowling and batting stock will continue to perform at an average level.

  • POSTED BY AntoJoy on | February 9, 2010, 0:05 GMT

    Give the youngsters some more time before criticise them. Just to get some attention on them these ppl are kind of ready to fire on everyone, whether they are experienced who served a lot for the our indian cricket or new comers.

  • POSTED BY jamrith on | February 8, 2010, 23:37 GMT

    Steyn was devastating yesterday and will continue his destruction today.It is stunning but not surprising, given that we collapsed for 243 against Bangladesh in Chittagong, and even in Dacca, our top batters were found wanting when facing the short balls bowled by the opposition quicks But I find it amazing that the Indians are unable to even cope with Harris's tactics of bowling into the rough outside leg stump. All that our top batsmen can do is pad away the deliveries---- sooner rather than later, they will fall ignominiously as Dhoni did . It is mind-boggling.

  • POSTED BY RAVI71 on | February 8, 2010, 23:30 GMT

    The possible replacements for Rahul dravid - Manish Pandey Sachin - any young guns like Pujara ..etc LAXMAN - Vijay or Rohitsharma( with losing some KG)

  • POSTED BY Jaianand84 on | February 8, 2010, 23:27 GMT

    I agree that India have not yet found a suitable replacement for Ganguly. Yuvraj does not seem to have the skill for test cricket. Also Vijay seems to be a good batsman but having him bat at 5 or 6 would be unfair. I think Badrinath should be given a longer run. Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh have had enough chance to prove their skill at the International Level. Hope the selectors be fair and make the right decision.

  • POSTED BY MinusZero on | February 8, 2010, 23:12 GMT

    India have some fantastic batting prospects for the future. Badrinath is just one. Yes, he is 29, but his first class average is a world class 58. Looking at his first class side South Zone, they have some great young batsman coming through. AB Karthik (Age 23) first class average of 46, A Mukund (20yrs) fc ave 53 and M Pandey (20yrs) fc ave 49.95 and thats just in one team. I dont know where they get these batsman from. In my view the future problem for India isnt the batting, its the bowling. If they could develop some world class bowlers like Steyn and in the past McGrath, they would be unstoppable. Go India!

  • POSTED BY krissh86in on | February 8, 2010, 22:59 GMT

    Bowlers are more important to a test match than batsmen. Matches could be won even if Batsmen fail provided bowlers play their part to perfection. Irrespective of their 500+ first innings score this SAF team deserve to win because of their Bowlers who exploited the Indian batsmen with swing hitting the right lengths at higher speeds. Except Zaheer no Indian bowler was upto the mark. Sreesanth was missing. Though Badri provided some solace with a gritty half century the middle order looked void without Dravid, . We need to look beyond Yuvraj singh in tests. Youngsters like Manish Pandey, Kohli etc. need more exposure to ODI's and County cricket to enter the test arena. Replace Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra and Harbhajan with Ajit agarkar/ Sreesanth, Abhimanyu Mithun/ Irfan Pathan and Aushik Srinivas for the next tests so that we would atleaset be able to hold them within 400.

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2010, 22:35 GMT

    I agree with a capital A with SURENL.... this team has to morph and its time that players like Badri showed up... If INDIA has to be the No.1 team it has to do that in spite of the metamorphosis thats inevitable... situations like this where Saha had to debut is bad for both the team and the player debuting... that unfortunate and is for the board to look into.. but riding on shoulders of Dravid & Co. to the # 1 spot is an event... staying there will be a phenomenon.. that will involve these new people. I think both Vijay and Badri beer the right temperament for test cricket... with the kind of performance they have shown in their debut performances... If we do loose the no. 1 spot it will be sad but not unjustified... the youngsters should not loose focus and should look to get the team back on top.

  • POSTED BY Param85 on | February 8, 2010, 22:25 GMT

    I understand that replacing Dravid, Sir Sachin Tendulkar, Laxman seems kinda hard but look at it this way, when Dravid,Tendulkar and Laxman first started we didnt know that they are going to be this big stars. Murli Vijay and Badrinath look decent in the batting department, dont know too much about saha. India needs to work on their bowling big time, bowlers like bhajji have huge potential and they have proven that on numerous occasions but what we are missing is a specialized bowling coach who can guide these high potential bowlers on the right track. I mean we had Venkatesh prasad as bowling coach for so long, personally i dont think V. Prasad deserves to be a coach, if it was kapil dev or even J. Srinath i would understand. We need a bowling coach like Wasim Akram who is a legend. Losing players like Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar is going to be a big blow but I am pretty sure that out of over a billion people in India we would be able to find decent replacements. GO INDIA!!!

  • POSTED BY wolf777 on | February 8, 2010, 22:22 GMT

    Strange team selection. No idea what Saha is doing in the team. He is fine as a back up batsman; but, playing him as a specialist batsman. You got to be kidding. There are many much better options like Pujara, Kaif ETC available. Why not play one of the Pathan brothers as an all-rounder? At least, they can bowl and take a wicket and two. Compare to Saha they both are much better batsmen. The bowling department shares the blame too. Take Harbhajan for example, he has been consistently giving up 150 runs for a wicket or two. He simply is not effective bowler against good batting sides except for spinner friendly under-prepared pitches.

  • POSTED BY knowledge_eater on | February 8, 2010, 22:20 GMT

    Woh woh woh .. talk about Indian Fans, please stop watching classic indian emotional movies. Calm down people, It will be 1st out of last 9 test, India might loose (after Dhoni become captain). It is too early to freak out and go into depression. There is nothing wrong with indian team or replacement. If something is wrong give 3-4 test series then we will find out. Aussy didn't freak out after McGrath, warney, gilly, and hayden were gone. They lost and they won few series. Thats what going to happen with india as well. Let's all calm down and enjoy the Steyn balling. Steyn is not going anywhere, India will get back to him. I am sure Indian media will be emotional as well and i won't be surprise if they start crying in front of Dhoni, Tendy and Kirstern. Take a deep breath everybody. We are playing with number 2 test team. Let's all hope Indian team bounce back soon. One test and peoples' emotional heart racing. Calm down. Teams don't come to India to see India winning. lol

  • POSTED BY spinkingKK on | February 8, 2010, 22:00 GMT

    I couldn't believe the selection by K.Srikanth. How on earth can he drop Karthik over Saha? Only explanation I can find is that he wants to show that he is not biased and drop a very good player from Tamil Nadu, because he was going to select Vijay and Badrinath. If the best available players are from one state, there should be no hesitation in having 11 players from the same state. Then, the team management decided to take Saha in, when there was no other batsmen left. They could have selected a fifth bowler - Ojha or Mithun- instead. Why are they ignoring Irfan Pathan? By the way, what is this Rohit Sharma doing playing soccer in the morning of a Test match? Maybe he should try a different career and try his luck with Mohun Began. This test match is still not over. Tendulkar can still bring a revival. But he and Badrinath are the only hope. Lets keep the fingers crossed.

  • POSTED BY victortrumpet on | February 8, 2010, 21:40 GMT

    On paper this is a impoverished Indian team, in reality it is a team that is full of gaping holes. South Africa on the other hand have come to India and shown us who is really number one. Just as Australia did in the ODI series. Unlike India, the SA batting lineup is without weakness; look there isn't a Yuvraj, Vijay or Saha amongst them. Then the bowling attack is replete with men who can bowl fast and aggressive, and that kind of attack will always trouble a patchy batting lineup like India's. Enough has been said about India's bowling stocks, let's just say that the great teams that have risen to the top and stayed there i.e. Windies in the 80s or Aus in the 90's, have had a formidable pace attack without at least 3 outstanding quicks. Don't worry about the future; the IPL has cemented India's fate there, so let's focus on the present: When you cut through all the hyperbole and village nationalism only one conclusion remains; this Indian team is the fourth best team in the world.

  • POSTED BY leggetinoz on | February 8, 2010, 21:34 GMT

    for all the indians saying, if we had laxman, dravid etc it could have been different. Well if your auntie had balls she would be your uncle. You are doing your team a great disservice by coming up with excuses every time they perform poorly. As the nuber one team (something you guys have been consistently reminding us for the past month) you need to perform better and put up a fight no matter what injuries are around. No-one, neither in australia or outside, allowed the Australian team to have any excuses. If they played bad they were the first ones to say so and the press would get stuck into them. No it is your turn to have that responsibility. If India are to be true number ones then they need to have depth, be successfull both home and away and not use excuses. All of these are questions that are still up in the air as to whether India can say yes we are all of those things.

  • POSTED BY VivaVizag on | February 8, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    @santywant2win: You said it right mate. After winning the first test against B'desh, anyone with common sense would give the opportunity to the likes of Vijay, Badri, Sharma, Tyagi et al to improve their confidence rather than directly feeding them to SA lions. But then again comedy and confusion are the middle names of BCCI.

  • POSTED BY apatel90 on | February 8, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    how can you write "remove Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni from the line-up and you are left" with three debutants...as if India has no depth. Go to any other team and take out the 4 batsmen. Remove kallis, amla, smith, and boucher and what do you have: prince, de villiers, and duminy; all who but one who failed in this innings.

  • POSTED BY bond0007_Jamesbond on | February 8, 2010, 20:58 GMT

    How come Virat Kohli is not in the playing eleven - Can someone comment ?

  • POSTED BY khansa06 on | February 8, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    In every series that the Indian batsmen have had to face a bowling attack slightly different from the usual subcontinent stuff (Pak/Bangle/SL attacks), they have always lost the first test of that series.... and that too very badly.

    And if you check their recent history...the team has always come back strongly in the remining tests.

    So guys stop rubbishing the team (that was till yesterday being praised endlessly by one and all) after one failure and give them a chance.

  • POSTED BY ste13 on | February 8, 2010, 20:49 GMT

    first, I believe that today it has been an exceptional performance by SA, some balls would have beaten anyone, second, India is about to retire key players, and Bangladesh test were lost as an opportunity to test replacements - which are there, there is lots of talents in the country vying for test places, third, bowling training must be prioritised, which is difficult given current focus on 20/20 fourth, IPL will kill local Indian talent, you cannot learn much in a format where a player has to face 12 balls in a match on average, so I hope like in international football there will be grwoing co-ordination of tournament dates

  • POSTED BY sashi94 on | February 8, 2010, 20:49 GMT

    My only problem is.. why has Saha been picked ahead of KD karthik?? go take a look at the last list A match where he scored 183 and 150 in one match!! Saha has not scored more than 300 runs in all the matches he has played so far. Whats wrong with Dhoni?? As far as the future is concerned, im not worried at all. Badri and Vijay look like class players and excellent fielders, they will help India win matches in the future. Saha.. 3 balls, clean bowled?? selection panel needs a sanity check..

  • POSTED BY mav58 on | February 8, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    Steyn & Morkel are right up there as the best bowling partnership in the world today. On their day, Lee & Johnson or Anderson & Onions come close. Funnily, they only woke up in the last test match against England destroying their batting and they have carried that form to India. I think the batting line-up was shocked into waking up after their nap in Bangladesh. Lets see how they do from here. The real Achilles heel is the non-existent bowling line-up. I don't understand what Ishant & lately Bhajji (and Saha) are doing playing Test cricket for India. Mishra needs to improve his line and lenght in Ranji or Duleep and then come back. Bring in Ojha and Tyagi or Mithun. What about Murali Karthik? He never got a fair chance but always created problems - he is doing nicely in County Cricket. SOMETHING needs to be done about India's bowling or Bye-Bye No. 1.

  • POSTED BY osee_bhai on | February 8, 2010, 20:26 GMT

    Its not like gambhir or sachin did well in the first innings or even second innings for gambhir and sehwag, vijay got a peach first up, and badrinath played a great innings I thought. Saha I think is out of his league, I dont know what issues warranted karthiks exclusion, but apart from that the Indian lineup still seems great, you just have to realize how good steyn and co. are compared to sri lankas and banglas seamers. There is no comparison, steyn is the best bowler in the world right now, india got a bit of a shock, and the fact is the debutants aren't helping. But all players need some time, you can't expect them to score centuries on debut. badrinath should have made his debut years ago instead of yuvi, and I think india has great domestic batting talent. However away from home is a different story, which will take years for indian batting youngins to excel in, and of course they need to find some bowlers.

  • POSTED BY truthspeaker on | February 8, 2010, 20:18 GMT

    India in all likelihood may lose this Test - No worries - India should prepare a deadly spinning wicket for Test-2 and select a 3 spin 2 pacer combo and go for the broke - Drop Saha and bring Laxman back - Pls. resist temptation to bring Yuvraj - then we lose the plot fully

    Keep Vijaya nd Badrinath intact - they are like Dravid and stand in middle for a few hours - If Dravid is fit, then drop Gambhir - Let Vijay open with Sehwag

  • POSTED BY bGrader on | February 8, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    Would have...should have...could have!! It's just one game guys. Don't sweat over this. For the record we do have a good future players (just look at U19 team). Also our current bench strength looks good too...provided given enough chances. We do have a weak spin bowling department. Where is Pyush Chawala et al???

  • POSTED BY spiritwithin on | February 8, 2010, 20:02 GMT

    y indian lower order always struggles to give some resistance and it has becoming a norm which is not a good news for india..just recently australia were leading just by 80 runs with 8wkts down...indian lower order dont seems to hav ant temperament against quality attack..

  • POSTED BY ChilledBeer on | February 8, 2010, 19:46 GMT

    I am very happy that the Indian team is being crushed. We are NOT a world-class team by any measure, leave alone being No.1. This false sense of being called the world's best has gotten to these jokers' heads. Find 2 bowlers who can take atleast 6 wickets between them and then we'll talk about even being in the Top 3 teams in the world.

  • POSTED BY Varun67 on | February 8, 2010, 19:25 GMT

    Everyone is saying that the situation might have been different if Dravid and Laxman played but everyone is forgetting that in 2008 against South Africa the team which had both laxman and Dravid was all out for 76. If that day they did not play then how an we be sure that they would have played better. I agree with the point that Saha should not have been inluded. May be any allrounder who was available should have been picked.......

  • POSTED BY Jim1207 on | February 8, 2010, 19:24 GMT

    A question to author: When was the last time India batted well in the first innings of the series? Even with so-called big five? What did they do against Bangladesh on first day or Srilanka or in past, except when Sehwag storm has striken? I was so pretty sure y'day that India would follow-on, not because of new inexperienced players, but because of rustiness. If anyone wants to do good to Indian team, please tell this message to make sure they start with much enthusiasm than how they begin usually!! With one day or one match, we cannot tell that the new players wont do well in future, they will do only if they do not catch with contagious disease from these big five of Indian cricket.

  • POSTED BY preeshcode on | February 8, 2010, 19:01 GMT

    No excuses for India's bowling performances. Ishant's performance in Australia not withstanding, a couple of Indian bowlers must have their averages up in the early 20s for India to be reckoned even a good team. All indian bowlers including Zaheer have averages in the 30+ range. How is this even a decent bowling attack? India actually produces great batsmen because it cant produce good bowlers. Great batting is the only thing preventing India from ending up in the middle of the pile. Like necessity is the mother of all inventions, India's batting throughout the last 20 years had to offset the mediocre bowlers India has produced in the last 20 years. I, for one, will never consider India a good team unless it can show us that it can take 20 wickets consistently in different types of pitches.

  • POSTED BY kalyanbk on | February 8, 2010, 19:00 GMT

    I don't see how we can blame the debutants for this poor performance. Have we forgotten that India was only recently bowled out for 243 by Bangladesh? That squad included Dravid and Laxman. SA is a much stronger side with the No.1 bowler in the world. So we need to credit them for a fine performance. This also not the first time India (full strength or not) has struggled against SA. They struggled last time too. I believe India would have struggled no matter who was picked (look at the warm up match) but I believe the experience gained by Badrinath and Vijay would stand in good stead for India in the future. I wish Kaif is selected for the next test match in case Laxman still does not recover.

  • POSTED BY Rajesh. on | February 8, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    Well, this was always bound to happen and perhaps it's good for Indian Cricket that it happened when two senior batsmen are only temporarily absent now. It's time the critics who always gun for the head of the senior players give due respect to Sachin, Rahul & Laxman and realize what they have been doing for Team India over the years. India do have youngsters of promise but a lot of work needs to be done by them i the coming days. As written rightly by the author if this was a glimpse of Indian Cricket's future it surely wasn't a pretty sight.

    But Badrinath proved that all he tons of runs he has scored in domestic cricket is no fluke. It was not those 56 runs he scored but his attitude and the way he got those runs that impressed. Moral of the story ---- India cap shouldn't come cheap. Don't get carried away by performances in under-19 and such age level competitions & slam bang T20's. Let them do the hard yards in domestic cricket first and earn the India cap.... like Badri did !

  • POSTED BY Srinivasan_KR on | February 8, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Even though it was not a good sight to see the Indian batsman struggling; we need to acknowledge the exceptional bowling of Steyn. In the waves of comments against the Indian batsman the bowling of Steyn is being ignored. Steyn did not pick wickets because the Indians did not know how to play. He bowled well against good batsman and picked them. In addition, I cannot differ much from the author in this topic. As a reply would like to bring out two test matches both played by SA. The first by SA against WI at Kensington Oval, Barbadas, where the last 7 SA wickets were bundled by Ambrose & Walsh for less than 50 runs, secondly the thrash India received in the hands of SA at Kingsmead, Durban. Both the team came back from that and are # 1 and #2 in the ICC rankings. Hence I ask the author not to be pre-judiced.

  • POSTED BY apanda1947 on | February 8, 2010, 18:34 GMT

    Why talk just about Indian Batting. I think Indian Batting was pretty up to the standard and it is only 1innings old with this line up. Think about the Indian bowling guys. Apart from Zaheer ( best among the worst), all other bowlers especially Ishant and Harbhajjan were 200% pathetic. I was just fuming at the way Harbhajjan was bowling. He even had about 5 misfieldings to his credit. Bhajji should be taken out of the line up with immediate effect and Sehwah instead should be utilized more with Mishra. We should go with 3 pacers for the 2nd test and all of the one dayers. And Bhajji should be sidelined for a long long time.

    I mean guys where is Nehra, Manpreet Gony, Munaf, RP Singh. BCCI is just wasting talent.

  • POSTED BY surenl on | February 8, 2010, 18:19 GMT

    Another negative article with absolutely no basis. Somehow I don't understand how Indian authors love to write negative opinions about the team. This team has done splendidly over the last couple of years. When Vijay made his debut and looked so composed the same ppl were calling him the next Dravid. Now that he has failed once they are calling him not good enough. I know sometimes scoreboards are misleading but Badrinath looked pretty ok for a man on his debut. Saha might one day be the future keeper of India but with Dhoni still young its still a way off. If you want to compare teams look at SA for example really do they have any batsman in their reserve who can replace Kallis or Smith. They have tried a couple but they keep bringing the same players back. SA has a really young and potent bowling attack but with bowlers you never know, if you look at Ishant in Aus and look at him now you would never figure out they were the same bowler.

  • POSTED BY tunnie on | February 8, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    Leave alone Dravid, Laxman and Sachin, India have failed to find Ganguly's replacement for the last 1 yr. Yuvraj should be stopped appearing for tests and how come the selectors pick Rohit Sharma was stunning. He is a tested defective piece. They could have tried Kaif or Pujara or a Rahane...

  • POSTED BY jackiethepen on | February 8, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    I don't think you should start handing out sacking notices after one innings! Surely that is a kneejerk reaction to beat all others! Remember how Bell and Cook returned after their poor start at Centurion to take on these bowlers in the next Test at Durban! All those armchair critics wanted to sack Bell and Cook. But they turned out to be the top batsmen in the next Test with a ton each. The thing is to keep your nerve and work out your own strategy in reply. Its a truism that we learn from our mistakes.

  • POSTED BY chandau on | February 8, 2010, 18:12 GMT

    Problem with real greats is that they have a longer shelf life than most. Even when they seem down and out somehow they find a second or third lease of life. In order to counter this a country should have a good A Team if not a great domestic season. The problem in Asia is that the gap between domestic and international cricket is wide, hence it is difficult for players to adjust to the step up. Wonder why they went for totally new names when there are people like Kaif, Pathan brothers, Karthik, Raina, Sharma et al. People with international experience are a must for any team. If you want to try out newcomers you must do it in a controlled environment. Otherwise both players and team suffer. Indian needed a 3rd seamer, like Pathan for variety. It is good to load a lineup with batters but a team will never win unless the bowlers can take 20 wickets. cheers :)

  • POSTED BY Krishna2007 on | February 8, 2010, 18:06 GMT

    Vijay got a ball that could have floored the best. Every time one sees him, one sees a guy oozing with confidence and class. Badri has stickability needed for tests and should replace Yuvraj.

    Let's admit that Steyn bowled really well and only someone like Dravid could have played him at least competently.

    Dhoni does not have the technique to play the Saffers pace attack and the less said about Saha the better. Pujara, Virat Kohli and Manoj Tiwari or Mohd Kaif? Badri and Vijay are better than these guys at present. Pujara is a class act and will come into the side in the next two years.

    Our bowling does not have the firepower to dismiss any side better than Bangladesh twice in a match. So if we lose the match, the series and the numero uno spot, it will be because our bowlers did not have the skills to dismiss even SA on a pitch tailor made for spin. India has done badly in most first tests and this is no exception. No time to regroup this time and that is sad!

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2010, 18:05 GMT

    Well if you take out 4 good/decent batsmen [3 of those: Dhoni, Sehwag, and Gambhir are not going anywhere in a hurry] with 2 good batmen [Dravid and Laxman] and 1 average batsman [Yuraj] sitting out then this really looks a bad team. However, the premise is seems convoluted to me.

    We were in a bad situation at the start of the SL series as well and Dravid bailed us out. So this is nothing that we have not seen before.

    Also, today I would rather talk about Steyn and not the insipid Indian performance. Sir Don [did i take his name in vain, not today. NO] might have faced difficulties with some of the balls that he conjured [yup, it was magical stuff].

  • POSTED BY Inspector_Clouseau on | February 8, 2010, 17:48 GMT

    It is unfair to put down Vijay and Badri based on the performance in one match. Badri did well for his 50. With more promosing young talent emerging, still there is hope of having a strong batting lineup in the future. Saha is the only loose bolt. Apparently, BCCI got too greedy to pay for an extra player. I hear someone laughing.. ah it is Dinesh Karthik.

  • POSTED BY CiMP on | February 8, 2010, 17:47 GMT

    I was half expecting this. Reason #1: Traditionally India had done badly in its first innings of a series opener with bat AND ball. Reason #2: When any country plays a very weak opposition before it takes on a very strong opposition its performance in the initial phase is below its own par bcz the weak opposition tend to drag down teh performance levels of the stronger one. This has happened many a times for India. Of course the converse is also true. Many of us agree that playing the Windies in their own backyard in 1983 was a good prep for the surprise victory and the World Cup in 1983.

    Hence playing Bangladesh before taking on SA was an ill advised move even after conceding that the SA Test series was a last minute change in fixtures.

    Hope another tradition continues... India playing its second innings far better than its first!

  • POSTED BY praveenkp78 on | February 8, 2010, 17:46 GMT

    I really wonder how can Steyn swing so consistently on the same pitch where Indian bowlers cud not even bowl full length deliveries. Cant Indian bowlers learn from bowlers like Steyn. The way in which Steyn was swinging in the air both ways was breathtaking, amazing test bowling. Its been a long time watching this kind of swing at that deadly pace. Australian bowlers bowl only raw pace without any swing, but this guy Steyn, simply awesome. If you consider Indian USP is spin, what did Bhajji do. Such a pathetic bowling, he cant bowl a classic offie off late. Indian bowlers except Zak is letting down us, and batsman are no good either. Sachin, had got a very good chance to shut up his critics in test cricket, but wasted the golden chance. Please..no excuses he got a good ball and stuff like that. Let us hope he saves India..and join the league of Waughs, Dravids, who can play the game of their lives in crunch situations like this.. God save India in this match..!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2010, 17:46 GMT

    i except we will loose match tomorrow. because we donot have good solid bench strength like australia. when australia is in trouble in pace bowling dept they got harris and he grabed his chance. in our country one player play a centuryans means he will play 10 matches minimum. thats not done in rsa or australia. finally we got no. 1 status in donation and our luck. we got exposed in front of best teams.

  • POSTED BY praveenkp78 on | February 8, 2010, 17:44 GMT

    I really wonder how can Steyn swing so consistently on the same pitch where Indian bowlers cud not even bowl full length deliveries. Cant Indian bowlers learn from bowlers like Steyn. The way in which Steyn was swinging in the air both ways was breathtaking, amazing test bowling. Its been a long time watching this kind of swing at that deadly pace. Australian bowlers bowl only raw pace without any swing, but this guy Steyn, simply awesome. If you consider Indian USP is spin, what did Bhajji do. Such a pathetic bowling, he cant bowl a classic offie off late. Indian bowlers except Zak is letting down us, and batsman are no good either. Sachin, had got a very good chance to shut up his critics in test cricket, but wasted the golden chance. Please..no excuses he got a good ball and stuff like that. Let us hope he saves India..and join the league of Waughs, Dravids, who can play the game of their lives in crunch situations like this.. God save India in this match..!!!!

  • POSTED BY Namboory on | February 8, 2010, 17:42 GMT

    Foolish analysis. The analysis should have given credit to the SAF bowling rather than IND batting. No batting line up in the world, no matter however good they are, can fight against an accurate swinging pacy bowling. Today was steyn's day. Lucky that there are not much such bowlers who always can do this. Even if there are some, they cant do it every day. If there were, cricket would have been a bowlers game ! The worry for india is the lack of such a sharp bowling department. Not the batting. India should have tried Mithun instead of saha ! I was really hoping to see Mithun in the side.

  • POSTED BY ani. on | February 8, 2010, 17:41 GMT

    Stupid analysis its too early to comment on future. First match for Badri and vijay playing just his fourth match

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2010, 17:38 GMT

    its too early to comment on india's future. perhaps the writer here doesnt have a clue regarding india's domestic circuit. There are enough good players to fill the boots. but Sachin's and dravid's can never be replaced. i'd tip manish pandey to come into the indian squad sooner or later. as far was steyn's bowling is concerned. boy...he was spitting fire today!! it was pleasing to watch a great fast bowler hitting the deck hard and making a mess of the stumps..though india was on the recieving end. lol. and now abt india's bowling.,,i think its time to drop ishant sharma, he doesnt know how to take wickets, poor mithun should have been chosen instead. i only wonder how RSA is able to produce such good fast bowlers. Wayne parnell too looked great.

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    1. A single match does not show future. We had some disappointments in the selection phase with Yuvraj and Rohit injured.

    2. Of course crucial matches like these are not the best times to launch new players but that does not deny the fact that most newcomers need some time to get adjusted to international cricket. We are currently observing Australia undergoing a similar phase, it can take a while. Some iterations and we will end up with a fine team.

    3. The problem in this match is not batting mainly, it is the bowling department and bad luck with the toss. For the first part, the bowlers could definitely have done better. The Indians could have easily saved 50 odd runs in the first innings (500+ is a good psych barrier). For the second part, if you keep making pitches that change behaviour significantly during a single day or over two, you can only expect heavy toss dominance over the game outcome. Then you wonder why games such as Football gain popularity despite all the T20 buzz.

  • POSTED BY preeshcode on | February 8, 2010, 17:36 GMT

    When will Indians understand that India's bowling is the weakest link? India has a bowling that resembles club cricket. There really is no pace. Even some of the Bangladesh bowlers were faster than Indian bowlers and these days batsman play spin with ease. India's insipid bowling is what puts tremendous pressure on their batsmen and not the opposition itself. If we analyze the test matches and ODIs over the last few years, India's exceptional batting is what has gotten them to a respectable position to the ranking tables. India's future can only be bright if they have a very good bowling attack comparable to the South Africans and Australians. There is no way India can be a team to reckon when it has to constantly rely on its batsmen bailing out its bowlers. Unfortunately, I see no one reviewing India's bowling talent. The strike rates of even Zaheer Khan is in the 30s. Look at Steyn's strike rate. If you dont have bowlers in the upper 20s strike rate, you have a third rate team.

  • POSTED BY buntyj on | February 8, 2010, 17:28 GMT

    ps- kohli and pandey may gain for the future by exposure to steyn n morkel; gambhir will need to prove he can score as opener vs quality pace or maybe better off going to no 3 and letting vijay open with sehwag; india may prepare a turner with uneven bounce at eden but this would also help tall fast bowlers and any help to spinners would be due to the pitch and not show that they are test status and as in the past may be exploited by accurate and steady visiting spinners too and the toss would be critical; aushik srinivas is the only truly promising spinner on the horizon but needs a couple of seasons domestic cricket to mature though he could also benefit by a season of club cricket in oz.

  • POSTED BY AJHUSS on | February 8, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    India is a very ordinary team, Their #1 test ranking doesn't really show the true picture of their strength. They are incapable of taking 20 wickets of any worthy opponent like SA. The scariest thing is that their best players are getting closer to retirement and not sure if they have any equivalent replacement in the pipeline. India do not have any game changing bowlers, most of their wins came from their batsman and even they are going to loose them in a year or so. India will become a very ordinary team then.

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    The problem is with the selection committee. They pick players who are not stars. There are good number of youngsters who are better than the ones picked. There are several guys playing good in Ranji's consistently for years. They won't be picked. The one who just plays 'okay' & who has a god father or captain backing behind him gets picked. Obviously, for T20 ..as its fluke..it can work. But, test cricket at national level, these kind of recommended players can't perform as they don't have enough patience or the technique.

    Anyone Remember - VVS Laxman dropped for 2003 world cup to give chance to Sanjay Bhangar in the world cup? Everyone knew that India missed his experience in every single match, including that of finals vs Oz. Laxman was given harsh treatment & would have been shell shocked at that. That's how the selection panel works.

    I would say there are youngsters who can replace the Big 3 but, the right guys shld be picked & given 'enough' chances.

  • POSTED BY buntyj on | February 8, 2010, 17:21 GMT

    actually badri and sehwag did well; chappells comments that india lack a true match winning bowler proved correct as some observors rating sehwag in the noughties ahead of sachin- the only team in sachin's time to have had consistently a pace attack of the standard common from the 50s through the 80s has been south africa and notably sachin's record vs south africa has over sufficient time been well below par; like ponting (included in all time great oz xi) who has in recent years been exposed by ishant, roach and amir and similarly elevated from a good to all time great status; india need tyagi and mithun asap, and nethrawalkar sooner than later; nagpur has always favoured economical sla like nadkarni, shivalkar and maninder hence ojha would have been a good bet; by contrast mishra will have likely lost his place when on a normal eden wicket he would be the better choice; i dont think result wouldve been different with aging dravid, laxman or overrated yuvi or sharma

  • POSTED BY MiddleStump on | February 8, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    A cock eyed article.The failure lies in picking a pure wicket keeper hoping he would score a few runs instead of a fifth bowler. The wicket keeper didn't keep wickets, nor did he score a run.The dropped bowler obviously couldn't take a wicket. So for 3 days India has played with 10 men.Gambhir has been a complete batting failure in this match, it happens to anyone.Sehwag hardly brought any credit to himself by his recklessness as soon as he reached 100 and gifted his wicket. The selectors aged Badrinath by not selecting him earlier though he has been scoring tons of runs in domestic matches for years.Vijay looks good in the second innings after being bowled by a Steyn beauty.One can blame him for his error in judgement but so can Dravid be faulted for the way he dealt with the bouncer in Bangladesh.If Vijay gets runs, India can still take some positives from the test even in defeat. Badri cant be dropped and there will be no place for both Dravid and Laxman. A good sign for the future.

  • POSTED BY cricketsimpleton on | February 8, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    Astonished !! This article has truly surprised me. :( This indian middle order is finally given a chance to play. They are playing against one of the best bowling attacks that is fresh from a super victory against england. The indian cricket's future cannot be judged from this only one performance. Laxman did not get a chance to blossom until the 2001 Kolkata match. Till that he was not even a regular in the indian team. My point is that the indian team should have tried this middle order during the bangladesh tour. Atleast in the 2nd test. But indian team wanted to utilise at the most they can with the old horses and they are paying the price. Regarding today, we have to accept that steyn was supreme and even australia or any country would have suffered the same fate. At the least We have to praise badri's grittiness and not demotivate them. My bottomline is : prevention is better than cure. That is what india will learn in the coming days.

  • POSTED BY deevan on | February 8, 2010, 17:17 GMT

    Remove Sehewag, Gambir, Tendulakr and Dhoni that is four of the six specialist batsmen, Vijay and Badrinath are the first choice replacements waiting in the wings siince long time. so basically it's the 90% of the batting strength. I don't think that this is India's A batting team. We are missing Just Dravid taht's all. Laxman of late isn't in a great form. We have to accept that our top four batsmen with nealry 300 test between them, have failed to cope with the some top quality bowling from Steyn and Co.

  • POSTED BY Sujith_Nair on | February 8, 2010, 17:16 GMT

    I felt as if the author read my mind when i first came across the article's title. But as I soon realised, the 'deja vu' ended right at the title for I what i saw today did give me some hope. Till today I tho't I'll probably stop watching India's test matches when the trio quit - a void that wld perhaps not be filled for a long time. But with the seemingly 'little' performances of M Vijay and Badri today, guess we've found able replacements for No.3 and 5 positions in future batting XI. What if they got out cheaply or didn't score their 1st centuries yet, they demonstrated the patience and technique to play at this level against perhaps the best pace attack. A couple of series more and these 2 could emerge as fine players and today they gave me a glimpse of that. Maybe there will be a few more such finds and India's future would be in safe hands again. Getting a touch philosophical, i guess today was when future met the present like it did when Dravid or VVS walked in the 1st time

  • POSTED BY ArvindSuperking on | February 8, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    Nobody here is talking about the poor bowling effort by India which put a lot of pressure on the new comers. Mishra was miserable, Bhajji was blunt. Even if the batters had done their job, the match would probably end up in a draw. Unless they improve their bowling, India cant stay long on top of the list.

  • POSTED BY becker52 on | February 8, 2010, 17:08 GMT

    Really a stupid analysis. when you find youngsters performing u say they are the future. and when they dont perform u say india is no where. Come on. Today we saw some superb swing pace bowling. Even if laxman would have been there, he would have got out for duck. And nothing to say about yuvi who is a shaky starter. Only rahul would have made some repair work but he would not have build the innings like what sehwag did. Badrinath played the role what dravid would have done. Staying at the crease . So this is india who cant play pacy swing bowling. let be seniors or juniors, No one could have played well . In fact when sehwag says he got angry with the way batsman got out, he infact got out in second innings too. So he cant comment on other batsman.

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  • POSTED BY becker52 on | February 8, 2010, 17:08 GMT

    Really a stupid analysis. when you find youngsters performing u say they are the future. and when they dont perform u say india is no where. Come on. Today we saw some superb swing pace bowling. Even if laxman would have been there, he would have got out for duck. And nothing to say about yuvi who is a shaky starter. Only rahul would have made some repair work but he would not have build the innings like what sehwag did. Badrinath played the role what dravid would have done. Staying at the crease . So this is india who cant play pacy swing bowling. let be seniors or juniors, No one could have played well . In fact when sehwag says he got angry with the way batsman got out, he infact got out in second innings too. So he cant comment on other batsman.

  • POSTED BY ArvindSuperking on | February 8, 2010, 17:13 GMT

    Nobody here is talking about the poor bowling effort by India which put a lot of pressure on the new comers. Mishra was miserable, Bhajji was blunt. Even if the batters had done their job, the match would probably end up in a draw. Unless they improve their bowling, India cant stay long on top of the list.

  • POSTED BY Sujith_Nair on | February 8, 2010, 17:16 GMT

    I felt as if the author read my mind when i first came across the article's title. But as I soon realised, the 'deja vu' ended right at the title for I what i saw today did give me some hope. Till today I tho't I'll probably stop watching India's test matches when the trio quit - a void that wld perhaps not be filled for a long time. But with the seemingly 'little' performances of M Vijay and Badri today, guess we've found able replacements for No.3 and 5 positions in future batting XI. What if they got out cheaply or didn't score their 1st centuries yet, they demonstrated the patience and technique to play at this level against perhaps the best pace attack. A couple of series more and these 2 could emerge as fine players and today they gave me a glimpse of that. Maybe there will be a few more such finds and India's future would be in safe hands again. Getting a touch philosophical, i guess today was when future met the present like it did when Dravid or VVS walked in the 1st time

  • POSTED BY deevan on | February 8, 2010, 17:17 GMT

    Remove Sehewag, Gambir, Tendulakr and Dhoni that is four of the six specialist batsmen, Vijay and Badrinath are the first choice replacements waiting in the wings siince long time. so basically it's the 90% of the batting strength. I don't think that this is India's A batting team. We are missing Just Dravid taht's all. Laxman of late isn't in a great form. We have to accept that our top four batsmen with nealry 300 test between them, have failed to cope with the some top quality bowling from Steyn and Co.

  • POSTED BY cricketsimpleton on | February 8, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    Astonished !! This article has truly surprised me. :( This indian middle order is finally given a chance to play. They are playing against one of the best bowling attacks that is fresh from a super victory against england. The indian cricket's future cannot be judged from this only one performance. Laxman did not get a chance to blossom until the 2001 Kolkata match. Till that he was not even a regular in the indian team. My point is that the indian team should have tried this middle order during the bangladesh tour. Atleast in the 2nd test. But indian team wanted to utilise at the most they can with the old horses and they are paying the price. Regarding today, we have to accept that steyn was supreme and even australia or any country would have suffered the same fate. At the least We have to praise badri's grittiness and not demotivate them. My bottomline is : prevention is better than cure. That is what india will learn in the coming days.

  • POSTED BY MiddleStump on | February 8, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    A cock eyed article.The failure lies in picking a pure wicket keeper hoping he would score a few runs instead of a fifth bowler. The wicket keeper didn't keep wickets, nor did he score a run.The dropped bowler obviously couldn't take a wicket. So for 3 days India has played with 10 men.Gambhir has been a complete batting failure in this match, it happens to anyone.Sehwag hardly brought any credit to himself by his recklessness as soon as he reached 100 and gifted his wicket. The selectors aged Badrinath by not selecting him earlier though he has been scoring tons of runs in domestic matches for years.Vijay looks good in the second innings after being bowled by a Steyn beauty.One can blame him for his error in judgement but so can Dravid be faulted for the way he dealt with the bouncer in Bangladesh.If Vijay gets runs, India can still take some positives from the test even in defeat. Badri cant be dropped and there will be no place for both Dravid and Laxman. A good sign for the future.

  • POSTED BY buntyj on | February 8, 2010, 17:21 GMT

    actually badri and sehwag did well; chappells comments that india lack a true match winning bowler proved correct as some observors rating sehwag in the noughties ahead of sachin- the only team in sachin's time to have had consistently a pace attack of the standard common from the 50s through the 80s has been south africa and notably sachin's record vs south africa has over sufficient time been well below par; like ponting (included in all time great oz xi) who has in recent years been exposed by ishant, roach and amir and similarly elevated from a good to all time great status; india need tyagi and mithun asap, and nethrawalkar sooner than later; nagpur has always favoured economical sla like nadkarni, shivalkar and maninder hence ojha would have been a good bet; by contrast mishra will have likely lost his place when on a normal eden wicket he would be the better choice; i dont think result wouldve been different with aging dravid, laxman or overrated yuvi or sharma

  • POSTED BY on | February 8, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    The problem is with the selection committee. They pick players who are not stars. There are good number of youngsters who are better than the ones picked. There are several guys playing good in Ranji's consistently for years. They won't be picked. The one who just plays 'okay' & who has a god father or captain backing behind him gets picked. Obviously, for T20 ..as its fluke..it can work. But, test cricket at national level, these kind of recommended players can't perform as they don't have enough patience or the technique.

    Anyone Remember - VVS Laxman dropped for 2003 world cup to give chance to Sanjay Bhangar in the world cup? Everyone knew that India missed his experience in every single match, including that of finals vs Oz. Laxman was given harsh treatment & would have been shell shocked at that. That's how the selection panel works.

    I would say there are youngsters who can replace the Big 3 but, the right guys shld be picked & given 'enough' chances.

  • POSTED BY AJHUSS on | February 8, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    India is a very ordinary team, Their #1 test ranking doesn't really show the true picture of their strength. They are incapable of taking 20 wickets of any worthy opponent like SA. The scariest thing is that their best players are getting closer to retirement and not sure if they have any equivalent replacement in the pipeline. India do not have any game changing bowlers, most of their wins came from their batsman and even they are going to loose them in a year or so. India will become a very ordinary team then.

  • POSTED BY buntyj on | February 8, 2010, 17:28 GMT

    ps- kohli and pandey may gain for the future by exposure to steyn n morkel; gambhir will need to prove he can score as opener vs quality pace or maybe better off going to no 3 and letting vijay open with sehwag; india may prepare a turner with uneven bounce at eden but this would also help tall fast bowlers and any help to spinners would be due to the pitch and not show that they are test status and as in the past may be exploited by accurate and steady visiting spinners too and the toss would be critical; aushik srinivas is the only truly promising spinner on the horizon but needs a couple of seasons domestic cricket to mature though he could also benefit by a season of club cricket in oz.