India v South Africa, 1st Test, Nagpur, 4th day

No crumbs of comfort for India

The roots of this debacle go back to some frankly ludicrous selection. Having made such a pig's ear of picking the 15, the selectors deserve every bit of criticism that will come their way over the coming days

S Aga

February 9, 2010

Comments: 175 | Text size: A | A

Dale Steyn ends India's hopes with Amit Mishra's wicket, India v South Africa, 1st Test, Nagpur, 4th day, February 9, 2010
India face the prospect of holding on to top spot for even less time than South Africa did in 2002 © AFP

Where to from here? This wasn't a liberally grassed pitch like the one at Motera in April 2008. This was low and slow, with the ball turning appreciably right from the opening day. And India still got pulped. Apart from a session where the genius of Virender Sehwag and the growing confidence of S Badrinath saw them frustrate South Africa, they were second-best in every single session. Dale Steyn bowled wonderfully well, but both Morne Morkel and Wayne Parnell can do better. Paul Harris took more wickets than India's spinners while bowling 19 maiden overs. Harbhajan Singh managed one. If you're looking for crumbs of comfort, don't bother. The table was wiped clean.

Once Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed, it was almost a given that the match wouldn't go into a fifth day. He had made 100 of the 168 added while he was at the crease. And though the tail didn't resemble a Doberman's as in the first innings, neither Harbhajan or Zaheer Khan batted as though there was a game to be saved. When you swing at every ball, sooner or later you miss. And Steyn and friends were too good not to hit.

The roots of this debacle go back to some frankly ludicrous selection. Perhaps the selectors know something we don't. Otherwise, it will be a bit of an ordeal to explain why Virat Kohli, the best young batsman in the country, found no place in the squad despite his recent successes in the one-day game. Four fast bowlers were called up when India had no intention of diverting from their two-seamer-two-spinner strategy. One of the selectors told Ravi Shastri that Abhimanyu Mithun was picked because they "wanted to have a look at him."

He could have been invited to bowl in the nets without being part of the squad. Instead, they went for a squad with six batsmen, despite Laxman carrying an injury that made him extremely doubtful from the outset. His last-minute replacement Rohit Sharma, whose pre-game injury paved the way for Wriddhiman Saha's bizarre debut, had done nothing in recent times to warrant being first reserve. Having made such a pig's ear of picking the 15, the selectors deserve every bit of criticism that will come their way over the coming days.

As MS Dhoni admitted afterwards, South Africa's side has far better balance because of Jacques Kallis. India can shed tears over the disappearance of Irfan Pathan, but for the moment they must mix and match as best they can

What can now be done to salvage the situation? This series was shoehorned into the calendar so that the No.1 ranking that was the reward for home success against Sri Lanka could be consolidated. Instead, India face the prospect of holding on to top spot for even less time than South Africa did in 2002 when Australia were the best team in the world by the width of the Indian Ocean.

Laxman's return will lend solidity to the batting, but it's the bowling that needs most attention. Sehwag's jibe about the Bangladesh bowlers a month ago could come back to haunt India because they never looked like dismissing South Africa once, forget twice. Zaheer was impressive in spurts, while Ishant faded after a decent start. The spinners bowled 99 overs for two wickets. Amit Mishra beat the bat countless times, but too often the ball turned too much to take the edge.

There's only so much tinkering that can be done with the players available. Sreesanth's outswing offers an attractive option, one that has discomfited South Africa in the past, but he hasn't played competitive cricket in more than a month. Harbhajan's record at the Eden Gardens - he has 38 wickets from six Tests, including nine against South Africa in 2004 - should keep him in the side, and the presence of three left-handers in South Africa's top six means Pragyan Ojha is unlikely to be risked.

As MS Dhoni admitted afterwards, South Africa's side has far better balance because of Jacques Kallis. India can shed tears over the disappearance of Irfan Pathan, but for the moment they must mix and match as best they can. Badrinath has probably done enough to keep his place, but he'll drop down to No.6 when Laxman returns. If the hand injury doesn't heal quickly enough, then it should be Dinesh Karthik that takes Laxman's place. Any man who can handle Steyn, Ntini and Pollock at Newlands is a better bet than a debutant.

Having been thrashed out of sight here, India have finally selected a proper Test squad. But with Steyn in full cry, troubling batsmen with both conventional and reverse swing, it remains to be seen whether that'll be enough. "Will they be taking a rake to the pitch?" asked Graeme Smith with a laugh when he received a query about Eden Gardens. If India lose the toss again, it might not be enough.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by shrink on (February 11, 2010, 23:57 GMT)

Indian selectors always amuse me. Flops like jagdale and hirwani decide that double centurians like Kaif are not good ;not even MUNAF

Posted by RaghuRS on (February 11, 2010, 19:04 GMT)

Look at Harbhajan - He again made same statement "You can't really take five wickets every day". :))…he made same statement during past interviews….lol….

He should be asked to sit out. We can add one more seamier. Part time bowlers can get more wickets then him.

Posted by   on (February 11, 2010, 18:52 GMT)

Winning the Toss is becoming a huge factor in who wins....thinking heads need to come up with a solution for this...

Posted by Ish_1975 on (February 11, 2010, 18:14 GMT)

Hello folks,

I have read your comments and felling like sharing mine with you. Indian team 's biggest problem is they can't play under pressure. Secondly, we don't have balanced team as compared to South Africans, Aus or NZ. We have strong batting line, but we lack in fielding (specially when bowlers perform well and fielders missed the catches), and bowlers get frustrated. Most importantly, we don't have even have a one top quality bowler available (either fast, seamer, or top spinner), not even one good all rounder. If we compare other teams on these basis, Aus. SA, NZ, PAK, and Sri has good bowlers, as well as one all rounders. Who cares about the first ranking sport, we rather start preparing for World cup now and start learning from these lessons.

If we analyze last match, first, we missed two good catches one at slip, the other one behind for Alma at 62 when Harbajan was trying hard and making variations in order to get wicket. Secondly, we are missing Dravid (DEEWAR wall

Posted by strudi74 on (February 11, 2010, 17:57 GMT)

I would have to agree with cheechman in that the South African batting line-up is not what it was against spin a few years ago. They have learned to apply themselves and now play spin decently. Graeme Swann bowled out of his skin and had a great tour of SA- that happens from time to time. India seem to be hedging everything on a pitch prepared for them and one returning batsman, which smacks of a bit of panic. In response to paramthegreat, Harris might not be Shane Warne but he is consistent and does exactly what is expected of him- in that regard he was superb in the first Test. I take it your are referring to Roelof van der Merwe, who has now proven himself in the shorter version but that is not Test Cricket- he certainly is more attacking but unproven- the team needs Harris to do what he does because his economy opens up opportunities for the quicks. It is not always necessary for a spinner to be a big turner with loads of variations.

Posted by NEUTRAL_FAN on (February 11, 2010, 17:32 GMT)

Don't waste time arguing with guys like Hutchinson, that's all they want.It is better to support your team and give positive criticism team and hope they play better, instead of hoping the opposition play worse. Thats what I wish for any team that I support in any sport.

Posted by TequillaGuy on (February 11, 2010, 16:32 GMT)

@GK16: Completely agree with you.

@All who are saying Bhajji and Amit Mishra should be dropped: Well, I feel they didnt bowl that badly. In my opinion, they bowled quite well on second day but were unlucky and poor field placement didnt help either. But obviously, thats my personal opinion.

@ paramthegreat: Agree with you. Paul Harris persisted with negative line (even with Zaheer and Bhajji at crease!) But I guess thats the role for him. He has to tie up one end while fast bowlers take wickets from the other. He took 4 wickets: 2 of which were pure luck (Sachin and Dhoni (1st innings)) M Vijay got out playing a stupid shot after being bogged down by negative bowling. So yes, he played his role perfectly: tying up one end and frustrating batsmen.

Just hoping India bounces back in the second test. :)

Posted by thecheechman on (February 11, 2010, 16:29 GMT)

I would not like to get into a discussion here but Hutchinson, I feel you are being narrow minded if you think the only way India can win is by having Laxman and winning the toss and batting first. I also think calling the South African batting line up average against spin is also being a bit short sighted. Yes the Proteas did have their problems against Swann, but you also have to look at the series at how SA were able to put on big scores, more than England. Your disregard to the batting line up is silly. Take a look at the leading run scorers in test cricket for 2010, although short, we have several of our batsman up there. The last few wickets in the 1st innings were because SA were trying to be aggressive, if we were not in such commanding position they would have batted more conservatively and for longer. It was only because with two spinners on a turning wicket, India were unable to take 11 wickets. All I say is dismiss SA with your peril, this team is stronger and better.

Posted by WaseemAhmed on (February 11, 2010, 16:28 GMT)

Someone explain this to me.

In WACA, they proudly said it was the world's fastest pitch. They said it would swing from ball one. And it did.

Why not this? Come to India. We got the world's most turning pitch. It would turn square from ball one.

Aren't spinners and seamers in the same boat? If one can get a pitch to his liking, the other should too. And the batsmen should stop crying out and play the turning ball. This is pure discrimination.

ICC. Read this one.

The Mumbai test where it turned is in more people's mind than some test on a dustbowl. Isnt that what you want? People to love this game, see it, remember it? Time you gave the go ahead sign for our own breed of pitches.

Or else RIP Test cricket.

Posted by Hutchinson on (February 11, 2010, 14:53 GMT)

If Laxman is in & India wins the Toss & Bats first,India will surely win.The reason they can't collapse now & South Africa will surely surrender to batting in 4th innings,they were denied batting in 3rd innings at Nagpur because of India's collapse in 1st innings.They are a ordinary batting team against spinners e.g recently Swann troubled them so much.Also they should not cry if they get a Turner at Kolkatta because they also made a Superfast pitch in last test vs England to level series.Also Harbhajan should be rested in future to atleast Try Ramesh Powar or R Ashwin in Test Squad ,both of them are decent Bats

Posted by paramthegreat on (February 11, 2010, 13:07 GMT)

paul harris is ashley giles . he does not have anything in his armour, no doosras , arm ball maybe , etc. i think van der merwe is a much better spinner than him. remmeber , ashley giles had tendulkar stumped too by repeatedly bowling 3 feet outsode leg stump. that didnt make him a good bowler:)

Posted by sshailesh on (February 11, 2010, 12:56 GMT)

This is the real test for Dhonis still we are playing with unexprience middle order good new is that Laxman is back still there is two palce need to fill up which is more difficult positon 3(dravid) and 6(yuvaraj) which will fill might be with Karthik and Badri ..... can they prove them self...?? as this is the pressure game to save the match and save the NO 1 POSITION in bowlling if we play 2+2 means Ishant out and Shreesant in and in spin Mishra out and Ohja in its to much depend on pitch. Already we are playing unsettle batting order, inshant and mishra both are wicket less in first test it means there is deffenetely change in bowlling That is the real test for our bench strenght and our NO 1 POSITION

Posted by thecheechman on (February 11, 2010, 12:41 GMT)

I have read all the comments here, as a South African supporter I have to think some of the comments are over the top. India have lost the first test against a great South African performance. SA are a good side, there is a great team spirit at the moment and the guys all play for each other. I think India will be back and they are also a good side. I think they have some great cricketers. This is test cricket when just one dropped catch or one good ball can change a whole game. I do not think India bowled as badly as everyone says, they were unlucky and missed the bat so many times, one of those misses next time could get a nick and the whole game could change. I think Dhoni is a good captain but also because he seems to have relaxed the players around him, this Indian team seems more gelled together than previous teams. SA lost the second test against Eng, but bounced back to win the last test. That is cricket, some days it goes your way and some days it doesn't.

Posted by Gk16 on (February 11, 2010, 12:34 GMT)

For all those who say Sachin is playing for personal records and not winning any matches, it's better you people quit watching cricket and start watching some individual sport like tennis or golf where the individual wins/loses. U guys don't have the brains to think that cricket is a game played by 11 players per team. Not 1 player per team. If India wins u say its a victory for the team. But when India loses even when the great man has played brilliantly on a day when all the "youngsters" where getting thrown out by some great swing bowling, u say tat Sachin doesn't win matches. Wat the other 10 "youngsters" were doing? Being a talented person in India is the worst mistake a person can do in his/her life.U'll be blamed even if u give ur best. Even if he's playing for personal records, the 100 runs he scored is getting added to the team's total and not only to his personal runs.

Posted by Uchistha on (February 11, 2010, 11:55 GMT)

Whenever India loses they say the opposition played better.I challenge the selectors on their face when someone like Sehwag Sachin Dravid And laxman goes away and are hurt ...they can bet winning even a single game and be on top.And i dont think Indian selectors give a damn about it because they only care about there tenure as a selector having all the greats during that period.No upcoming spinner .No upcoming pacer,no up coming allrounder as in Mr Dhonis words .Well he can sit back and cry not having one instead of selectors finding or making one.t is all about good relations and Money.

Posted by Sanj747 on (February 11, 2010, 10:33 GMT)

Harbhajan is pretty useless. High time he should be dropped. It will be interesting when Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman call it a day. There will be holes and big ones as we have seen here. The test match world is pretty even stevens. India and SAF have this obsession with being number 1. Neither is. To be number 1 it needs to happen over a long period of time winning away from home and abroad. Aus, Eng, Ind and SAF can all play well on any day and beat each other. Makes the game more interesting. Can India draw the series here and can they beat Sri Lanka away later this year.

Posted by Wanderer.Forever on (February 11, 2010, 9:57 GMT)

@ Ronald_T There is some merit in your arguments such as Dale Steyn being "arguably" the best bowler in the world - yes he sure is but he has a long way to go still; I don't think he will go the Saqlain way but you never know. Personally, I like Steyn's attitude towards fast bowling and India definitely got "beaten" by him. Irfan however seems to be a spent force and I would to see him stage a comeback but looks highly unlikely. And finally only an cricketing ignoramus could make a comment such as "Tendulkar plays only for records"; yes, Tendulkar does play for records (bad influence of certain Gavaskar right from his formative years) but you only have to use the stats guru section of Cricino to realise how many matches has he won for India over the last 2 decades, single-handedly or otherwise. Despite his obsession with records (he denies it for some reason), he certainly has contributed to India's victories more than any player in the South African team, save for Kallis perhaps (?)

Posted by TequillaGuy on (February 11, 2010, 9:23 GMT)

@ Ronald_T: Sachin is playing for personal records!?! Did you see how he got out? It was a freak dismissal. Sachin has been performing brilliantly. I dont know why people say that he is playing for personal glory. If he scores a 100 and India looses, is it his fault? what were the other 10 guys doing? Cricket is a team sport! And if he scores a hundred, does it get added to opposition's total? It certainly helps India if he scores a 100! His fighting 100 was brilliant and he was the only batsmen who looked comfortable against SA bowling.

Posted by Samdanh on (February 11, 2010, 8:44 GMT)

Turning tracks are fine. This is what we had in Nagpur. Unfortunately we have been able to win over countries like Aus and SA in India, only in mine fields that have great amount of variation in bounce right from day one. That is called underprepared pitches. Which is something BCCI would not want after the recent Delhi pitch incident. The fast and bouncy pitches in SA and Aus could be definitely compared with pitches like the one in Nagpur which had good spin to offer right from day one. But those pitches in SA and Aus cannot be compared with minefields that Aus had to counter in 2004 in Mumbai and SA had to counter in Kanpur last time. The problem is our spinners have been used to getting wickets only in underprepared pitches so much so that they are finding it diffcult to take wickets on turning tracks. Let us have a pitch which will take the match into the fifth day. After all, a minefield could also boomerang on us and hurt more badly than a good sporting one

Posted by nirav123 on (February 11, 2010, 6:32 GMT)

Dhoni is a good captain...very funny. he is not a good captain. he is a lucky captain because he still has a tendulkar, sehwag,dravin and laxman in the team. other than that, he cannot do anything. Dhoni is not even a test player. We have more good players than dhoni for test team such as viral kohli- technical batsman, manish pandey- superb young batsman. I would say if dinesh karthik is given chance then there is no point of having dhoni in the team...

Posted by Ronald_T on (February 11, 2010, 6:05 GMT)

Dale Steyn is arguably the best bowler in the world, his strike rate compares with the greatest bowlers that test cricket has produced - Hadlee, Marshall, Lillee to name a few. India was beated by dale stey and his art of reverse swing. There's no shame in that, India will learn from it and come out better in the second test match. Irfan in my opinion has a lot to offer to this team - he needs support and an extended stint in test cricket. Tendulkar plays only for records, cannot understand how after reaching a 100, he could not carry on!

Posted by manusharma on (February 11, 2010, 5:39 GMT)

From current indian squad Karthik and Laxman should be in plaaying eleven and India should field 5 bowlers Zaheer, Shrisanth, and all three spinners. Only SPIN can give a win in second test. With using Sehwag and also Sachin, India can trap SA in Spin attack with a wide variation. Apart this, Kaif and Kohli should be included in test team ....and I feel Piyush Chawla is better leg spinner than Amit Mishra.

Posted by screamingeagle on (February 11, 2010, 5:18 GMT)

First up, I agree India messed up on the field and off it.


Why are all these guys (indians and otherwise) pouncing on beating up the team and the fans? I just feel like laughing when some so called aussie supporters decide that this is the best time to start digging into the indian fans.

Anyway, aussies are doing pretty much what india did earlier. Getting useless teams to tour aus and pick up some easy points and runs. Go think about that, boys. Pak/WI..maybe bangladesh and holland/uae next?

And do not bother replying to me. have no intention of reading your comments.

Posted by Wanderer.Forever on (February 11, 2010, 4:43 GMT)

@gazza2010 Relax Mr. South Africa! Please read my comments again. I did mention that Harris's tactics did work. But it doesn't suddenly catapult him to the league of Warne, Murali and Kumble! He is a very ordinary bowler and will remain so. Indians do need to take the attack to him and if they do, you will see what I mean. Besides, frankly I just don't like his face but thats a personal issue with me, the little bitter man, if you insist. Btw, my "club" mate plays "club" cricket only that's why he is my "club" mate :-)

@Loyd4148 and @SachinIsTheGreatest Point well taken about Bhajji; I did mention that Harris's plan did work. Bhajji seems to have lost the bite off late and needs to go back to the drawing board for sure. Well, on the other hand, he may also surprise all (inc. me) though if the Kolkata curator realises the meaning of "home strengths" and comes up with a turner instead of blabbering to the media unnecessarily. But the fact remains that Bhajji needs a rest!

Posted by Sachman on (February 11, 2010, 4:18 GMT)

Irfan Pathan?

Posted by sughosh on (February 11, 2010, 2:58 GMT)

Smith is absolutely right..if there was no other reserve batsman in d side they should hav played an xtra bowler esp Mithun who is d fastest in d country and has had a wonderful Ranji season..instead of dat they have now dropped him from the squad..selectors hav ruined many a career and are continuing to do so..unless our selection policies improve i dont see India holding on to d no.1 title for long

Posted by AvidCricFan on (February 11, 2010, 2:34 GMT)

Just accept the fact that our number 1 ranking is built on pouncing on weaker teams. A well-balanced and talented opponent have now exposed our weaknesses. While we are OK in batting, our bowling and fielding needs much improving. Like the author of this article, I believe Kohli should be given a chance. He has temperament and has better technic to play longer version of the game too. At least, he plays straight. Karthik is being given too many chances on a weaker technic. He is a big suspect out of off and will easily get exposed by the SA pacers. He gives too many chances in batting. He could not even score a fifty when given chances in Bangladesh.

Posted by   on (February 11, 2010, 1:16 GMT)

Irfan Pathan, Mohammed Kaif...where are these people...Why Saha/Rohit ?

Posted by   on (February 11, 2010, 1:05 GMT)

Why was Saha/Rohit Sharma considered, while the likes of Suresh Raina/Dinesh Karthik could be called in. Matches being played in India and it is just a flight away from Kanpur. Big mistake in including Rohit as VVS replacement, and secondly having Saha, a debutant as Specialist Batsman. Should have atleast gone for an extra bowler which would have changed soemthing in the game. Tendulkar/Sehwag wasn't tried as a bowler too.

Posted by CricketFanOfIndia on (February 11, 2010, 0:48 GMT)

Where are are players like Mohommad Kaif...he seems to have sliped down the radar of the selectors...but for Test matches you need experienced players like Kaif..who give their all...I think the selectors should give Kaif another go in the test side as a middle order batsman..He has played some gives innings in the past and just because of some failures shouldnt be overlooked.....

Posted by robwah on (February 11, 2010, 0:27 GMT)

Im an Aussie supporter and and enjoying our resurgence. Lets face it its hard to see another team like the Aussies had so im perfectly happy for us now to not win all the time and still be proud of our boys.. I must say though that I LOVE watching SA play, they have talent all over the park and have great sportsmanship, Graeme Smith is a strong leader and Dale Steyn is #1 in my eyes.. India are also a top team but there sportsmanship isnt as good as SA. And im pretty sure Jaques Kallis will only be given his full due recognition once hes retired! WHAT A LEGEND! SA is the #1 test team in my opinion.

Posted by Rooboy on (February 10, 2010, 23:35 GMT)

Hahahaha putudatta ...typical indian attitude, take away a quarter of the opposition team and then see how good they are?! Hahaha. Guess what, Smith, Kallis and Amla did play so you're better off dealing with reality than pointless hypotheticals. Australia recently played a ODI series against india with second and third choice players. Apart from Ponting and a couple of bowlers, the whole team were basically back ups. Did Australia moan about the players they were missing? No, they just went out and won the series instead. For a country that has over 50 times the population of Australia, you would think india could find a replacement or two for their injured players. This speaks volumes about the difference in mentalities between the two countries, many indian fans cannot accept their team will lose fairly and squarely, there ALWAYS has to be an excuse (no matter how ridiculous). Thanks for the laugh though! Look out for a massively doctored pitch for the next test.

Posted by Nampally on (February 10, 2010, 22:05 GMT)

Indian Selectors did a brainless selection of squad. India have been lucky to gain #1 spot because of their batting alone headed by Gambhir, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman & Dhoni. Missing Lazman & Dravid and with Gambhir failing twice, India just had to rely on 3 batsmen Sehwag, Tendulkar & Dhoni + 3 Rookies.With one of the worst bowling attack in the world, India could not hold SA even to a draw. For the next test, Karthik & Raina would find a place in addition to the openers + Sachin & Laxman. Again the top 7 batsmen must produce with openers at least getting 70 run partnership in order for India to be in the game. Will Zaheer& Ishant, with spin duo do better? Harbhajan is bowling so poorly that Ojha should replace him. Mishra will be the other bowler. Sehwag & Raina can also bowl off spin. Indian fielding must come up big. Absence of Kohli will hurt both in batting & fielding. If India win the toss and put 500 they still can beat SA with good bowling. Lets Go India - U can do it

Posted by SoupOrSalad on (February 10, 2010, 20:47 GMT)

Okay, india played badly. No doubt about that. but here is a thought. First day 2nd session, Vijay missed a beautifully planned runout chance against Kallis (Kallis was backing too far, and vijay had a 3 stamps view from 18 yrds!!). if i remember correctly, kallis was in 30s then. Would the result be different? I do not think there are too much difference beween these 2 teams. Having said that, i might be eating my words after kolkata test ;)

Posted by Rezaul on (February 10, 2010, 18:33 GMT)

The huge defeat is an indication for Indian cricket which can be happened without fav four Dravid, Laxman, Saurov and Sachin in near future. Except the opening pair India's batting reserve is pretty ordinary and I am sure all other teams are going to expose this next time and make sure that India is not a going to stay for long at ICC#1 rank instead they just filled a gap created by SA's inability to hold for longer. But this time SA seems to be keen to take over the crown one more time, perheps for longer. For India, if they want to be a regular #1 side they have to stop talking nonsense. After getting #1 rank all of sudden they found themselves on top of superpower and started treating rest of the world like anything. Imagine Sehwag's comment at Chittagong just before a test match and the subsequent crawling of Indian batting in very first day except the master Sachin who also failed to stretch the innings at 250 mark. Its time for Indians to stop bullying and focus on own game.

Posted by NEUTRAL_FAN on (February 10, 2010, 17:15 GMT)

After viewing highlights and following the after mat of this match and its comments , I realise that guys like Yuraj and Rohit saved their careers by not playing lol. If SA return Ashwell Prince to where he belongs and, or JP plays as he did in his debut series.,nothing will stop them from winning or drawing the last test! If Ind wins the last test, I hope for their sakes they don't ignore the fact that their test fielding and bowling are well below standard and that Saha being selected was the LEAST of their probs.

Posted by Cricket_Fanatic0001 on (February 10, 2010, 17:08 GMT)

First of all SA are the deserving winners. I can't see a different result even if India played full strength. May be the margin of loss wouldn't be this huge. The second point is the "Joker Selector Panel". They selected an unfit Laxman in the team. Then added Rohit at the last monemnt. They couldn't think what might happen if some one else gets injured. Then I must blame the captain cool Dhoni for poor batting and captaincy. As a captain he should have utilized his resources to the maximum extent. According to the cricket Pundits, Saha is the best wicketkeeper (if you consider wicketkeeping skill only) in the country. But Dhoni didn't give the wicketkeeping gloves to Saha. Dhoni could have easily concentrate on his own batting instead of keeping and dropping catches.

Posted by nirav123 on (February 10, 2010, 16:47 GMT)

where is irfan pathan......

Posted by Harsha_Reddy on (February 10, 2010, 16:44 GMT)

here is my perspective...Yes Selectors messed up..but so did the captain and the coach for picking saha purely as a batsman. In those cases we need to see who can be more effective and i would vote having a extra bowler than playing someone as a pure batsman when he is a wicketkeeper and no records to show he is a good batsman,

Posted by SAFFEX on (February 10, 2010, 16:33 GMT)

To Amol_Ind_SA : I would like to add that SA when they toured IND in 2004(2-test matches) were all but a full strength team. There was only Smith,Kallis that were experienced batters. They didn't even have Boucher. Still they gave a good fist of it. India only won due to the pitch bouncing unexpectedly at the Eden on the 4rth day. Else SA would have drawn the series.

@putudatta: ("Take away Amla, Kallis and Smith from their team and see whether they can win.") Yes, even better, let's take the whole SA team away and pretend this match never happened

Posted by SAFFEX on (February 10, 2010, 15:12 GMT)


Well answered and explained.

Posted by amarwalyat on (February 10, 2010, 14:43 GMT)

Over the years, our strength has been our quality sping bowling attack & unfazed batting attack. Well it seems Harbhajan is not able to do justice as speahead of spin bowling attack & seems a shadow of himself after Anil's retirement. Wicket-less spell of Ishant sharma once again showed that he has not regained his form which he was displaying a year ago. So from a broad perspective, it's imperative, we should groom a genuine allrounder who is not just capable of picking up wickets consistently but someone who can face any attack and score runs at No. 7 for Indian Test team. Now for the first time, we had to go into the match without the likes of Rahul Dravid - The Wall & V.V.S (Very Very Special) Laxman together which proved very costly for the Indian team as it was always going to be hard for the debutants Badri & Saha. Having said that, we have become No. 1 Test Side by excellent opening stand of Virender Sehwag & Gautam Gambhir. However Gambhir failed in both innings - Amarjeet

Posted by riand on (February 10, 2010, 14:12 GMT)

@ Bollo: Ah I was about to mention about Aussies loss to SL in 99/00 series. I agree with you on most of the points, India/Sl will not prove them selves to be No1, first of all I doubt India has any depth to their bowling attack to keep them floating at the Top. Even SL dont have that much of depth, I think Aussi and SA are the only teams that have the advantage now.

Posted by paramthegreat on (February 10, 2010, 13:50 GMT)

what crazyash is saying is india have won in sa, aus, nz which is true . they have not won a series like sa, but they have won test matches there. so he is completely right. india did win in nz tho( a very hapless test team)

Posted by paramthegreat on (February 10, 2010, 13:47 GMT)

i disagree with the bit regarding dhonis captaincy.....wat is he to do if he is 3 bowlers short every match?? after all , after his 8-1 field setting againt aussies , everyone complimented him (me included)...but now that "confidence", luck (winning the toss+batting first+umpiring decisions in favour of team india) has turned to arrogance and he is becoming 2 smart for his or his team's good. i mean , does he really think he can go on defending for so long on greentops like dravid?

however , for people saying we dont have good bowling reserves, jut look at 2008 cb finals, 2007 t 20 , 2008 perth . now how do u expect fast bowling to progress if you are playing matche on turners??

and all of the people who think the toss was "Crucial', turns out that it became so "uncrucial" during ind vs aus and ind vs sl test series, eh? then it came to "skills"

Posted by SachinIsTheGreatest on (February 10, 2010, 13:32 GMT)

Wanderer.Forever, I think what Harris did was brilliant. Compare it with what the Indian spinners did especially Harbhajan(in his twelfth year of international cricket, no less). Harris had a plan and he stuck to it. He snuffed out whatever fight India had with the wickets of Vijay and Tendulkar while starting the collapse in the first innings with Dhoni's.

Lloyd4148, you are quite right that Harbhajan had no idea what to do with Kallis and Amla. Once he began getting tickled to fine leg from outside off he lost it.

The gulf between the two teams' performances is amply evident in the way Harris bowled versus how Harbhajan and Mishra bowled.

Posted by ry13 on (February 10, 2010, 13:17 GMT)

After 2006/07 Ashes, Warne , mcgrath , langer and martyn retired. so people said that aussies have symonds , macgill , stuart clark and brad hodge for replacement. after 2007/08 gilchrist retired , so people said that haddin is replacement and then hayden retired so phil hughes was brought in. Even then Aus couldn't really beat england but then ponting took some rest and drafted in players like watson , bollinger and hauritz. they won the champs trophy and ever since then (except for sydney) have looked quite good. This is what you call good leadership. dhoni is a better tactician than ponting but what we saw after this test might be our future once dravid , tendulkar and laxman retire.Actually this team is ganguly's hard work which dhoni is enjoying. Dhoni is facing a lot of questions bt the most important one is that-


Posted by Loyd4148 on (February 10, 2010, 12:35 GMT)

Wanderer.Forever I'm not glorifying anything.I'm just simply saying that Harris bowled to a plan, negative or not, it WORKED!Whilst that cannot be said as far as Bhajji is concerned.I mean he continued to bowl the same off stump line and Kallis and Amla had no problems in negotiating him.To me it just goes to show that it's either he had no specific plan against them or there was no PLAN B!

Posted by honest_fan on (February 10, 2010, 12:21 GMT)

We can have a left arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja who has a decent batting record in for mishra/bhajji since bhajji is fading away with the ball since he is no more a mystery to any batsman and a left hand middle order bat like Abhinav mukund who has a solid technique and stats in his favour.

Posted by Bollo on (February 10, 2010, 11:50 GMT)

Apologies to Sri Lankan fans, who I`m sure remember the series win against Australia back in 99/00? Selective memory is my only poor excuse. The 1-0 win in that series still remains their only test victory over Australia however, and I challenge anyone to suggest that a team can be No1 in the world before winning a single test match, let alone series Down Under. More to the point, the last 2 home/away series resulted in a 2-0 whitewash in Aus, and a 3-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka.

Crazyash, sorry to tell you that India has never won a test series in Australia or managed to even draw one in South Africa. Until you do, perhaps you can understand the scepticism with which the whole `Best test team in the world` hoopla has been greeted. cheers.

Posted by gazza2010 on (February 10, 2010, 11:43 GMT)

@Wanderer.Forever: You a bitter little man! So your club mate: Which test cricket team does he play for then? How many test wickets has he got? Harris may not be a great bowler but he took 4 wickets in the match and performed exactly as South Africa would expect. Somehow I think he (and the team) will be quite happy with themselves regardless of what bitter little people like you think.

Posted by gerardpereira20 on (February 10, 2010, 11:38 GMT)

Sure there are some crumbs of comfort for India. things might have been different had Dhoni won the toss and had Dravid and Laxman been playing. But this would have just beem papering over the cracks. It has been noticeable for sometime that India's bowling lacks bite. Both in the ODIs and tests average players like Tahim Iqbal and Mahmadulla Rihad have been taking the bowlers to the cleaners and that is not to mention the likes of Thranga, Dilshan and Sangskara.India has been carried around by the batting. Take Dravid and Laxman out of the equation and suddenly India look a very poor side. Should Injury hit either tendulkar or Shewag India would be struggling to beat sides like the West Indies.In Smith, Kallis, Amla, and AB South Africa have a batting lineup campareable with Inda, in Steyn and Morkel they have vastly superior bowlers. India's only hope is to rig the Kolkata pitch and play three spinners.

Posted by GoCho on (February 10, 2010, 10:25 GMT)

@ crazyash-lol!! Ind have beat Aus, SA you say?? let me refresh your memory..we have never won a series in SA - we lost 2-1 last time and never won a test match before that. Aus have beaten SA in their bkyard. We have never won a series in Aus..we lost 2-1 last time..SA have beaten Aus in Aus. I agree neither teams have the invincibility of the Aussies in the last decade but its fancy thinking to call ourselves no1..@ callmerake check the ICC report on the kanpur wicket and you will get the meaning of 'underprepared'. On a wicket when a puff of dust rises on day1, ordinary spinners like bhajji get the ball to kick up, unpredictable bounce from day1 thats underprepared for you..

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (February 10, 2010, 10:20 GMT)

Indian's defeat is a slap on face of ICC's co called non sense ranking system. An Inninings defeat? Reality is that Australia is still the best team in world especially the talent pool they have got. South Africa is close second. England is third and India will be lucky to be fourth. Problem with Indian team has been complacency as India uses SG ball to help their bowlers, umpiring against Sri Lanka was shocking and pitches like Kanpur and Kotla do not help Indian cricket. India has not won anything of note in limited over cricket and this defeat should further confirm India's long over rated status in world cricket. Ian Chappel's comments about India's bowling were also fully vindicated. Apart from occasional burst from Zaheer Khan, Indian bowling is very ordinary and that is where India lost the match. It also appears India batting has no future. Hard decisions need to be made and players like Harbhajan, Ishant needs to be dropped & Tendulkar needs to win some matches like Kallis did

Posted by TequillaGuy on (February 10, 2010, 10:19 GMT)

@ manver023, @gretfan: I totally agree with your views on Dhoni. What is his primary skill? Wicketkeeping: He keeps dropping catches and surely India has better wicket keepers Batting: See his averages against best bowling attacks (SA, Aus) outside India. Captaincy: I have been following his captaincy for quite a while and dont see him being imaginative or particularly gifted while setting fields and planning.

I cant even comprehend why people give him credit for India's No 1 ranking in Tests. It has been a long process which started under Dada and continued with Dravid and Kumble.

He has contributed to India's downfall in ODIs.I find it hard to imagine that Rahul Dravid is not in ODI team. The credit for that probably goes to Dhoni too. India plays very few tests in the year and its difficult for guys like Dravid and Laxman leave alone youngsters to remain match fit and suddenly face likes of Steyn after playing domestic bowlers.

Posted by Wanderer.Forever on (February 10, 2010, 9:33 GMT)

Loyd4148 My club mate can bowl 19 maiden overs if he bowls a negative line. Those tactics worked - yes and no harm in that. But please don't glorify an ordinary bowler like Harris for chrissakes! Geoffrey Boycott's mum could bowl better than him!

Posted by Bollo on (February 10, 2010, 8:46 GMT)

Just to remind everyone how these rankings can fail to tell the true story, only a month or two ago we faced the possibility of Sri Lanka being ranked No 1 if they`d been able to beat India in a test series. This is a team that has never won a series against Australia either home or away, and has won 1 of the 20 test matches contested between the countries. Nuff said

Posted by Bollo on (February 10, 2010, 8:38 GMT)

...all but unbeatable at home. So in my mind, none of those 3 teams are close yet to real bragging rights. Aus need to beat England and India away and Saf at home. Saf need to beat Aus and England at home and India away. India need to beat Aus, SL and Saf away. If any team can achieve even two of those, they will be worthy test champs in their own eyes and the eyes of the public. Until then, it`s lies, damn lies, and statistics. Just ask the players!

Posted by Bollo on (February 10, 2010, 8:30 GMT)

To bring some sense to the continual discussions about rankings, I`m sure the players still think of it in terms of the way the old rankings (far from perfect themselves) were devised. ie. results of the previous series, both home and away, against all opposition. The great West Indies and Aussie sides of the past 30years pretty much ticked every box, and it wasn`t until Australia had beaten the Windies home and away that they felt they were truly test champions. We currently find ourselves in a very different situation, where 3 teams have nominally topped the rankings in the space of 6 months. Remember, South Africa didn`t take over the No 1 spot until after the Aussies lost the Ashes. It seemed a fait accompli that South Africa were ready to take over the mantle, but were surprisingly well-beaten by the Aussies at home, and drew a series they really felt they should`ve won against England. Meanwhile India are still yet to crack a series win in Aus or South Africa, while remaining ...

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (February 10, 2010, 8:01 GMT)

@Customkid: (Age has no influence over Class.) EXACTLY. I agree with U. To understand this, U just have to look at Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Dravid, Donald, Kirsten, McGrath, Warne, Gilchrist, Steve Waugh, Walsh, Ambrose, Lara. I still have no idea why Steve was dropped. Kallis is in the same League. He will still get runs (if not wickets) at the age of 40.

And for those who say-"Relax guys, Steyn and Amla had to bring out their career-best performances just to beat India." : Just check how much young Steyn, Morkel n Amla are and more importantly...THEIR CAREER-GRAOHS ARE ON THE **RISE**. That means they may produce a better performance than this in the next coming matches. I suggest look out for Steyn, Morkel, Parnell in the year 2010. They r going to be the next Donald, Pollock and ...err better than Ntini.

Posted by Loyd4148 on (February 10, 2010, 7:56 GMT)

Congatulations to Greame Smith and the boys.You guys continue to set an example of how modern day Test cricket should be played.When we were 6-2, we required batsmen that had composure and strong mentality as far as crease occupation is concerned, and Amla and Kallis displayed that to perfection.Contrast to the Indian batting line-up, Sehwag played an excellent innings but he still has to learn that being aggrasive all the time does not win you games.Crease occupation for long periods of time is ESSENTIAL.I would also like to applaude Dale Steyn for a phenomenal spell of fast and swing bowling on a pitch that was not assisting much to fast bowlers, hence you justify why you are the best Test bowler around.As for Bhajji not bowling a MAIDEN over for the entire innings, and yet he is India's BEST spinner, they are going to continue to lose games.Take Paul Harris, he is not the BEST spinner around, but he bowled 19 MAIDEN overs, 19!!I mean that should be some food for thought for MS & Co.

Posted by crazyash on (February 10, 2010, 7:51 GMT)

@ callmerake... completely agree with you. When test matches finish in 3 days in SA or Australia, it is visiting team's incapability to play swing bowling. But, when the same thing happens in sub continent, it is termed as under-prepared wicket. We have to come out of that mentality guys. Our strength is spin bowling and our batsman can play spin better. So, why not go for a turning track in Kolkata. If we again go for a track which will be good for batting on the first 2 days, we will again loose if Smith somehow manages to win the toss again. Then, we will be blaming our team.

And all those who are saying that we don't deserve to be number 1, think again guys. SA coudn't even beat England (Rank-6) playing on their home grounds. And If SA has won in Aus, Pak and Ind, we have also won in Aus, NZ, SA. I don't see much of a difference.

For all those who r saying dat we beat Srilanka to become no 1, just wanna remind them dat beating Srilanka is not a cakewalk. Don't be too harsh

Posted by Wanderer.Forever on (February 10, 2010, 7:48 GMT)

I wanna see SA once Kallis bids adieu. He is the pillar of this team and is much better than the so called all-rounders of yore from SA - Macmillan, Klusener, et al.

Smith is being very cocky about the "rake" in Eden gardens pitch. Does he remember the threats issued by Trevor Quirk (yeah Trevor who?? that innocous and overly viased SA commentator) in the 90s when SA got duly hammered on a spinning beauty (I think it was Ahmedabad; not sure). Guess what, Indians got hammered back on a green top at Kingsmead, Durban on the return tour.

Moral of the story: Everyone at home plays to their strengths. Full Stop!

Advice to BCCI: Please prepare dust bowls and let the Aussies, South Africans, English keep complaning if they chose to!

Posted by W350 on (February 10, 2010, 7:38 GMT)

Firstly,Hats off the South Africa for their win.It was a splendid team effort and as Dhoni said they outplayed India in all three departments.Now that its all over and we have a few more days goin into the second test match,India has a lot of issues to sort out(which i hope from the bottom of my heart they do).I got a lot to say but no space,I just hope the selectors read this. 1) First blame and probably all of it should go to the board. 2) Where on earth are people like Uttapa,Kohli,Kaif,Murali Kathick,RP Singh etc gone.Have they all migrated to England or Africa that they are not even in contention? 3) Come what say what Yuvraj is not a test batsman so you either keep him for one dayers and 20's or tell him to play test cricket with his mom and pa. 4)When was the last time Harbhajan Singh won us a test match?? He is in the team on past laurels.Please send him for a county or domestic season.For christ sake Harris bowled better than him!and mishra aint quality

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (February 10, 2010, 7:36 GMT)

@Putudatta: ("We are playing the best modern day "chokers"!") Losing by an amazing gap of AN INNINGS does not appear choking to me. It appears as a Massacre to me. Especially if IND could get ONLY SIX wickets against SA.

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (February 10, 2010, 7:35 GMT)

@putudatta: ("Take away Amla, Kallis and Smith from their team and see whether they can win.") Yes, even better, let's take the whole SA team away and pretend this match never happened (as it burst the over-hyped Dhoni's over-hyped team's inflated ego.)

("Thanks to a magical spell from Sreesanth, SA lost the series.") Get your facts right. SA won the series 2-1 by winning the 2nd n 3rd test.

("This SA team drew the series against England.") Eng. missed being losers as 3-1 by the breadth of 2 wicket taking-balls. (Eng were left dangling by 1 wicket each in the 1st and 3rd match.)

(" By law of averages, Gambhir was due for a failure!") Isn't it an amazing coincidence that Gambhir's failure was due against a top-class bowling attack ? ( Full credits/appreciation go to Sachin n Viru though Viru threw his wicket n Sachin was plain UNfortunate to get out in that way.)

Posted by smasher001 on (February 10, 2010, 7:33 GMT)

Indian spinners must be blamed for the loss. Both spinners bowled badly. They have to utilize their experience to counter South African tactics. Except for Zaheer no other bowler had a plan to get the opposition batsman out. Amit Mishra never looked like getting any batsman out, The main difference between Steyn , Morkel & Co was that they bowled at the stumps, whereas our bowler especially spinners bowled away from stumps. Bring back Anil Kumble. Replace Amit Mishra with Jadeja or Chawla, Harbajan should take a holiday, Bringing back Sreesanth is a huge mistake. The guy only performs every 20 matches.Remember Ajit Agarkar India needs fastman with speed. Please find someone to replace Ishant. He too should take a holiday.

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (February 10, 2010, 7:14 GMT)

As an Indian, I am amazed at the quality of some India-fans as how they are convenient at comfortably ignoring the superior quality of the opponents who beat us flat and hard ...AND KEEP TALKING ABOUT THE 'WHAT-IFs'. Let's give a little respect to the opponents they deserve and not just be like the frog in a well who kept bragging about the world in the Well since it had never seen an Ocean.

Posted by greenandwhite on (February 10, 2010, 7:05 GMT)

Hmm....I remember reading an article on cricinfo (written by Greg Chappel I think) that said India are never going to be a number 1 team because they lack quality bowling. That was all that was ringing through the viewer's minds during this first test match. The irony is that when that article was written, tons of Indian fans trashed the article and laughed about it. Who's laughing now?

Sure the selection of batsmen hurt a lot, but a test match is about taking 20 wickets period. If they had bowled well or even decent, it would have taken pressure off the batsmen and this could have been a contest. Instead, India took less than 10 wickets and one of the SA batsmen was on 250+ NOT OUT.

Mark my words now, you can add Laxman or Raina or even Karthik into the side, but with bowling performances like this one, the "number one" side will be toppled.

Posted by TravelBandit on (February 10, 2010, 6:53 GMT)

VictorTrumpet : Thanks! Your analysis of the ruinous effect of the IPL and 20-20 cricket on Indian batsmen is superb and spot-on. Couldn't have put it better myself. The reality is that in 20 years time nobody will remember anything about who won the IPL, or care even - test cricket is what counts over the long term.

Posted by jjabbal on (February 10, 2010, 6:46 GMT)

Just a simple question is that why the debutants Badri and Vijay not included in the tour game. It would have given them feel of SA bowlers and prepared them better for the test match. Don't you think the home team should also get used to the bowlers and batters of the visiting team before they face the real test. Even openers would have got the feel of Steyn and Morkel's music. I hope BCCI would look into this and treat the tour game as dress rehersal for a real test match.

Posted by CustomKid on (February 10, 2010, 6:37 GMT)

@Putudatta that may be the case taking out those players from the SA team but you must realise that VVS, Dravid and SRT will soon be gone. As for Singh he's possibly the most over rated test batsmen in the indian squad. His poor record proves that. If those 3 play through until they are 40 it will totally ruin this Indian side for years to come. They aren't the players they used to be. Scoring hundreds against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on pitches made of concrete isn't what I would call awe inspiring. Sure they have been great players but you cannot hang on forever. A new era must be ushered in sooner rather than later for the good of the national side. Even if they were in the side I doubt they would have stopped Steyn in that form.

While Kailis is 34, Smith and Amla are young men with plenty of fuel left in the tank. The only thing that will see them slip from the current side is form. Age has no influence as they are both under 30 years of age.

Posted by Wanderer.Forever on (February 10, 2010, 6:35 GMT)

Victortrumpet does have a point on our batting reserves not being as good as they've been made out to be. However, I feel, alongside Manish Pandey, Badrinath and Kohli do have more than just sparks of brilliance. Uttappa, Raina, Dhawan, Sharma may just go the Amol Majumdar way - show a lot of promise but never quite "there" although I really hope atleast Sharma and Raina prove me wrong! Batsman like Tiwari have already fallen by the way side - I think he was over-hyped anyways (recollect an ashen faced Tiwari facing Brett Lee in a one-dayer in Australia). Don't know much about Pujara to comment on.

But the most hilarious comment was made by "OnlyAmit" - recall ""Kaif""! My god, I would rather recall Laxman Sivaramakrishna to replace a woefully out of form, Harbhajan if "recall" was made compulsory to dig the India team out of this hole through an act in the parliament! ;-)

Posted by teo. on (February 10, 2010, 6:30 GMT)

This victory clearly highlights India's rise to the No.1 spot, and questions their unfounded claim to being the top test side. They have played Sri Lanka countless times, and Bangladesh recently, and all on the sub-continenant, and yes they played very very well in those series and deserved their victories. SA on the other hand have toured Pakistan, Australia, England and have won series against everyone, Everywhere... Their rise to no.1 is thus reflective of their teams ability.

Posted by bipulkumar on (February 10, 2010, 6:29 GMT)

I think selectors must take all the blame. They must have tested India's bench strenght against B'desh. They took everything for granted. They never considered fitness problems for Sachin, Laxman and Dravid as they have been consistently available. They didn't try to build a strong bench strenght and went into bizarre experimentation. Vijay has yet to prove himself at any level. Decision to pick Wriddhiman Saha is as rediculous as it can be. Proven youngsters like Raina, Kohli, Karthik, Manish Pandey, Pujara, Rohit Sharma are ignored. Selectors have gone all wrong with their laid back approach towards building a future test team. Dravid, Laxman and Sachin needs to be rotated even if they are available, so that newer players get a look in.

Posted by SAFFEX on (February 10, 2010, 6:28 GMT)

SA have beaten us fair and square. It will be no surprise if they win at the Eden. Good luck to the Proteas. Hopefully they can keep their edge over their rivals Aussies and stay on top. It will be good for the game if SA and IND are the dominant forces in world cricket.

Posted by CustomKid on (February 10, 2010, 6:23 GMT)

Should India lose this series my money is Kirsten getting the sack.

Dsig3 I couldn't agree with you more. India will always be paper tigers. Until they change the way cricket is played in India it will remain so. Bowlers win matches of cricket - they are the guys who need to take 20 scalps. You can always scrape runs together from the 11 men in your side but you'll never scrape together 20 wickets. India need to start playing on wickets that offer bowlers assistance and develop some young quicks. You'd have to be insane to want to be a bowler growing up in India today. Where is the incentive playing on pitches that equate to roads day in day out? It also makes their batsmen better playing on green tops. Look at SA and AUS - more often than not they will post 350+ on green pitches, making those runs more special when you have a quality attack to take advantage of conditions. Given the Indian population and it's love for cricket you should be number one consistently. BCCI is to blame

Posted by paramthegreat on (February 10, 2010, 6:10 GMT)

@callmerake: underprepared pitch means you stop watering the pitch one week prior to it, so that it becomes extremely dry and like a plant kept in the sun , for 5 days w/o water. it has nothing to do with spin/pace . of course,it supports spin rather than pace and is almost like playing in your garden:)

Posted by KK4Cricket on (February 10, 2010, 6:07 GMT)

I go by Putudatta's comments. Much appreciated and I am in same boat as him.

Posted by Amu7 on (February 10, 2010, 6:03 GMT)

The ratings are anything but very near sighted ones. The ratings tell us one thing they are absurd to say the least. Ratings tell that the team that has won 100 tests in over 70 years is hell a lot better than a team that compiled about 70 wins in last decade. The ratings at a point were telling us that a team which hasnt won a test series outside the subcontinent barring zimbabwe was better than a team which has one in every nation and hasnt lost a series in SAF since 69-70, where the team which im referring to ignominiously hasnt been close to winning a test match. Frankly this Indian team is over rated, team without an anchor bowler , an opener who has overachieved and without two class batsmen near the end of the line are just plainly pathetic.

Posted by nawwabsahab on (February 10, 2010, 6:00 GMT)

this is the irony of sub continental teams...they are so unpredictible you cant keep them in top league for a longer bit of period. its just the week mentality of our players which led to such performances. An under strengthed australia can win in a away series like india but an understrengthed india can play well on their home turf. the current south african team isnt that great as comparing to aussies in 2003 or else but there is no weekness in their mental abilities. they are focused and dont have master blasters, terminators in their team but sensible professional players. which india lacks..................!

Posted by DocBindra on (February 10, 2010, 5:41 GMT)

Well, one loss and the buzzards are out in full force. Enough with the pointless rants followed by knee jerk reactions. Yes, SA was the better side and deserved to win plain and simple. So what, its a game, things happen. I guarantee India batting first would have been a better result...Steyn, Amla had career games and Kallis had a superb game as well. Take any teams 3 middle order batsmen with experience and replace them with 3 newbies, they will stumble against quality opponents. Let me see how the MIGHTY Aussies look without Ponting, Hussey and Clarke in the middle. Well, Ponting and Hussey will be done sooner than most think, then we will see. I think Jadeja should be the obvious spin choice since he can bat as well, maybe Chawla should get a look in instead of Mishra and definitely Harbhajan. Yes, selectors goofed big time, why not have a bigger squad or have more guys on standby? I don't think Rohit should have even been in contention, Pujara, Rahane, Kohli...hello?

Posted by gzawilliam on (February 10, 2010, 5:10 GMT)

Its now only a matter of time till Australia are back at NO.1. India do not have depth. They have old crusty genius's that may win a game against BANG or SRI LANKA but not a quality fast bowling side like SA.

India have no answer for Steyn and no answer to Kalli's dravid like wall impression.

Problem with SA is. When steyn is missing they stuggle. When kallis is missing they just plain lose.

When Lee , Clark, Siddle, Hilfenhaus or haddin are missing for Australia we have even better players waiting such as Doug the rug , Ryan Harris, and tim paine.

Not long now.

Posted by Samdanh on (February 10, 2010, 4:57 GMT)

Prepare a sporting pitch that is good for all five days and put the best team in to compete well. If Indian team has credentials to be no.1 truly, then it should find it easy to win and draw the series to retain the no.1 position, provided it plays to its potential. To talk of repeating what we did to Australia in 2004 in Mumbai and to SA the last time they visted here-turining out a minefield-will only show that we are incapable of winning on team merits. Let us not put on a face of cowardice. Rather turn a true sport and play on a true pitch. If we have the credentials, we should have the confidence to win. Didn't we win SA, England and Australia? Did anyone help us with minefields on those occasions? Stand up India! Stand up BCCI! Let us not stoop to any level to conquer. But let us stand up to compete well and fairly.

Posted by crikkfan on (February 10, 2010, 4:34 GMT)

gitapat - totally agree with u. Also i dont think the problem was saha being drafted in as much as Rohit being the first reserve ! - that was the ludicrous part. Imagine if Kohli and Raina were the reserves - much better shape. With that said, i dont think it would have mattered to the result - no dravid and vvs and poor form for bhajji - we were doomed from the start !

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (February 10, 2010, 4:02 GMT)

Let's accept it. Indian Batsmen and Spinners are legendary but...unless India consistently produces world-class ***Fast Bowlers*** who can swing the ball at high speeds, India cannot stay at Numero Uno position for long. Because it's the bowlers who should take 20 wickets to win a Test match. And South Africa and Australia produces tons of them. I'm an Indian saying this....Anyway, Dale Steyn is PHENOMENAL. Perhaps, he will become the Fastest Pace Bowler to reach 200 wickets in terms of Number of Matches (38) played. So let's give him his due.

Posted by Aditya R Kulkarni on (February 10, 2010, 2:56 GMT)

While Indian selection can be blamed, it would be very foolish not to think of the fact that this was a teat match of dreams for SA fans; their 'wall' Kallis stood string, Amla proved he was more than just hope, and ofcourse needless to say abt Steyn and Morkel. I doubt if Australia of five years ago would've been able to escape a defeat had they played against SA instead of this depleted Indian side. What is more interesting is Paul Harris - i remember, he had impressed when India toured SA in '06-'07, and if my memory is right he had probably done well against the Pakistan series that followed right after. But quite annoyingly, he was left out the world-cup squad and wasn't seen as often as i expected him to. Atleast now, i hope he wouldn't be overlooked. Justice finally!

Posted by Tpatel on (February 10, 2010, 0:44 GMT)

i am really sad from the loss yesterday. They looked so lost. Indians aren't doing well against world class team such as Australia and South Africa. they can't play well under pressure. Look at Australia, they will get the best out of each and every person on the team. At the same time Indian captain will start to find excuses. You know what I am not the one to blame Tendulkar but for past few years now he doesn't seem to be the guy playing for the team. Instead, he just wants to be the highest run scorer in the world. I could get the feeling watching the game yesterday that as soon as he made hundred he was going to get out. Also, you have to blame selectors. Since, Srikanth has been the selector we are seeing all these south Indian cricketers get chance to play. When will the politics end? Dhoni needs to be told to have a winning attitude. he looks lost when he doesn't have the best players in his team. Also, is there a match fixing still going on in indian cricket?

Posted by dsig3 on (February 10, 2010, 0:07 GMT)

Paper tigers. Always have been. Should be dominating cricket in all forms consistantly. India will never be a powerhouse with their current superstars let alone their less talented replacements. Australia will see you on your way down.

Posted by CustomKid on (February 9, 2010, 23:50 GMT)

Interesting to see the negative comments leveled at the home team. As an Aussie supporter I'm a very keen onlooker at this series. I once despised SA due to their arrogance yet they never won anything. In 2008/09 they came to Australia with none of the arrogance and played wonderful cricket, they won the series and my respect. Outside of Australia they are my favourite team to watch, so many classy players.

Steyn is simply an amazing bowler enough said. India have been pretenders for a long time. Great batsman but have lacked quality bowlers for decades, and bowlers are more important than batsmen. Champion sides have champion bowlers, runs can be scraped together from 11 men but not wickets. India's only hope now is a complete dust bowl that will turn from ball one. I'm sure that is what will be served up in T2.

You can say SA did the same against ENG but they still scored 500 runs on a green top. It had somehting for everyone. Go SA and crush the pretenders once and for all.

Posted by putudatta on (February 9, 2010, 23:43 GMT)

India lost it. So what? Take away Amla, Kallis and Smith from their team and see whether they can win. If you lose Dravid, Laxman and Yuvraj and still expect a decent showing, perhaps you are asking too much. We have to support the team, instead of doing criticism. Rememeber, Indau beat South Africa in South Africa, thanks to a magical spell from Sreesanth. They lost the series. This SA team drew the series against England. Steyn bowled very well, no doubt about that. By law of averages, Gambhir was due for a failure! I back India to win in Kolkata! We are playing the best modern day "chokers"!

Posted by nlambda on (February 9, 2010, 23:42 GMT)

It is not the batting which is to blame... it is the bowling. Our batsmen are forced to practice with bowlers having speeds of 80-82 MPH. Then you expect them to handle 90-92 MPH. As long as our bowling is so pathetic our batsmen will continue to be "shocked" against genuinely quick bowlers. It is clear that Zaheer and Ishant simply do not put in the effort to bowl fast. Even Kallis touched 90MPH several times. But these guys do not bend their back probably because their well wishers have adviced them that bowling slow is the way to avoid injuries!

Posted by paramthegreat on (February 9, 2010, 22:48 GMT)

this is exactly what i hate so much regarding indian pitches.....with good teams in contention the toss becomes 99.9% important....remember ind vs aus?? win the toss and bat and you wont lose the game unless it is a rank turner...have you seen the toss playing such a haphazard role in SA or aus??eg: in a d/n match ., win the toss , say "we are gonna have a field", hope the ball becomes more slippery than a soap bar later on in the night due to dew and win . i am sure if india wins the toss next match, they can win . or they can prepare a rank turner:P

Posted by RameshSubramaniam on (February 9, 2010, 22:25 GMT)

This is the perfect oppurtunity to test the a 5 bowler oppurtunity. But Kristen and Dhoni do not want to take the risk for the reason only they know. Also they should understand time for Harbhajan is running out. But sure India will bounce back in Eden as everyone knows Not only India, SA also fold in the preesure.

Posted by victortrumpet on (February 9, 2010, 22:13 GMT)

I'm reminded of Harsha Bhogle's recent article glorifying the depth of India's batting stocks. I chuckled then & I chuckle now. What batting stocks? Surely an ironic joke by the charismatic josher. But every blogger was swept along in Bhogle's grandiloquent optimism & even posted four or five names of their own, who they thought would fill the void left by the retirement of the great ones. But you only need to watch the IPL to observe that India's batting cupboard is completely bare. Of all the young players on show, only Pandey has anything like the verve to replace these maestros. Names like Kohli, Raina, Sharma, Kaif, Karthik and Uthappa are little more than second string proponents of limited overs cricket at best. And this ruinous trend is now set in cement. Because of the influence of the IPL, every young Indian cricketer will become a master of the slog, but have nothing of the mental discipline or technique to develop into a Test player. Of course we can thank the IPL for that.

Posted by nishant022 on (February 9, 2010, 22:13 GMT)

Another thing which is detrimental for India's aspect is that still they are not looking for an all rounder. Take other two teams contending for number one spot, Australia has Shane Watson, SA has Kallis, even Sri Lankans found Angelo Mathews, but India has no plans to search for an all rounder. A batting allrounder who can bowl few seam overs or a bowling all rounder who can hit a fifty occasionally would definitely balance the team.

Posted by ian_ghose on (February 9, 2010, 22:05 GMT)

This should give all those rabid and jingoistic indians something to think about. No. 1, eh? Doesn't look like it. Guess who's ordinary now? It was only a matter of time before the hot air balloon that India is, got punctured and came tumbling down to earth. Now maybe the realization will seep in that their batsmen are nothing but a bunch of flat-track bullies and their 'God' is ordinary and selfish. Their bowling is substandard and their spearhead 'Zak' is good only at sledging at a Bangladeshi No. 8 Batsman. Harbhajan Singh - I wonder whose bu** he's kissing to still be in the team. Its amazing how many excuses are pouring in for India's 'real' performance. Afterall this test series was arranged to ensure India got a chance to maintain its 'No.1 status'. Looks like they chose the wrong team to maintain it against. India would have been better served to call Sri Lanka back or maybe invoke Zimbabwe's Test status and play the series against them, because lets face it,you are ordinary

Posted by TwitterJitter on (February 9, 2010, 22:01 GMT)

@durai86 T20 is entertainment, not really serious cricket.It is immaterial who wins in T20. It is just for entertainment. So, on that factor I would take IPL (better entertainment than WC T20) and won't bother if they are tired for the WC T20. With regards to test cricket, we are #1 and that is fair based on win/loss record. But if are to hold a test championship, we won't win because our bowling is rubbish. I am not too concerned about batting because of some rubbish selection this time by picking Saha instead of Kohli. Not that one pick would have mattered in this game, but they will bat better next time. India's weakness is the first test of any series. If we escape losing the 1st test in a series then we always do well because our batsmen take time to adjust. Our bowling is a different matter. Harbhajan should be sent packing for Murali Karthik or Piyush Chawla.

Posted by jakes31366 on (February 9, 2010, 21:32 GMT)

probably if we look back then Greg Chappel's ways were right. we would have the required bench strength by now

Posted by Baratheonking on (February 9, 2010, 21:32 GMT)

Beside the sub par team India had to put in, how come no one ever talks about how crucial winning a toss is on subcontinent wickets? I think the result would have been a lot better if india had won the toss. Even if they had lost the test, it would have been much closer than it was. Please get rid of Harbhajan for god's sake. He hasn't done justice to his selection for a long time now. It's about time, we make that change for good.

Posted by OnlyAmit on (February 9, 2010, 21:20 GMT)

There have been a few interesting comments. According to me (and I am no expert), the selectors picking Saha was a blunder. Even if they wanted a reserve wicketkeeper, they should have picked Dinesh Karthik, who has more experience than Saha and is a better batsman. I am sure Rohit faked injury to avoid facing Steyn.........hahaha......just kidding !! I think Vijay and Badri faced the music well and we should not blame them for the debacle. We need to groom players like them to make sure we have ideal replacements for Dravid, VVS, Tendulkar when they retire. Well, I don't think that we will ever have IDEAL replacements for them because those guys are legends. But I really think the selectors should give Kaif a chance. He has the temperament, technique and the right attitude to be in the middle order. Besides, he may be at the right age to bring the maturity needed in that position. He has done well recently in domestic cricket too.

Posted by jakes31366 on (February 9, 2010, 21:19 GMT)

Dhoni, i feel is the most overrated test captain...he has just been plain lucky

Posted by FMatt on (February 9, 2010, 21:16 GMT)

Middlestump, both of those wickets by Harris (Dhoni and Sachin) that you are referring to had a huge element of luck in it than anything else. As it so happens, both of those wickets were the sign of the collapse to follow. Thankfully, at least in the 2nd innings, the tail did connect on a lot of their heaves and we managed to get within 6 runs of the mammoth SA 1st inning total. Selectors, coaches, and Dhoni definitely have a challenge in their hands as far as picking the playing 11 for the 2nd test is concerned. Let's see if they can pull off a repeat of the last home series against SA by winning the 2nd test. If a ball shooting off the pitch and the glove of Dhoni or rolling off the pad and elbow on to the stumps of Sachin can be game changers, You never know.... :-)

Posted by SRT_Jammy_Dada_VVS_and_Anil_legends on (February 9, 2010, 21:15 GMT)

Feel very sorry for Saha, who did an admirable job considering all the unfair pressure placed on him by being forced to play as a specialist batsman. I notice that he has been rewarded for his fighting spirit by being dropped for the 2nd Test. How refreshing to see that some habits of Indian cricket still haven't moved on from the Vizzy era of the 1930s. This is the kind of typical career-destroying selection that has plagued Indian cricket in the past. Let's just pray that Saha is strong enough to recover from this humiliating insult and make sure he isn't another of India's one-cap wonders forever destined to languish in domestic cricket. Srikkanth and the whole selection panel should be sacked for this disgrace, this is the second disgusting decision they have made recently after dropping Rahul Dravid from the ODI squad. If players can be held accountable, then selectors should be as well.

Posted by jakes31366 on (February 9, 2010, 21:02 GMT)

one can see our great captain Dhoni pushing himself up the order when we face a weak opposition. I guess seeing the way Steyn was bowling he did not have the guts even though the team had a lot of inexperienced players.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2010, 20:15 GMT)

we should consider the fact that south africa is far better team than india, they have one of the finest allrounders( kallis), batting average is greater than 3 of our FAB 5. they have devilliers , who can also keep wickets if boucher get injured nd oustanding fielder. their pace bowling unit is the best at present moment. why ishant being picked always ,he has bowling badly since 1 nd half years . dhoni committment toward ishant sharma is questionable always sticks to whom he likes.. pathan is far better player than ishant looking at present form. . hopefully dhoni understand it nd pick the right team

Posted by IMObserver on (February 9, 2010, 19:54 GMT)

Well, India should have paid attention to what Ian Chappel said rather than scoff at his remark that India will retain # 1 status not for long. Indian bowlers should practice, learn and improve. Fielding needs special attention; some bowlers do much better if fielding is sharp, and bowlers don't get dejected due to dropped catches. Half the half chances should materialize in wickets; dropping sitters should be once in blue moon. In my opinion SA and Australia are better teams not withstanding the ranking; England might also be competetive.I am with Ian Chappel: An addition of a good quicky who can bowl accurately at about 140kmph and an all rounder is essential to stay at the top.

Posted by Emp5caesar on (February 9, 2010, 19:41 GMT)

How 'ordinary' from the Indian team. A team should back up smalk-talk with performance over a period of time, not just one series. "...they never looked like dismissing South Africa once, forget twice." LOL.

Posted by manasvi_lingam on (February 9, 2010, 19:26 GMT)

It's all quite simple - a few changes need to be made, asap. Firstly, against the not-so-strong teams a rotation policy must be adopted both in Tests and in ODIs so that the likes of Pujara, Rahane and Pandey gain international experience. Secondly, a hunt for a genuine all-rounder preferably a batting all-rounder who can bat in the top 6 is required. (otherwise Dhoni will have to bat at 6 and he doesn't have enough skill to do so). Look at all-rounders like Jadeja, Ganapathy, Nayar and Irfan. Thirdly, a rotation policy must be adopted in the pace-bowling department to provide the likes of Mithun and Tyagi with chances. (and opportunities for those out of the team - RP, Praveen, Mnaf, etc) And finally, blood new spinners. Drop all existing spinners since none of them are that good. Give Chawla, Ashwin, Aushik, Vikas Mishra a chance. And finally, arrange as many A tours as possible - upto 3-4 per year would be good.

Posted by shankyforu on (February 9, 2010, 19:02 GMT)

With all due respect to Saha's credentials and abilities, its frustratingly weird that why would the team think tank keep a reserve wicket keeper in the squad when u are in India only, and your key batsmen are out for sure courtesy injuries. At least Virat Kohli has, if many may not agree for Suresh Raina, have shown brilliant temperament and potential in the shorter version of the game and in domestic. Why this allergy to take good ODI performers ( who have played long innings in 50 over format) since quiet some time in Indian Cricket? And God knows what more should Cheteshwar Pujara do to play in the national team, watching the current crisis in middle order!!!!

Posted by Murpheus on (February 9, 2010, 18:58 GMT)

I think we should give credit to the SA team, who has performed well throughout the match. and also accept the fact that the indian team was under strength without their main test batsman. So please give the benefit of doubt and hope india plays well in the next match. However I have few points to highlight here. I do not know how come saha got selected when you have better wk batsman in parthiv patel and dinesh kartik. 2nd, ishant sharma and harbhajan are not threatening anymore. Bajji is really dissapointing in last few test matches. Can someone tell me why this guy is bowling leg stump line in last 1 yr or so. Have you seen how many times bajji has given wide 4 in one days??Ishant says he will never compromise with his speed...Boss you 1st bowl at 145 kph, then you talk abt speed. When your average speed does not cross 130, why r u talking abt speed.

Posted by adismith13 on (February 9, 2010, 18:54 GMT)

i think that it is completely false that ppl are blaming dhoni...i honestly feel that he is an amzing captain.... i do however blame the selectors...i mean on what basis did saha comeinto the squad...does the name VIRAT ring any bell?? and posted by so called greatfan above i believe that Irfan pathan sud be given a chance back...he brings stability in the line up....and wat better swing bowler than him...i still cannot forget the hatrick against pakistan....i still vow for the india team in the next match....I BELIEVE !!!

Posted by crikbuff on (February 9, 2010, 18:47 GMT)

There were faults all over. The selectors must be taken to task for not having enough batsmen to cover for injuries - Kohli or Pujara should have been part of the squad. But one aspect many have missed out is the ineffective bowling. Our bowling was full 'strength'. But so called 'top' performers like Harbhajan and Ishant Sharma were totally useless. Serious thoughts need to be given whether these 2 are worthwhile or should India look beyond then to youngsters who can be real matchwinners.

Posted by ThinkCric on (February 9, 2010, 18:41 GMT)

Everything went right for SA and everything wrong for India since a week before the test started. Dhoni and India were pushed on the back foot even before the match started. Keeping in mind how an injured - half fit Kallis was preped up during the England series, the attitude of the Indian management and Laxman was lackadaisical considering the gravity of this series, and Kirsten's remark about Laxman's absence also suggested to that effect.

Posted by Roshini on (February 9, 2010, 18:34 GMT)

Wake-up team India!When you blank next to nothing teams in your own den or away and take the world best team ranking, the whole nation rejoices with an out pouring of nationalistic fervor.This is fine and understood. But little do they realize that ranking is fake... cause at some stage you are bound to confront genuine cricketing nations who would damn expose you India found out during the past 4 days. Whether you bring horses for courses I still really do not see how India can keep the rampaging SA at bay.

Posted by justprashanth on (February 9, 2010, 18:29 GMT)

Whoa!!!! Amazing are all the so called Cricket fans. You take them over the top when they win and trash them when they loose. Looks like everyone is pissed off loosing the "no. 1" tag. Enjoy the cricket.. support your teams. There is one more match left... None of us can be more hurt than the players themselves. Steyn bowled like a maniac to a batting line up half as strong as it really is. Some are blaming Dhoni which is not really fair; everyone makes mistakes and lets not forget this is his first defeat. We should blame Steyn for this :)

Posted by callmerake on (February 9, 2010, 17:58 GMT)

@gocho >> the last Eng-Sa match was not played on an underprepared wicket unlike Kanpur.. what is an underprepared wicket?? is it underprepared when the ball starts turning from the first hour?? so, spin bowlers are not supposed to bowl on the first day?? i still dont get how the kanpur pitch was underprepared, there were easily scores of more than 250 and 300 in the first innings, sa collapsed in the third is it called underprepared?? i thought underprepared meant you are unable to play on it..but batsmen were able to play on it albeit if they apply themselves properly (like on a green top)...hehe, how the west can manipulate something they can't do(i.e. they can't play on a true spinning track and call it underprepared , hehehe)

Posted by   on (February 9, 2010, 17:57 GMT)

Suresh Raina? Seriously? I mean, there are no other left handers? Fast bowlers exploited his short pitched delivery hitting "skills" during 20/20 (a pure batsman's game) and one dayers. Test match? Suresh Raina? Against this RSA Fast bowlers? Selectors, please wake up, even the groundhog stepped out already. I would even go with Abhishek Nayar or even Irfan Pathan or Ravindra Jadeja.

Posted by sahil_cricrazy on (February 9, 2010, 17:56 GMT)

Well i think ever since Anil Kumble has retired the indian spin dominance on indian pitches has retired.He used to be an absolutely magician on indian pitches.Harbhajan is nowhere near to him.But to be fair to Indian team if any team loses out the players of the calibre of dravid laxman yuvraj at one go against South Africa they are in for a sure trouble.Well India needs a left hander to cope with Harris in next test but then i doubt even after picking Raina will they play him there or a negative batsman like Badrinath.

Posted by Rajesh. on (February 9, 2010, 17:48 GMT)

India are playing with effectively one bowler less because they are carrying Harbhajan Singh. It's not the fact that Harbhajan doesn't get wickets these days that's the worry but the way he is bowling without even trying to toss the ball up a bit more means his glory days might never come back again.

Don't bemoan the lack of an all-rounder because apart from Kapil Dev India never really had an all-rounder of that class. If 5 main bowlers and 6 main batsmen (including Dhoni) can't do the job for the team then please don't look for excuses elsewhere.....

Posted by   on (February 9, 2010, 17:47 GMT)

Actually India faced a strong bowling attack from SA and it was not like SL and BGL.

Posted by durai86 on (February 9, 2010, 17:30 GMT)

Hey guys one more thing to add ,we are not going to get back the 20-20 world cup this time as we have IPL till the April 25th, five days before the world cup start.By the time the players would be jaded and what happened in the last 20 twenty world cup, is going to happen again .Injuries like this may rule out some players.THANKS TO IPL.Mr.modi is expecting to add 2 more teams and more than 90 matches next year.10c2 x2(round robin twice)=90 matches kudos!!!!

Posted by MiddleStump on (February 9, 2010, 17:13 GMT)

Whatever else they do, India will have no chance to win the next test if they again play only 4 bowlers. Their best and only hope is to play 3 seamers and use them in short bursts with some support from the two spinners. Raina is worth a try instead of Vijay since he is left handed and should be able to deal with Harris and his line of attack. The two biggest breaks in the match came from Harris. Dhoni in the first innings triggered the collapse, Tendulkar in the second innings sealed the match. Powar is the best off spinner now but the selectors seem to have an agreement to play Harbhajan for the next five years no matter how he performs.

Posted by Saadi69 on (February 9, 2010, 17:05 GMT)

India deservingly lost. They cant blame the wicket, this is the type of wicket where they are supposed to thrive on. Turning wickets which suit their batsmen and spinners. South Africa really grinded them down in the field and the spinners had accepted that this was a good batting pitch and they couldnt get them out. Steyn bowled a superb spell and sealed India's fate with it. Eden Gardens should not be a problem for the Indian batting, its the bowling that would be tested against good quality batting. the best result for india would be a draw.

Posted by Bollo on (February 9, 2010, 17:02 GMT)

There is one dominant team in cricket at the moment, Australian ODI team, which has been all but untouchable for the last decade. Whatever the rankings say, there are 3 or 4 fairly close teams in tests. South Africa and a resurgent Australia are probably the pick of them, with a dogged England and India close behind. Perhaps if Indian cricket in general forgot for a moment that the ICC Test Rankings have had them ranked No 1 for all of 2 months they might start focusing on playing the game again. Contrast the hoopla about the rankings we`ve all put up with for the past 2 months with the very understated reaction by the SAf team, and public, when they nominally took over the No 1 ranking after Australia lost the Ashes. Perhaps a lesson in that for a few people. Dale Steyn btw, doesn`t matter where`re you`re from, that was sensational stuff to watch, and would`ve been too good for any batting line-up at the moment. Expect India to hit back hard though. Can`t wait for Eden Gardens!

Posted by manver023 on (February 9, 2010, 16:57 GMT)

dhoni comes to bat 1 down when he leads from the front - where was he today? he plays players he doesn't like in tough situations while shielding his selected few like ishant and ODIs he gives bowling to jadeja in the 1st fifteen overs but never to bhajji lest he should get thrashed. so be ready to see more of ishant, sreesanth, bhajji, yuvraj,

Posted by abdullah_baki on (February 9, 2010, 16:47 GMT)

what happened in this test match not new to indian cricket. the same old problem found hopeless against good pace bowling (apart from the great sachin)!

Posted by gretfan on (February 9, 2010, 16:47 GMT)

I think SO CALLED great captain Dhoni is responsible for blame...Time will prove dat he is not a gud captain but only a LUCKY captain... Harbhajan is another candidate to share that blame with dhoni.. harbhajan shud be droped...Irfan Pathan deserves one more chance..certainly he cudnot be worst dan ishant... In batting line up,i think Kaif shud be given a come back chance... but for now lets hope VVS will be fit for 2nd test...

Posted by aditsingh on (February 9, 2010, 16:46 GMT)

what amuses me the most is that if common people like us understand that india definitely lacks the bowling penetration and is in dire straits for a genuine all rounder, how is it that selectors like Krish who are such logical analysts ignore it. i thinking dropping harbhajan and picking irfan at this juncture for calcutta would be definitely more fruitfull. harbajans off spin can replaced with sehwag and sachin's bowling. harbajan is a true abuse to cricket. has absolutely nothing gentleman about him

Posted by gitapat on (February 9, 2010, 16:45 GMT)

The first Test match against S.Africa was lost in Bangladesh when both Dravid and Laxman got injured. The selectors bungled from the beginning of the team-selection of the Bangladesh tour. First,there was no point in selecting the best Test XI for Bangladesh with the S.African tour due to follow immediately. They should have tried out the newcomers like Badrinath and Rohit Sharma there and reduced the chances of injury to the front line batsmen.That Dravid and Laxman only play Tests is a pure coincidence-it could well have been two others. Second,when three batsmen -Dravid,Laxman and Yuvraj were injured in Bangladesh the selectors should have had more batsmen in reserve in the team. Saha playing as a specialist batsman is the most ridiculous thing I have seen in the 52 years I have been following Test Cricket! Kris Srikanth has always been a joker. And if Dhoni did not blame poor team-selection it is obvious he was equally responsible for this stupidity.

Posted by kalyanbk on (February 9, 2010, 16:41 GMT)

I do not understand how the selection committee can be blamed. The team management should have informed them early so that a half fit Laxman should not have been in the team. No one could have imagined that his backup Rohit would also get injured. Now there are only three fast bowlers in the side. What if Sreeshant and Zaheer both end up injured on the morning of the second test? Will we blame the selection committee again? As Smith suggested, perhaps India should have tried 5 bowlers instead of Saha. Whatever it maybe we must credit SA as being a bogey team for India in India just as India has been a bogey team for Australia. Some teams just have another team's number.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2010, 16:40 GMT)

Common everyone is too harsh on India.. it took best career performance from two player (Steyn and Amla) to beat India.. its just one game that we played badly.. I am sure India will trounce SA at Eden

Posted by   on (February 9, 2010, 16:38 GMT)

I don't think this is a bad loose. every body blaming the selector for not to choosing the extra batsmen.Did you remember Rohit asked to stay back when VVS is not sure of fit for the match. Don't criticize my dear boys. Just look at the this test match. we don't have VS and dravid. We dint won the toss. SA had luxury of batting first in the batting friendly condition( i admit India bowled badly). They scored access of 550. When india batting we started of well. we were 200/3. Its because of the outstanding efforts of steyn did it for SA(Bowl change also helped). You should don't blame Badri or Saha. They are playing first test. we can't ask gammbir to score in each match. Probably Vijay should have converted start to big score. I don't think Vijay is the right man for Test. He doesn't have the temperament to score Big in international level. Please bring Pujara or Kaif to the squad

Posted by GoCho on (February 9, 2010, 16:36 GMT)

@crazyash..the last Eng-Sa match was not played on an underprepared wicket unlike Kanpur.. Lets not kill test cricket and understand that the only way we could have a good fast bowling attack is by having sporting wickets..not necessarily fast and bouncy which will aid SA but a little bit of grass will help zak and sreesanth as well.

Posted by venkatesh89n on (February 9, 2010, 16:29 GMT)

If these selectors don't pick guys like badrinath & Co. atleast for bangladesh then when are these players going to get the international experience ? This is what happens when you bring them all of a sudden n ask to play against likes of styen firing at 150 kph..What is the need of playing all the big guns against a series like bangladesh..instead they should have given a chance for the younger brigade ..atleast one or two should be considered and moulded to the international level. Also India is badly in need of an specialist allrounder.why don't they still consider Irfan? He's coming gud recently n also took a 5 for in d recent duleep trophy final. It really hurts that there are no perfect fast bowlers( i mean FAST!). Except Zaheer no other pace bowler is consistent ..perhaps the pitches should be blamed first..are there any quality pitches fr fast bowlers in india ? the answer is none ! How can the young fast bowlers made on these flat pitches ? It's the Board to be blamed first

Posted by crazyash on (February 9, 2010, 16:16 GMT)

I hope Indian Team will bounce back but first we need to set our priorities straight. We can't beat SA on a placid wicket as they have better fast bowlers. So, we should prepare a turning track (Something Like Kanpur in 2008) and there is no shame in that. When SA was trailing England 1-0 last month, they also prepared a green seam top in J'berg. Afterall, home advantage should count for something.

And we won't have the fear of Paul Harris as he was not able to turn the ball that much on 4th day.......

Wish Indian Team good luck!!!!!!!

Posted by aditsingh on (February 9, 2010, 16:12 GMT)

oh yes! please drop harbajan singh. he is one useless guy in the team. a useless bowler, fielder and a guy with an absolutely rubbish attitude. please give someone else a chance as he is struggling and is a loss to the team at the moment. he has not produced anything exciting in the last 10 test matches.

Posted by TequillaGuy on (February 9, 2010, 16:10 GMT)

All of those who are criticizing spinners, while I agree that India's bench strength is really poor in case of spinners and that they could have bowled better but you cant expect them to take wickets on the first day. I feel they didnt bowl well on the first day which was made worse by lack of support from the captain. On second day they bowled well but were unlucky and again, fields were set without much thinking or planning.

SA bowlers had a plan for almost all the batsmen and executed it perfectly. There were periods when India was just starting to do well (Sehwag-Badrinath partnership) but after Sehwag got out, no one offered any resistance. It was great to watch Stayn bowl. And it was great to see Sehwag give credit where its due (Steyn is the best he has faced) and admit that he played a poor shot. He always says things as they are.

Hoping India puts up a good show at Eden Gardens and Congrats to SA-The only team to have defeated India in India by innings in last 25 years!

Posted by aditsingh on (February 9, 2010, 16:09 GMT)

i dont understand why the indian selectors never look at irfan pathan. he is truly one of the most unexploited and mis-managed player in the history of cricket. no cricketer has created such hype ever and been garbaged away in such a humiliating fashion. now is the time to start looking at him. give him the new ball. let him do what he is best at (swing the new ball). please dont use him as a first change as he would be underutilized again. give him another look for he he is the only all rounder material that the country has produced in the last 15 years.

Posted by Maha_Fan on (February 9, 2010, 16:08 GMT)

Agree with Alter.G - Sreesanth, great choice and, yes, Kaif should be recalled. Raina is good but based on form and experience of playing fast bowlers, Kaif should have got a call.

Posted by tgevans on (February 9, 2010, 16:07 GMT)

It's puzzling why the selectors suddenly relapsed into the quota system. In the end, one would have to blame the stalwarts whose shot selection and technique left much to be desired.

Posted by GoCho on (February 9, 2010, 16:05 GMT)

And we get angry when Ian Chappel comments on our bowling resources!! Ishant, Irfan, Munaf, Sreesanth..the list grows - bowlers who have promised lots and delivered little and we have the perpetually ineffective spinner Harbhajan. I remember I used to laugh at the Aussie spin bowling cupboard after Warnie. Now Hauritz seems light years ahead!!

Posted by   on (February 9, 2010, 16:04 GMT)

India deserved to be thrashed by SA....After beating SL,They just boasted about them and did nothing to hold on that spot.....They are just under-estimating their opponents..That's clearly seen in recent series against Bangladesh where they were bowled for 243...A better Opponent could thrash India in that match also...

Posted by Dax75 on (February 9, 2010, 16:01 GMT)

South Africa were 2-6, and won by an Innings. I feel that people are being a bit harsh on India, after all everyone was singing their praises as number 1 in the test ranking. Just goes to show you. That ranking was flattering.

Posted by vatsap on (February 9, 2010, 15:58 GMT)

I don't think playing Laxman might have made a big difference. No disrespect to any Indian batsman but this pace attack was too good for them considering the feeds they have been getting in the past few months. Poor Saha, he got pitch forked at the wrong time. Dinesh Karthick should be given a decent run, 3 matches atleast with clear instructions not to worry and play himself in. Thank God for small mercies that Badrinath or Vijay have not been dropped.

As for the bowling, there are no answers. Zaheer needs an aggressive supporter from the other side. Mishra bowled well in the first innings but was predictable with his turn. It is really time to drop Harbhajan, we need him to bowl well thats his primary task and blood some youngster.

One loss to a team which is far better prepared/balanced is no shame. Enjoy the good cricket.

Posted by Lakshmana on (February 9, 2010, 15:58 GMT)

Selection was shocking as everyone knows. Also crucially Gambhir and Dhoni, two key players hardly contributed. Onus was on Gambhir with his consecutive hunders to keep going and his failure exposed M.Vijay early...I would've thought that against series v Bangladesh and in forthcoming series we need to start blooding Badri, Vijay, Kohli, Pandey, Pujara...these are the guys are entire middle order will be made of v.soon and they need all experience they can get. Credit to Sehwag and Sachin tho...good hundreds from both!

Posted by wolf777 on (February 9, 2010, 15:56 GMT)

Selection process under Srikanth has been as erratic as his batting was. The difference is that his batting was more reliable. Drafting Saha in as a specialist batsman was a joke when in form batsmen such as Kohli and Pujara and even Kaif are seating out. The best person to take the spot was Irfan Pathan as an allrounder. Looking at the bowlers on display, one can not figure out why he is not in the team. Sorry I don't agree with your opinion about Dinesh Karthik being the best person to take Laxman's place. He has never been successful against quality fast bowling attack except for one inning in South Africa. His only successful foreign tour against England came up against second string bowlers who are no wonder not part of English side anymore.

Posted by CricketLoversRuleTheWorld on (February 9, 2010, 15:51 GMT)

simply they were not good enough... Dale Steyn was the key.. long way to go still.. Raina & Rohit deserve a place now.. they have the talent and attitude... hope India ll bounce back soon... One match doesn't prove anything... Lets see...

Posted by dilscoop on (February 9, 2010, 15:49 GMT)

yes selectors are to blame first for the ill-balanced squad - rohit should have been in the 15 instead of tyagi/Mithun in the original 15 - team was selected in such a way to ensure that Badri was fitted in the eleven since he was warming the benches when selected in the 15 on previous occasions - had rohit been selected in the 15 and laxman not injured - dhoni might have played rohit and not Badri - that is how the selectors some times impose their will on the team management.

BCCI should also take the blame for having just 2 tests - they should have gone for a 3rd test - instead of 3 ODI's (when you have already played 7 ODI's v aus, 5 vs SL, triseries in bangla, why more ODI's?).

Laxman for saha, srisanth forIshanth, ojha for mishra and a toss up between vijay and Raina (lefty will add variety to the lineup - I expect dhoni to play raina) would be the likely changes in the 11 for kolakatta. vijay should be a safer bet knowing raina's weakness against short pitched stuff.

Posted by sureshreddy536 on (February 9, 2010, 15:29 GMT)

enough of Ishant sharma who is reluctant to learn frm his mistakes, Indian bowling looks one man army( i.e zaheer). And these slectors are gone mad, why select someone(raina) who can hardly play bouncers, he is just limited over stuff, and why not try those(pujara,rahane,pandey) who made tons of runs recently in domestic cricket.

Posted by shiva_slogsout on (February 9, 2010, 15:27 GMT)

You cannot play an International Match with just ONLY one bowler, and India were as good as that. There were none to support Zaheer and even he himself was not looking like taking 5 wickets at any point of time. He simply doesn't have the pace to trouble Class Batsmen. Harbhajan has had enough, he is just the Ashraful of Bangladesh, he is there as there is no Good Bench Strength for Spin in India. On a track that was turning from Day 1, he was Pathetic to say the Least. A Captain is as good as his team, it was always a matter of time before Dhoni's so-called record was broken. His captaincy was clueless as Gavaskar pointed out. He was brining Sehwag right after lunch whereas Smith was doing with Steyn. Huh, the Test was lost on Day 1. (and most likely the Series and the hyped-up No. 1 Ranking). To at least save a Test Match if not Win, you got to have 3 quality batsmen at least and 2 World Class bowlers. India had 2 batsmen and 0 bowlers.

Posted by AJ_Tiger86 on (February 9, 2010, 15:26 GMT)

It's just bad karma. Sehwag should be blamed for all this. The Indian bowlers can no longer take 10 wickets let alone 20. How pathetic.

Posted by callmerake on (February 9, 2010, 15:22 GMT)

lets forget harbhajan and try to blood some young spinner in. atleast the anonymity will pick up 3/4 wickets easily....

Posted by CRam on (February 9, 2010, 15:21 GMT)

The only reason I will shed tears on the Indian defeat is that it will push back the process of changing the guard by a few months or years. Dravid and Laxman may be good players, but they are certainly not in their prime (and they drop crucial catches in every match - remember how Laxman got injured??). I would stick to the investment in youth and blood players like Pujara, Kohli, Rayudu, Srinivas - India will lose a few matches and maybe the No 1 ranking too, but it will make them stronger for the future, and definitely a better cricket team.

Posted by balsmct on (February 9, 2010, 15:21 GMT)

There is a section that crticises the australian rotation policy. But if you closely look at the merits and the options it has given the selectors and their team management, the policy has done wonders for australian cricket. They are winning matches no matter the opposition or who is in the team. So strong is their bench strength and reserves. India paid a huge price during this test by completely sealing the middle order for almost 10 years!!! Hardly any newcomer got a chance. There were many series like the one recently in Bangladesh or the home series against Srilanka, were some of the new players could have been tried and tested.Yuvraj is not going to succeed in tests. Lets begin to accept that and move on to groom another player like Badri or Vijay, who seem to have a better temperament for test cricket. Similarly Bajji's is past his sell by date and selectors would be best advised to look at other options however weak it might be. Can it get worse than an ineffective bajji'?

Posted by durai86 on (February 9, 2010, 15:18 GMT)

Continued...The batsmen will definitely do their best when ample opportunities are given . but often replacing the players in tests like in one days will not give the desired result as you have to have a settled batsmen like Ganguly tendulkar,dravid and laxmen.....Even Tendulkar has faced his hard times in tests.what made them to excel is they had uninterrupted opporunities .Just criticising the players or the board will not give the result .The real weak link is our bowling. fed up with harbajan and mishra.Harbajan was not as threatening as he was in the past .Apart from economical bowler he has to be a real trumpcard like Shane warne ,anil kumble, Muralidharan.I reckon he has become predictable when AMLA and KALLIS both had the same strategy of going outside the offstump and picking the runs.He has not changed the plans to take their wicket.And ofcourse we lack in a quality fast bowling except Zaheer.We have to work on it.Ishanth is not good at indian conditions.

Posted by dpkhbk on (February 9, 2010, 15:14 GMT)

some very important things have come out of this match they are these1)harbhajan is a pretty ordinary spinner .he doesnt look like getting top order wickers.2)dhoni is very very ordinay batsman he needs flat pitches and weak bowling attacks to score and his wicketkeeping is not that good either.all that rubbish about the captaincy he was winning because of the team. as far as i am concerned he doesnt deserve a place inthe team and that is the first important thing only then captaincy comes.and 3)gambhir is not "that" good a batsman.i know people will say that it is only one test match but batsmen who have to go down the track to score runs arent that good.u cant do that against quality pace bowling and thats what happened here.they were too pacy for him.i have more faith in the future batsmen like vijay rohit and karthik.give karthik a fair chance first .play him for ten matches and i am sure that he would have scored runs in tough situations.

my future team like this

Posted by shiva_slogsout on (February 9, 2010, 15:06 GMT)

India are struggling to save a Test Series at home. Have you ever seen the Aussies or the Great Windies of 80's do that? Have you ever seen them losing by an Innings in their Prime? That's World No.1 for you. Do you really think India is World No.1. Just think what would happen if they play the same Proteas in Jo'burg. As it was written in one article in Cricinfo, some has to be No.1 and it is India now, Full Stop.

Posted by shiva_slogsout on (February 9, 2010, 15:04 GMT)

As Ian Chappel wrote, India don't have neither a Champion bowler nor a fighting one. If you see the World No.1 sides of the past, they had at least 2, Aussies had Warne and Mcgrath and the Windies had many. They could perform almost in all conditions across the Globe. That's what Champion teams are made of. India couldn't do much when they had ... See MoreKapil or Kumble, who were genuine match winners. Just think what would have happened if India were playing SA at Jo'burg now. An Innings loss would have been definitely on Cards right from start of the Test. The only difference here is that they did not until they batted in the First Innings. So, unless and until India win consistently at home and abroad, it is just pointless boasting about rankings and World No.1

Posted by durai86 on (February 9, 2010, 15:01 GMT)

Though we lost the Test ,we have to take the positives from it.Many of us convince ourselves that the absence of Rahul dravid,Laxman and Yuvraj paved this regrettable result but anyhow this would happen sooner or later when rahul ,sachin and laxman retire from the game.Thank god we have faced it earlier so that we can repair our damage.I dont agree with the arguement of calling Virat kohli into the squad as the current squad is capable of consolidating and excelling the south african bowling.The only replacement we need to do is replacing Saha .I argue this because the debutant Badri and Murali have done fairly well and had shown promising signs with the pitch which turned bowling friendly after day 2.Even the australians faced a similar kind of situation after the exit of the greats gilchrist,Macgrath,Haydenand Langer.What we have to do is .give ample amount of oppurtunities and develop test specialists like langer ,Marcus north,Yesteryear hayden.

Posted by Kashi0127 on (February 9, 2010, 14:59 GMT)

I keep saying this: 1. Kill IPL if you want Indian Cricket to progress 2. Get out of the "I HOLD THIS RECORD" mode - stop gloating beating teams like Bangadesh, Srilanka etc. 3. When playing teams like Banga desh etc, make sure you try your bench - why were all of Tendulkar, Lakshman , Dravid , Sehwag pciked for Bangladesh. Selectors need to have clear policy of playing onely one or two established player against these teams and use the opportunity to build bench strength. Pandesy, Badrinaths , Vinay Kumar should have been tried then. Not just inflate Tendulkar and Dravid statistics! And even now selectors have goofed - what has Mithun done to be dropped from second test? And what has Raina done to be recalled. And why NO Kohli?

Posted by Leggie on (February 9, 2010, 14:59 GMT)

Thrashing the selectors is the easiest job to do. I can't understand why so much fuss be made about the selection. Saha was chosen as a backup keeper and not a backup batsman. It was rather unfortunate that even the backup batsman chosen (Rohit Sharma) got injured on the day of the Test match! These are unforeseen circumstances for which you can't blame the selectors. Let's credit selectors for the decision to sack Karthik. He never looked like someone who is eager to do well whenever opportunities presents itself. Look at his record in the last 5 Test Matches and you'll see scores of 9, 0, 7, 20, 6, 0, 27 and this against the likes of SL, Bangladesh and NZ (check out Cricinfo's stats). There is no way that Karthik could have fitted into the side if Dhoni were to pull out on the eve of a Test match with a back spasm! Apart from the one unforeseen selection of Saha, the rest 10 picked themselves, and still got thrashed. It's not the end of the world, and let's not read too much into it.

Posted by TequillaGuy on (February 9, 2010, 14:51 GMT)

Selection was ludicrous and so was the captaincy. Spinners were not given good fields and bowling changes were beyond my understanding. Opening with Sehwag after lunch and under bowling Zaheer, I fail to see the logic behind all this. When Harris can force Indian batsmen to try something different by bowling outside leg, why didnt genius Dhoni try to do this when score crossed 300 and he had already dropped catches?Either I am blind or Dhoni is overrated. You cant expect debutantes to start scoring 100s straightaway. Selectors have made a huge mistake by giving so many chances to Yuvraj. They could have tested the Badris n others when Dada was dropped (still dont know why he was dropped) and after Dada retired. That would have kept Yuvraj on the toes and would have given vital exposure to these guys who were suddenly facing Stayn.

Having 4 fast (???) bowlers in the squad when you are going to play just 2 is hard to digest too, especially when you know that Laxman is not match fit

Posted by vikax on (February 9, 2010, 14:48 GMT)

This is very shameful. Really !!

Posted by popcorn on (February 9, 2010, 14:44 GMT)

"The Emperor wore no clothes!" Remember the Fable? India the NumberOne Test playing country? How hollow does it sound? Bangladesh's Captain was dead right.Australia and south Africa can compete for Number One - cetainly not India.

Posted by Ash31 on (February 9, 2010, 14:42 GMT)

Its been a really long time that India has faced a team with a really fearsome pace attack. The problem though is not the batting. Eeven with a second string batting line up India did manage to score 550 runs in the match against an exceptional bowling attack. Harbhajan has been in the team on reputation for years. Ishant needs to go back to first class cricket. Zaheer is good but not great. He comes up with the occasional good spell. There doesn't appear to be any exceptional talent arround. RP, Munaf, Balaji, Irfan, Praveen Kumar, Mithun??? So in the short term its not looking to promising. Maybe Ajit Agarkar could make a comeback!

Posted by   on (February 9, 2010, 14:41 GMT)

its too late....south africa will take the top spot in the next game.....raina is a poor choice for test matches...i bet my bottom dollar that his first dismissal in test cricket, will be due to a hook shot....saha and mithun shouldnt have been picked in the first they hav been dropped unfairly..that wont do their confidence any good...gud idea to bring sree back, but i am more worried abt the spinners....will india do a repeat of the last home series and prepare a rank turner....thats the one i will watching out for.....

Posted by NEUTRAL_FAN on (February 9, 2010, 14:36 GMT)

Look, when you get beaten by an Innings, you can't pop up and say what if? Do many really think Rohit Sharma or Kholi would have made a much bigger contribution than Saha?.. maybe but it's too big a what if. You could easily say what if Prince was not given a rough decision, what if Kallis had held on to Sachin when he was on 47. The Ind team was outplayed because they were horrible in the field and their bowling Zaheer apart (as usual) was "ordinary." These are probs that have been masked playing against Bangladesh, NZ (without Bond) and a disappointing Sri Lankan side who succumbed to scoreboard pressure. I hope Badrinath gets another match, he should be pushed to encourage a smoother Ind transition. Well played SA! They seem to win when they're not favorites. It also highlights there is no clear #1 team, which is what so many have been saying ever since Aus lost 2-0 to Ind. I expect an Ind fight back in the 2nd test. I hope the classy Laxman is fit for that 1.

Posted by SUNDOS on (February 9, 2010, 14:34 GMT)

Getting to Number 1 in the rankings was easy,there is little comfort that the Indian side was not not full strength.But the future looks scary,No Dravid,Laxman,Tendulkar maybe in 8 to 12 months time.The debutants were good in patces.The bowing looked feeble and unincisive.A non spinner ike Harris had the Indian batsmen at odds and ends.A rank turner at the Eden Gardens ,with the risk of losing the toss and being asked to field is th time for the selectors to put their thinking caps on.Maybe this loss is a good omen,the future will now have to the thought of.Hopefully there is no panic button pressed,and the spinners work thir magic at Kokata.But well played the beat India in India by an innings takes some doing Bravo!!new coach,and all.

Posted by royalg on (February 9, 2010, 14:30 GMT)

the selectors still hasn't picked an allrounder. the key ingredient to balance the indian team. why is sreesanth selected he's probably was the worst bowler in the hole tour of bangladesh, mithun and tyagi did extremely well in domestic and they get dropped. i dont understand hw does the selection work. i was listening to NDTV and sonali said that "why is there always got to be a certain number of players frm each zone", thats not what cricket is about, cricket is about selecting your best team to win matches which means you pick the best players who are performing, example Manish Pandey, Chetashwar Pujara, Virat Kholi,Ajinka Rahane,Manoj Tiwary, Saurab Tiwary, Abishek Nayar, Irfan Pathan, Vinay Kumar, Mithun. these are talented cricketers with bright futures unless you give them a chance in the international stage they cant prove themself. i would also like to say india r badly struggling for bowler's, ishant sharma and amit mishra are not worthy of playing for india.

Posted by manasvi_lingam on (February 9, 2010, 14:28 GMT)

I agree. India might as well send its Board President's XI for they'll get thrashed anyhow. The bowling is extremely pathetic and the batting wasn't much better. Gambhir has been found out, Sehwag is sporadic, Laxman and Dravid are missing, Dhoni doesn't have the technique. The best that India can hope for is to avoid another innings defeat and another personal milestone for Tendulkar.

Posted by Alter.G on (February 9, 2010, 14:24 GMT)

Sensible choices that that Karthik and Sreesanth are back. Instead of Raina (short ball travails), it would be better to have Kohli (for technique) or Kaif (experience and recent form) as the reserve batsman. Oh well, here's hoping VVS will be back!

Posted by vik56in on (February 9, 2010, 14:23 GMT)

Why drop Saha.He is the best gloveman in the country.Dinesh Karthick and Parthiv Patel are mediocre behind the wickets .Selecting 4 pace bowlers was the mistake. Harbhagan is still in the squad with his past reputation.Ideally Mishra and Ojha are the better spinning combination in every sense.Irfan Pathan could be the missing link.He bats with a straight bat decent defensive technique and more importantly can give vital breakthroughs with the ball.

Posted by SachinIsTheGreatest on (February 9, 2010, 14:23 GMT)

Graeme Smith should be happy a rake was not put into this pitch. At least now I hope the Eden gardens wicket turns from over No.2 on Day One. The selection was ridiculous and Harbhajan and Ishant are passengers in a team which now depends only on Zaheer, Sehwag, Gambhir and Tendulkar with the other two stalwarts out with injury. Things are bleak and so bad that even a turning track might not rescue this series. But also good hear that the Proteas are getting their whinges ready, just in case.

Posted by JogeshPanda on (February 9, 2010, 14:21 GMT)

Truely the spinning department is far below then ordinary, Harbhajan never look like taking runs and consoliditary maiden speaks the performance, mishra looked like lost between two wall and had no idea of any second variation. Selector have to take all criticism because it was a blunder. sewhag played a brialliant knock but can not get away saying that it was his natural shot. Anyway learning from the mistakes is important and hope put up a decent performance in Kolkata

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