December 17, 2008

Win-win situation

Every now and then a Test match comes along that transcends the moment and lifts the spirit. Chennai was one such
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"Two exceptional cricketers, playing highly significant innings": Tendulkar and Yuvraj both proved points to their critics © Getty Images
 

If ever cricket needed to rise to the occasion it was over the last few days in Chennai.

Emotion plays an enormous part in sport. Try as we might with computers and figures and replays and analysis, sport is still concerned with the spirit and the split-second. Sometimes it sends the spirit soaring, and in that moment all the fuss and attention seems justified. At other times it sinks into the tawdry and mundane and hardly appears worth the bother. But sport is most missed when it is denied, when matches cannot be staged, competitions are cancelled, stadiums closed. It was the removal of the tribute to WG Grace from the Long Room that alerted MCC members that war was coming and long, dark nights lay ahead.

As far as previous generations were concerned, sport was most appreciated after the two World Wars. Nowadays we argue about trivialities, work ourselves into a lather about slow over-rates and no-ball rules and sightscreens that will not shift. In 1919, though, and again in 1946, crowds flocked to cricket grounds and players dusted off old trousers and oiled bats just so that the game could be played. Somerset fielded almost the same team in 1947 as in 1937, yet it was almost good enough to win the championship. Hardly any new players had emerged, a decade had been lost. But the fact that standards had dropped did not matter; cricket was being played, a world had been preserved. It was a life-reaffirming experience

Don Bradman had to be persuaded to play again after the second war, and the strongest argument put to him was the need to raise morale. People were suffering from lost friends and family members, and rations, and bombed-out buildings. All the more reason for sportsmen to get back onto the field and provide entertainment and enrichment. Everyone knew it was going to be hard, everyone wanted to laugh and love, and sport could help in that healing process. After all it is an expression of mateship and youth, and it had tradition and history and health and hope.

Matches between India and Pakistan have likewise often been moving occasions, as the enmity of nations was put aside and everyone remembered they came from the same place, spoke the same language, wore the same clothes, were the same colour, ate the same food, had the same yearnings, and ought to be pals. During the 1996 World Cup, Indian and Pakistani cricketers played in the same side after the Australians and West Indians had refused to go to Colombo, and that, too, was a fine occasion. Pakistan won a close match in Chennai years ago, whereupon Wasim Akram took his players on a victory lap and the crowds cheered. Here is sport's truest self. Often betrayed, often exploited, but somehow intact.

Sceptics might argue that England returned to India after the Mumbai blasts because they wanted to take their share of plums from the IPL pie. Perhaps it was a consideration. Mixed motives are commonplace. It is rare for any act to be entirely pure. But it is dull and dreary to dress every act in the clothes of cynicism, for then a man can never laugh except at his own cleverness. The fact remains that Kevin Pietersen did bring his boys back, all of them and the vast entourage that accompanies England teams through thick and thin. The fact remains that England agreed to play two Test matches in a country still shocked by outrages intended to spread terror and division.

India, too, met the challenge. By all accounts the security was tight but not oppressive, and towards the end the crowds flocked to the stadium to support the teams. By all accounts, too, the visitors were as popular as the hosts, which has not always been the case. Happily, the sides produced a wonderful match. Often it happens that way. Every now and then sportsmen sense that they are part of something much bigger than themselves, an event that reaches into hearts and minds, and a contest that goes beyond mere cricket. And then they reach outside themselves and the petty interests that dominate all our lives. That the match was an epic lasting five days before ending on its highest note with its greatest player surpassing himself added to the effect.

 
 
Every now and then sportsmen sense that they are part of something much bigger than themselves, an event that reaches into hearts and minds, and a contest that goes beyond mere cricket. And then they reach outside themselves and the petty interests that dominate all our lives
 

Of course the Test was closely followed in Australia. Nothing else was happening locally, and anyhow the Aussies had recently suffered at the hands of the Indians and wondered how the Poms might fare. For three days it appeared that a resolute England outfit might prevail. Andrew Strauss batted with skill and gumption, while Paul Collingwood surpassed himself. Collingwood and Ashwell Prince can be listed among batsmen with records that defy the talent apparently at their disposal. Between their mighty innings, Graeme Swann struck yet another blow for finger-spinners by breaking through the Indian top order. Remember when orthodox spin was a thing of the past? Now it is making an unexpected comeback, with all sorts of supposedly humdrum operators troubling batsmen. Jason Krezja, Nathan Hauritz, Swann and Paul Harris have contrived to take wickets.

As the fourth innings began, India needed to score 387 to win. Of course everyone knows the story, but that has never mattered in books or movies. Probably England had already lost the initiative with a timid batting display on the fourth afternoon. Far from imposing themselves they seemed scared of defeat. It never takes long for sentiments of that sort to be sensed by an alert opponent. By the time the home openers marched to the crease the Indians had a spring in their step. Sport is a state of mind

Judging from their responses to his vivid innings, England had not previously seen Virender Sehwag at his most audacious. Bear in mind that 12 months ago he had lost his place in the side. Australians, on the other hand, are well aware of his powers. Now he caused such disarray in the opposing ranks that in a trice fieldsmen were running hither and thither, most of them ever further from the bat. Yet Sehwag is no mere thrasher. Rather, he is an intelligent and consistent batsman who has managed to remain instinctive and creative. It is a most unusual combination. He is not remotely as barmy as he seems. Although he was removed before stumps, he had given the Indian innings its momentum and caused a furrowing of brows in the England camp.

Happily, the last day lived up to expectations. Of course, the match might have gone the other way, but India was not to be denied. No less significantly, the home side was sustained by two exceptional cricketers playing highly significant innings. Until a month or so ago Yuvraj Singh was cast as a lasher of bad bowling suited to slow pitches and lacking the footwork needed for five-day cricket. True, he had belted hundreds against a Pakistani attack lacking the services of its fastest bowler, but the track had been as dead as pacifism. He seemed to be destined for a brilliant but brittle career, to become a glamorous millionaire with a shallow record.

Accordingly it came as a surprise to discover that respected domestic players and Yuvraj's supposed rivals held him in high regard. One explained that he had stood at the bowler's end while the lofty lefty played some of the most stunning shots he had seen - blocks that went to the boundary, and effortless clips that cleared the ground.

Next came a sturdy showing against England in the ODIs. Yuvraj constructed match-winning performances, indicated in a weight of mind as well as stroke. Still he needed to back it up at a critical moment in a Test match.


No losers here: England were beaten, but not disgraced © Getty Images
 

For his part Tendulkar had managed to become the highest scorer the game has known without quite convincing local thinkers that he was a match for Brian Lara. Although his qualities were acknowledged, the harsher observers felt he had let India down at vital moments on the fifth days of Test matches. In short, he had won matches from the front but not the back. They questioned his temperament, pointed towards the quixotic Trindadian's mighty efforts in run-chases. Nor were these sages persuaded by arguments that no man has ever been without fault, or that taken as a whole, Tendulkar outstripped any contemporary and almost all predecessors . As always in these cases, there was just enough merit in the argument to demand a response as opposed to a scornful dismissal.

And there was only one man capable of making that reply. Time was running out. Tendulkar had shown signs of his best form against the Australians, but had also displayed growing vulnerability, suffering from several bizarre lapses of concentration. All the more reason to take the opportunity presented on the fifth day in Chennai. No champion likes to leave anything on the table. And Tendulkar did seize his moment, did play the conclusive innings, did win a Test against the odds, did keep his head for five intense hours.

It was not merely a superb innings. It was a veritable masterpiece. And so the match ended with Yuvraj and Tendulkar supreme and England beaten but not disgraced. Over the years I have sung Tendulkar's praises many times, pondered upon Yuvraj's merits, and condemned English softness and lack of self-awareness. Now I am happy to salute everyone taking part in this stirring contest, especially India's triumphant fifth-wicket pair, and an opponent that lost a match but made a lot of friends.

Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win It

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • anantha_pk on December 18, 2008, 19:53 GMT

    Well done India. Thanks to England for brave comeback. Once again sachin prove is extraordinary skills in chennai. But this time he stayed till the end. He atlast realise that his CV will not be praised without team victories. Indians are most emotional character persons. Thus they cheer when their superhero hits and they tear when he ducks. Sachin's fame is still maintained same. Thanks for people, media and sachin. In analyst point of view, he still may not be an all time best. But, nobody can entertain like him for a long period.

  • sridharps on December 18, 2008, 4:07 GMT

    Peter, good article, as is normally expected from you..but to describe that Yuvraj could have become a 'glamorous millionaire with a shallow record' ..well, it is unfair and does not come across very well.

  • apyboutit on December 18, 2008, 3:53 GMT

    A note on - "Tendulkar .. without quite convincing local thinkers that he was a match for Brian Lara". The locals are unforgiving! Even after several consequtive failures, Lara can afford to go out in his own country for a mug of beer. Tendulkar cannot do it ever in his life! If a Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer, Shastri, Vengsarkar, or anyone for that matter, fails - consistently or not - to win anything for India, or throws away a match, all of them will be pardoned! They will at best face the call for axing from the team. BUT, Sachin (as the annointed God of the "locals"), can, should, must, never "fail". He Should Play, BUT never ever NOT Deliver. When Sachin is in the middle, A game of cricket is not what is Watched by the locals! Eternal Excellence that surpasses, physical frailties, age, sanity, miracles, or other similars, is what is EXPECTED. Where else will "a run of the mill century" (if ever there was one) is never enough. It always has to be coated with the spiciest of masalas!

  • apyboutit on December 18, 2008, 3:35 GMT

    Hats off to both the teams for a wonderful game of cricket, irrespective of the context. Hats off to the England team for their show of solidarity againt terrorism - whether it was along with other intensions or not. Hats off to Strauss, Dhoni, Zaheer, Ishant, Harbhajan, Collingwood, Flintoff, Sehwag, Yuvi and Sachin for staging the perfect script. More than cricket or the teams or the individuals, It is undoubtedly the "spirit of Freedom" that Won - or should I say - that was felicitated. In a diameter of a few light years of distance from Earth, we seem to be the ONLY inhabitants! If some of us (the perpetrators) cannot value the tremendous uniqueness of our mere existence on Earth, with such possibilities of emothions and excellence of such high standards, then the rest of us ought to stand up against them, united and strong. That is the least that we can/Must do to "Live Freely". I am mighty grateful to have existed now and witnessed this match!

  • allinadayzwork on December 18, 2008, 3:33 GMT

    After this test, i am prettys sure all doubts about the viability of test cricket will be laid to rest. Such an absorbing, entertaining, roller-coaster and emotionally charged game could only bring laurels to the sports. Also, one must appreciate the English Team for the mighty effort they put in this test and i am sure they have won billion hearts lest not worry about the test. Long live Test Cricket!!

  • TheCoverDriver on December 17, 2008, 22:33 GMT

    Quote: "It is rare for any act to be entirely pure. But it is dull and dreary to dress every act in the clothes of cynicism, for then a man can never laugh except at his own cleverness." ~ Peter Roebuck

    True in every sense...

  • mumbaiguy79 on December 17, 2008, 21:36 GMT

    Excellent article Pete! I have read a few articles talking about what happened in Mumbai and it's relation with the Test match in Chennai. None so explained better than you did by drawing a comparison between World War II and Mumbai attacks.

    Well written!

  • gul_khan on December 17, 2008, 21:18 GMT

    nothing new at all in this article. what i would like to comment on is the praise given to the england players for returning to india. make no mistake, the only reason for the return was money. india is the powerhouse behind cricket due to its vast advertising revenues and therefore it controls the distribution of the wealth. pakistan has suffered similar attacks, but generally not directed at foreign nationals as these attacks were. (NB i do appreciate that mainly indian civilians died in the attacks, but they were directed at tourist areas). if these attacks had occured in pakistan while england were touring there, they would have not returned as there would have been no financial incentive for the players. i dont mind them returning for the money, its the lies they that they are returning for the good of cricket that annoys me. the only english citizens who should get praise are the supporters; they are in far more danger than the players,but they are there for the love of the sport

  • Amit_Naidu on December 17, 2008, 20:13 GMT

    No Doubt games like these would keep the interest alive in Test Cricket.I hope that the mohali Game and the Aussie-SA series should also provide such good entertainment.

  • Varun_cal on December 17, 2008, 18:29 GMT

    Yet again, I am amazed at Mr. Roebuck's ability to eloquently summarize what cricket-lovers experience after a great match. Every day since the Chennai test match got over, I have been returning to cricinfo to see if Mr. Roebuck's column has been published. As always, he does not dissapoint - IMHO, he is peerless among comtemporary cricket columnists (no disrespect to the other cricinfo stalwarts, who are also very very good).

  • anantha_pk on December 18, 2008, 19:53 GMT

    Well done India. Thanks to England for brave comeback. Once again sachin prove is extraordinary skills in chennai. But this time he stayed till the end. He atlast realise that his CV will not be praised without team victories. Indians are most emotional character persons. Thus they cheer when their superhero hits and they tear when he ducks. Sachin's fame is still maintained same. Thanks for people, media and sachin. In analyst point of view, he still may not be an all time best. But, nobody can entertain like him for a long period.

  • sridharps on December 18, 2008, 4:07 GMT

    Peter, good article, as is normally expected from you..but to describe that Yuvraj could have become a 'glamorous millionaire with a shallow record' ..well, it is unfair and does not come across very well.

  • apyboutit on December 18, 2008, 3:53 GMT

    A note on - "Tendulkar .. without quite convincing local thinkers that he was a match for Brian Lara". The locals are unforgiving! Even after several consequtive failures, Lara can afford to go out in his own country for a mug of beer. Tendulkar cannot do it ever in his life! If a Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer, Shastri, Vengsarkar, or anyone for that matter, fails - consistently or not - to win anything for India, or throws away a match, all of them will be pardoned! They will at best face the call for axing from the team. BUT, Sachin (as the annointed God of the "locals"), can, should, must, never "fail". He Should Play, BUT never ever NOT Deliver. When Sachin is in the middle, A game of cricket is not what is Watched by the locals! Eternal Excellence that surpasses, physical frailties, age, sanity, miracles, or other similars, is what is EXPECTED. Where else will "a run of the mill century" (if ever there was one) is never enough. It always has to be coated with the spiciest of masalas!

  • apyboutit on December 18, 2008, 3:35 GMT

    Hats off to both the teams for a wonderful game of cricket, irrespective of the context. Hats off to the England team for their show of solidarity againt terrorism - whether it was along with other intensions or not. Hats off to Strauss, Dhoni, Zaheer, Ishant, Harbhajan, Collingwood, Flintoff, Sehwag, Yuvi and Sachin for staging the perfect script. More than cricket or the teams or the individuals, It is undoubtedly the "spirit of Freedom" that Won - or should I say - that was felicitated. In a diameter of a few light years of distance from Earth, we seem to be the ONLY inhabitants! If some of us (the perpetrators) cannot value the tremendous uniqueness of our mere existence on Earth, with such possibilities of emothions and excellence of such high standards, then the rest of us ought to stand up against them, united and strong. That is the least that we can/Must do to "Live Freely". I am mighty grateful to have existed now and witnessed this match!

  • allinadayzwork on December 18, 2008, 3:33 GMT

    After this test, i am prettys sure all doubts about the viability of test cricket will be laid to rest. Such an absorbing, entertaining, roller-coaster and emotionally charged game could only bring laurels to the sports. Also, one must appreciate the English Team for the mighty effort they put in this test and i am sure they have won billion hearts lest not worry about the test. Long live Test Cricket!!

  • TheCoverDriver on December 17, 2008, 22:33 GMT

    Quote: "It is rare for any act to be entirely pure. But it is dull and dreary to dress every act in the clothes of cynicism, for then a man can never laugh except at his own cleverness." ~ Peter Roebuck

    True in every sense...

  • mumbaiguy79 on December 17, 2008, 21:36 GMT

    Excellent article Pete! I have read a few articles talking about what happened in Mumbai and it's relation with the Test match in Chennai. None so explained better than you did by drawing a comparison between World War II and Mumbai attacks.

    Well written!

  • gul_khan on December 17, 2008, 21:18 GMT

    nothing new at all in this article. what i would like to comment on is the praise given to the england players for returning to india. make no mistake, the only reason for the return was money. india is the powerhouse behind cricket due to its vast advertising revenues and therefore it controls the distribution of the wealth. pakistan has suffered similar attacks, but generally not directed at foreign nationals as these attacks were. (NB i do appreciate that mainly indian civilians died in the attacks, but they were directed at tourist areas). if these attacks had occured in pakistan while england were touring there, they would have not returned as there would have been no financial incentive for the players. i dont mind them returning for the money, its the lies they that they are returning for the good of cricket that annoys me. the only english citizens who should get praise are the supporters; they are in far more danger than the players,but they are there for the love of the sport

  • Amit_Naidu on December 17, 2008, 20:13 GMT

    No Doubt games like these would keep the interest alive in Test Cricket.I hope that the mohali Game and the Aussie-SA series should also provide such good entertainment.

  • Varun_cal on December 17, 2008, 18:29 GMT

    Yet again, I am amazed at Mr. Roebuck's ability to eloquently summarize what cricket-lovers experience after a great match. Every day since the Chennai test match got over, I have been returning to cricinfo to see if Mr. Roebuck's column has been published. As always, he does not dissapoint - IMHO, he is peerless among comtemporary cricket columnists (no disrespect to the other cricinfo stalwarts, who are also very very good).

  • Davesh_cricket_analyst on December 17, 2008, 18:04 GMT

    There's an important thing that Peter touched upon - "Tendulkar suffering from several bizarre lapses of concentration." That has actually been true in recent past. He would play so well for his 60s or 80s and then all of a sudden would get out on an ordinary ball. All commentators have been talking about Tendulkar's consistency, which is incredibly true, but his lapses of concentration in the last 1 yr have actually begin to do harm to him.

  • Nampally on December 17, 2008, 17:22 GMT

    Indeed it was a Win-Win situation for both the teams.Irrespective of IPL plums, England deserve great credit for showing up in full strength and playing hard.It was a huge booster for Cricket in India after the Mumbai massacre.It was a shame that one team had to lose. England was the dominant team till lunch time on 4th day. India wrested the initiative from then on and turned it up a notch to win the match which could have gone either way on the 5th day.India was off to a flying start thru' an outstanding innings from Sehwag & ever dependable Gambhir. Yes Sehwag could not make the team one year ago & strangely Yuvraj was in the same position in this match - do or die!.These 2 are brilliant cricketers who live and die by the sword.Both improvised their game to show their worth.Sachin was the sheet anchor at one end whilst others contributed to pull off a historic win against odds.Even in defeat England were the victors.They selflessly revived Cricket in wake of a huge Mumbai tragedy.

  • Prats6 on December 17, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    I think, there were things that made such an fascinating match, first the venue, Chennai, which has always supported Test matches and both the teams, and then the fact that this was a TEST Match, you cannot have such game in an ODI or a T20 . The sides put up a great display and the ending was prefect. A great Test Match and a great advert for the almost dying form of the game!! Let it be known that this is the BEST form of the game and nothing else comes close.

    Well done to England as well put first coming here and then putting up a great show.. They have the respect from all of us, the Indians and the cricketing fraternity. Respect, something even the best of the sides dont have.

  • shankargg on December 17, 2008, 15:16 GMT

    Ohh goodie, a Peter Roebuck article on a india-eng match. as always, full of emotion and drama. The match isn't over till a Mukul Kesavan or Peter Roebuck tell you what it is that you saw. I like some others too, but these two stand out. But this series belongs to England for coming back. It's a brave gesture that in hindsight will be downplayed but they took a decision when the atmosphere was still a bit thick and I wish them tons of luck in their professional and personal lives - ECB and English govt included.

  • irememberthebaddays on December 17, 2008, 10:59 GMT

    Yes, please let everyone note: a great TEST MATCH. The most significant 20/20 game of the year was only memorable for being so boring and one-sided it was a joke. Would India have had a hope in a similar position in the short game....I don't think so. The tide is turning, Mr Stanford is tired of playing with his new toy and is clearing out of cricket (good riddance). Well done to both teams.

  • khansha on December 17, 2008, 10:48 GMT

    Test Cricket is absolutely alive and well!! England showed tremendous courage in agreeing to partner India in what has been a harrowing few weeks. BRAVO!! Congratulations to the England and India teams for making this happen. I am an Indian and cannot express my gratitude at this event in enough words!

    I say it is up to every one, starting from Australia and South Africa playing down under to show solidarity for a version of the sport that clearly stands for everything to be cherished in life and stands for everything against the implications of terrorism.

    I ask the crowds in Australia to root for the respective teams and march on to the stadiums en masse to show their solidarity for the sport and the players who generate such goodwill in these tough times.

  • SebV on December 17, 2008, 10:00 GMT

    There's nothing in this article that hasn't already been written. Just filling up your column space, eh Peter? Anyway, I write this here for lack of a better place - KP and team, thank you for agreeing to play & for playing so well. As an Indian living in London, this makes it all the more special for me. In fact, I wouldn't have minded one bit had the result been the other way round.

  • Skool on December 17, 2008, 8:25 GMT

    Your comments about Sehwag are absolutely true. In his initial years, he looked like someone who tries to go after every single ball he faces. I remember the 2003 World Cup match between Ind and Aus (in league stages, not the final). Lee bowled him a bouncer and then a wide delivery which Sehwag went after and ended up in edging it. But, now he has become a very talented cricketer. His attitude towards the game is just amazing. The way he builds his innings and takes the game away from the opponents, is absolutely fantastic. Your comment about his being "Instinctive and creative" is so convicing. Excellent article indeed!

  • ashwin_ak on December 17, 2008, 7:45 GMT

    I congratulate the English Cricket team and ECB who have shown great courage and solidarity with the Indian People to come to India amidst the environment of terror, fear, and what not. The English put up a valiant fight and I for one was expecting an English win till Tendulkar and Yuvraj settled down. Hats off to Sehwang, Tendulkar and Yuvi. Cricket won in Chennai- thanx tothe ECB for standing alongside India in our troubled time. Test cricket is alive and well because of matches like this one and I hope Mohali will produce another good game. Cricket - the biggest sport in India provide people with a reason to hope. The Indian win in Chennai and Tendulkar's stirring speech at the end of his innings is a tribute to the Great man and a soothing healer for to the injured Indian pride. I for one would NOT like India to tour Pakistan in January and put the life of our cricketing heroes in jeopardy - with reports of jihadis infilterating even the pakistani security set-up!!. God Bless!!

  • TheDoctor394 on December 17, 2008, 6:12 GMT

    The thing is, if England had not returned to India, they would have been accused of cowardice. Now they have come back, some have accused them of greed. Damned if you do...

  • SanjivSanjiv on December 17, 2008, 5:56 GMT

    Apart from India winning this wonderful match, I must congratulate English who has shown great solidarity to come to India amidst terror, fear, security and back and forth trip and took a challenge to India. I wish a great success to England in the forthcoming Ashes in advance. Thanks England for this fabulous gesture and providing an absorbing match. Sanjiv Gupta Perth Australia

  • Uppi on December 17, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    Like the throw away lines from Reebok - "dead as pacifism" "man... at his own cleverness."

    Very well put about Tendulkar. This innings has gone a long way towards rounding off his career. Of course, as greedy Indians, we will be hoping for ney demanding more from him.

  • kraghuveer on December 17, 2008, 5:34 GMT

    Peter it is slightly misleading when you leave out the context and say Wasim Akram took his men on a victory lap and the crowds cheered . It was the other way round. The crowd in Chennai was and remains the most knowledgeable and sporting , despite the intense rivalry and bad blood(unlike now when the India & Pak players are really friendly with each other , in the 90s things were really tense between the teams ), they appreciated and generously applauded good cricket whether it was from India or it was from Pakistan . This moved Akram and he thought he should show his appreciation of such a sporting crowd and he did the victory lap with his team. Akram infact acknowledged this in the post match interview. Yes goodwill was spread and it proved to be one of those moments capturing the true spirit of the great game but the source of inspiration in this instance was a cricket loving crowd.

  • Samwise67 on December 17, 2008, 5:31 GMT

    I cannot agree more. Test cricket is alive and well and hopefully Mohali will produce another good game (of course I am rooting for an Indian win :))and the SA - Aus series will be competitive. I especially appreciate the point about certain sporting events giving people a reason to hope. I for one would like to see India tour Pakistan in January and hope that the tour will go on. Cheers

  • ImpartialJudge on December 17, 2008, 5:28 GMT

    Great article!! I'd always love India winning and Tendulkar scoring a century. This time I really thank England team for coming here and playing. Thrill of the match is no comparison to the pain inflicted a couple of weeks ago, but it serves as a little morale booster and raises a ray of hope. Thanks Kevin & Team!

  • kris_mg on December 17, 2008, 5:20 GMT

    I always wait to read your reports and analysis.. They are not just numbers and statistics but they have life in it.. Emotions in it.. and you dont shy away either when you need to be caustic.. A real beautiful innings by Sachin, supported by Yuvi and setup by Sehwag.. And kudos to the English to have come back and shown the solidarity and played the way they have. They deserved the standing ovation.. For three days it seemed like they were winning.. They showed resilience and a will to fight.. It made the contest all the more engaging. A well fought beautiful Test match.. You cannot ask for more.. I know the English fans may be a bit disappointed with the results, but then at the end of the day someone had to finish ahead, but no way these English cricketers be branded losers, They came back and fought with their heads held high..

  • baadman_indian on December 17, 2008, 5:12 GMT

    A Great game by India and very refreshing to see india actually going for the target instead of trying to save the test kudos to team India but they should have never allowed themselves to get in such a situation but overall good team effort except Dravid's performance. I hope team India's success doesn't hide their weak links such as their fielding and Dravid's form with bat and his catching. He is almost about to break the record for most catches but somehow has lost focus BIG TIME!!!

  • Subra on December 17, 2008, 4:55 GMT

    What a match - my mind goes back to the famous tied test between Richie Benaud's Aussies and Frank Worell's West Indies - which I was fortunate to listen thanks to ABC. This time, I was able to watch it live via cable TV. Both immemorable occasions although the Madras Test did not have the same excitement because the Brisbane Test could have gone either way - here India were coasting towards the end. My hats off to Kevin Petersen and his team for coming back to play and HIT TERRORISM FOR A SIX! A game played in good spirit - match seesawing - eventually the little Master showed why he is still the Great One! Let us hope that the Mohali game reinforces the greatness of Test cricket. The other forms are needed for the revenue they generate, but Test cricket is the ultimate Test of a cricketer. Siva from Singapore

  • Oneworld on December 17, 2008, 4:22 GMT

    Excellent article. Especially the comment about cynicism: "it is dull and dreary to dress every act in the clothes of cynicism, for then a man can never laugh except at his own cleverness". BRAVO

  • vijayadith on December 17, 2008, 3:36 GMT

    I live in austrlalia and I am a big Indian cricket Fan. I happened to read some of the articles written in Sydney Morning Herald by Peter roebuck. I am sure that he is a good writer. But I think that he changes the contents of his writings to please the local readers. He usually sounds very harsh on Asian Cricketers, while he is writing in Australian Newspapers. But on the same day, if he writes in Hindu and www.Cricinfo.com, he completely changes the contents of his essay to please the Indian fans. Peter, is this all for money? I think that you must be ashamed of yourself.

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  • vijayadith on December 17, 2008, 3:36 GMT

    I live in austrlalia and I am a big Indian cricket Fan. I happened to read some of the articles written in Sydney Morning Herald by Peter roebuck. I am sure that he is a good writer. But I think that he changes the contents of his writings to please the local readers. He usually sounds very harsh on Asian Cricketers, while he is writing in Australian Newspapers. But on the same day, if he writes in Hindu and www.Cricinfo.com, he completely changes the contents of his essay to please the Indian fans. Peter, is this all for money? I think that you must be ashamed of yourself.

  • Oneworld on December 17, 2008, 4:22 GMT

    Excellent article. Especially the comment about cynicism: "it is dull and dreary to dress every act in the clothes of cynicism, for then a man can never laugh except at his own cleverness". BRAVO

  • Subra on December 17, 2008, 4:55 GMT

    What a match - my mind goes back to the famous tied test between Richie Benaud's Aussies and Frank Worell's West Indies - which I was fortunate to listen thanks to ABC. This time, I was able to watch it live via cable TV. Both immemorable occasions although the Madras Test did not have the same excitement because the Brisbane Test could have gone either way - here India were coasting towards the end. My hats off to Kevin Petersen and his team for coming back to play and HIT TERRORISM FOR A SIX! A game played in good spirit - match seesawing - eventually the little Master showed why he is still the Great One! Let us hope that the Mohali game reinforces the greatness of Test cricket. The other forms are needed for the revenue they generate, but Test cricket is the ultimate Test of a cricketer. Siva from Singapore

  • baadman_indian on December 17, 2008, 5:12 GMT

    A Great game by India and very refreshing to see india actually going for the target instead of trying to save the test kudos to team India but they should have never allowed themselves to get in such a situation but overall good team effort except Dravid's performance. I hope team India's success doesn't hide their weak links such as their fielding and Dravid's form with bat and his catching. He is almost about to break the record for most catches but somehow has lost focus BIG TIME!!!

  • kris_mg on December 17, 2008, 5:20 GMT

    I always wait to read your reports and analysis.. They are not just numbers and statistics but they have life in it.. Emotions in it.. and you dont shy away either when you need to be caustic.. A real beautiful innings by Sachin, supported by Yuvi and setup by Sehwag.. And kudos to the English to have come back and shown the solidarity and played the way they have. They deserved the standing ovation.. For three days it seemed like they were winning.. They showed resilience and a will to fight.. It made the contest all the more engaging. A well fought beautiful Test match.. You cannot ask for more.. I know the English fans may be a bit disappointed with the results, but then at the end of the day someone had to finish ahead, but no way these English cricketers be branded losers, They came back and fought with their heads held high..

  • ImpartialJudge on December 17, 2008, 5:28 GMT

    Great article!! I'd always love India winning and Tendulkar scoring a century. This time I really thank England team for coming here and playing. Thrill of the match is no comparison to the pain inflicted a couple of weeks ago, but it serves as a little morale booster and raises a ray of hope. Thanks Kevin & Team!

  • Samwise67 on December 17, 2008, 5:31 GMT

    I cannot agree more. Test cricket is alive and well and hopefully Mohali will produce another good game (of course I am rooting for an Indian win :))and the SA - Aus series will be competitive. I especially appreciate the point about certain sporting events giving people a reason to hope. I for one would like to see India tour Pakistan in January and hope that the tour will go on. Cheers

  • kraghuveer on December 17, 2008, 5:34 GMT

    Peter it is slightly misleading when you leave out the context and say Wasim Akram took his men on a victory lap and the crowds cheered . It was the other way round. The crowd in Chennai was and remains the most knowledgeable and sporting , despite the intense rivalry and bad blood(unlike now when the India & Pak players are really friendly with each other , in the 90s things were really tense between the teams ), they appreciated and generously applauded good cricket whether it was from India or it was from Pakistan . This moved Akram and he thought he should show his appreciation of such a sporting crowd and he did the victory lap with his team. Akram infact acknowledged this in the post match interview. Yes goodwill was spread and it proved to be one of those moments capturing the true spirit of the great game but the source of inspiration in this instance was a cricket loving crowd.

  • Uppi on December 17, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    Like the throw away lines from Reebok - "dead as pacifism" "man... at his own cleverness."

    Very well put about Tendulkar. This innings has gone a long way towards rounding off his career. Of course, as greedy Indians, we will be hoping for ney demanding more from him.

  • SanjivSanjiv on December 17, 2008, 5:56 GMT

    Apart from India winning this wonderful match, I must congratulate English who has shown great solidarity to come to India amidst terror, fear, security and back and forth trip and took a challenge to India. I wish a great success to England in the forthcoming Ashes in advance. Thanks England for this fabulous gesture and providing an absorbing match. Sanjiv Gupta Perth Australia