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First-person reports from the stands

India v Australia, second Test, Hyderabad, second day

Who wants Sachin?

Watching two young Indian batsmen bat out a whole day was heart-warming. Shame on those who thought otherwise

Atul Bhogle

Comments: 9 | Text size: A | A
M Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara leave the field during the tea break, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 2nd day, March 3, 2013
Day two in Hyderabad was the Pujara and Vijay show © BCCI
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Choice of game
With the Test starting on a Saturday, it was a golden opportunity to watch the first two days without giving the office a miss. Having watched the Aussies crumble against Indian seam and spin on the first day, I was eager to find out if the Indian batting could build upon the good work done by the bowlers.

Key performer
It was Cheteshwar Pujara's show. He played the role of the sheet anchor to perfection, thwarting the twin threats of James Pattinson and Peter Siddle in the first session and opening up beautifully in the third session to make it India's day. Vijay, him of the six-hitting reputation in the IPL, played the perfect foil, curbing his natural instincts to play as per the team's requirements.

One thing I'd have changed
I would have liked to see the Aussie spinners challenge the batsmen more. Though Xavier Doherty, like Ravindra Jadeja on day one, was extracting good turn and bounce from the pavilion end, neither him nor Glenn Maxwell seemed to have a stock ball they could rely on. It was cannon fodder for the Indian batsmen. Nathan Lyon, with a bit more Test experience, would have been a far better choice in the circumstances.

The missed silence
The two teams lined up at the start of play to observe a two-minute silence in memory of the victims of the recent bomb blast in Hyderabad. However, the announcement was not clearly audible in few of the stands. It led to the bizarre spectacle of half the stadium and the two teams standing silently while the other half went on cheering. Noble intentions thus came to a nought, all due to a faulty public address system.

Interplay I enjoyed
Pattinson was steaming in with intent in the first hour and caused some nervous moments to both Vijay and Pujara. There were a couple of plays and misses and Vijay was lucky to get away with an edge early on. Pattinson's pace was fantastic to watch from behind his arm.

Filling the gaps
The Indian reserves were doing their fielding drills during the lunch break. Shikhar Dhawan looked fittest of the lot and took some very acrobatic catches that were cheered by the crowd.

VVS Laxman came out during the tea break again and was welcomed with a cheer that reverberated through the stands. He would have approved of the way Pujara and Vijay batted today.

Shot of the day
Pujara had shown against New Zealand that he was a compulsive hooker. However, having been dismissed hooking in Bangalore, he had shelved it completely. The shot came out today in the last session, and what a moment he chose to bring it on! The new ball was taken and it was the last chance Australia had of salvaging something from the day's play. Pujara's response was a cracking hook off a bouncer from Pattinson - it soared over fine leg and brought up his 150. The day couldn't have gone more wrong for Australia.

Crowd meter
The Hyderabad crowd deserves a special note of appreciation for coming out in full force and braving the hot sun to cheer India. The western stands were the loudest and when they triggered the Mexican wave, it went round the stadium in seven seconds flat. At one moment there were two waves doing the rounds, something I have never seen. The spectators were also very appreciative of the Aussie fielding efforts, which was a welcome break from the trend in Indian grounds - the likes of Chennai and Eden Gardens excluded.

We had learnt our lesson yesterday and had a (very) heavy breakfast before coming into the ground, so as to not be dependent on the Hyderabad Cricket Association's whims and fancies when it came to catering arrangements. Sure enough, there was no packed rice box available today and the crowd had to be content with six-inch pizzas being sold at exorbitant prices. At least there were more water dispensers, which was a bit of a relief.

Tests v limited-overs
I feel watching a Test is always a more rewarding experience for the spectator. It has a certain ebb and flow that is harder to find in limited-overs cricket, and is certainly nonexistent in Twenty20s. The likes of the IPL also have so much noise and sundry entertainment going on that it is hard to focus on the cricket, which in itself is not always interesting.

Each hour in a day's play in a Test might not generate non-stop action, but as they say, good things happen to those who wait - which is exactly what happened today.

Indian fans bear the sun as they cheer their team, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 2nd day, March 3, 2013
The fans were out in full force despite the blazing heat © BCCI

Unreasonable demand of the day
Pujara and Vijay were biding their time in the first session, which meant only 49 runs were scored. The crowd, eager to watch Sachin Tendulkar bat, started a "We want Sachin" chant and joined in with the Australians for each appeal, even cheering for an "Out" when a run-out decision was referred to the third umpire.

The demand didn't subside even in the last session, which was a pity. Surely an almost Dravid-VVS like partnership deserved a better reaction? When Pujara brought up his 150 with the aforementioned hook, an elderly gentleman, peeved by the crowd's demand for Tendulkar, retorted: "Do you dare to ask for Sachin even now?"

Marks out of 10
10. As an Indian fan, I was chuffed. The sight of two youngsters batting out the day was very heart-warming.

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Atul considers life to be an allegory for cricket rather than the other way round and dreams of writing a cricket book one day. He sometimes vents his frustrations here

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Posted by Saqlain on (March 4, 2013, 13:58 GMT)

@keba jeeva, i agree that the title was a bit harsh but do you really want crowds discouraging two young cricketers giving their best so that their country may have a good chance at winning. And would you rather that sachin got a 100 but india lost or drew the match. Even sachin says that his knocks dont feel half as good if his team does not win. Personally i really enjoyed the day's play and hope india manage to secure an innings victory.

Posted by Joseph on (March 4, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

Its looks like possible victory in 2 nd test also.Can it is possible 4-0?If it is so it will great victory for home side.It's important batman has to play the key role.If its happen spinners can up with high standard.See if you watch our spinners they are working hard.For example Harbajan bowling good length. Jadeja's wickets in first innings shown him his sharpness.For Aswin need not explain anything.So its very important Indian batsmen support to spinners like Pujara and Vijay putting big score in board.I hope 4-0 at the end of the series

Posted by Vinod on (March 4, 2013, 12:20 GMT)

this sort of public worship has tarnished the image of Sachin to a great extent and even has made him a controversial cricketing figure among cricket lovers :-)

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 4, 2013, 9:37 GMT)

Really shame on those cricket fans.. They chant for Sachin rather than watching those youngster's knocks.. that was very thoughtful of them that all the things they wanted is Sachin's batting not India's victory... *sigh*

Posted by Daniel on (March 4, 2013, 7:47 GMT)

I hope this report was posted from outside the ground. Wouldn't want to breach BCCI rules!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 4, 2013, 7:44 GMT)

This is by far the worst page i've seen in this website. So one test two young players do well(which i'm very happy about) and so we don't need sachin. Where were the critics when he literally saved the first test match. If sachin hadn't stabilized the innings after two early wickets in the first test we would have lost the match. The ovation the crowd gave for the second wicket today just shows what an icon sachin is in India. Give respect to the legend. I'm sure the author of this page would have been in his diapers when sachin started playing cricket. I regretfully say the title "who wants sachin" itself proves his worth as an author. The answer to that shameful question - Indian cricket, his fans, and importantly for critics like you to make a living out of him.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 4, 2013, 6:32 GMT)

Amongst all the reasons that people have conjured up on Why Sachin should retire this is the most stupid one. Here are 2 youngsters who are trying to help the nation a commanding position. Instead of rejoicing the moment and hoping that they will emulate this performance in future, all you have got is 'Who wants Sachin'

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 4, 2013, 5:58 GMT)

Please dont forget that Sachin has almost dedicated his life in the past 24 years for Indian cricket as a true Patriot. just for a single day's performance of these two players , you can never put a question mark on your phrase "who wants Sachin ? "

I do agree both these players has done a great work to put Aussies off for the day. But comparing the performance of a great Cricketer, who still in the squad for last 24 years, is worthless.

just think for a while were this Pujara and Vijay even born when Sachin first padded for India in the late 80's. And that person is still playing in the eleven with these youngsters.

Please dont ever ever compare Great epics done by Sachin with any of the hundreds or double.

Its simply great to watch that man even stays on the non strikers end even if he doesn't score anything. Even the presence of that man makes us sit in front of the TV howsoever busy we are..

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