South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 4th day January 5, 2011

Defensive India pay the price

Both teams have been guilty of taking a backward step in what has otherwise been an enthralling series, but India's tactics on the fourth day could prove decisive in the outcome
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This series will be remembered for many high-quality passages of play both with the bat and the ball - moments, spells, hours, days of individual brilliance - but for every such passage you will find uninspiring spells of defensive captaincy from both camps. The template was set on the first day of the series when Sachin Tendulkar - with the score 40 for 3 on a damp pitch - pulled Lonwabo Tsotsobe for a four. It was a calculated risk, a shot that avoided midwicket not by much, but Graeme Smith responded by sending the fielder back to the boundary.

By the time the teams came to the decider, the captains were trying to outdo each other. In the first innings of this game, MS Dhoni refused to try and get Jacques Kallis out after a Sreesanth burst in the middle of the innings. In the second, with batting even more difficult, and with Tendulkar having to struggle for longer than Kallis did, it took just one six from Harbhajan Singh for Smith to spread the field out. And this when Dale Steyn was bowling one of the spells of our times.

Dhoni might just end up with the last word here, though, with what could be a decisive show of defensive captaincy on the fourth day. It was quite extraordinary that an injured Kallis walked out in the second innings, with the score effectively reading 51 for 3, soon to become 62 for 4, with a long-on in place. Harbhajan, at that moment, was exploiting the rough outside off appreciably. His bowling figures were 4 for 10, and Kallis was starting out on a fresh innings. Soon Kallis reverse-swept him, a brilliant, calculated shot all right, but one that involved risk. The man that went from short third man to collect the ball from the boundary was asked to stay back there. After just one boundary. In a remarkable show of following the ball, that deep fielder kept moving to wherever the previous shot went, and Kallis had established the psychological upper hand already.

This is to take nothing away from a superb century under pressure and in pain, but Kallis couldn't have asked for anything better at that point of time than the easy singles down to long-on. It was quite similar to what India did to Thilan Samaraweera in the deciding Test of their Sri Lanka tour earlier this year. On the fourth day at the P Sara Oval, India had taken five second-innings wickets for 24 runs, reducing Sri Lanka to effectively 76 for 7, and Samaraweera was 4 when Lasith Malinga came out to join him. It took one boundary from him to open up the easy-single route to sweeper-cover, and another hit over mid-off to spread the field for good. The last three wickets then added 180 runs, and it took special innings from VVS Laxman and Tendulkar to level the series.

Not learning a lesson, India perhaps took it a step further here. Kallis was not even batting with the tail; he started off with Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Ashwell Prince and Mark Boucher. Of the four, de Villiers, too, was shown remarkable respect when he was welcomed with a long-on in place already. Why not ask a batsman to clear mid-on on a pitch that is offering you turn and variable bounce? Sadly, as Smith and other modern captains have shown over the years, this is not a problem with India and Dhoni alone. The moment they see a lesser batsman, they choose to attack only one of the two men batting, and invariably they get only two balls an over where they are actually trying to take wickets.

Boucher, one of the beneficiaries of India's defensive field-sets, gave an insight into modern captains' mindsets. "Not really [not surprised at those fields]," he said. "We have been in that situation as well before. I came out looking to play aggressively, I had an aggressive mindset. I think in the back of a captain's mind, you don't want to give away many boundaries. If there's stuff happening out there, you'd rather have catchers and in-and-out fields. Like I said, to protect the boundaries, and make the guys work the singles."

They are all worried about tailenders - admittedly better batsmen than the breed used to be in the era before heavy bats and protective cushioning on their bodies - adding quick runs, and the recognised batsman counterattacking. In the process they tell the opposition, they are worried and nervous. The bowlers start responding accordingly; it can't be easy from bowling defensively to one batsman and aggressively to the other. That's what happened with India today: they spent the last two sessions confused, conceding 220 runs for five wickets.

Four years ago, when India came to Cape Town, they went in to lunch on fourth day with two second-innings wickets down and a lead of 114 in the bag. The next two sessions featured confused cricket, and India lost the series there. Here, too, going into lunch India had South Africa effectively at 119 for 5, soon to be 130 for 6. But the rest of the day almost played India out of the Test. Now it's up to the Indian batsmen to put in yet another special show to prevent a repeat.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY rohan101 on | January 6, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    even smith prasie sachin, dhoni didn't spoke any word for sachin, he is a stupid crickter

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 15:52 GMT

    Well lads, We played an utmost defensive Test match in England to register the the series win against England, Similarly India Never Drew a series in SA forget about winning. So Dhoni and India would feel much better to rewrite the records atleast with a series draw. On the flipside the ball dint do as much as we expected it to do on the 4th and the 5th day of the match. with the ball not doing as we have expected it to do, what will the skipper think who is actually seeing it happen in the middle??? obviously take a defensive approach which both Smith and Dhoni took. and yes Prestige and honour was at stake one single move and the media will hit them really bad especially the indian media- So i'd think thee was nothing wrong in their approach!

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    Another terrible match from India - B-O-R-I-N-G. Defensive all the way. You have on of the largest populations and all that you turn up on the 5th day of the 3rd test is crap. Shame on Tendulkar for playing like he did after Kallis played his heart out. You have no heart Tendulkar, talent yes - heart NO. Best batsman in the world - give me a break. SA did not help playing Harris (the most overrated test cricketer in the world).

  • POSTED BY Divinetouch on | January 6, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    Congrats to all of BharatMa sons.

    All those who predicted a 3 game licking should now acknowledge that India is a deservedly #1.

    The fact is South Africa failed to beat the #1 side in their own backyard.

    Kallis is a fine cricketer and deserves all the kudos.

    Sachin is the master and will remain so.

    Once again congrats to Dhoni and the other Karmayogis for a job well done.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 15:43 GMT

    I think England right now is the No.1 Team and plus i see dark times coming for our team . 1) Dhoni is not able to Discipline the team. 2) we don't have bench strength ( not even in batting ) 3) Team India is going to face a real tough time if they dont look for replacement right now england is the best ex they have got replacement for every one . You need solid bench strength and please let them build a team. Sorry to say Dhoni is going to have very bad time once all this starts happening & please Sharma and Shree are good blowers but they don't have the Discipline. Most probably you need an Head master rather then a coach out their.

    Thank you for boring us Mr Dhoni.

  • POSTED BY Faraz99 on | January 6, 2011, 15:39 GMT

    I believe that S.Waugh & C'Liyod were the only 2 Captains who always willing to win no matter by trying so may be they loose but always gone to KILL that;s why they were successful. Smith & Dhoni both played for DRAW niether of them try to win & tell the world they are better than the other.... INDIA who is ranked Test :1 will no longer be Rank:1 when ever they will meet PK . IND have poorest record in all formats v/s PK & I am sure with this attitude they will never going to improve that.

  • POSTED BY Waterboy_sixs on | January 6, 2011, 15:35 GMT

    I do not know one thing I found, may be a bit superstitious when ever India play and If I follow the commentaries of Cricinfo India is always in a receiving end so I follow other websites, or because cricinfo is one sided or anti Indian

  • POSTED BY johnsrini on | January 6, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    Hey all you Curd Rice guys, Do not pick on Dhoni. Cricket is for all Indians,not just for the decendants of the FC peons from the British era.

  • POSTED BY sysplex on | January 6, 2011, 15:17 GMT

    What are the other youngsters doing, when will you young prtospects perform consistently(that includes the captain also) and till such time dear captain, please do not ask for fresh young legs in place of players like Dravid, he deserves a graceful exit and I suppose he can still be around for some more time, just needing to eliminate his circumspect phsycological approach. Dravid - play with a clear mind, like you used to do in the past. I believe the Indian needs good phsycological support and with all the revenue the Indian Cricket Board generates, they can afford to have someone permanently to support the team on moral grounds. This is a must, with the world cup around the corner and with the current coach about to leave us shortly.

  • POSTED BY sysplex on | January 6, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    All in all the Indians should beleive from now that they are professionals, like all of us who work at office 8 hours a day(now it is even 10 hours in most places). We cannot give an excuse like "It was just one bad day/moment on/in field/office", we're fired that instance, for once. Indian team, justify your position, for other countries it may be different, but here you almost have the importance of an Indian Prim Minister & his cabinet of ministers. Perform to your potential and justify your selection. I'm happy at least to see this moment that Tendulkar & Lakshman are battling out to save this third test, of course with some gritty innings from Dravid previously, all three are veterans excepting Gambhir.

  • POSTED BY rohan101 on | January 6, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    even smith prasie sachin, dhoni didn't spoke any word for sachin, he is a stupid crickter

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 15:52 GMT

    Well lads, We played an utmost defensive Test match in England to register the the series win against England, Similarly India Never Drew a series in SA forget about winning. So Dhoni and India would feel much better to rewrite the records atleast with a series draw. On the flipside the ball dint do as much as we expected it to do on the 4th and the 5th day of the match. with the ball not doing as we have expected it to do, what will the skipper think who is actually seeing it happen in the middle??? obviously take a defensive approach which both Smith and Dhoni took. and yes Prestige and honour was at stake one single move and the media will hit them really bad especially the indian media- So i'd think thee was nothing wrong in their approach!

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    Another terrible match from India - B-O-R-I-N-G. Defensive all the way. You have on of the largest populations and all that you turn up on the 5th day of the 3rd test is crap. Shame on Tendulkar for playing like he did after Kallis played his heart out. You have no heart Tendulkar, talent yes - heart NO. Best batsman in the world - give me a break. SA did not help playing Harris (the most overrated test cricketer in the world).

  • POSTED BY Divinetouch on | January 6, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    Congrats to all of BharatMa sons.

    All those who predicted a 3 game licking should now acknowledge that India is a deservedly #1.

    The fact is South Africa failed to beat the #1 side in their own backyard.

    Kallis is a fine cricketer and deserves all the kudos.

    Sachin is the master and will remain so.

    Once again congrats to Dhoni and the other Karmayogis for a job well done.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 15:43 GMT

    I think England right now is the No.1 Team and plus i see dark times coming for our team . 1) Dhoni is not able to Discipline the team. 2) we don't have bench strength ( not even in batting ) 3) Team India is going to face a real tough time if they dont look for replacement right now england is the best ex they have got replacement for every one . You need solid bench strength and please let them build a team. Sorry to say Dhoni is going to have very bad time once all this starts happening & please Sharma and Shree are good blowers but they don't have the Discipline. Most probably you need an Head master rather then a coach out their.

    Thank you for boring us Mr Dhoni.

  • POSTED BY Faraz99 on | January 6, 2011, 15:39 GMT

    I believe that S.Waugh & C'Liyod were the only 2 Captains who always willing to win no matter by trying so may be they loose but always gone to KILL that;s why they were successful. Smith & Dhoni both played for DRAW niether of them try to win & tell the world they are better than the other.... INDIA who is ranked Test :1 will no longer be Rank:1 when ever they will meet PK . IND have poorest record in all formats v/s PK & I am sure with this attitude they will never going to improve that.

  • POSTED BY Waterboy_sixs on | January 6, 2011, 15:35 GMT

    I do not know one thing I found, may be a bit superstitious when ever India play and If I follow the commentaries of Cricinfo India is always in a receiving end so I follow other websites, or because cricinfo is one sided or anti Indian

  • POSTED BY johnsrini on | January 6, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    Hey all you Curd Rice guys, Do not pick on Dhoni. Cricket is for all Indians,not just for the decendants of the FC peons from the British era.

  • POSTED BY sysplex on | January 6, 2011, 15:17 GMT

    What are the other youngsters doing, when will you young prtospects perform consistently(that includes the captain also) and till such time dear captain, please do not ask for fresh young legs in place of players like Dravid, he deserves a graceful exit and I suppose he can still be around for some more time, just needing to eliminate his circumspect phsycological approach. Dravid - play with a clear mind, like you used to do in the past. I believe the Indian needs good phsycological support and with all the revenue the Indian Cricket Board generates, they can afford to have someone permanently to support the team on moral grounds. This is a must, with the world cup around the corner and with the current coach about to leave us shortly.

  • POSTED BY sysplex on | January 6, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    All in all the Indians should beleive from now that they are professionals, like all of us who work at office 8 hours a day(now it is even 10 hours in most places). We cannot give an excuse like "It was just one bad day/moment on/in field/office", we're fired that instance, for once. Indian team, justify your position, for other countries it may be different, but here you almost have the importance of an Indian Prim Minister & his cabinet of ministers. Perform to your potential and justify your selection. I'm happy at least to see this moment that Tendulkar & Lakshman are battling out to save this third test, of course with some gritty innings from Dravid previously, all three are veterans excepting Gambhir.

  • POSTED BY sysplex on | January 6, 2011, 15:15 GMT

    But the approach of Smith is not justified, with two of the world's best bowlers at his disposal, he had in fact feared that India might pull-off a victory, which could have happened only if Sehwag had fired in at least 1/6 innings(Mr. Sehwag though you've got good hand-&-eye coordination, sometimes you'll also need a bit of footwork to support your skills, you could have at least stood a foot & half outside the crease, like Tendulkar did, try a few more good practices you're in for a surprise improvement on your performance. I'm just wishing that someday you'd also pull & hook like the famous Mohinder Amarnath). This Indian team has a consistency of unpredictable performance, in which case even Smith's negative approach can also be justified.

  • POSTED BY sysplex on | January 6, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    All of us would agree that both captains have been a bit negative with their approach. However, I would defend Dhoni on being more negative, comparatively, since he does not have the comfort of even one bowler who is even half the level of Steyn/McGrath/Wasim Akram(irrespective of whichever current Indian bowler has a good history) I'm of the opinion that India is yet to produce even a medium pacer half as good as Kapil Dev. If a bowler cannot bowl at least 4/5 overs on the trot, without bowling a bad delivery, why should they be even considered as average bowlers?

  • POSTED BY BigGeorgeMehemood on | January 6, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    Zaheer Khan should be captain..he is most attacking and aggressive and him know tactics to get batsman out; he would set attacking field to get Kallis out, I bet. Dhoni sell that match out! To India Cricket Board- GIVE KHAN THE CAPTAINCY!

  • POSTED BY cricPassion2009 on | January 6, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    For India here, a draw is as good as a win. Drawing the series against a quality team is not any less an achievement.

    Further, South Africa is hanging on in the series only because of kallis. They could easily have lost 3rd test without Kallis's second century.

    Very well played Dhoni & Co. Well played Kallis and Steyn.

  • POSTED BY inswing on | January 6, 2011, 14:52 GMT

    Dhoni has always been a defensive and negative captain. Gavaskar was known for his negative captaincy, but he did not have the players to win. So the mindset was "we know we cannot win, so let's try to make sure we don't lose." Dhoni has the exact same mindset, in spite of having a much better team. His record as a captain is good, but that is purely because of individual player performances. Smart captaincy has played absolutely no role in his wins. Hopefully, the next phase in India's evolution would be a more agressive Aussi-like "yes we can" mindset.

  • POSTED BY vpk23 on | January 6, 2011, 14:39 GMT

    IT SUCKS....AN OTHER ONE BITES THE DUST. WHEN ARE THE GUYS GONNA WIN IT FOR INDIA OVERSEAS??? I MEAN CONVINCINGLY...BY MAKING A STATEMENT THAT THEY ARE THE NO.1 TEAM...RATHER THAN RATTING IT OUT

  • POSTED BY s_v_krishnan on | January 6, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    @cricketfan1 : Ofcourse Dhoni is one of the smartest captain in the world. Shewag was suffering shoulder injury and I hope thats why he was not bowled a over and not successful in SA.

  • POSTED BY johnsrini on | January 6, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    As I said earlier, the longer SA batted the less time India has to bat. Better to start day 5 with all wickets intact than starting day 5 with 2 or 3 down. I cannot understand why its so hard for you guys to come terms with this. Unless you all are biased against Dhoni.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    It looks like a draw at the moment. I think India had 2 chances to turn the game. One was when they could not get a decisive lead after the Gambhir-Tendulkar partnership, partially caused by Laxman's unlucky run-ouit when both he and Tendulkar were playing well. The other chance as commented upon above was the failure to break the Boucher-Kallis and Steyn-Kallis partnerships after Bhaji's breakthroughs in the S African 2nd innings. In the same way South Africa may have lost the 2nd Test when Kallis was also unluckily run-out similar to the Laxman runout in the 3rd Test,but the latter did not cause a loss (hopefully).

  • POSTED BY CricketChat on | January 6, 2011, 12:50 GMT

    Indian team didn't bowl as No.1 team is expected to do. They had SA on the mat and couldn't quite finish their tail. If bowlers like Sreesanth and Ishant can't succeed in fast bowler's haven like SA, when and where will they make meaningful contributions?. India must work hard to unearth new quick bowlers as the present lot are not quite capable.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    @gujer Tendlya obviously..u can go compare the rest..May be try who is second best Don or Kallis...

  • POSTED BY antophil on | January 6, 2011, 12:17 GMT

    I am from India, and i am writing this in reply to Mr. Gujer on tendulkar or kallis..

    In my honest and humble opinion, Kallis is the best batsman in tests and I place him above the little master Tendulkar

  • POSTED BY A.Ak on | January 6, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    Wickets looked like aiding spinners. Shewag - is injured.can't bowl, because he needs to bat. Sachin - did bowl 2 overs got a wicket. Fast bowlers weren't good, sometime in bowler friendly conditions also. Pujara, Gambir, VVS can't bowl, Dravid could have tried. Dhoni had no options (may be raina or yuvi could have been better). Stop blaming him.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    Sehwag had a shoulder injury guys - that's why he couldn't bowl. But yes, very defensive captaincy -- but consistent.

  • POSTED BY Vnott on | January 6, 2011, 11:23 GMT

    Excellent analysis - Sid. With Kumble gone, we do have a problem of bowlers with the ability to close out the tail. India have played completely into the hands of South Africa. With the defensive mindset, SA added enough runs to make an Indian victory improbable. And by playing defensively in the first session, India only have a choice to survive which is the way SA would want. India need a massive effort to draw from here....

  • POSTED BY swarzi on | January 6, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    340 runs to win in a day's play is quite achieveable; but some like Sehwag had to fire. But now he is gone, it is not possible again, as India does not have left any of the three other great names who have proven over and over in the history of the game that they can do it. These three names are Don Bradman, Vivian Richards and Brian Lara. It is their dominance over the opposition in situation like these that put them way above the rest.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 11:04 GMT

    Guys!!! Take a look at the positive side... Even the SA skipper Greame Smith was worried about losing this match... If he had the confidence in his bowlers, the would have given India to bat for at least 10 overs yesterday... I think SA is the side who have played defensively... their mindset was rather than losing a draw is OK for us... This is too defensive... If these guys call them aggressors and if Smith thinks that India should not be the No. 1 ranked Test team then what the hell he was doing??? If he thinks they are the best then why he did not place a bait for Indian batsmen and asked his bowlers to roll them out ASAP??? SA have been losers and they are proving the same once again... Not only losers but sour losers I would say...

  • POSTED BY Legend_tendulkar on | January 6, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    Most people that are talking about not being a chance to bowl are forgetting that sehwag has injured his shoulder and not taking part in One days. India cannot afford to aggregative sehwag's injury before world cup

  • POSTED BY anonymousfan on | January 6, 2011, 10:37 GMT

    Getting through the entire Indian batting order on a single day may turn out to be too much for the SA attack. So India will probably escape with a draw and MSD will be regarded as the only Indian skipper to have not lost a series in SA. However in truth he is the luckiest of all Indian captains. He consistently loses tosses, so even that decision he doen't have to make most of the time.

  • POSTED BY sinnitin on | January 6, 2011, 10:20 GMT

    As an Indian fan, Iam bitterly disappointed today..First, u let a team escape from 64/4 to 130/6 to a mammoth 341 or whatever..& then u turn up next & start playing like a "cat on a hot tin roof",& that too for a DRAW!!

    C,mon guys..this is not what Number One is expected to do..Playing to save the match is akin to leading Indian lambs to Cape Town's slaughterhouse..so, go out there & play like mavericks..even if we lose, it doesn't matter..but PLEASE show some fight..

    As for Ishant, he should be written off at the very first instance..Where are you Praveen Kumar-I miss u!!

  • POSTED BY Barjinder.singh on | January 6, 2011, 10:05 GMT

    Sid you r just sitting there to comment but when it comes to play its all about real challenges. each captain has his own way of captaincy. indian bowling attack is not good enough to trouble many batsmen of moderen era, where there is no help from a pitch

  • POSTED BY srini_jana on | January 6, 2011, 10:04 GMT

    I believe that most of the readers here feel the same way, as I do. DHONI is such a over-hyped captain and he has got the best batsman of the entire cricket era that he has been captaining. (Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Sourav and Kumble). He has been hyped to such an extent that he is part of All Time XI. Are you kidding me? The guy is a pathetic and extremely defensive captain. Tell me other than the T20 world cup which major tournament has India won other than tri-series which we official end up playing practice matches with Sri Lanka. The two Champions Trophy, two T20 world cups and the list goes on. The No. I Test Side that India is in is not due to Dhoni's captaincy but the hard work done by the men before him, Sourav, Rahul and Kumble.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    dhoni time and again thinks he is a dictator and lets his own team mates down ask Sreesanth or Yusuf pathan if not for Gambhir's captaincy Yusuf's career would have been over replaced by Dhoni's men a la Rohit Sharma or Ravindra Jadeja. God knows why he gave bowling to Ishanth

  • POSTED BY whereis_v on | January 6, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    It is going to depend on how long Gambhir and Sehwag stick it out. If they stick around for the first session I think India have a good shot

    As I was typing this Sehwag got out.. Game over I think. Lets hope for a Dravid / VVS special....

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 9:36 GMT

    Surely, Dhoni could have brought in Sehvag&Sachin much earlier to exert pressure on Safari team.Yet, all is not lost.What we need to-day is steel nerve to demoralize their speedsters.Let's hope for the best!!

  • POSTED BY jimmyray on | January 6, 2011, 8:27 GMT

    I think that we are being very hard on India. Credit has to be given to the application shown by the proteas. I think that the pitch was not doing much really for the pacers and the few plays and misses by Kallis and Boucher is merely an indicator of how well the pacers tried..... Although Steyn and Morkel have bowled beautifuly throughout the series, i feel it is upto the Indian batsmen to really give their wickets away with the new ball. We should not get overtly defensive and if we end up breaking either Steyn or Morkels rythm, a draw is imminent.....the question is do we have it in us to win.....

  • POSTED BY natasrik on | January 6, 2011, 8:10 GMT

    Viru is injuried and he is just playing the test as a btsaman only and hope you guys know that he is not playing ODI in SA because of that. We don't have any part time bowler for that matter, Dhoni had to bring on sachin just to try and he got a wicket, with a ball which guys bowl in galli cricket. Infact viewers must remember sachin bowled in the first test and got a thrashing along with other part timer Raina. Secondly the author pointed that it required a special innings from VVS and Sachin for Indian team vistory in SL but Sachin left the team requiring more than 90 runs to get and it was VVS and Rainas special effort which helped team India to win. So let us please encourage others who contribute to victory rather than singing the unsung song that it is all because of Sachin etc. Let us see what happens in this test, I would prefer team india to win but for that to happen Viru should blast upfront with contributions from other guys which would be a good new year gift for India.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Dhoni failed miserably in imaginative captaincy.

    I am deeply surprised his non-utilisation of Sehwag on a pitch that assisted spinners. To cap it all he never tried to switch ends for Harbhajan. What a dumb as a captain. Mr. Dhoni, to win matches we need something more than a cool face and luck!

  • POSTED BY freakygs on | January 6, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    BIG BIG day for India today, the task is daunting for them; but the whole world knows that they are capable of defying the logics. Sahwag and Dravid are due for something special and it could be their moment of glory. Sachin would be crucial and Laxman, as everyone knows would love to be in tough situation. C'mon India show your mettle...!!! BEST WISHES

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    @Crazy: Sehwag has shoulder enjury thats why Dhoni didnt ask him for bowl. He is not playing ODI series as well for same reason..!

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    really poor captaincy, i can't understand why the modern captains don't understand that getting the batsmen out is the easiest way to stop the flow of runs, now even if kallis would have got out after scoring 30 ball 45 or something like, it would still have been advantage india, the way kallis was playing risky shots initially attacking fields would have got him out, but still not taking anything away from kallis he played one of the best innings i have seen, if india lose this then major reason will be defensive tactics

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    Sehwag is out of the one day series owing to a shoulder injury. Does it leave some doubt in us that he might not be able to bowl? I am no fan of Dhoni, but it is better to follow some restraint first and consider all facts, clarify and then launch.

  • POSTED BY cricfanraj on | January 6, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    Though I'm not a critic against Dhoni, this performance as captain is one of the poorest shows . These days it is easily visible that he is not taking initiatives to win sessions . This is not the way if you want to be NO 1 . He need not become Mark Taylor overnight but need to be more sensable . Even in matches in India he was very defensive. May be he desn't have confidence in his bowlers

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    For all those who are wondering why sehwag didnt bowled - because of the reason he is out of odi series. He is having a shoulder problem, so dhoni didnt want to risk sehwag as a batsman at the stake of sehwag as a bowler.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    Sehwag has a shoulder injury, i think that is the reason why Dhoni did not ask him to bowl at that crucial time when boucher came on the crease but he must have tried Sachin along with Bhajji to remove boucher because ball was turning & bouncing a lot but still he was persisting with ishant who was bowling leg side and giving easy boundaries. Atleast he should have employed Bhajji with zaheer if not bhajji with sachin. Now its upto our batsmen to perform but i seriously think that its very difficult to chase 340 on 5th day in capetown where ball is doing so much so we should all be reasonably happy if India could save this game.

  • POSTED BY wincrick on | January 6, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    Indian team once again let the opportunity of finishing the opposition go when they allowed the South Africans to recover from 130/6 to post 340. This is not new as they have done this before also. What is disappointing is that by setting defensive fields they allowed the SA to take easy singles and allowed the partnership to build. They keep on repeating the same mistakes and as a champion team you cannot afford to do that. Just like in 2006 they may have wasted a golden opportunity to win the series for the first time in SA.

    Abhijith Radhakrishnan

  • POSTED BY muski on | January 6, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    I have always thought that one thing our Cricketers lack the most is the killer instinct. At 140 for 6, we should have gone for the kill and attacked. Ishant Sharma has become the laughing stock of Indian test team. It is in such a situation that guys like Kumble are sorely missed. Though Harbhajan can keep crying he did not have support, he too did not go for the kill. Now we have to just hope our guys especially Sehwag dont play recklessly and lose the game. If they can score 250 or so by losing couple of wickets and draw the game, the reputation of world number 1 will be intact. All the best guys.

  • POSTED BY Flat_Pitch_Bully on | January 6, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    Mind boggling!! More so for I have seen Dhoni to be alert to match situations at most times and make inspirational changes which have proved decisive!! So what happened yesterday?? The only reason I can think of is that the seamers were not exactly threatening.. but then as so many have already pointed out why not use Sehwag and Sachin? In the longer run though what begs a question is the selection of Ishant!! Last couple of years he has been a passanger with the team, yet Dhoni seems to want him in. Would giving Nehra, Praveen, Munaf a chance been such a bad idea? Me thinks not... given the way Ishaant has bowled, how much worse can any of those three have been?

  • POSTED BY Dustin on | January 6, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    To the two biggest self proclaimed cricket fans (Crazy_cricket_fan and cricketfan1) you really need to start following more cricket. Sehwag has an injured shoulder, hence why he threw the ball underhand the entire day!

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 6:56 GMT

    It was horribly disappointing cricket on the part of team India . If Dhoni was not doing right thing it should have seniors to tell him . Their experiences of past and amount of runs scored are good individual achievement but are they of any use if India lose the series from here on which I think if 99.9% likely. SRT have played one good inning any test he has never played two good inning in a single test or has he ? Great batsman .....so called . I am dead sure he will not hang around this time and with injured Gambhir SA need only 8 wkts. Out of Sehwag will gift it to them so will the most successful captain overseas Dhoni. 4 of them are bowlers ,one (Dravid totally out of touch strokeless wanderer ) . It only remains to be seen how VVS reponds to it . The oppourtunity of winning a series against a significant opposition has gone with the wind. but after all I m also an Indian so for God sake go and save it Dhondhuuuuuuuuuuuu. Best of luck to team India

  • POSTED BY addiemanav on | January 6, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    ..3rd test-chasing 380,ind needed 140 off 25 overs with 7 wkts in hand on a flat track,when the chase was aborted..eventually in 4th test it needed 2 gritty knocks from dravid to win the series 1-0,which cud hav been won with bigger margin!same year,in SA ind won 1st game..had to bat 45-50 overs of 2nd to draw it,lost it..3rd game,ind were390-5 when collapsed to 410,took a small 40 run lead,choked in 3rd inngs on day4,SA chased210 with few scares!!07' in eng,ind wer 1-0,in final test had lead by 330,cud hav enforced follow-on,didnt,then became 10-3,dravid scored 12 off 95,eng manged to draw..ind won the series,but 2-0 cud hav been much better..in aus,sydney game,there wer poor decisions,but aus from120-6 scored 460..and in the penultimate over of the game,clarke took 3,&ind lost..end result2-1,cud hav been much better..& now,this tour..ind wer no.1 but the result might still be the same it was 4 yrs ago..had they seized oppurtunity,cud hav won more games & series if not all!!

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    Ishant Sharma proved again that he needs some time to deserve his place back. Sehwag was not given the ball perhaps because of his shoulder injury. I wish Dhoni reads this article, and enjoys it as much as we do. :) SA looks like a winner to me. Only a Kalliseque effort can win India this match, which can only be hoped for, perhaps against reason.

  • POSTED BY vpk23 on | January 6, 2011, 6:46 GMT

    PUZZLING CRICKET!!! FROM BOTH TEAMS... LOOKS AS IF BOTH THE CAPTIANS HAVE DOUBTS WETHER THEY CAN PULL OF A SERIES WIN....SURELY IT HAS TO BE JUST THAT...

  • POSTED BY sparshithp on | January 6, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    I'll tell ou who is the gr8 batsman .... Over the decade many comparisions took place... Sachin vs ponting, Sachin vs rahul, sachin vs lara and now sachin vs kallis .....Notice something?? yeah! sachin is the common factor ... that shows who is the best .....and if u ask any bowler who is the best he bowled to ??? its either sachin or LARA... not one mentoned kallis or ponting or dravid

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    need a hundred from shewage n i m sure abt sachin n laxman.........its hard but not impossible.......good luck india

  • POSTED BY Matthaiss on | January 6, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    Stupid'est'est captaincy by Dhoni... moreover, if Dhoni was doing so bad, the ppl with experience should have helped him out, i.e. Dravid, Tendulkar, Harbhajan, Zaheer. If they did and Dhoni did not take it- foolish! If they did not, lack of team work. Plus, how from 130/6, the score went to 340??? unbelievable... Instead of demoralizing Boucher completely, they got him up & running. As in the other article like Bhajji commented, no support from the seamers. All that intense hype abt. Zaheer??? Clueless idiotic performance!! a normal cricket fan knows Sehwag can break some long-timed partnerships, or atleast for a change bring another bowler in. Why did Dhoni take much time in giving the ball to Sachin?? Absolute blunder of a captaincy by Dhoni.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 6:43 GMT

    @ cricketfan1 and Crazy_Cricket_Fan,sehwag's hand is injured and that is the reason why he did not bowl and that is the reason why he is out of odis.But india should have attacked the tail which they didn't.so from a commanding position now indians have to bat it out to save the test and the series for the second time in 4 years in cape town

  • POSTED BY sweetspot on | January 6, 2011, 6:43 GMT

    So, we all know more than Dhoni now? Let him play the game he knows best. He is not the most successful captain for nothing. He's also leading a good team and taken it to great heights. Imagine if he had a GREAT team. Till then, enough already with the criticism.

  • POSTED BY addiemanav on | January 6, 2011, 6:43 GMT

    pakistan were never crowned no.1..but they were gud enough to defend smallish totals,coz they had the gutsy bolwers..even ind used to do that..yesterday was the most importnt day for the bowlers,they lacked courage!!i wud also like to say abt a sort of jinx that has been hurting ind since 86'..ind hav never managed to win 2tests in a series apart from zim&bang!!they hav won & drawn series,but 1-0 or 1-1!!i can count no. of series where ind has looked gud to win more tests,but then given away the advantage!!01' in zim,ind 1-0 up,2nd test were cruising,but 1 bad session,&they lost the game,ending1-1!!02' wi,ind 1-0 up by 2nd test,lost 2 of last 3,series lost 2-1!02' in eng,ind 0-1 down,won 1,levelled 1-1,but drew the 4th & series!!03' in aus,ind won 2nd test,lost 3rd,then score 700+ in decider but failed to put pressure,thus drawing the series 1-1!!next series in pak was an exception,we won 2-1!06' in WI,1st-ind cudnt take last wkt,2nd test-wi were 260-7...

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    NO DOUBTS , I totally agree with you Sidarth sir. There was no harm in attacking even Kallis. He was not fit and must have been down in confidence watching wickets falling at other end. Those reverse sweep were the result of less confidence in the rest of the batting. Dhoni should have been encourged but he took it otherwise. The captain does not have brain to lead India to a series victory. Totally his fault. Even Harbhajan started bowling off-middle line ,which was always going to turn down the legside. What more there was easy single for getting between square-leg and mid-on with the spin , too easy for a player of Kallis's caliber.Even Boucher did it easily. Seamers were not effective other option was tried too late. Viru could have proved to be dangerous, but not to be. I have been always dreaming of an away series win for India (against good opposition). That came their way ,could have been a historic achievement, but that has been spoiled now. still there was good cricket by SA

  • POSTED BY addiemanav on | January 6, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    (contd)..ishant shud get his wrist position sorted out,shud still be in the scheme of things,& come back after showing improvement..dhoni has been gr8 leader,the team has gr8 atmosphere,but when the batsmen leave the dressing room,& bowlers r left on their own,it does not generate that confidence..ind might still win it,but that wud be miraculous,& tht can be done only by sehwag..but tht doesnt make a gr8 team..if sehwag was in bangladesh,wud u call them no.1??no..ind r currently no.1,but wont remain for too long bcoz of the system in place & such ordinary performances..OZ wud hav never played like this..in 2008 4th test,ind 1-0 up,were 160-6,lead by 240.ponting brought his spinners on bcoz the over-rate was poor,ind managed to get a partnership & get a total beyond them..tht was the time i truly believed OZ slide was on..ind may still win other series,& remain at no.1,but point is they r hardly bowling like no.1!top teams can defend 125 on helpful tracks,can ind do tht,i doubt!!...

  • POSTED BY cricketclubber on | January 6, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    India will be bundled out before lunch today, if we loose two wickets in the first 10 overs.

  • POSTED BY addiemanav on | January 6, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    it surely wasnt a performance u wud link with a 'no.1' side!i am not the one who jumps up & down at defeats..but this has been going on for an eternity..giving away the advantage,being over-defensive,at times lathargic..ind had to start well on day4,& they did,64-4,96-5,then 130-6..but then a partnership,tht took the game away..ind didnt apply the pressure,dhoni gave ishant 2overs more than required when boucher was just in..bhajji came when boucher was 15 off 15!!even at 233-7,ind cud hav stopped them at 260..but the bowlers just lacked the spirit..fast bowlers hav to take responsiblity,they left all the burden on bhajji..dhoni in the past 18 months has been ultra-defensive..his captaincy is gud when bowlers r doing the job,but when nothing's happening,he allows too many singles..ishant,has 90 wkts in 31 games,steyn has 250 in 45!!he still hasnt learned the art of picking wkts..he is a trier,but u need to put brain & power behind the ball..he shud go back to domestic,get (contd)..

  • POSTED BY Sumeet.Gupta on | January 6, 2011, 6:14 GMT

    With Gambhir almost out (don't know if he will open) and India having a terrible record when saving the test match, I don't see much hope for them. I just hope that they draw the test, even though it will be as bad as losing the match. Can't believe they allowed SA to score 350 odd after pinning them to 130/6. The fan in me is very disappointed to see Dhoni's tactics. India needed to be ruthless and try to get Kallis out. All in all, poor captaincy and a lost opportunity. This loss, if and when it comes, will rankle an average Indian fan like me for a long time to come.

  • POSTED BY ArFenom_999 on | January 6, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    Excellent display from Kallis, can be regarded as one of the top 3 (if not the top) batsman in the world right now. It's not only his magnificent batting, but look at the match scenario. Yesterday SA was at a dreadful situation (4 wickets fell so soon),plus, Kallis encountered an injury -- but despite all of these tough conditions, Kallis kept his cool and batted like as if he's on a training ground. Since 1999 WC, my favourite South African cricketer had been Lance Klusener (the hard hitting match winner) - but now I think Kallis is becoming my favourite!

  • POSTED BY Accumulator on | January 6, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    Unlike many of my Indian friends here, I am not criticising Dhoni or the Indian team. Such things happen in Cricket. Imagine the number of times VVS has dealt out such special innings, the opposition team wasn't singled out for criticism. It has been a really tough fight for SA as against the smooth sailing they expected. India have done very well and are deservedly No.1. Standing up to the worlds fastest bowler and the nastiest 'bouncer' bowler, they didn't make things easy for SA. At some point SA was struggling to avoid embarassment and fought back brilliantly through Kallis and Boucher. India has produced a number of memorable clashes in the past few years against Englad, Australia and SA. This says a lot about the character of this current team which, more often than not, is beset with injuries to key players (VVS, Zaheer). I think the cricket fans will be looking forward to India Vs X more than any other. Go India! Go India! doesn't matter what happens today. I love you.

  • POSTED BY mrm2011in on | January 6, 2011, 5:51 GMT

    i dont agree with these difencive tactics i think both captains doing their best to stay in the match for long period ..after ball gets soft this pitch is hell for seamers and nothing much for spiners except 1 or 2 rough patches..smith did right thing becoz harbhajan and tendulkar attacking their bowling and yesterday also after ball lost its hardness dhoni felt if ab played like he played in centurian i mea 225 runs i 1 session or similar then its impossible to win or save this match..but ya india lack pace on this tour umesh yadav in place of ishaant would have been better choice ..dhoni needs to understand ishaant is not 20% of 2008's ishaant atleast yadav can bowl yorkers at 140-145ks if not better..

  • POSTED BY cricketclubber on | January 6, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    If India win's this test, India is undisputed world No:1 team. Chasing 340++ on a minefield will show the real character of the team. India have a big big task ahead. Kallis showed his class as a world class cricketer,who from India will stamp his/their authority on this test match. Lets wait and watch.

  • POSTED BY KR11 on | January 6, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    Yesterday's post-lunch to close of play session has changed the game. It is obviously because of some decent batting by SA. But to be honest, when you know a great player is batting, you DO NOT play in a submissive manner. You in fact show to have the aggression of a tiger...and attack , whether it be bowling, fielding or even the attitude off-the-ball! In all these respects India failed miserably. Bowling - Sreesanth has confirmed that he has a cricketing brain the size of a peanut. He takes the new ball and not a single ball was bowled up to morkel to see if it moves. Boucers were his strategy..and pathetic bouncers that too. Fielding - I honestly refuse to believe there were 9 fielders on the ground. Not a single guy was showing any aggression, let alone the will to win! I feel Dhoni and Co are playing for a draw even before trying for a win. They looked like pensioners on a holiday! Equation is simple - Sehwag fires - India have a chance, Sehwag fails - India lose embarrasingly.

  • POSTED BY amit1807kuwait on | January 6, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    I did not watch the passages of play yesterday, but I witnessed the handing over of the advantage to SA 4 years ago at the same ground. Guess who were the culprits that time? The captain Rahul Dravid, and the greatest batsmen of all time Sachin Tendulkar. And no one in the cricket crazy Indian media at that time gave them the lambasting they deserved. NOT ONE. Today, Dhoni is being criticized left, right and centre. I wonder what has prompted the change in attitude. Is it that the media has learnt from their mistakes whilst the players have not? Maybe!

  • POSTED BY zattack on | January 6, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    All fans who r yellin at Dhoni... Sehwags shoulder not fit.. rested for ODIs.. thts why he didnt bowl..

  • POSTED BY PALLICKANS on | January 6, 2011, 5:31 GMT

    India should play session by session,i.e;100 runs each in the first two sessions(total 200 runs) and if they have enough wickets they can go for the kill in the final session,but I beleive DHONI have already opted for the tame draw and this will eventually cost the match. Can anyone remember a test match win by DHONi'sindividual brilliance?He is perfect for ODI's but for test matches INDIA need to look beyond him....it's high time,if you look at any series under DHONI you can atleast get one test match being lost becoz of defensive captaincy..

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    If you cant take the latter half of a side out easily you have an unpredictable bowling attack. Lets hope the batters come good; you also dont know how to get Jacques out early; prey what was the think tank of Gary and his colleagues doing here I wonder; or where they just holidaying in their home atmosphere?

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 5:24 GMT

    i read all the comments and some people are huge dhoni fans or Indian fans ( Please dont criticize in front of them, i mean they would even make you think about your long time aunt whom you have forgotten ). I am sorry to say this but even the writer of this column is wrong . We Indians still are the same as we where in the time of Bedis & Sunny's and Ravis And Azhar. There is no Discipline at all by the so called our players . and sorry to say Dhoni is not in a position to ask from Shree or Sharma. I mean after all scoring 90 and getting out with tendulkar at the other end , there was no commitment from the captain to save the match. If at all India wants to be a world beater , please have discipline & the captain has to lead by example. All the other problems that have people have written will be solved by just that.

  • POSTED BY yippikayyay on | January 6, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    hang on....why is everybody going for dhonis throat??? what about graeme smith?? wasn't he too defensive in not declaring the innings?? he did not have the guts to declare the innings on a sporting score...he was worried about the sehwag factor i guess...

  • POSTED BY Point4 on | January 6, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    @cricketfan and others ruing for Sehwag not bowling,his shoulder injury prevented him from bowling.still Sachin should have been tried earlier or Pujara should have been tried (he bowls a bit)

  • POSTED BY Noboundary on | January 6, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    I cannot understand our bowlers' approach at all! Look at Ishant Sharma... a guy who is 6.5Ft plus coruches to just 5 ft before delivery! He has everything in him to be another Garner... but so pathetic... not only he crouches before delivery he has also reduced speed from 140K plus to 130K. Where is the bowling coach?

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    @VEnkat and all other Dhoni Supporters: Seeing the pitcha nd knowing about its behavious why he didn't opt for an extra spinner. India traditionally has been this 2+2 bowling unit. If he wants the luxury of extra fast bowler we should find a genuine all rounder or try to get people like lille, akram to find Irfan's swing back. Or else we will never win inSA. Pray that all our batsman coem good to wint the series.

  • POSTED BY stormy16 on | January 6, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    Amazing how few captains around are brave enough to 'step on the neck' when the opponets are down. Its easy to say the Aussies of the 90's did it which they did but that is a no brainer if you have Mcgrath and Warner in the attack. I think the fear of loosing is bigger than the joy of winning whcih is why most captains opt for defensive method of safety first. I think Smith should have declared last evening giving India 5 overs and looking for a wicket preferably Sewag but instead he wasted time adding may be 20 runs when he already has 300 and its not like they showed intent for making runs. The fear of failure clearly outran the joy of winning and that was probably the most defensive move of the series. I think Dhoni's options were limited, Sharma bowling loose stuff and Zak either injured over worked but if he had a Warne or Mcgrath I am sure we would be saying what a great captain he is and of course Kallis was simply awesome.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    Dhoni not a good captain at all.

  • POSTED BY sandip22-yahoo on | January 6, 2011, 5:06 GMT

    Your article is way to kind. Dhoni's tactics yesterday were one of the worst displays of India captaincy I have seen in all my years of watching cricket (and there have been many). It was not defensive cricket, but bordered on wanting to lose. Can anyone explain why the following happened? - No bowling Bhajji for 10-15 overs (can't remember how many) after lunch when he has been the only wicket taker so far - Not bowling Sehwag or Sachin till Sachin bowled the 78 and 80 over even though the quicks (sorry not quicks but slow medium) were getting pasted all over the park and spin was clearly the only threat - Taking the new ball right after Boucher was out and not even having a couple of over of spin at the new batsmen when spin was the only threat - Bowling Ishant for a long spell with the second ball when he was getting pasted all over the park. Any part time spinner could have done better

    If we lose this match, I would place the blame squarely on Dhoni's shoulders.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    Dhoni is a lucky but unaggressive captain. If greats like Sachin, Dravid and VVS are not in team, Dhoni would easily blame the people in the team (as they are juniors) and keep loosing. He is not like Ganguly who was aggressive and take ownership. If you don't show aggression and "go to kill attitude" that too when you have the opponent trying hard in 130 for 6 and doing so would earn an away series victory, then he cannot be a captain of No.1 side...I still believe, Sehwag could make a better captain than Dhoni. Dhoni is better than Sehwag in public speaking and media management otherwise, he is there on pure Luck and selfless team efforts.

  • POSTED BY Point4 on | January 6, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    seeing here a lot of comments about Ishant who was rubbish throughout the series except in the second test to an extent but what about our premier bowler Zak .he was just not fit enough onday4 and when the team needed him the most he delivered 2 mouse spells at 115 km/hr.this is where SA outplays ind by a huge margin in the name of a certain Steyn(remember dhoni's wkt in 1st test 2 innings,5 for in this test and many others)OUR BOWLING IS JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH.zak was unfit for 1st test,semi fit in 2nd and mostly unfit in 3rdt est.he has always been like this and after this year's IPL he will again be unfit.and the best seam bowler on the day sreeshnat too is mercurial.the next time he bowls similar to this will be probably in 2013.INDIAN SEAM BOWLERS ARE PLAYING INT CRICKET BECAUSE THEY WERE BORN IN INDIA>period.

  • POSTED BY kilady on | January 6, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    in reply to Mr Bharadvaj Podduturi.What are you dreaming about.To score 340 in the last day is nigh on impossible and on a pitch thats keeping low.You must be living in a fantasy world and dreaming.All these quick fire scores that you have suggested against one of the most lethal fast bowlering pair today make me wonder if you are for real.Why dont you wake up and realise that India could loose the game.Winning it is totally out of the question and a draw is likely.The odds are with SA to win.So should you make such blatent comments remember to do your homework and not be so blind in your hero worship.Do not compare a One dayer with the ultimate game in cricket 'TEST MATCH'.Also if Dhoni di a incompetent job in this test I do wonder if you could have done better.I rest my case

  • POSTED BY SanjivAwesome on | January 6, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    Kallis batted awesomely. Dhoni performed mediocrely. I shan't trust Ishant again. Indian bowlers, except Harbhanan, have cooked up a mess for India's batsmen. I know our batsmen are capable of scoring these runs. I am excitedly looking forward to seeing how my team performs in the red-hot battle tomorrow.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    I agree with a lot comments about dumb captaincy, it could either have been two things, one that Dhoni is pure dumb and overdefensive or second is that he has supreme confidence onhis batsmen that they would chase down any score. Either way it was an exhibition of pure foolishness and naivity. Hope Sehwag can come up with one of his rare gem of innings to save India.

    Let us pick a new captain now.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    FANS CAN ATTACK dhoni for his defensive captaincy but not for not using SEHWAG. remember he is to miss ODI's due to shoulder problem.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    I see lot of people blasting Dhoni for his poor captaincy. Agreed that some of his field placements were not spot on. But the decision not to bowl Sehwag was not his......... remember Sehwag is out of the ODI series due to a shoulder injury and possibly cannot bowl. Guys have a balanced view, this is the same Dhoni you people hailed a few weeks agao for his astute captaincy........ A person does not change overnight.. ;-);-);-)

  • POSTED BY raopreetam on | January 6, 2011, 4:43 GMT

    to all my so called cricket critics, who are huffing and puffing at dhoni for not using sehwag as a bowler. If you guys remember, sehwag has a shoulder injury and so has been ruled out for one day series aswell. well, i totally support the defensive tactics of dhoni & co. its better to draw a test rather than loose it, " better safe than sorry" as they say. so even if india manages to draw the test, it will be a great accomplishment. and for the number one status of india, yeap sure india is not definitely the dominant no 1 as australia was, thats because, when aus was dominating, other cricketing nations were substandard. but now, england, & southafrica are at peak form aswell, so india might not be the dominant no 1, but yet they are number no. If india can just draw this test, it shall prove once and for all that india is no one.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 4:40 GMT

    Why the hell is every one saying that Shewag should have BOWLED !!!!! GUY, follow some cricket!!!, Shewag has been ruled out of ODI's due to Shoulder Injury!!, and u guys wanted him to bowl, so that, he could be Out of World CUp Sqaud!???? , , He was not required in Bowling, but we definatly need him with BAT Today!!!, so lets pray his Shoulder supports him.... :)

  • POSTED BY uglyhunK on | January 6, 2011, 4:34 GMT

    @gujer - had Kallis scored all those runs batting for India then he surely would have been the greatest. Come on, facing Ishanth, Sree and half-fit Zaheer is surely not as difficult as facing Steyn and Morkel. Kallis record in Aus is forgettable. On the contrary, Sachin's is exceptional.

  • POSTED BY ttk_2007 on | January 6, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    @Crazy_Cricket_Fan and @cricketfan1: Please don't jump into conclusion so easily guys. Sehwag has a shoulder injury. That's why he is not playing the one days and also if you have look very closely, while fielding Sehwag is throwing the balls under-arm. So here you go with your answer.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    Crazy Cricket Fan and Cricket Fan, Sehwaghas got shoulder injury. thats why he cant bowl and is out of the ODIs.

  • POSTED BY Warrior78 on | January 6, 2011, 4:29 GMT

    I think Viru has a shoulder injury and hence Dhoni couldn't bowl him. Ishant has been given too many chances with no results. He will produce 1 spell in 2 series and gets selected. Unfortunately India doesn't have a out & out fast bowler to clean up tail end batsmen. I think its going to be difficult to save this match if we lose early wickets. With variable bounce in the wicket Steyn & Morkel would be difficult to handle. Someone has to play a blinder to win this match. I think we will have a result in this match.

  • POSTED BY johnsrini on | January 6, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    Hey Curd rice, You all are Jealous of Dhoni. India now has to play out only Day 5.

  • POSTED BY moBlue on | January 6, 2011, 4:16 GMT

    IND are in trouble. dhoni's extended use of ishant and atrociously defensive field-setting for harbhajan singh have given us the impression that this pitch is not deadly. i believe it could be, even with the innocuous harris bowling, because now SA can attack when they set fields! chasing 340 in 90 overs on day 5 against an attacking field is very very difficult to achieve if bowlers get any help from the pitch. that too, to do it against steyn who may still have inconsistent bounce to help him if nothing else. however, to attack, SA would need to bowl *at* IND batsmen which does present an opportunity for IND to score. but let's say IND reach 150 for 1 at lunch in 30 overs (180 balls) needing 200 with a rampant sehwag just out for 100 in 100 balls. that is about as good a start as IND can hope to get. IND still has to score 190 in 60 overs (3.1 per over) with 9 wickets in hand, but SA won't be bowling *at* IND mostly, thereby increasing level of risk IND face. i don't feel optimistic!

  • POSTED BY SeenuSubbu on | January 6, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    @cricketfan1,@Crazy_Cricket_Fan, I have my own suspicions. The conspiray theorist in me says the game was fixed to go this way. Dhoni has effectively used Sehwag while touring Australia, I have seen him bowl even against Bangladesh. So something is rotten and I cannot accept at face value that this was "defensive" cricket. I openly say again, perhaps the game WAS fixed. It's a shame, for such good cricket was played until the 4th day.

  • POSTED BY moBlue on | January 6, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    IND lost a chance at a rare win in SA and are at risk of losing today, due to feckless captaincy by dhoni. even if they want to give dhoni the captaincy back later, for now, IND should give the leadership mantle to VVS laxman for as long as he is going to be playing test cricket. the latter is a natural leader and a brilliant strategic thinker and has out-thought indian captains in the past with his clever use of bowling resources and attacking mind-set and field placements in the IND domestic circuit. yesterday when kallis employed the reverse-sweep, it was a great opportunity missed by us cricket fans because only one side was doing the brilliant thinking. kallis wanted to be able to safely flick on bkft. even a bouncing bhajji ball. he couldn't have done that with forward and backward short-leg. his regular sweep brought [or would have brought] a man at the 45. so he reverse-swept. IND should have used a short third man at the 45 to stop it. when he r-swept fine, IND push slip back!

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    @gujer based on this test ? Definitely Sachin.Though Kallis have scored 2 100s nothing taking away from him for his pressure handling ability and mental toughness I would say that Kallis 100 came against a bunch of mediocre bowlers who sprayed all round the wkt with loose balls with a good ball now and then.But Sachin's 100 was against the best fast bowler in world at his very best and that too in similar pressure moments.I bet Kallis would have failed than thumped if pitted in the same situation vs Steyn & co in this match.Such was the danger that almost all balls he bowled were deadly.Even Sachin was deservedly lucky, i would say.Also if things taken over their careers then check Kallis record vs Aus,Eng & SL vs Murali.just mediocre. In 1 days.... no comparisons.So pls ... pls ...when some body plays a brilliant inns don't bring Sachin into picture..otherwise pls forward statements with genuine justifications.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    Good to see ppl coming out here and taking out your frustations Crazy1 and Cricket Crazy fan...if you follow the cricket well, you will understand that Sehwag is not in ODI as he has injured his shoulder, he can bat though and thats the reason he is playing this match. Easy to keep commenting!

  • POSTED BY Balajipost on | January 6, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    I am Indian fan and a deeply disappointed one. India does not deserve to win or for that matter even to draw this match, given the defensive manner in which they went about their task yesterday. This is not how a champion team plays.

    We have a bunch of ordinary teams now, not even one champion team, which is why the ranking does not really matter. Dada Ganguly has taken the killer instinct and aggressiveness along with him. He was the only aggresive captain India have had in modern times. Long live the defensive Indian teams led by useless captains... hurts.

  • POSTED BY moBlue on | January 6, 2011, 3:49 GMT

    dhoni's defensive fields - and his inexplicable extended use of the listless ishant [who has been innocuous throughout this series, and should be dropped, due to his losing his ability to bring the ball in off the seam if not in the air] - cost IND a rare win in SA! i was getting so frustrated watching dhoni when harbhajan was being countered by kallis [a brilliant tactic of reverse-sweeping] and when boucher came in to bat [harbhajan was not bowlded right away?!?]. kallis had not yet scored 50 and when he used the reverse sweep, india should have used fielders on both sides at the 45, a slip, a forward short leg, a cover, with four men deep, and made kallis risk it again and again by reverse-sweeping! before he got to a hundred, chances are he might have played one too many reverse-sweep. even if not, from a risk-benefit perspective, dhoni's "safe" route was less safe because anybody could tell that kallis was not gling to get out yesterday unless harbhajan with pressure took him out!

  • POSTED BY OyeOyeCricketKiJaado on | January 6, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    Siddarth, If you watched the match, you would have realised Dhoni was doing the best he could with the resources he had. There is hardly any comparison between the movement that the South Africans were getting and the accuracy with which they were bowling and what the Indians were doing. Calling his tactics defensive is a gross simplification.

    And most of the critics on this board barely understand the subtleties of cricket. Come on people, the pitch has flattened out. And apart from Kumble, we never had bowlers really adept at cleaning up the lower order due to our lack of ability to produce yorkers at will. Stop being such arm chair experts. Dhoni is the best and most level headed captain India has probably ever had. He has the humility to allow Zaheer to be the bowling captain while so many of our other captains were so insecure, half of their captaincy was spent scheming and plotting.

  • POSTED BY wincrick on | January 6, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    Indian team keeps on repeating the same mistake of allowing the opposition to get away when they are in trouble. I cant understand why dhoni is keeping defensive fields when SA is six down for 130 runs. He should have attacked and looked for wickets. He has done these things against NZ also when they were in trouble. Instead of choking the batsmen by setting attacking fields he is allowing them to take easy singles. This may just cost India the match. India may be favourites to win the World Cup according to experts. But if these tactics continue then forget about winning the world cup, we may be in for another first round exit. Abhijith Radhakrishnan.

  • POSTED BY 561363 on | January 6, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    India have to go for win. First of all they have to survive 1st session without loosing any wickets for 80-100 runs but shewag should play the vital role of the indian innings. If shewag survives one and half session then steyn and harris will look like ordinary bowlers. What happened yesterday just need to forget it and should think about what have to do today bcoz india has to win the series and this is the right time to do that. Let be history to explain that cricket is only 22 yrds game , it doesn't matter the condition is home or away or 5th day and 340 in min 90 overs is not impossible. I hope, india will give chance to their fans to have some smile on their face. All the best wishes for india.........go india go.....

  • POSTED BY AtticusFinch on | January 6, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    Dhoni is turning out to be an uninspiring captain. He has had luck, but the luck is due to the team that he inherited from Anil Kumble. Once these stalwarts of Indian batting retires, he would be in the same boat that Ponting found himself in. Raina, Pujara, et al havent done much as yet to build confidence. And his treatment of Sreesanth is disgraceful. Any captain, even in school cricket, would stand up for his players. His washing his hands of Sreesanth, admonishing him in public and laughing at him when he was heckled by the crowd only erodes whatever captaincy credentials he has.

  • POSTED BY crywolf on | January 6, 2011, 3:34 GMT

    India will pay the price.. so called 'final frontier' will remain for a few more years by which time other teams would have got to No 1 status.

  • POSTED BY Kashi0127 on | January 6, 2011, 3:34 GMT

    Apart from all the follies in captaincy, Dhoni was seen arguing with Sreesanth. Agreed Sreesanth is a bundle of nervous energy, but he needs to be nurtured. You let your own team down in front of press and on field how will you get godd performance or motivated players?

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    Dhoni is a highly defensive captain but we cannot forget that his tactics have got wins for India at many times.The south african 2nd innings is threa tening to become a great disaster for Dhoni's captaincy. It makes me remember of a cartoon series Duck tales's episode. Is India going to cross the line or repeat the same mistake. Sehwag and laxman could be our biggest hope. Sehwag for winning and Laxman for saving the match

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 3:28 GMT

    @gujer: I would ask you one question. Is it easier to score century against steyn and morkel or against zaheer and harbhajan.

  • POSTED BY sundstorm on | January 6, 2011, 3:28 GMT

    We have to accept the India performed very well despite the limitations of quality of resources in the bowling department. We cannot expect bowlers who bowl at military medium to fire out batsmen and finish the innings once the conditions i.e. pitch, climate, the condition of the ball change from being extremely bowler friendly. Definitely we do nothave bowlers who can do well despite the conditions like Murali, Dale Steyn, Shane Warne, Mcgrath. India does not have bowling attack like England, Autrailia or South Africa. It has done well because of the quality of experienced batsmen like Sachin, Dravid & Laxman. Also it has done well because of playing in the subcontinent most of its matches. It is definitely not a world beater like Austrailia was. Long way to go

  • POSTED BY Surhud29 on | January 6, 2011, 3:26 GMT

    I disagree with peole calling Dhoni dumb or defensive. We need to understand and everybody knows that Virender Sehwag is nursing a shoulder injury. He will not play ODI series it would be crazy to give him a bowl. Sachin Tendulkar had batted more than 52 overs. I think there is something called body stress and stiffness. How can we people expect him to bat for such duration and bowl. Seam bowlers missed their line. Dhonis fielding tactics are much better than others, eg pls hear his stump mic conversation with bowlers. Only thing i was wondering if Dhoni had brought himself to bowl 4 or 5 overs he gets genuine swing might have made a difference. Critcizing the captain is a regular process, He will bring glory to us, we will win today.

  • POSTED BY crickeyt on | January 6, 2011, 3:26 GMT

    Dhoni is a poor wicketkeeper-batsman and a tactically clueless captain. People in India mistakenly regard his good man-management skills as great captaincy - he is just reaping the benefits of a great squad like Ponting did before 2007. Dhoni lost the plot when Boucher came in and he handed the ball to Ishant. Kallis was in obvious pain and had come down before the lunch interval. Instead of trying to push in more overs, Dhoni let Ishant amble through a 6-minute over. Then, Bhajji started his over at 12:26 and took 4 minutes for his over. Who knows a couple of overs more from Zaheer and Bhajji might have got Kallis out given how uncomfortable he was.

  • POSTED BY Rens on | January 6, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    Crazy_Cricket_Fan,Cricketfan1,

    Please don't be fast to criticise Dhoni for not using Sehwag. As we all know, he is suffering from an injury and out for the rest of the series. That is the reason Sachin got the ball after a 'decade'.Had Raina in the team....

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    Yesterday showed the difference between a good team and a great team. India is a good team; but has a long way to go towards being a great team. Great article Siddarth.It's time captains realized that being defensive like that can backfire. Dhoni set fields that allowed Kallis and Boucher to take singles and twos easily and totally eased up pressure. and why Ishant was allowed to continue inspite of such erratic bowling.And another thing, most of India's overseas wins have come under the captaincy of Ganguly and Dravid(Perth under Kumble).Dhoni has the Durban win and 1 against a weak NZ team.So Dhoni is not as special as he is made out to be. And we have to accept that India's bowling is not able to deliver in crunch situations and overly reliant on Zaheer.When he has an offday (like yesterday), then the the bowling as a whole suffers.And the fielding and running between the wickets is far from that of a no.1 team.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    @Crazy_cricket_fan: You really are crazy. Don't you know that sehwag has a shoulder injury. There was no point in giving bal to sehwag and aggravating his injury. If he was fine, he definitely wud've picked couple of wickets.

  • POSTED BY Cricketfan100 on | January 6, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    to Gujar, if Kallis will face same quality bowling as sachin in this series what you think his average would be? less than SRT. Viru is not bowling due to solder injury.

  • POSTED BY Prats6 on | January 6, 2011, 3:15 GMT

    MSD has become a hopeless skipper. Really really awful tactics.

  • POSTED BY Kashi0127 on | January 6, 2011, 3:12 GMT

    This was a wicket where pace is alo needed. Did you see Zaheer bowl at around 110 at times? Spinner like Kumble used to bowl faster than that. For crying out loud Kallis on just his bowling beats all Indian pacers except perhaps Sreesanth. We need Kapil Devs, Sreenaths ..

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 2:56 GMT

    For all who were sayin sehwag should had bowled . FYI. He was suffering from shoulder problem as the WC is near Dhoni doesn't want to take chances with his shoulder. But i agree with all you fellaz as a captain he was too defensive ..in field positions ..he forgot no matter how great the batsman is there is always a chance if you have tight field placement and chances of getting em out are more =) neways .. Allz well that Ends well .. All the best to Team INDIA ..

  • POSTED BY bbishoyi on | January 6, 2011, 2:47 GMT

    Both Sachin and Kallis are great. Its like comparing which is best fruit.. Orange and Apple.

  • POSTED BY cricketfan1 on | January 6, 2011, 2:31 GMT

    Crazy_cricket_fan: you are spot on. Not even one over from Sehwag ..Bedi said sehwag is a genuine spinner with his rip and flight. I always thought dhoni to be smart captain...

  • POSTED BY nataraajds on | January 6, 2011, 2:26 GMT

    Indian's let SA from 98/5 to go on to make 340. We had a good opportunity and Dhoni should have used Sehwag & Sachin along with Bajji in post lunch session and kept the pressure because conditions were favoring spinners.

    it's great to see Kallis scoring "double" hundred in this test and he even over took pointing to reach dreem 40. Great

    last day 1st session is most important,, if india can hold their wickets in 1st session, we can save the test & even win because if sehwag bats through 1st session, we can see him past 60 or 70 runs

  • POSTED BY bipulkumar on | January 6, 2011, 2:21 GMT

    It's what I call nitpicking. It was lack of spinners and poor bowling from our dear fast bowlers. Viru has a shoulder problem, if he had retired after bowling 2 overs, it would have been worse for India. Criticism is a cake walk, captaincy is not. Criticise if field placement is offensive and criticise if field placement is defensive. Remember it's same Dhoni's captaincy that has won a match in Durbun which India never dreamt.

  • POSTED BY Scienty on | January 6, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    Indeed I totally agree Sid and many other friends who commented. The Indian team have had been too defensive. A match that could have taken the tally to 2-1 is either 1-2 or 1-1. This is a definite shame.

  • POSTED BY USIndianFan on | January 6, 2011, 2:05 GMT

    Need to give Ishant some time to think. He was wayward and we need to have a deeper bench of pace bowlers and who are more focused and try hard ALL the time. Hard to do but they are at the top.

    Otherwise, great innings by Kallis should be acknowledged. Sehwag should see of the ball and then go play his natural game and the rest should build. There is enough depth to go for it if we have 230-250 by tea and 6-7 wickets in hand.

  • POSTED BY JohnSilva on | January 6, 2011, 2:00 GMT

    maybe Dhone was defensive but what were the bowlers doing ? If they were confident they should have stepped up and demanded an attacking field. The fact was they were mostly bowling rubbish and no captain could have done anything. Our bowling resources look very poor and the cupboard is empty. How long can our batting do the job with age catching up ? Three overseas tours in 2011 - wonder what will be our test ranking a year from now !

  • POSTED BY MasterClass on | January 6, 2011, 1:53 GMT

    Steyn and Morkel will be breathing fire, and the SA sledging will be epic. SA have no intention of drawing this game from this position, given the artilery at their disposal. Smart move by Smith to not allow Ind to knock-off some of the runs yesterday. Instead they will have stewed over the huge task that was awaiting them the next day. I don't expect India to make it past 150. Sorry to say. Dhoni/Kirsten screwed up big time!!

  • POSTED BY BeMyGuest.2011 on | January 6, 2011, 1:44 GMT

    Dhoni's captaincy and senior members certainly lacked wisdom, strategy and a game plan yesterday. They simply let south africa grab the initiative when ishant, sreesanth and zaheer were being thrashed by Kallis and Boucher. What is the need to be so defensive ? Why couldn't they explore more attacking fielding options and bowling options ? Atleast Dhoni should come out and tell what was his thought process ? I simply could not give all credit to Kallis' unless we throw every option we had. That did not happen for god's sake and everybody could see the lacklusterness yesterday. If you compare how Dale Steyn bowled when he took the 5 wicket haul ? He had given his best and bowled his heart out ? Did Zaheer and Ishant did the same ? This is surely a opportunity lost after what bhaji created by taking the initial 4 wickets. India surely don't deserve to be No.1 after this performance. We need to hand over the No.1 to South Africa.Shame on us..

  • POSTED BY tmartis on | January 6, 2011, 1:32 GMT

    I think we lost our chance to press home the advantage with a combination of weak bowling and defensive field placements. But at this point I think now the game is entirely in the hands of our batsman. I hope they are attacking and not defensive. This is a new team India with a fighting spirit. I hope to see that tomorrow. Still not ruling out a win.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    Yapp. thats Dhoni's captaincy. It has worked (with luck) in the subcontinent series but SA have read through it. The spread out fields as soon as Boucher came at the wicket was baffling

  • POSTED BY Joji_ on | January 6, 2011, 1:27 GMT

    The only reason Dhoni is still the Capitan is because he has Sehwag, Sachin, VVS and Dravid on call. It going to be a similar slide to aussies when its time to say goodbye to them. Their bowling is toothless and its the batting Hulk that has pushed them to no 1 status. But they are far from an allround team.

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 1:10 GMT

    It was a bad captaincy displayed by dhoni. It started from the team selection. Instead of playing 2 spinners they went for only one. Remember, the last tour of India to SA, the same ground, the same deceider final test and we lost because our researve spinner was not used and fast boller Patel was injured. This time again, we didnot play two spineer and our great batsman Sehwag was injured so we were left with a paralysed side and and out of form captain. We have given away a chance to win series in SA

  • POSTED BY VickGower on | January 6, 2011, 0:55 GMT

    In hindsight(!) this match/this series was won if we had Ojha instead of Sharma. What has happened to the guy who bowled so well against Australia in Australia (where he cut Ponting in half) and against Australia in India (where he won the Man of the Series) is a great mystery and a great pity to me. A question many times asked and never answered. On these pitches I expected him to be good. What is he saving himself for? IPL, I suppose. If he can't succeed on such pitches, where can he?

  • POSTED BY hardlysunny on | January 6, 2011, 0:42 GMT

    I feel India should think out of the box approach and change their batting line up. Shewag and Tendulkar are they key and Shewag is tentative at the beginning. SA only has two strike bowlers and they would be at the best in the first two hours. India should start with Dravid and Laxman. They are solid in defense and they can see through the new ball and the first hour of play. Then send in Gambhir, Tendulkar, Shewag, MSD and Pujara. Point is start defensively with the point of attacking latter on. Dravid and Laxman are better options to start defensively compared to Shewag and Gambhir. SA wants to win this more than India, so even a draw would be a defeat for SA and if we reach a point of not loosing the match, it would put pressure on SA forcing them to be more aggressive or making mistakes

  • POSTED BY sgguy on | January 6, 2011, 0:41 GMT

    Hmm..Dhoni cannot think..He is surviving because of the team batting strength..the moment the batting fails we lose..Also what the heck Ishant is doing in the team..A bowler without any control..including no balls..Strange selection policy..

  • POSTED BY HarishVS on | January 6, 2011, 0:17 GMT

    @the_blue_android, the match is not yet over and 5th day is still to be played, but I really can't see anything more to agree with, at least for Sachin Tendulkar scoring a century and people calling it in a losing cause. And many other points in these comments are shockingly right about Indian players. I only hope that Rahul Dravid will atleast play differently than what is being speculated about here and provide us a platform to draw this match. But still it is like hoping for a bumper prize with one single lottery ticket.... Even if we draw the match, I am hesitant to call India No.1 with this sort of bowling performance...

  • POSTED BY sachinsjaihindustan on | January 6, 2011, 0:16 GMT

    Very poor captaincy by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. At 130/6 he was still far too defensive. Having just got the wicket, I thought ishant may be given just a ouple of overs more, to see if he could get another. However it should have been for only 2 or 3 overs maximum. He took far too long to bring in Harbhajan. He should have at least brought him on, when turn and bounce was on offer, which is difficult for a new batsmen. As for the field placings, the less said, the better. Just pathetic!!!

  • POSTED BY Deenesh on | January 6, 2011, 0:14 GMT

    SA Shud win, but there is a reason India is vaunted as having the best batting lineup in the world. Regardless of who wins, What a series, hurtling towards a fitting climax.

  • POSTED BY cigarlover on | January 6, 2011, 0:07 GMT

    Why is all cricinfo editors/asst editors/columnists seems to blast India or find faults in their technique all the time? It's surreal. Each time I read an article on circInfo on India, it seems some one out there trying to demean India and Indians. The sad part is, most of the names writing the articles are themselves Indians. There is a definitive pattern. Either cricinfo only hires anti-india folks or they are trained to write only bad stuff. If you look at an Australian or even a pakistani contributor, they will mosly ahve positive things to say about their team, sprinkled with some improvement suggestions. But Indian writers, they only see negative.. it's pathetic. It would be a shame if Cricinfo doesn't publish this!!

  • POSTED BY on | January 6, 2011, 0:05 GMT

    Dhoni has not used Sehwag as a support bowler in this series. This is a surprise as Sehwag often breaks up partnerships.However it may be that Sehwag's bad shoulder has prevented him from bowling.

  • POSTED BY sree_rn on | January 6, 2011, 0:00 GMT

    True. Dhoni has no tactical skills and solely dependant upon the respective player's peformance. It is very much apparent on the face of what happened in the past series and present as well. Even Gambhir has proved more skilled to be a captain in the home series against New Zealand. He attacked and attacked all through the one day series and won 5 - 0. I absolutely agree with spinkingKK that Bhajji will be a more competitiive captain. But we all know the politics and rampant corruption in the selection of players for that matter also in all aspects of the game including the constitution of the selection committee. We need to be more content with all the corrupt politicians, administrators, bureaucrats, capitalistic busineesmen and the sportsbodies including the players for that they have no shame, self-respect, pride and patriotism to keep up the country's pride. Instead all these will sell the above qualities for price.

  • POSTED BY cruise... on | January 5, 2011, 23:57 GMT

    Dont blame Dhoni for each everything.. He is the only guy that took India AT NO:1 position.. @ gujer... Better betsman is sachin than kallis coz he has greater technique.. But better player is kallis look at his test and one day average it is more than sachin.. and look at his bowling average also.. He is the most valuable player now in any form of cricket..

  • POSTED BY Meety on | January 5, 2011, 23:08 GMT

    Before this series I thought India would be whupped by Sth Africa. I was wrong, this has been a very good effort by India regardless of whether they win today. If they lose people will see it as proof they don't deserve to be #1, I have moved from that camp & sit comfortably with India's ranking, although they need to keep proving themselves away from home. I thought SRT's great year would be exposed in Sth Africa - it wasn't, I thought that Zaheer would not be as potent away from home - I was wrong there. What I did get right was Sth Africa still choke when the prize is big - the 2nd Test, Kallis would not be bothered by India's attack, Steyn would terrorise the Indian batting line up, Dravid is past it & Laxman will blow hot & cold. All in all I underestimated how good India is, & look forward to seeing their performances abroad over the next year or so.

  • POSTED BY indianpunter on | January 5, 2011, 23:04 GMT

    4 yrs ago on Jan 6th India lost the Sydney test. Fellow Indians, brace yourself.. we will lose this too. It is a double whammy for me as this day happens to be my birthday.

  • POSTED BY Crazy_Cricket_Fan on | January 5, 2011, 22:51 GMT

    dumbest captaincy from dhoni...not only fielding placements..choosing bowlers too..pitch has lot of rough patches...spinners were doing excellent job throughout morning session..sachin too picked a wicket in his 2nd over...then why not continue and use other part time bowlers like Sehwag instead of clueless fast bowlers?

  • POSTED BY Kizz23456 on | January 5, 2011, 22:44 GMT

    Yeah i have no idea why he bowled ishant sharma, he kept on bowling at the legs, so inconsistent, seriously needs to be dropped, totally agree Viru, is the one that can put the pressure on SA , he just needs to survive steyn's first spell, the other people i believe that can help India win, is VVS and sachin, they have been India's top batsmen in this series.. GO india!!

  • POSTED BY gujer on | January 5, 2011, 22:38 GMT

    whi is great batsman tendulkar or kallis? be honest giving ur comments

  • POSTED BY spinkingKK on | January 5, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    I haven't seen the match. However, from the report, I can see that Dhoni's defensive tactics backfired again. I have seen him doing this to the Australians and Australians failed to capitalize on that. Let's have Harbhajan as capatain for a change :). Before the south african second innings, I was thinking that Sehwag will be India's second innings high scorer. Now, I sincerely hope that Sehwag becomes the highest scorer. India need a big hundred from Sehwag to win/draw the match. However, India's batsmen should feel confident that they can't go all out in 3 sessions.

  • POSTED BY PTtheAxis on | January 5, 2011, 22:11 GMT

    have time and again said in the past that dhoni is useless as a captain. this kind of pitch needs 4 men around the bat no matter who is batting and the majority of rest saving 1's. its a no-brainer. and why was the 2nd spinner ( tendulkar in this case ) brought so late ? strangest tactics to start with 2 medium pacers after lunch. all in all a club cricket team would have done better from 140/6.

  • POSTED BY Susan412 on | January 5, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    I agree with this article by Sidharth. I dont quite understand why Dhoni didnt attack or put pressure when SA were 5 wickets down and Boucher walked in. It was a crucial stage of the match and one more wicket was all that India needed. This is what Australia was so good at doing in their prime. Every small oppurtunity to attack was employed and they always made sure they dont let go of opposition team once put under pressure. I think India would be chasing much lesser than 300 only if Dhoni had removed Ishant out of attach and bought in Harbhajan right away when Boucher came in. There was nothing to loose. The lead was around 130 and even if Boucher scored (which he anyways did) it would have been some risks that he would have taken instead of Ishant offering him freebies down the leg side to get him going. Dhoni, I think you missed more than a trick at that stage and are now looking at a draw rather than being in a winning situation.

  • POSTED BY on | January 5, 2011, 21:29 GMT

    Dhoni Lost the Plot by persisting with Ishant Sharma, even when Ishant was gifting SA runs by bowling totally against the field set they got. He should be dropped. I think India should go for a win. It's very difficult, but not impossible. If India can treat it like a one day game, if all the batsmen bat outside the crease, so as to negate the swing factor and bat for 75 overs @ 4.5 an over, then we have a real chance. This is how it should be done.

    Sehwag - Rapid fire 50 (40 balls) Gambhir - 20 (25 b) Dravid - 75 (130 b) Tendulkar - 40 (50b) Pujara - 20 (40b) Laxman - 60 (90b) Dhoni - Quick 40 (35b) Harbhajan - Quick 20 (20b) Zaheer - Quick 15 (20b)

    It is definitely possible. I know in a One Day game, the same Steyn and Morkel on a similar wicket will be hit for around 5.5 an over, or even more if Mr. Sehwag is on song

  • POSTED BY zaheerfan on | January 5, 2011, 21:24 GMT

    Hope Gambhir and sehwag play well and aggressively tomorrow .. only then can India go for a win.. although a zaheer fan I was very disappointed with his performance ( actually our trio pace bowlers) with ball today. They could have easily wrapped them up below 200 and would have easily won the game.. Forget about Steyn even harris will look dangerous on the 5th day wicket.. Hope we see an exciting chase tomorrow.. but my gut feeling says India will play for a draw and then lose badly ( hope I am wrong)

  • POSTED BY NRI- on | January 5, 2011, 21:03 GMT

    This Ian Chappell nonsense about playing aggresively all the time is fine if you have Lillee and Thomson bowling for you in Perth or Brisbane. Except for getting more overs out of the part time spinners, Dhoni did the right thing. For once Raina the bowler may have played a part but Pujara can't bowl. Unfortunately Sehwag is nursing a sore shoulder. Bhajii needed support at the other end. SRT should have bowled more overs and much earlier against Boucher.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | January 5, 2011, 20:57 GMT

    The Test cricket world is awash with extremely poor defensive captains at the moment. Dhoni is the best of a bad bunch because he has the best players at his disposal. Strauss, Smith, Ponting and Dhoni are all following the formula of Michael Vaughan in the 2005 Ashes, defending until they are in a winning position. Hopefully, India lose this match and get taught a lesson in playing attacking cricket with an attacking mindset, rather than a defensive one.

  • POSTED BY Hawkeye15 on | January 5, 2011, 20:54 GMT

    Sure India missed a trick or two; like bhajji said the bowlers didn't bowl as well as they could've. But don't count this side out - they are #1 for many reasons, not least of which is their bouncebackability, shown time and again. Tomorrow will tell.

  • POSTED BY Rahulbose on | January 5, 2011, 20:54 GMT

    As far as setting good fields and plans for batsman, Dhoni is a useless captain. The last Indian captain who knew how to set fields for spinners was Azhar.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | January 5, 2011, 20:53 GMT

    India blew this test match twice. on Day 3, after Sachin & Gambhir gave India a great partnership. Dhoni, VVS & Pujara failed to consolidate. A lead of 150 was possible if only these batsmen played to their potential. Then with score at 120 for 6 India blew it again on Day 4.The whole bowling and captaincy tactics were questionable.Only Harbhajan was doing well in the morning session and even he became defensive.India gave the SA tail all the runs on a bowling friendly wicket. Now India wil face the Chin music. They will have to fight with their backs to the wall. Only Sehwag and Gambhir if they play the entire morning session will give India a chance for a respectable draw. Indian Win appears to be out of sight though Sehwag if he stays at one end playing his usual game can give India a chance. VVS must bat #3 instead of Dravid because VVS is the hero of the second innings and he is a regular #3 bat.It is still a bowler's wicket & Steyn & Morkel will be handful.India need luck to win

  • POSTED BY on | January 5, 2011, 20:50 GMT

    I am sure Team India stands up for the moment

  • POSTED BY intcamd on | January 5, 2011, 20:43 GMT

    The chance of India winning is less than 10%, and if Viru is out early on, then it is down to 0%. Chances of SA winning are more than 50%, perhaps 60% to 70%. Draw is less likely, may be 30% chance. I hope I am wrong, but chances that Tendulkar scores a good knock are less than 20%. Unfortunately, Dravid has been so out of form, and it really comes down to Laxman and may be another batsman to even make a semi-decent score. I would say SA winning by 160 runs.

  • POSTED BY SRT_GENIUS on | January 5, 2011, 20:35 GMT

    Kallis is the new Younis, Dhoni is the new Kumble.

  • POSTED BY LAKingsFan on | January 5, 2011, 20:35 GMT

    Yep, it's really inept tactics from India. For the last 4 wickets SA added 211 runs. Really sad, but having said that the Match is not yet lost. I believe India still can go for a draw. It all depends on how Sehwag starts. If India is 120 without loss at the lunch break, we have a great game on.

  • POSTED BY cris89 on | January 5, 2011, 20:26 GMT

    Nothing unexpected...even after Boucher got out, India had a glimmer of hope but lost it through appalling bowling...Superlative effort from Kallis, the most underrated but the most valuable cricketer in world cricket..Indians wilt against Steyn and Morkel even on a good pitch and will be routed on this shooter..SA will win by 150-200 runs by tea or half an hour after tea...SA once again provides a heartbreaking failure to India...Even if India, by some miracle, secure a draw(as likely as Chris Martin scoring a test century), India should rightfully be ranked No 3 behind SA & Eng..

  • POSTED BY sachin__tendulkar on | January 5, 2011, 20:25 GMT

    good article. It's about time someone pointed out this unfortunate trend setting in. In Test cricket, the best chance you got to get a batsman out is during the first 20 balls he faces. Thus the fielding side should put as much pressure as they can when a new batsman walks in. Doesn't matter if he hits you for a few boundaries, but if you could force him to make a mistake you come out winner. Ganguly as a captain always used to do that. Unfortunately Dhoni has never thought that way. Particularly with Harbhajan bowling he never bothers to place a silly point, but sweepers all around the boundary! India lost this test match here today when they let Boucher settle in. He is out of form and under pressure, and yet Dhoni persisted with 2 horrible overs from Ishant instead of making him face Harbhajan with 5 men around the bat. Dhoni's calm temperament under all situations is a big plus for a captain, but I cannot agree with his defensive mindset on the field.

  • POSTED BY anilkp on | January 5, 2011, 20:23 GMT

    Indian performance today: listless, unimaginative, unispired, toothless, spineless...and what not. Bhajji should not shout much about his 7 scalps. They just were terrible today. They should have noted that each run they concede was to be gotten. The game will not go into the third session tomorrow--based entirely on how this team has been performing. If anything better happens, that will just be an aberration, not the trend. It is a pain to follow this bunch.

  • POSTED BY superbindia on | January 5, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    I think you are spot on with your comments... I was watching the match live and was surprised and frustrated to see the fieldsman going back as soon as Kallis hit the first reverse sweep...Dhoni and Harbhajan should have encouraged Kallis to hit the reverse sweep, eventually he would have got out...Too Defensive and infact Dhoni has been lucky that most of our batsman are in good form and they have been winning us matches and certainly not by virtue of Dhonis captaincy.....

  • POSTED BY Kurapati on | January 5, 2011, 20:06 GMT

    The last line of this artice "Now it's up to the Indian batsmen to put in yet another special show to prevent a repeat", does it mean author is thinking that SA win for sure?? Sidharth, come on now!! there will be only India win or a draw. It's not gonna be a repeat for what had happenned 4 years ago.. We have world's best batsmen in the side and it's not 2 days left in the test..it's just a day and either India should win or a draw is possible...If you have an idea that SA is gonna win and the same thing is gonna repeat then I don't know how you are sitting at cricinfo as assistant editor!!

  • POSTED BY gerardpereira20 on | January 5, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    Dhoni cost India the match. No doubt he is a defensive captain. Who can forget him batting on against New Zealand when India had already had 450 on the board. At the fall of Princes wicket Dhoni should have turned to his two best bowlers Harbajan and zaheer with field settings aimed at getting wickets. If the batsmen got away nobody would have blamed him. Dhoni bowled Ishant who fed boucher with balls on the leg stump which eased a Bouche,r who has been struggeling right through the series into the game.

  • POSTED BY on | January 5, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    hmm....definitely India can't win and even SA can't win looking at the indian batting line up. it will be tough to get dravid, laxman and dhoni out. India should have bowled well to take the remaining 4 wickets. they leaked 90 extra runs.

  • POSTED BY razorhedge on | January 5, 2011, 19:46 GMT

    Dhoni is india's best captain.. but some of his calls can be really questionable at times... and Ishant has a lot of talent, but his time is running out, just like the other sharma.

  • POSTED BY the_blue_android on | January 5, 2011, 18:52 GMT

    I'm a huge supporter of India but India honestly does not deserve to win this game. You cannot win test matches with 3 bowlers under performing in the third innings in helpful conditions with a defensive captain. ZAK bowling at 115 KMPH, Ishant giving freebies through out the day, half vollies, short and wide deliveries and deliveries going doing down leg side. It was apalling to see how easy it was for SA batsmen to take ones and twos.

    If the bowlers cannot hit a consistent line with appropriate field setups and build pressure, the team does not deserve to be # 1 nor do they deserve to win test matches.

    Viru will hit couple of 4s and then hole out. Dravid will struggle for 1 hour before chasing one outside off stump. Sachin will not be beaten 29 times with those outswingers this time. India will be bowled out for 150 tomorrow.

    India bowls like this and then people will say Sachin scored a century in a losing cause. We have seen this since 1992.

  • POSTED BY streetblader on | January 5, 2011, 18:49 GMT

    Its a fact... Dhoni is the most unimaginative captain... Like Ponting did in Australia's haydays, Dhoni too is reaping benefits of a fresh, aggressive and confident team... India has been winning consistently even with Dhoni not around and thats a proof of this fact (as when Suresh Raina and then Gautam Gambhir captained India in his absence)... He is the worst wicketkeeper India has ever had... fails miserably on all foreign grounds and today has shown he's also the worst when it comes to OUT-OF-THE-BOX THINKING... anyone can play for a draw, but to lose grip on a match after the oppositin was reduced to 130 for 6, well.. leave it to Dhoni to pull a defeat from the jaws of victory....

  • POSTED BY Venkat_Super_11 on | January 5, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    Mark my words, Siddharth. India will start tomorrow with a mindset of winning the test and series. Only if things go wrong (they do, don't they most of the times..?) the middle order will put a defensive stand and try to save the game. And you can't expect India to win when players like Dravid bat to save their positions in tem rather than the game. Dhoni setting a defensive field was nothing wrong with bowlers like Sharma and Sreeshanth bowling to Boucher and Kallis and offering good width for them to smack over mid wicket or point. If Dhoni had set up attacking field and there were few more boundaries, you would have abused him again and perhaps suggested that he had set up very attacking field for bowlers like Sharma and Sreeshanth. This never ends...Critics are critics and you have to be in the players' shoes to know the situation, if not the game, better.

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  • POSTED BY Venkat_Super_11 on | January 5, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    Mark my words, Siddharth. India will start tomorrow with a mindset of winning the test and series. Only if things go wrong (they do, don't they most of the times..?) the middle order will put a defensive stand and try to save the game. And you can't expect India to win when players like Dravid bat to save their positions in tem rather than the game. Dhoni setting a defensive field was nothing wrong with bowlers like Sharma and Sreeshanth bowling to Boucher and Kallis and offering good width for them to smack over mid wicket or point. If Dhoni had set up attacking field and there were few more boundaries, you would have abused him again and perhaps suggested that he had set up very attacking field for bowlers like Sharma and Sreeshanth. This never ends...Critics are critics and you have to be in the players' shoes to know the situation, if not the game, better.

  • POSTED BY streetblader on | January 5, 2011, 18:49 GMT

    Its a fact... Dhoni is the most unimaginative captain... Like Ponting did in Australia's haydays, Dhoni too is reaping benefits of a fresh, aggressive and confident team... India has been winning consistently even with Dhoni not around and thats a proof of this fact (as when Suresh Raina and then Gautam Gambhir captained India in his absence)... He is the worst wicketkeeper India has ever had... fails miserably on all foreign grounds and today has shown he's also the worst when it comes to OUT-OF-THE-BOX THINKING... anyone can play for a draw, but to lose grip on a match after the oppositin was reduced to 130 for 6, well.. leave it to Dhoni to pull a defeat from the jaws of victory....

  • POSTED BY the_blue_android on | January 5, 2011, 18:52 GMT

    I'm a huge supporter of India but India honestly does not deserve to win this game. You cannot win test matches with 3 bowlers under performing in the third innings in helpful conditions with a defensive captain. ZAK bowling at 115 KMPH, Ishant giving freebies through out the day, half vollies, short and wide deliveries and deliveries going doing down leg side. It was apalling to see how easy it was for SA batsmen to take ones and twos.

    If the bowlers cannot hit a consistent line with appropriate field setups and build pressure, the team does not deserve to be # 1 nor do they deserve to win test matches.

    Viru will hit couple of 4s and then hole out. Dravid will struggle for 1 hour before chasing one outside off stump. Sachin will not be beaten 29 times with those outswingers this time. India will be bowled out for 150 tomorrow.

    India bowls like this and then people will say Sachin scored a century in a losing cause. We have seen this since 1992.

  • POSTED BY razorhedge on | January 5, 2011, 19:46 GMT

    Dhoni is india's best captain.. but some of his calls can be really questionable at times... and Ishant has a lot of talent, but his time is running out, just like the other sharma.

  • POSTED BY on | January 5, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    hmm....definitely India can't win and even SA can't win looking at the indian batting line up. it will be tough to get dravid, laxman and dhoni out. India should have bowled well to take the remaining 4 wickets. they leaked 90 extra runs.

  • POSTED BY gerardpereira20 on | January 5, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    Dhoni cost India the match. No doubt he is a defensive captain. Who can forget him batting on against New Zealand when India had already had 450 on the board. At the fall of Princes wicket Dhoni should have turned to his two best bowlers Harbajan and zaheer with field settings aimed at getting wickets. If the batsmen got away nobody would have blamed him. Dhoni bowled Ishant who fed boucher with balls on the leg stump which eased a Bouche,r who has been struggeling right through the series into the game.

  • POSTED BY Kurapati on | January 5, 2011, 20:06 GMT

    The last line of this artice "Now it's up to the Indian batsmen to put in yet another special show to prevent a repeat", does it mean author is thinking that SA win for sure?? Sidharth, come on now!! there will be only India win or a draw. It's not gonna be a repeat for what had happenned 4 years ago.. We have world's best batsmen in the side and it's not 2 days left in the test..it's just a day and either India should win or a draw is possible...If you have an idea that SA is gonna win and the same thing is gonna repeat then I don't know how you are sitting at cricinfo as assistant editor!!

  • POSTED BY superbindia on | January 5, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    I think you are spot on with your comments... I was watching the match live and was surprised and frustrated to see the fieldsman going back as soon as Kallis hit the first reverse sweep...Dhoni and Harbhajan should have encouraged Kallis to hit the reverse sweep, eventually he would have got out...Too Defensive and infact Dhoni has been lucky that most of our batsman are in good form and they have been winning us matches and certainly not by virtue of Dhonis captaincy.....

  • POSTED BY anilkp on | January 5, 2011, 20:23 GMT

    Indian performance today: listless, unimaginative, unispired, toothless, spineless...and what not. Bhajji should not shout much about his 7 scalps. They just were terrible today. They should have noted that each run they concede was to be gotten. The game will not go into the third session tomorrow--based entirely on how this team has been performing. If anything better happens, that will just be an aberration, not the trend. It is a pain to follow this bunch.

  • POSTED BY sachin__tendulkar on | January 5, 2011, 20:25 GMT

    good article. It's about time someone pointed out this unfortunate trend setting in. In Test cricket, the best chance you got to get a batsman out is during the first 20 balls he faces. Thus the fielding side should put as much pressure as they can when a new batsman walks in. Doesn't matter if he hits you for a few boundaries, but if you could force him to make a mistake you come out winner. Ganguly as a captain always used to do that. Unfortunately Dhoni has never thought that way. Particularly with Harbhajan bowling he never bothers to place a silly point, but sweepers all around the boundary! India lost this test match here today when they let Boucher settle in. He is out of form and under pressure, and yet Dhoni persisted with 2 horrible overs from Ishant instead of making him face Harbhajan with 5 men around the bat. Dhoni's calm temperament under all situations is a big plus for a captain, but I cannot agree with his defensive mindset on the field.