It will be long debated if Sourav Ganguly, whose current form with the bat is that of a tailender, came out to bat at No. 4 before Rahul Dravid out of responsibility or selfishness. Either way, it did not help the side. The platform when he came out to bat was perfect for quick acceleration, but he pottered around uncertainly, as out-of-place as an octogenarian at a disco. You knew the end was nigh when he charged out to Shoaib Malik, missed the ball completely, and Kamran Akmal muffed an easy stumping. "They let him go deliberately," said someone in the press box. "Pakistan want Ganguly to keep batting."
But he was run out in the next over, a decision made by the third umpire. The players huddled together after the appeal, waiting for the decision, and a buzz went through the crowd. Then suddenly they cheered madly, this home crowd, because their captain had been given out. Ganguly walked back slowly, as the loud applause at his dismissal turned into louder booing. You felt sorry for the man, but unfair as this salt on an open wound was, that wound was self-inflicted. And only one man had the medicine. (AV)
After three single-digit scores, there is bound to be a backlash, and Ahmedabad turns out to be the chosen venue for Pakistan to feel the heat of Sachin Tendulkar's bat. The manner in which he dismantles Danish Kaneria is especially impressive - Kaneria bowls from round the wicket, pitching his legspinners well outside leg, but Tendulkar counters that superbly. Good-length ball? No problem - go down on one leg, reverse-sweep it to third man for four. A well-flighted one? Even better - make room, go down the track, loft it over long-on, then stand stand back and enjoy the atmosphere as the crowd rises to their feet and chants "Ganapati bappa morya" and "Sachin, Sachin". Then move inside the line and offer no stroke to another wide one, forcing the umpire to call a wide. Kaneria has been rendered clueless, Tendulkar is back to his best, and all is well with the world. (SR)
Amit Varma is contributing editor of Cricinfo. He writes the independent blogs, India Uncut and The Middle Stage.
S Rajesh is assistant editor of Cricinfo.