The Surfer

The Mishra mystery

George Binoy
George Binoy
Amit Mishra is over the moon after getting his first Test wicket, that of Simon Katich, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Mohali, 2nd day, October 18, 2008


Amit Mishra has taken a five-for on his debut and will have another go at Australia in less than 24 hours. Should there be another bagful of wickets and a 1-0 lead to India, anticipate an almighty uproar, writes Sharda Ugra in India Today.
Do you bench the man who had given Ricky Ponting’s New Age XI the most trouble - and had wickets to show for it – to have the captain step in? Or do you drop a batsman, play five bowlers, including the three slow men?
Given the tenor of his newspaper column after Bangalore, it is evident Kumble and the senior Indians feel somewhat hounded and when this debate begins it will become all the rage to ask for his head and slap down his recent statistics. But do not forget that Firozshah Kotla and Kumble are kindred spirits: he has taken 55 wickets at the ground at 15.42 and won three of his ten Man-of-the-Match awards near the tombs of some medieval Delhi sultans. All admittedly on a far stronger shoulder, but Kumble is India’s biggest match-winner because of other sturdier allies than just a 38-year-old rotator cuff.
Cricket offers fewer keener delights than the sight of two beguiling spinners pitting their wits against a battle-hardened batting order. To watch them teasing and taunting, tossing and dropping, mixing up their deliveries, baffling, bamboozling and bowling batsmen through the gate is to see cricket at its best. On the evidence of this match, Australia are going to have a long wait before they perform such feats, writes Peter Roebuck in the Sydney Morning Herald.
The 25-year-old [Amit Mishra] took his first wicket with a classical leg-break that penetrated Simon Katich's stretched defence. His comrades embraced their roly-poly friend with unfeigned affection. In the last over before stumps, he struck with a perfectly pitched googly delivered from around the wicket. It was reward for decades of perseverance. Mishra struck a third time on the third day, castling Cameron White with a slower googly that eluded an optimistic drive. It was another beautifully conceived ball. Kumble might be hard pressed to reclaim his place. Thereafter Mishra toiled in vain. His diminutive stature is a mixed blessing, helping him beat batsmen in the air but denying him bounce.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo