Saturday, January 19, 2008

Miracle at Perth post Sydney fiasco

A series in Australia is the ultimate conundrum to solve for the visiting teams; more often than not, the riddle remains unsolved and the overseas teams are always found wanting. This can be due to a myriad of factors, apart from the usual cricketing skill of the players. It's not just the question of playing to your potential, but the resilience and tenacity of the players are tested beyond limits. A tour down under is considered difficult simply because it is so difficult to imagine the prospect of beating the Aussies just about anywhere, let alone at home. So, when a four match test series is scheduled with the big "bad" boys of world cricket, it is not difficult to see the itinerary and point out that India are already one down, at least mentally. Obviously, you are scheduled to play on the fastest pitch in the world at the WACA, Perth. Teams with a terrific bowling attack have failed to tame the Aussies at Perth, and India, traditionally weak at the pace bowling department are not expected to perform at the fortress of Australian cricket. It is just too much to ask from the inexperienced Indian bowling department.

The second test match at Sydney would have been a fantastic game of cricket, if and only if
  • Symonds had really hit those 160 odd runs, without becoming out on 30 (a deafening edge that fell on deaf ears), 48 (stumping decision rejected by the third umpire) and 148 (another stumping decision, this time not even referred to the third umpire).
  • Ricky Ponting had really hit those 51 runs, for on 17, he was clearly out to a leg side nick. Actually Ponting did suffer eventually, for he got an inside edge when he was on 51. Justice rendered one might say, but not at the cost of 34 runs.
  • Mike Hussey and Andrew Symonds had really hit those extra runs in the second innings. Hussey had a couple of perfect LBW decisions going in his favor, and as for Andrew Symonds, the biggest beneficiary of the Sydney test match, 9 out of 10 times, he would have been given out to the hat-trick ball from Anil Kumble, but the umpire thought otherwise.
  • Rahul Dravid had really nicked that ball from Symonds; his wicket turned the Indian fortunes at an absolutely crucial juncture
  • Ricky Ponting had really been the on-field umpire and ruled Sourav Ganguly out, when Michael Clarke had clearly grassed his catch. Sourav Ganguly was batting brilliantly till then, and it was unfortunate to see his back in such a disastrous fashion.
So, we had no options, but the anti-Indian squad headed by Steve Bucknor, and amply supported by Mark Benson saw to it that India did not get the better of the Aussies. BNJ Oxenford, the TV umpire put his hand up and was quick to point out I definitely belong to this squad. A perfect way to square the series was squandered by the on-field umpires, the third umpire and the fourth umpire (Ricky Ponting). Talk about gentlemanly conduct, and you just can't fault the integrity of the Aussies if and only if
  • Michael Clarke had not stood his ground after edging the ball to first slip off Anil Kumble. Who is umpiring? Oh yes, we have the Indian hater Bucknor umpiring, and the Indians had to cry their throats off to get the decision. Thank God, he acknowledged the edge, for a change.
  • Ricky Ponting had actually taken the bat pad catch from Dhoni's edge legitimately. In the end, it gets all the more foolish when he talks about integrity in the post match conference. Thankfully, Dhoni was given not out.
  • Michael Clarke had really taken Ganguly's catch. When replays suggest otherwise, how can we believe you, Clarke?
  • Harbhajan Singh had really called Symonds a "monkey". But, of course, Mike Procter had acted on imaginary evidence.

Obviously, our gentleman Kumble, at the end of the match said that only one team played in the true spirit of the game. Can we really fault him? The test match was a fiasco for the Aussies. They had their reputation tattered, and the tour looked in doubt. After all the deliberations, and chucking out our main nemesis, Bucknor, the Indians moved forward to Perth. WACA! Nothing more has to be said. Can we really pull it off? Even the most optimistic Indian would have said, Let's move forward to Adelaide with a 3-0 scoreline. We can take care of the Aussies in Adelaide. The pre-game Perth reached a crescendo, with every Aussie claiming the pitch to be lightning fast. The media hype that the test generated was way beyond imagination. Since already one team was playing in the spirit of the game, it was left to the other team to mend its behavior. The game was played in a radically different atmosphere compared to the tensions at Sydney. It was an enthralling game, with the Indian pace battery firing on all cylinders. It was a classic contest. Test cricket was at its best. India was wresting all the initiatives. An absolute team effort played a fantastic part in a sensational win against the best team in the world inside four days. India had got the better of the Aussies inside four days. One has to reiterate that sentence at least a dozen times for that statement to make complete sense. It is too good to be believed.

At the dawn of the new day, it just felt great to have followed an absolute cracker of the fourth day's play till 4:30 in the morning. It was well worth the night out, and the day started with a great feel good factor. The first team from the sub-continent to have won at Perth. The first team to have beaten Australia in Australia since 2003. The last time they were beaten was by India in 2003 at Adelaide. India ended Australia's streak of 16 consecutive victories the second time. The statistics will point out a hundred different things, but for me the feeling is still sinking in Team India has won the Perth TEST match at the WACA. Say it again, it's well worth it!!!
(All images have been used for information purpose only; courtesy: cricinfo, cricketnext)


  1. Awesome article GK. Yes once again, INDIA bt Australia at the the WACA......thats enough for years to absolute cracker of a contest and the best part of the win was no century from a batsman and no 5-for from a this is what is a "team" effort. As u have rightly pointed out, if and only if umpiring was spot on at Sudney, we would be going to Adelaide with a 2-1 lead....but for now, we go there after beating Australia at the WACA.....yes at the WACA, Perth!!!!

  2. I have been planning to blog about this myself. Very well written blog. Now lets just hope they tie the series at Adelaide.

  3. Madan,

    Yes, an awesome team victory!!! India has always been about individual achievements when it comes to cricket; it was good to see a good team effort from the players. A fine victory to celebrate for a long long time!!!

    Yep, it will be great to square off at Adelaide :-) BTW, where are you these days? We should meet up sometime.