Wednesday, March 22, 2006

“…WE PLAYED WELL AGAINST SRI LANKA”

So stated the Indian captain Rahul Dravid in a press conference after the humiliating defeat at the hands of the English. A team that was expected to lose, especially, after the loss of key players, managed to turn the tables on the host. England managed to win the Ashes after a long time with Ricky Ponting being the Aussie captain to be forced to part with the famous urn. Now, Rahul Dravid has the bear the tag of being the first Indian captain to lose a test to England on the Indian soil in 21 years.

The visitors actually grew in confidence and strength as the series progressed. Their batsmen were not given a chance while coping the Indian spinners. But they played with a degree of authority, not associated with any of the English teams of the past. Cook was a surprise package while Strauss got into the act only in the third test. Pietersen played a couple of good knocks and Flintoff was simply superb. Collingwood and Bell also played the supporting part well.

In the bowling department, Hoggard and Flintoff added to their reputation while Anderson made the best of the opportunity he received. Monty Panesar was spoken in rather dismissive terms. Remember the famous quote of Miandad on Irfan Pathan ? Panesar did not set the pitch on fire but managed to create ripples. Shaun Udal got into the act in the third test.

In the Indian camp, Sehwag and Sachin were failures. The man from Najafgarh could not simply negotiate the rising delivery, notwithstanding his knock in the second test. Sachin was simply scratchy and so was the new batting found, Yuvraj. Jaffer and Dravid were good but failed at the wrong time. About the bowlers, Kumble , Sreesanth and Munaf Patel were the picks. Harbhajan failed to create any impression even with the SG ball in his hands and the familiar home conditions. Irfan is looking more like a batsman who can bowl.

It is a well known fact that Sri Lanka are one of the worst when it comes to playing in overseas conditions. So the rejoicement over the win earlier in the season was quite premature. When push came to shove in Pakistan, the Indians were beaten in the third test.

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