Thursday, January 04, 2007

India fritter away the advantage

By John Cheeran
I must say Indian batsmen frittered away the advantage of batting first inCape Town by getting all out for 414, a below par score considering the nature of the wicket.
After the sound start given by Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthick, rest of the Indian batsmen failed to play a single noteworthy innings against some lively bowling from Shaun Pollock , Steyn and left-arm spinner Paul Harris.
Skipper Dravid (on the first day) again could not translate his fine touch into a solid score. It is impossible to ignore Dravid's failures with bat during this South African tour.
Sachin Tendulkar is getting out when he should not; and VVS Laxman wasted an opportunity to bat freely after his highly taxing occupational exercises at the Wanderers and at Kingsmead.
It was Sourav Ganguly's comical but plucky innings that helped India cross the 400-run mark. Virender Sehwag proved skipper Dravid right again by the way he batted at No.7.
When the time was ripe to pluck big runs off the South African bowling Sehwag goofed up again, holing out at 40s. If anyone deduced that the wicket had begun to deteriorate from the way Indian lost their seven wickets on Wednesday soon had their answers.
Skipper Graeme Smith led South African first innings from the front by playing a freewheeling innings. South Africa's positive batting with scant respect for Indian bowling shows they are determined to win the Test and series at Cape Town.
So far South Africa has scored at a rate of 3.51 runs per over, a much improved approach compared to the Indian effort.
Whatever advantage India had on the first day has been neutralized by the events unfolded on the second day. If India go on to lose this Test and series, the blame entirely shall rest at the doorsteps of the Indian batsmen except Jaffer and Karthick.
Rest of them were invited for feast at the Newlands track but none showed the appetite for a sumptuous meal.
Now they can happily chase the ball.

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