Friday, September 7, 2007

Uthappa for breakfast, anyone?

Let's leave the rants aside for now, and just savour the moment. That was one of the best finishes by India in a one-day game. It reminded me of a match in Bangladesh where India chased 316 against Pakistan, with Hrishikesh Kanitkar hitting a winning boundary off the penultimate ball. Kanitkar never replicated that kind of achievement, however, and faded away quietly. Let's hope Uthappa is made of more durable stuff. There's reason for optimism because he's been around for a while and has been maintaining a high scoring rate. His show at the Oval was even more impressive than that of Kanitkar. Almost single-handed he managed the 23 runs India needed from the last two overs. Refusing that second run for which Agarkar bolted at the end of the 49th over was vital. Uthappa was confident that by retaining strike he could get the 10 runs required in the last over. I remember the single that Ravi Shastri took to level the scores in the last over of the tied Test in Chennai against the Aussies. It exposed Maninder Singh to Steve Waugh who trapped him LBW. Shastri I believe should have backed himself instead to hit a brace in the remaining three balls, the way in which Uthappa took it upon himself to get all the remaining runs instead of leaving it to the lower order batsmen who were new to the crease and liable to miss a couple of balls or even get out. Zaheer Khan should also be complimented for taking the initiative to come back to the non-striker's end for a second run off the first ball of the last over to allow the strike to remain with Uthappa. I think Collingwood was the first to blink. He brought in long off and pushed fine leg back to the fence after Uthappa scooped a yorker over his head to the legside boundary. But bringing long-off to mid-off just made the task easier for Uthappa - he again took the intended yorker on the full, but this time hit it straight past mid-off for four. Instead Collingwood should have forced Uthappa to try and repeat the scoop over fine-leg which is a far more iffy shot. So it's not only Dravid goofing off out there.


Golandaaz said...

Good one.

I agree Collingwood whould have resisted the change.

Small correction, it was Greg Mathews that got Maninder not Waugh.

I would not find fault with Shastri; the single ensured that we won't lose the test. Not losing a Test match is of far greater value then not losing a one day. But it was a great afternoon of cricket that day. I still have the newspaper clippings and sportstar images of that test.

Anonymous said...

Sumit bhai, It was capped Greg Mathews who got Maninder Singh lbw in the tied test.

Uthappa is more talented than Kanitkar and he has age on his side. if he doesnt get that many games now he definetely would get once the 3 greats retire.

And in T20s , he should be back at the top of the order with Virender Sehwag and that would augur well for India

Sumit Chakraberty said...

thanks for the correction. golandaaz, i feel both chennai then and the oval now (when dravid opted for super safety) left us with regret and we should have taken that little extra risk for victories, but you have a point too.
ashu, welcome to my blog. i feel sehwag down the order can be devastating - he's lost it as an opener. and uthappa too revealed a new side to his game - coolness under pressure and the ability to improvise which are invaluable.

Soulberry said...

First, let me compliment you on a fine artcile, Sumit.

"So it's not only Dravid goofing off out there."

I couldn't agree more with you on that. There is another goof-up that Collingwood made which was to keep his youngest bowler for the final over.

Today, England's fielding superiority and better balance might just tilt the game their way.

I've only just started to watch it and notice Saurav's gone already and just an ok-ish RR.

Sumit Chakraberty said...

soulberry, ya it's three down now and i have a sinking feeling that the conditions at lord's today favour the side bowling first - as wasim akram discovered after taking batting in the 1999 world cup final. can't blame dravid for this though. i had misgivings but thought batting first would be okay in september. lord's is tricky. sachin and yuvraj need to ride out the first 20-25 overs.