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.