Month: August 2005 Page 2 of 3

Lone Man Standing…

That just about puts Punter’s innings in perspective. Such grit and resilience! A fine example of leading his team from the front. For him, just for him, I prayed hard that the Aussies would draw the match!

I think post the match result, he will put this innings right at the top of his favourite list and I think it deserved a place there even if the Aussies had lost the match.

For all four days of the match the Aussies were outplayed by outstanding cricket by the Poms. Only Shane Warne had managed to put his hand up. Steve Waugh has left a valuable legacy with this Aussie team, that of playing with the tail-enders. Warne did it at Edgbaston and managed it again here. Lee also did not let the Edgbaston ghosts haunt him and along with McGrath survived probably the tensest 24 balls of their careers!

The way the Ashes is going; the weak-hearted should stay away from the television sets. The team that loses the series is going to give collective heart failure (as Mike Atherton said to Vaughan post yesterday’s result) to its fans at the end of this series.

England was always on top and almost drew home the advantage. I missed the initial wickets but the last two hours were extremely tense! Clarke and Warne along with Ponting looked like taking Aus away to a safe harbour only to lose their wickets at crucial moments! Warne’s wicket was a delight! Warne nicked Flintoff to the second slip only to see the ball slip out of Strauss’s hands, jump off his thigh, I’m safe he thought, but alas, the next second he saw himself being sent to despair by a superlative reflex catch by Gerraint Jones!

When Ponting got out, I skipped a heart beat!! It looked all over for the Aussies with 4 overs to go and Lee having McGrath for company. McGrath with his not so fine reputation with the bat battled it out with Lee and saved the match, the draw as good as any victory for them.

For the first time

  • I saw Lee‘s face disappointed when he hit two boundaries, that prevented him from taking the strike the next over
  • I saw the Aussies rejoice over a drawn match as if they had won it
  • It was hard to figure out that the result was a draw as England sulked what seemed like a huge loss to them, a golden chance blown away!

All’s not over for any team, England has given a superlative performance to comeback into the series and challenge this Aussie team. Aussies are looking vulnerable and have not been in their element in the last two matches.

Now is the true acid test for England & Australia. The Poms have to maintain their momentum, and back themselves to win the Ashes. A drawn series would do them no good as Aus would retain the Ashes. England will have to go out firing from all ends and leave no stone unturned!

Australia on the other hand is facing a huge challenge for the first time in two decades! They have a reputation to live upto! Can they comeback? A question they thought would never be posed to them! Do they have the answer to it? Only time will tell 🙂

As for us humble cricketing fans, we couldn’t have asked for more! Savour the series and enjoy the moments.

The Ashes – Part III

Day 1 witnessed some proud moments:

  • He surpassed 600 wickets on the very ground that was witness to a defining moment in his career; the place where he bowled the ‘Ball-of-the-Century’. He almost bowled it again to Strauss in the last test match. It was only befitting that the ground was a witness again to another glorious achievement by this man who brought alive the leg-spinner clan that was dying a slow death in cricket.
  • Out of a lean patch he couldn’t have asked for a better knock to come at a better time.
    166(215) I’m lost for words! Captain’s knock? Only time will prove!
  • What a delivery to get Hoggard out of the last ball. Perfect! He brought back his team in the game after not such a great day in field.
  • He got his expensive test match figures in a longtime. Batsmen getting almost 4 an over off him. Went wicket-less, luck was not his side, especially when he had the century maker bowled at 41 and the delivery was a no-ball!

Am I being too cryptic? Come on folks watch the Ashes to get the answers!

Mind if I ASK?

Small incidents in life teach you lessons, and remind you of some that were constantly drilled onto you as a kid.

Remember how teachers always opened their study lessons with ‘Students do not hesitate to ask’. However silly, however stupid the question. Ask! You will come to know a lot of things you did not. And they went on, that one should ask whenever in doubt. This was not restricted to studies but applied to every aspect in life.

All those lessons came bombarding into my head after the little experience I had yesterday. I live at Borivali and always take my railway pass from the station. I’ve taken it early in the morning on way to office or on my way back and never encountered the long queues. At Andheri station yesterday I went to issue my train pass. I then managed to locate the ‘Season Ticket Window’, which was in a secluded place away from the rest of the station, how convenient a location!

I saw three windows for season ticket issue and all had long queues. The window carried an instruction ‘Queue for Ist Class and IInd Class’. As a sincere citizen I stood in the line. I ASSUMED that the queue was combined. I did not bother to ASK even though the doubt did creep into my mind. I waited for 20 odd minutes. Patiently without any complaints, wondering why can’t they have separate queues or separate windows for the same, it would save everyone a lot of time.

As my turn came I asked her for my monthly pass and said Ist class please. The issuer gave me a grin while the polite lady behind me says, ‘Dear if you needed a first class you don’t need to wait in this long queue. There are separate queues she said pointing towards the very same instruction I had read. There is no one for the first class queue, you could’ve just come in, this one is only for the second class pass.’ ( I thank her for the precious advice, I’ll never forget it.)

I looked at her in surprise, and saw an amused look on the other passengers in the queue, all the eyes saying all you needed to do was ASK!

I hope I learn my lesson now! ASK and never ASSUME. It just helps you in little ways in life!


That’s exactly what the Poms must have felt after they snatched a two run victory over the Aussies yesterday.

There was a House-Warming ceremony at my best friend’s place. She had flown down after a year and since both sisters would be flying back again, her parents decided to have the pooja to invite all friends and family for the occasion. There was complete chaos when there were 80-odd people in the house and we “kids” (As we are still referred to, despite post-graduations, jobs, and marriages!) still managed to watch the last half hour of the match.

When we switched on the television set we were in for a few shocks:

  • First that Australia were still batting
  • Second that they were just 30–odd runs from the target (How in the world could that have happened? They required 107 at end of third day’s play and no recognized batsman left to get anywhere close to the victory target! But then with Aus anything is possible!)
  • Third that Warne had taken the attack to the Poms and Brett Lee and Kasprowicz (I feel a sense of pride everytime I get his name right:-)) were still doing the same!
  • Fourth that England were on the defensive to no.10 & no.11
  • Fifth that the England fans were emotional and involved! Boy, they’ve been so cold in the past, this was a pleasant change.
  • Sixth being the shock I would’ve got had Aussies won! ( England saved me the agony and thank god for that!)

My first immediate reaction was, “Guys, if England lose this, there is no way they will come back from this defeat in the Ashes!” Only to read today in the papers that someone else echoed similar thoughts. I’m again mighty pleased at myself, after all, a lot of the game is also played in the mind!

The England defeat would have been heart wrenching. The game so badly needs a change, and a challenge to the Aussie dominance. I’ve never rooted against Australia, they have always been my top favourites. But I was also bored seeing the same script echo day in and out, match after match, series after series (India- Aus series over the years being a fine exception, not the 2004 one, but we still managed a win, even though it was thanks to the devilish pitch at Mumbai).

There was no serious rivalry in the offing, the Ashes were dead and then this England team brought a ray of hope. I was not rooting against the Aussies, I was rooting for the game. The Aussie dominance though fascinating, could kill the game if it lasts longer. No sport has charm if there is no rivalry. Take any sport, a champion way ahead of others, simply destroys the charm of the game and the sport loses its audience. What’s the big deal about Sampras winning at Wimbledon, Schumaker winning the World Championship, Australia winning matches?

And then we, the humble sports lovers,look for those small events that are big deals! Kolkatta 2001, Adelaide 2003 was a big deal and so is this test win by England. For me it’s a huge deal:-)

Australia is struggling, how often have we heard this from their side? England is fighting back, Ashes are not going to be won that easily.The England team finally believes that its opponents are not invincible.

The Aussies are mortals after all! We had almost forgotten that fact hadn’t we?

P.S:Sorry, the last few posts have been about the Ashes, but it’s been exciting. It’s cricket, it’s one of my loves, it’s “The Ashes”, how can I not talk about it???

Saurabh has spun a nice story around it, God’s prophecies, Harry Potter, LOTR , and a few more tales and ya cricket too thrown in:-) Read it here.

Underdogs on their way…

Finally the predictions are coming true, finally the underdogs are on their way.

After seeing the delivery Strauss got in the last over on day 2 I was dead sure the lead of 99 runs that England had got would prove to be crucial in the end analysis.
Warne was the killer yet again and the pitch provided Engalnd some hope.Warne is on another milestone, which will be difficult to break. 600 wickets!!!Awesome!

Aus began well but the Flintoff turned the tide batting and bowling. What a player ans what an effort! The delivery Ponting got was the best in Aus innings, and Harmisson wrapped up the day’s play by getting Clarke out on a terriffic yorker. That sealed all hopes of an Aus victory.

England will finally be giving the Aussies a run for their money!This victory couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time in test cricket.

It is just what the doctor ordered! Read more here.

Missing McGrath…

What a freak injury that was and bad timing! Surely the Aussies missed the Pigeon yesterday. Poms were on a rampage. 10 sixes and 54 fours in 79.2 overs!!! A run-rate of 5 throughout the day. Don’t want to take anything away from the Poms. 407 in a day in a test match is very good by any standards.
Wait a sec, did I just say Poms got those runs? Surprised aren’t you? So was I, especially since we are so used to see that score against the Aus name. But I’m glad the positions are changing.
My Cricket-Aus Crazy friend Saurabh puts up a nice chapter on why we desperately need this change and who are the ideal candidates for it. I couldn’t agree more with him!

I didn’t get to see much of their innings:-( Wanted to catch the Flintoff & Pietersen partnership in action. Pietersen’s six of Brett Lee showed me what I had missed! The chap is going great guns on his debut.

Aussies had a shocking start, Hayden out early, but they seem to have recovered. Only Langer seems to know that it is test-match and not ODI!

What fun, enjoy the battle till it lasts!

P.S: Are people even glued to the Tri-Series happening in SL? ODIs can never take anything away from exciting test-cricket. That’s the real stuff and that’s the real challenge. Invent a Twenty20 or Ten10, Test cricket will never die.

The cricketers and the fans will keep it alive. Does the Indian Board even know what a true cricket fan craves for? Atleast I’ve yet to meet one who will tell me, “Minal I enjoy ODIs more!”

Battleground Edgbaston

I’m glad I can finally call the Ashes a Battle. Engand are slowly putting up some fight, and some fright in the Aussie Camp.

The first test had an exciting start. Harmisson had the Aussies bundled out for 190 and Glenn McGrath celebrated his 500 wickets in style by getting a five wicket haul for a mere 21 runs!
That opening spell by McGrath was demoralizing for the England batsmen who for the first time must’ve thought, well here is our chance to get one up on the Aussies. The old warrior had some other tricks up his sleeve. Accuracy is what undid the England batsmen. Accuracy is McGrath’s potency and the Poms could not overcome that.

What followed later was as per the old Aussie victory script. The two days had me interested then it was the same run-of-the-mill story so I shall not write about it.

My current favourite Clarke got a fine 91 , finally he is back in form! Pietersen had an impressive debut, I’m waiting to catch more of him. Will he also become a favourite? Only time and performance will tell. He sure is one hell of a prospect and SA must be ruing that!

Time to shift focus to Edgbaston…

Mumbai Help…


Please go to the following blogs and see if you could assist in any manner. is an effort to put online such critical “for emergencies” information as we can find. We hope to turn this into a permanent site that will act as a Bombay disaster portal. is a collection of news, both from the media as well as stories sent in via email and blog links.

Informed about the above links from Uma and Megha.

Do your bit:-)

Mumbai Help…


Please go to the following blogs and see if you could assist in any manner. is an effort to put online such critical “for emergencies” information as we can find. We hope to turn this into a permanent site that will act as a Bombay disaster portal. is a collection of news, both from the media as well as stories sent in via email and blog links.

Informed about the above links from Uma and Megha.

Do your bit:-)

All’s not Well…

Ganguly hit 51. Should I be happy? No, I’m not! In 110 balls???????

For heaven’s sake we are playing ODI not a Test match! The pitch can’t be that bad! One can’t get so selfish to save his place in the team! I miss the old Ganguly, the man-in-charge.

Have to put up a blog chapter on him, it’s time!

Indians are not helping their condition by batting so miserably! Tail-enders salvaging some pride at the end. Previous match Bhajji & Zaheer, and now Pathan. Not a good start to the season.

Will get to see some part of the match when I get home tonight. Hopefully SL will find the pitch as bad as we did.

You say they won’t? I think I’ll have to agree with you on that!

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