However the Indian team was not going to spoil the occasion for their match-winning spinner despite a horrendous start on day one. I mean on a day one track, although not that conducive to batting, how can you be reeling at 125-5? But I’m really glad they have picked up that fine Aussie trait of one batsman batting with the tail to give a healthy total. I did not expect India to land up with 398 after their showing on day one. But Laxman, Dhoni, Pathan, Agarkar and Kumble had other plans up their mind. I really enjoyed their batting. Relaxed and calm, none of them seemed in any kind of hurry and hit the ball on merit. Laxman’s hundred has got to be the slowest till date but it will rate very highly for standing by and batting so well with Pathan and Dhoni to get India out of the doldrums. Whatever Agarkar and Kumble got later was a neat bonus.
My shot of the innings was Kumble’s straight six of Murali. What a shot! Tendulkar would have been proud of him that day. Not many batsmen do that to Murali and definitely not tail-enders.! Kumble always had some potential as a batsman and I still don’t know why he neglected it over the years.
Post a 398 from 125/5, SL knew they had lost the advantage and it was going to be a huge fight from then on as Motera track is known for its notorious turn. With Kumble and Bhajji on the Indian side it was going to be an uphill task and none of their batsman apart Sangakarra looked up to it. Attapattu has been getting good starts but failed to convert any to good knocks.
This time Bhajji took centre stage and decided that he’ll pay his tribute to Kumble in his own fashion and I’m sure Kumble must have enjoyed it. 62-7 is one hell of a bowling feat in any conditions.
Second innings was nothing great for India and again the lower order came to the rescue. It’s not a good sign and the top-order has to look into what’s going wrong. Now you see why Dravid is important? His ability to hang in there, concentrate and his level of patience is unsurpassed and the others need to learn a thing or two from their captain when he is back.
Sehwag needs to re-look at himself. I don’t want him to change his natural game but he surely needs to go back to the books and get back into runs else he will soon find himself struggling to keep his place as well. These days you really can’t trust the selectors!
The batsmen need to do some serious thinking as we are welcoming the New Year in Pakistan and with no camp and not much of practice matches I’m wondering how we will fare there what with Pakistan high on confidence after defeating England in both forms of the game convincingly! The things are reverse this year. In 2004, we went there after a drawn series in Australia with our confidence soaring high, now it’s even Steven’s and Pakistan is probably in a much better situation.
Once SL was set 509 there were only two possibilities Indian win or draw. Latter looked highly improbable considering the time on hand and the form of India’s spinning duo. I wonder why Sehwag waited that long, anything above 350 was a winning total on this track. But I think he chose to be safe than sorry and with so much time on hands made sure he would not lose the game.
Kumble ended his game with a fiver. A memorable match for him indeed and he must’ve been glad to have his mother come to the stadium to see him earn his honor. I have really liked t hat fact. I can never forget her face when Kumble-Srinath stole that famous victory against Aus in 1996 Titan Cup league match in Bangalore. That was a moment to remember…and so will this match be for Kumble, his team-mates, his family, his friends and his fans.