India had probably done all the wrong it could on the first three days of the match and with the track assisting spinners somewhat here was a chance to redeem some pride in the match.
With my husband scheduled to fly home in the evening, I could only watch the first two sessions of the day. The two sessions yielded 3 wickets in addition to previous night’s two and somewhere there was an inkling that it would be very tough for us to come back.
It seemed that England was looking more to save the match than win it. Yes the pitch was making stroke play difficult (A fact Dravid should have taken into account when he went out to the toss) and any target above 250 would mean that India would be shut out of the match (Their batting wasn’t in the best form) A 121 run-lead proved handy and reaching close to 200 was just what England had hoped for seeing the nature of the track. So 312 to chase was a tough tough task.
Nevertheless the fan in me did not want to believe otherwise. I thought maybe on the last day:
Sachin will grab the opportunity to shut up those who booed him. After all it was his home ground
Dravid will be his solid self and hold fort
Dhoni will produce the required blitzkrieg and get some assistance from Yuvraj
The whole of Mumbai seemed to think the same. The queues outside the Bombay Hockey Stadium (Where tickets for the match on that day are sold) stretched to the Asiatic Store and beyond! I know people are crazy but this crazy? To stand in queue for long hours and also incur a stampede! No thanks. Taking the season pass well in advance is the right decision else I’d rather watch the game at home. Though I had a fine brain wave to sell of one of the 5 tickets I had for a huge sum (which I’m sure any idiot would have paid for considering the situation of the match) but I did not! So we entered the stadium on day 5 amidst huge cheering and high security alert.
I didn’t quite get it why we chose to open with Pathan on day 4. Agreed that we have done it before, he was even successful, but Hoggard, Flintoff and Anderson are no jokers with the new ball! What’s worst he got out to a full toss! And who do we send in next? Anil Kumble. I fail to understand Dravid’s thinking.
Anyways as day 5 began I got the feeling India were playing for a draw. Now in all probability that means a good chance we will end up losing. It seemed so when Jaffer got out. In came Sachin Tendulkar and he changed the face of the match. Gone was the awkwardness and hesitation seen in the first innings. He was looking at ease and getting back to doing what he does best. On the other hand the worrisome factor was that Rahul Dravid had gone into his shell. 9 runs in 2 hours is not something the Indian captain will be proud of. Anyways 75/3 at end of first session. With Sachin playing well, and Rahul rock solid, India looked good to draw the match.
Post-lunch a lot more people poured in anticipating some good knocks. Ball 2 after lunch Rahul got an unplayable delivery from Flintoff. There was nothing he could have done and the only real award that delivery deserved was w wicket which it did get! The real shock came in the next over when Sachin got out to Udal (Of all the bowlers) playing forward. There it all ended. There was not a single batsman left who could put his head down and last the next 4 hours!
But what followed after that was highly unimaginable. I’ve not seen such poor capitulation by the Indian batting in a long time. Players simply walked in to declare their presence and walked back having done so. They had decided not to trouble the poor scorers much! How the hell can you get 100 all out after being 75 for 3 in matter of an hour! The manner in which we played was indeed shameful and England with half-their side out due to injury put up an extremely spirited performance. The track was difficult to bat on (How Bhajji and Kumble must’ve cursed Dravid for opting to bat first.) but certainly not one where a team could get 100 all out!
Seeing the luck the Indian team had at Wankhede, I won’t be surprised if the venue is blacklisted by the team henceforth! The performance on the final day was a huge let down.
The Mumbai crowd was harsh on Dravid during the presentation by chanting shouts of ‘We Want Saurav’. They seemed to have a short memory; they were the ones who had booed Ganguly post the defeat Vs Australia in 2001! It’s tough indeed to please the crowds!
In banter or good humor shouting, whether intending to mean it or not, “Flintoff is a B******, Hoggard is a B******, C****** Banaya Bada Maja Aaya” is definitely not in good taste. The behavior of the crowds in this match has gone a long way in tampering the image and reputation of the Mumbai crowd. It’s the worst crowd I’ve ever seen and I am definitely sad about it. Sorry I’m not impressed neither do I fail to see the ‘humor’ in these chants. I’m being a spoilsport, call me that, but if this continues it would mean going downhill for the Mumbai crowd. Please don’t set such precedence for the rest to follow.
I think India has forgotten to play test cricket. If you cannot last 90 overs in both innings you certainly should not be playing it. And India did not deserve a win after dropping almost 12 catches in the field. Is Greg Chappell paying any heed? In their obsession to concentrate on the world Cup 2007, they have forgotten to play test cricket. Mumbai test match is ample proof of that following the recent Karachi debacle.
They will come back well in the ODIs, England is not the best team in ODI. They will even win the series but to me it won’t matter! Like it or not history remembers you more by the way you played test cricket and unfortunately India has been playing it pretty miserably in the last couple of series!
Boys are you listening?