With 2 days to go the Indian team is starring down the barrel in first test of a two test series in Nagpur. Sehwag’s positive comments notwithstanding, it would be a miraculous escape if India does manage to save this game. This match is the exact replica of the 2008 series where South inflicted an innings defeat on India in the first test.
The batting yesterday was for sure a disappointment and in spite of the heroics of the debutant Badrinath the Indian team fell 325 runs behind the South African first innings total. Sehwag and Badri held the Indian innings together after a top order collapse which left India 50 odd for 3 wickets. The partnership, which added 136, looked to have pulled the hosts out of the woods but a late order collapse meant that India is fighting for survival at the start of the fourth day.
Dale Steyn was the chief wrecker for the tourists as he picked up 7 wickets in the Indian first innings, one more than what the Indian bowlers managed collectively. It’s amazing to know how the focus always remains on the batting failures as no one seems to be critical of the pathetic Indian bowling performance. The South African bowlers have managed to bag 12 wickets on the pitch where the Indian bowlers toiled just less than 2 days for a grand total of 6.
The Indian bowling is a real cause for concern, there is no support for Zaheer in the pace department and as far as the spin bowling is concerned less said the better. Harbhajan Singh has been really disappointing and has really struggled to step into the shoes of Anil Kumble. Amit Mishra also has failed to fulfill his early promise which leaves India with not many options in the spin department. Pragyan Ojha and Piyush Chawla are the only options left for the selectors.
Ishant is nowhere near international standards and has looked clueless. His performance against Bangladesh has been ordinary and for sure needs an extended stay away from the team. The Indian team somehow needs to unearth some decent bowlers if they have to stay on the top of the rankings. It seems like the team has to look past Harbhajan and Ishant for the test matches. Sreesanth will be available for selection for the second test and I am sure he will be replacing Ishant Sharma. I would have really liked to see Abhimanyu Mithun in the lineup as I am sure he couldn’t have done worse than Ishant. This test match seems all but lost barring a miracle so I guess the think tank would already be thinking about the second test in Kolkata.