Game Day, Final Test, 2nd Day,

Indians versus the Aussies, Mumbai, Nov 3rd 2004.

Indian batting collapsed once again!, Sachin, Laxman and the top order failed. While Dravid played the role of Chopra, he stayed on the pitch without worrying about getting runs. When the pitch is helping the bowlers, the best plan would be to go and strike ball, put some runs as quick as possible, sooner or later bowler or the pitch will get you.

When the bowlers are in control - Offense is the best form of Defense . This is a basic thumb rule, however who cares. The only Indian batsmen who would take this approach was benched for injury, “Captain Gangully”, Indian team missed him; Like Hayden, he would have slogged 30-50 more runs which would have made some difference.

Dravid continued his sloth bear approach, while others never seemed to have any kind of approach. They gave it up without even trying. Indians made 104, 4th lowest against Australia; last time we scored this low was sometime around 1947, that too in Australia.

Indians had 3 spinners; Dravid made a mighty mistake to open with Harbajan, bowling spin with a new ball is kind of very hard. He should have given the ball to Sachin to swing few overs, so that the shine goes away from the new ball, but Harbajan opened, struggled to get good grip on the ball, did nothing. Batsmen seemed to settle comfortably.

Zaheer Khan was bowling really well, he got the much needed first break thru, but in general our great fielders dropped catches for Demean Martin [Gautham Gambheer dropped Martin (on 11) in Sillypoint, a sitter actually] and our favorite Pakistani umpire let go a definition LBW for Martin. He went on to score a 50, Harbajan tried his best, was totally unlucky. Ponting never scores in India, this continued. He was upset for the LBW decision and showed a decent, however match referee promptly missed it and was seen in the kitchen picking up lunch left overs.

Kumble, yes he got five wickets but donated about 90 runs on a turning track where even a rookie spinner bowled well for the Aussies. Kumble bowled really short and gave lots of runs. Everyone hit him to every part of the ground. He saved his position by picking wickets, thanks to the pressure from the other end applied by Harbajan or Murali Karthick.

Murali Karthick bowled really well; he trapped Gill Christ as soon he came to bowl. I felt Dravid waited too long to get Murali Karthick, by then Gill Christ had scored a lot, Kumble was his primary raw material supplier – He supplied unlimited number of Donkey Drops at record time.

Indians had a luckless clueless day, Sehwag kept dropping and mis-fielding, while Chopra’s service was missed in the close in field. Kaif then took over and this came under control. Sachin was sent to some corner in the deep, at his request or his captains I really don’t want to speculate, I just feel Sachin should be involved more in the close in field activities.

The best find for the Indians - Dinesh Karthick; he rose to the occasion and did a great job behind the wickets. Ball was turning and skidding; he followed and gathered the ball very well. He got his first stumping in this process. The Patel chapter is over for now. We are saved until Mr. Clean More misuses his influence.

At close India started to bat, Aussies were 100 runs ahead, if the Indians lose their way as usual, who knows match might end by tomorrow evening. India needs about 200 runs lead to smell victory, considering the way they play these days this seems to be a remote possibility, mostly it would be an Aussie Wash. 3-0