This was a perfectly scripted and engaging story. A young Indian team takes on an experienced battle-worn and tough Australian side to hand over a 2-0 defeat in the final segment of a very very long Commonwealth Bank tri-series tournament. Now that the tri-series will never be played again at least in the near future, the Australian side has to live with fact that India will be the perennial holders of the series. This should trouble them more as it was their last chance to regain the trophy after losing it to England last year.
What the series also has shown is that a tough team like Australia can also be defeated in its own backyard. This was possible as the Indian side took on a different skin unlike the previous Indian teams that toured Australia. This was a team that did not blink an eye looking into the eyes of the world champions. Australia really got it wrong with its long lasting and successful strategy of playing the pressure game on the opposition side. Instead of sulking under the pressure brought in by the unnecessary controversies on and off the field, India managed to give it back to Australia. This was something the Australian team never expected and crumbled under the backlash.
The fact remains that Australia has been defeated convincingly both on and off the field and this should please the other teams who would now look to win in Australia. The series has proved to be a blessing for the Indian side as it threw up potential talent in youngsters like Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Rohit Sharma. And with the Indian U19 team already clinching the world cup the bench strength of India looks strong for the first time. Dhoni deserves a special mention and praise as he captained with a very very cool head on his shoulders. Leading a team with the most experienced and senior player Sachin Tendulkar and a young bunch of cricketers and managing to win is not an easy task and he did made the pressure look easy, but it was a tough and brave act from the Indian captain.
Sachin Tendulkar, the man always in the limelight, written off by critics, questioned by fans on his poor form showed why he is regarded as a master blaster. Getting back into his groove he did demolish the opposition. He had an exceptional run in the test series and also the final few matches in the one day series.
Looking at the positives for Australia Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken did well to take 37 wickets between them, but did not help their team win the tropy. They worked hard and never had anything to complain. For India it was good to see youngsters and newcomers Ishant and Praveen kumar bowl under pressure. If there was a chunk in the armour of the mighty Australians it was their poor batting with none of their leading batsmen showing consistency or taking the lead in scoring the runs. Gilchrist, Hayden and Hussey scored the bulk of the runs (1212) for Australia. Ponting had a disappointing show with his batting while he concentrated more on assisting the umpires with his decision making abilities and his new role of keeping the integrity of the game. The Indian batsmen had a dream run scoring runs at will and consistently. The top and middle order of Sachin, Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni and Yuraj came good scoring 1623 runs. Gautam Gambhir scored two classy centuries while Sachin played two important knocks, a century in the winning cause and another score where he again missed scoring a century in a winning cause.
India will go back home with lot more than the controversies and trophies that it won in Australia, confidence in their ability to win in tough situations.
Well, this was truly an exciting Sunday. India seniors backed their decent bowling performance with some terrific batting from the top order to crush Australia by 6 wickets in the first final of the Commonwealth Bank Tri Series. India juniors disappointed with some poor batting giving in to the pressure from some excellent bowling from the South African pacers. But the script had its thrilling moments. Defending a modest 159 the Indian bowlers matched their counterparts in restricting South Africa to 102/8 in another match decided by the Duckworth Lewis method and eventually winning the Under 19 Cricket World Cup 2008.
Whatever happened in the two finals, India clearly showed that they now play a different kind of cricket. After a long time Sachin Tendulkar opened his bat to some exciting stroke play and left the Australians dumbfounded. Never did he gave the opposition a chance to get on to him and stroked another memorable century on the Kangaroo land. He would be a satisfied man what with getting a century that eluding century in Australia fittingly in the first final to set up the remaining two finals.
Though the junior Indian cricket team disappointed with the batting display there was no sign of any nervousness on the players and they instead looked quite relaxed even with a modest total to defend. A tight bowling with some electric fielding thrown in left the proteas clueless and eventually fell short of 12 runs to hand over the trophy to India. Not to take away any credit the proteas did put on some terrific display of cricket and truly deserved to be in the finals, but as they say only the best team wins and today it was India.
Though i am a fan of the Indian cricket team, I have to say that I really hate to see cricket matches especially test matches end without a result because of bad weather conditions. There should be a method to at least credit the team which has played well so that it can help improve its chance of winning a series if all the matches end in a draw.
In today’s match between India and England at Lords, England clearly outplayed the Indian team with the famed Indian batting line up of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman with no one being able to put up a decent score in the two innings. Rain gods have favoured the Indian team this time (it hurts more when India is denied a win because of bad weather conditions) from losing the match with only a wicket left.
There should be some kind of rule like the Duckworth Lewis method used in ODIs to decide the fate of matches which are drawn because of bad weather conditions. The method should at least allow the team which has played well to get a credit (probably by awarding points based on some parameters customised to suit test cricket) which can help it clinch the series if all the matches are drawn.
With the one day version of the cricket already becoming competitive with more stringent rules, its high time that even test cricket gets some new rules. This would not only increase the competition in the game but would add more pressure for teams to play win and not drag the match with defensive tactics. The new rules could help by:
- Awarding credits to the team which has played well based on its performance like number of runs scored, wickets lost, run rate etc
- Crediting the team which has played well over the other team
- Giving the audience more decisive results based on the teams performance
- Providing teams and bodies that manage the teams a better yardstick to measure their performance
- Allowing the teams to win the series in case of drawn matches
- Boosting the teams rating in the ICC Test Championship provided ICC considers the credits to award points to the teams
Let me know your thoughts on this.