Archive for February 2010

Of stealing singles and a victory

February 7, 2010

Chris Gayle has said 4-1 to the Windies and it’s going according to plan. He won the toss and nobody can say why he chose to bowl. Kemar Roach was quick and there was outrageous movement early on. Rampaul bowled tight lines as well as the opening spell was real good. But beyond these two bowlers, the bowling looked hollow. Taylor and Edwards were conspicuous in their absence.

At Roach’s pace, you have to wait for that short enough ball before going for the pull. I could predict Watson going for the pull off a ball to be defended off the backfoot. He’s really impatient in pulling out that stroke early in his innings and that could be well utilised by the opposition.

Once Marsh and Watson settled down WI were denied early wickets. Early wickets can make a big difference to the final total. Marsh is still unsure of the approach to a long innings. There’s talk he’s in good form and not converting the starts but he’s lacking in confidence now. May be, he’s uncertain of his own place in the team.

Watson could afford to accelerate and play the big shots as there was a long batting line up waiting and plenty of time to build up a huge total. So can’t blame him too much for holding out to long on.

I’m glad Ponting hasn’t piled up big centuries this summer. Keiron Pollard delivered a slower one, wide of off stump and Ponting’s aerial drive was dropped by captain Gayle at short cover. I think it was Ian Healy who attributed that drop to the new glasses he was wearing. The very next over, Pollard bowled a beautiful inswinger which Ponting surely didn’t anticipate, and found the gap between bat and pad. It was a classic dismissal.

Pollard was a big surprise package in the bowling unit. He got into the Aussie batsmen’s skin. In all his 10 overs, he kept deceiving the batsmen with cutters and slower ones.  It was very intelligent bowling and not one batsman could out think Pollard today. What looked to be a total close to 300 was reduced to 257 mainly due to Pollard’s effort.

Gayle was a ittle out of touch with his bowling.  With Nikita Miller not too effective, he could have completed ten tight overs, especially in the huge fields of the MCG, had he been in good bowling form.

Hussey, Clarke and White created this total, purely by stealing singles. Singles, off balls other teams would have been happy defending. Batsmen from some other nations wouldn’t have even thought of singles out of those defensive strokes. The middle order knew that boundaries were hard to come by. They werevery down to earth in picking those hard singles and giving up the big shots. This hard grind brought about 257. Smart batting. The scorecard won’t show you big individual scores or too many boundary shots. It could have so easily been 200 odd all out, going for the big and attractive shots.

Again Roach was fantastic in the end overs and the batting powerplay. He got rid of White with a good bouncer and then followed it up with fullballs of over 150 ks an hours. It was too good for Hussey, Johnson and Hauritz.

Did you watch the Haddin caught and bowled? Could have been controversial on another day. Did Haddin really doubt if it was a bump ball?

The Windies reply

257 did not need a flying start. Chris Gayle plays in his own manner and I wasn’t surprised to see him caught out, pretty early. Morton and Dowlin could not contribute anything, as they were dismissed edging balls behind.

Ryan Harris has been a revelation these last few games. He’s controlled the new ball so well and has created a lot of pressure from his end. This has helped Ponting to retain Bollinger for the overs after the first fifteen. Bollinger can come on 2nd change after Watson and that’s quite an unfamiliar kind of an attack. That worked for Australia today as Deonarine and Simmons were stifled by Bollinger and Watson. Watson bowled as straight as possible. Just as I was thinking Deonarine to be very strong on the off side, he mistimed a heave straight to backward point. Once Pollard was in, he kept the scorers busy. He and Simmons did some good repair work. The pair picked up good quick singles, both off Hauritz and the faster bowlers. In a ground like the MCG, you can milk someone like Hauritz for lots of twos and threes and maintain a good rate without taking risks. And only experience can identify such things, this is a very inexperienced line up.

Just when the partnership looked to have the potential to be a dangerous one, Pollard held out to long on, off Hauritz. He used his wrists well, played with soft hands and displayed fine all round batting in his brief stint. May be, a little rush of blood brought about that big shot.

Once Simmons underestimated Watsons’ pace and was caught behind, it was all over.

Pollard was my man of the match, not Watson.

Watch out Australia. Gayle has said 4-1.

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