Firstly, the administration. I’ve seen how it works in Chennai and without doubt, it’s organized better in Chennai.
There are no season tickets issued here.
The officials at the gate aren’t sure whether digital cameras are allowed inside.
There are no gate passes issued during lunch and tea intervals.
Security checks were generally weak.
The toilets were missing. Really.
There is no clear scorecard for those on the same side of the big screen. The traditional scorecard is no longer legible.
I should be arriving at a clearer picture in the coming days but these were the most striking on Day 1. I’d been here for the previous Australia test but things haven’t changed much. Perhaps the Bengaluru public are a little less threatening than those in Chennai but an established system was still missing.
Coming to the cricket, India could have exerted a lot more pressure today. Zaheer was very ordinary with the new ball. Sreesanth ran in well and delivered with very good pace. The pitch wasn’t helping him. He was unlucky not to have got that LBW appeal against Katich in his favour. But it was Zaheer who got the extended spell. Katich put a lot of value to his wicket again today and by doing that, he’s doing a very good job for Australia. Almost all the others are stroke players and tend to score quickly but Katich has been the Grant Flower.
Even on pleasant overcast conditions of Bangalore, Sreesanth and Zaheer couldn’t get a single breakthrough. Call it the status of Indian pitches or the status of Indian fast bowler, it also has something to do with the captain.
How many of you can understand the field that is being set by MS Dhoni? In the first session on Day 1, there were two fielders on the boundary on the on side. And that for Harbhajan Singh.
Ponting played a fine off drive off Ojha that went for four and immediately, the gully was moved to cover. I observe Dhoni acts very quickly. He wastes no time in placing a fielder in an area where the previous ball has gone. Why can’t another ball go in the same area? Another 4 balls? Won’t you get a wicket? Team India is still managing wickets and all the poor captaincy is going unnoticed to the general viewer.
It has become obvious that Harbhajan will be bowling to Ponting and Clarke while Zaheer is supposed to take care of Hussey, North and Katich. This has been the strategy ever since the first innings in Mohali and it has worked well. North showed good resistance today and played the ball to it’s merit. His Ashes spot should be safe now.
Ponting played a very determined innings. Clarke missed out today and so did Hussey. Hussey played away from his body and that was a punishable offence. Tim Paine is looking good but does not deserve deep point, deep mid wicket, long on and long off which the Indian captain is offering him. In fact, every new batsman was offered generous field placements and it is nothing but nonsense. Dhoni cannot claim any intelligence out of that. The keeper is also not collecting the throw from fielders from behind the stumps. He collects the ball well before the stumps and then tries heroically to disturb the wickets, which no wicket keeping coach would recommend.
It’s well poised at the end of Day 1. I’d be pleased even if this is 80% as good as the previous game.
And I’ll stab myself in the eyeballs if Ian Gould, by any chance, gets the ICC Umpire of the Year Award anytime.