• Over the last few days, it has been amusing to read so much written about the so-called home advantage that enabled India to win the third Test in Kanpur and square the three Test rubber against South Africa. That too, after having been mauled in the previous Test in Ahmedabad by an innings and 90 runs.

    It was only to be expected that the pitch in Kanpur would be different from the one in Ahmedabad on which India had been bowled out for a paltry 76 in the first innings. It was expected that the pitch would in essence be slow in nature, but where the top would crumble and bring in the elements of variable bounce and turn. No wonder match referee Roshan Mahanama did not think twice of reporting the sub-standard state of the pitch to the International Cricket Council. Knowing Roshan only too well, I am sure that he would have done the same had South Africa won the Test in the same conditions. There is neither an excuse nor a justification for a sub-standard pitch.

    Of course, India

    Read More »from In practice home advantage can backfire
  • Probably thanks to the pitch, this is turning out to be a really gripping Test match. As I had said in my article yesterday, day two would be extremely interesting, and so it has turned out to be. This match has all the ingredients of a classic Test, and if both teams maintain their current form, could well turn out to be a cliff-hanger. Sourav Ganguly batted out of his skin to give his team the 23-run lead, and now that he is gone, I don't think Ishant Sharma will add anything substantial to the total.

    The pitch is crumbling rapidly, and this is the sort of encounter that you have to watch every minute of. And I think it has been fantastic the way the day saw so many twists and turns. While India's openers got off to a good start, they got out staying back on the crease, particularly Virender Sehwag. And when Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman seemed to be building a big partnership, Morne Morke produced two unplayable snorters; just when South Africa seemed in control, Yuvraj Singh and

    Read More »from Ganguly batted out of his skin!
  • It is no surprise that the Board of Control for Cricket in India has had no questions to ask of the Indian team and its management about the recent debacle in the second Test in Ahmedabad. There has not even been the sort of reaction which is to be only expected when the much hyped Indian team gets the sort of hiding it did and in three days. All the gains reportedly made on the tour of Australia seemed to be nullified. But the skipper, Anil Kumble and even the senior players have glossed over it by saying that it is one of those things that can happen, "one of those bad days" that can afflict any team.

    Can you imagine the reactions from the public and the media had this happened to Australia? The team would have had hell to pay and the criticism would have been unforgiving and vicious. The Australian team would not have had any excuses to make and since it is a country that has always taken great pride in its cricketing and overall, sporting achievements, a defeat rankles and all the

    Read More »from Saying it was one bad day will not do


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