Kris Srikkanth

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Master and pupil excel for India

Only a few athletes are blessed to write their own scripts.
SachinTendulkar will probably remain the only cricketer in the history
of the game who has been forced to prove himself time and again.

Mind
you after a phenomenal run for more than 18 seasons and 27,000 plus
international runs! To not have an ODI hundred in Australia is not a
sin but that is what most pundits thought. Sachin has clearly been a
case of being consumed by the monster he himself created. The weight of
expectations has sometimes been unrealistic and yet he has carried on
gamely. His determination was evident right from the start of the
innings and good that he found an able lieutenant in young Rohit Sharma.

It
was a perfect one-day innings. Sachin was tiring towards the end but
was still able to manufacture shots that precluded the Australians from
bowling to a pattern. Rohit has come on nicely in this tour. Barring
the manner in which he played Michael Clarke, where I thought he gave
him too much respect, his role was that of an ideal foil to Sachin.

The
pair stepped on the pedal at the appropriate time. Just when it seemed
the Aussies would stifle the run flow, the boundaries started
flowing
to ease the pressure. It was a well planned chase by the masterand the
pupil. Rohit is easily India's find of the season batting wise. Just
not because of the runs he has made but the poise he has shown at the
crease. His methods have an air of assurance.

I have always held
the opinion that this Australian side have enough chinks in their
armour and that they have not been exploited well
enough.

Gilchrist
and Ponting are central to their plans and both have really not been
able to get going against Ishant and Co. The general approach
of the world champions is to be aggressive even when wickets are falling and sometimes it can backfire as it did on Sunday.

The
key to India's success has been their ability to break partnerships.
Harbhajan and Piyush Chawla's restrictive spells ensured the Aussies did
not
run away with it after they recovered through Hayden. With experience I
can say 250 plus in Sydney under lights can be a tricky
proposition. Dhoni has matured as a leader and what I like about his
captaincy is his calm demeanour that also has a positive effect on other
members of the team.

In
hindsight, giving the new ball to Praveen Kumar might look a good
decision but it will always be a better idea to give the new ball to
someone who has better air speed and natural swing.

Irfan could
have had more to offer with the new ball and Praveen a better bet at
first change. Especially when the ball is not doing much in the air.

It was an important victory and something India have never achieved before.

Republished with permission from The Asian Age

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