There’s a reason why there had never been a Test match in India in August. It rains in August! Sadly, this didn’t occur to the wise men running cricket in India and New Zealand. After a rain-free first day in Hyderabad, the monsoonal downpours have interrupted proceedings thrice. Day 2 got off to a delayed start and so did Day 3. The day ended prematurely with heavy downpours in the evening session. Showers are expected in Hyderabad the next two days. In Bangalore, the venue of the second Test, has had heavy showers this week too. One hopes the cricket board doesn’t repeat this organisational buffoonery.
‘LIKE SHOOTING FISH IN A BARREL’
It means doing something ridiculously easy. Discovery Channel recently decided to put this idiom to test. They put some fish in a barrel and shot them. They discovered they didn’t even need to hit the fish. The bullets entering the water created shockwaves that made the fish belly-up and float to the surface. The New Zealand batting against Indian spin evoked the idiom. These were some of the easiest wickets Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha — with a combined tally of 9-75 in this innings — will take in their careers. The Black Caps sat on their backfoot, played with hard hands and generally looked clueless about which way the ball would turn. Except Brendon McCullum who was caught off a mistimed drive to cover, every other New Zealand was dismissed at the wicket or in the catching cordon. MS Dhoni deserves credit for mending his defensive ways by relentlessly attacking New Zealand.
HESSON VISITS BROAD
Ashwin and Ojha took to Hyderabad’s dry, crumbling wicket instantly. As New Zealand imploded in their first innings, their coach Mike Hesson was seen in match referee Chris Broad’s room. It’s unclear what they discussed, but the conversation made third umpire Vineet Kulkarni smile. Kulkarni had ruled two tight catches in India’s favour, and replays showed there was nothing debatable about his calls. Was this the bone of contention for Hesson? Or was he upset with the wicket? We’ll know soon.
THE MARTIN CAMEO
Chris Martin, the batsman every bowler loves, made the long walk to the wicket, took guard, offered his best forward-defensive to Ashwin first ball, but it wasn’t enough. Ashwin had beaten him in the flight and turned the ball past his defence into the stumps. It was Martin’s 34th duck – one more than the great Muttiah Muralitharan, and one less than Glenn McGrath.