Friday, 31 October, 2008

Sehwag foils Aussie fight back

B D Narayankar

It was a gripping day of cricket. The Indians bowled their hearts out and there were edges flying all over the places. Skipper Anil Kumble failed to place an attacking field, which otherwise would have fetched some more wickets on the third day of the the third test match of the Border-Gavaskar trophy played at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi on October 31.

The Australians on the other hand, never really dominated the proceedings, but did not give away too many wickets, which led them to script a sort of a fightback from the blades of opener Mathew Hayden and skipper Ricky Ponting.

The good thing for India, however, is that when they come out tommorow to play, their bowlers would find the ball still new and hard. Quickies Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan could think using the morning condition to India's advantage. As far as the spinners are concerned, they can make a huge difference. Leggies Amit Mishra and Kumble and offie Virendra Sehwag are getting a lot of rip. Particulary Sehwag who picked up three vital wickets.

If Kumble gets it right tommorow by placing an attacking field and gets early breakthroughs, it will open the floodgates for India to sniff out the Aussies out of the match.

The tourists were happy with way things went for them in the first session of the fourth day. They scored hundred runs having lost one wicket. Hayden and Simon Katich batted in a gritty manner and looked comfortable.

Zaheer, who started the proceedings, bowled two bouncers at Hayden, but failed to get the much-needed breakthrough for India.

Katich looked in good knick and played some fluent shots, hitting 10 fours and notching up his 10th Test fifty in the process. He smashed Sharma thrice over the ropes and looked relaxed against Jumbo.

After lunch, Katich was undone by Mishra who lured him into playing a flick from outside the off stump and then watched as the ball sneaked through the gap and knocked off the middle stump. He made 64 runs with ten hit to the fence.

Before tea, India tasted another Aussie blood when Sehwag pushed one quicker through the air to trap dangerous-looking Hayden leg before for 83. The innings was studded with 13 boundaries and a huge six. It was Hayden's highest score in the series so far. He also shared 123 runs for the
opening wicket with Katich and another 79 with Ponting to lay the platform for Australia's reply to India's mammoth 613-7 declared.

Ponting hit 14 fours in his fine 163-ball 87-runs knock and shared a vital 82-run stand with the in-form Mike Hussey.

The Australian skipper looked set for his 37th ton following his 123 in the drawn Bangalore opener but was bowled by Sehwag, who gave away just 66 runs picking up three vital wickets off his impressive 22 overs.

Hussey was picked up by Sehwag, giving him his third wicket of the match. The local lad tossed the ball up on the middle and leg of the southpaw who failed to cover his off stop. Hussey made a useful 53 of 146 balls belting seven boundaries.

Michael Clarke was batting on 21 with Shane Watson on four at close after surviving some close chances against the spinners, who managed to extract good turn from the track.

Thursday, 30 October, 2008

VVS, Gauti put Aussies out of winning race with their double tons

B D Narayankar

The second day's play of the third Border-Gavaskar Test played at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla belonged to two double century makers - opener Gautam Gambhir and stylish VVS Laxman. They placed India in a formidable position after stringing a record 278-runs partnership for the fourth wicket.

India declared on 613 for 7 on the second day as soon as Laxman lofted Micheal Clarke to the long on boundary to complete his double ton. They decided to have a crack at Australia for an hour today but that didn't quite go as per plans as the bowlers failed to pick up a single wicket. The ball is turning and that is the biggest concern for Australia. At stumps the visitors were 50 for no loss with openers Mathew Hayden and Simon Katich at the crease.

Today's first session went into India's kitty as the hosts went wicketless into lunch. Gambhir and Laxman started off from where they had left yesterday. They added 97 runs with ease as none of the Aussie bowlers troubled them.

Gambhir, 149 overnight, continued to mix caution with aggression and set his eyes on making his first double hundred. He, however, offered a chance when on 176, but his edge off leg-spinner Cameron White evaded Mathew Hayden in the slips.

Gambhir, who scored 206, tore apart Australian attack to script his second century of the Border-Gavaskar series. He, however, fell apart trying to fend off his betenoire Shane Watson's delivery. He nicked the ball back on to his stumps.

Gambhir had become the first left-handed opener from any country to hit a double-hundred against Australia, and his score equaled the previous record by an Indian opener against the Aussies. Ravi Shastri had made 206 in Sydney against Allan Border's team in 1991-92.

Laxman has a special liking for the Australian attack. It was evident from the fact that he scored his six centuries out of 13 against the No. 1 team in the world. Laxman notched up a double hundred remaining unbeaten on 200 before skipper Anil Kumble declared the innings.

Only Brett Lee gave some initial hiccups to Laxman early on. The bowler was unlucky after the Hyderabadi fended off a rising delivery clumsily. That was the only blemish from the blade of Laxman. He later slipped into his groove and brought his skillful wrists into play - driving and pulling on both sides of the wicket. He was in a sublime form.

The stylish Laxman was stuck for 11 balls on 99 but reached the coveted mark with a cover-driven four off leg-spinner White.

Retiring veteran Sourav Ganguly soon walked back after adding just five runs to his team's score. His outing was cut short by part-time bowler Simon Katich as he holed one to Ponting at short cover.

India vice-captain MS Dhoni's cameo of 27 runs was put to end by Watson. Dhoni edged a delivery that was going outside the offstump and wicketkeeper Haddin took a diving catch.

Kumble was eventually trapped lbw to become Johnson's third victim of the innings, and all that was left was for Laxman to reach 200 before the inevitable declaration came.

Australia 50-0 (15) Runs Balls 4s 6s SR
M Hayden not out 16 35 3 0 45.71
S Katich not out 29 56 5 0 51.79
*R Ponting
M Hussey
M Clarke
S Watson
B Haddin
C White
B Lee
M Johnson
S Clark
Extras: 5 ( b:4 lb:0 nb:1 w:0)
Total: 50-0 (15) | Curr. RR: 3.33


India O M R W Nb Wd RPO
Zaheer Khan 4 2 9 0 0 0 2.25
Ishant Sharma 4 1 9 0 0 0 2.25
*Anil Kumble 4 1 17 0 1 0 4.25
A Mishra 3 0 11 0 0 0 3.67

India 613-7 decl (161) Runs Balls 4s 6s SR
G Gambhir b Watson 206 380 26 1 54.21
V Sehwag lbw b Lee 1 2 0 0 50.00
R Dravid c Hayden b Johnson 11 31 1 0 35.48
S Tendulkar c Haddin b Johnson 68 126 11 0 53.97
VVS Laxman not out 200 301 22 1 66.45
S Ganguly c Ponting b Katich 5 8 1 0 62.50
MS Dhoni c Haddin b Watson 27 29 4 1 93.10
*Anil Kumble lbw b Johnson 45 73 8 0 61.64
Zaheer Khan not out 28 21 3 1 133.33
Ishant Sharma
A Mishra
Extras: 22 ( b:6 lb:8 nb:6 w:2)
Total: 613-7 decl (161) | Curr. RR: 3.81

FOW: V Sehwag (5-1, 2.1), R Dravid (27-2, 10.4), S Tendulkar (157-3, 52), G Gambhir (435-4, 123.5), S Ganguly (444-5, 126.2), Dhoni (481-6133.4, *Anil Kumble (579-7, 155.4)

Australia O M R W Nb Wd RPO
B Lee 30 2 119 1 1 1 3.97
S Clark 33 9 69 0 0 0 2.09
M Johnson 32 4 144 3 0 2 4.50
S Watson 20 4 66 2 3 0 3.30
C White 15 1 73 0 0 0 4.87
M Clarke 14 0 59 0 0 0 4.21
S Katich 15 2 60 1 0 0 4.00
*R Ponting 2 0 11 0 0 0 5.50

Wednesday, 29 October, 2008

Huge partnerships sour Aussie hopes

B D Narayankar

After losing Nawab of Najafgarh Virendra Sehwag and formidable Rahul Dravid early in the day, Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and Delhi lad Gautam Gambhir poured water over the hopes of Aussies building on the early advantage on the first day of the third Border-Gavaskar Test match being played at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi on October 29.

The defining moments of the day were the two wonderful partnerships between Gambhir and Tendulkar (130 runs) and then between Gambhir and VVS Laxman (an unbeaten 139-runs stand). Especially Gambhir's stand with Tendulkar mattered the most as India was precariously placed at 27 for 2 in the 11th over after the Aussies sent back two of India's top guns packing for cheap scores. First, Brett Lee trapped Sehwag plumb when the opener tried to defend from the crease. Next, Dravid edged Mitchell Johnson to Mathew Hayden in the slips, who took a good low catch. Dravid tried reaching a fuller-length ball angling away from him.

Right from the start of the series, the Aussies have had few causes for concern. After the retirement of Glen MacGrath and Shane Warne, their attack looks toothless. It will not be wrong to say here that Lee looks spineless without the support of MacGrath and Warne from the other end. Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clark failed to learn a lesson from Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma, who picked wickets with swing in Mohali and Bangalore tests.

The other concern of the Aussies includes the absence of an attacking spinner and the dogged concentration of Indian batsmen. It was a very familiar list of troubles.

It was a day of reckoning for Gambhir. This was his back-to-back test centuries against the No. 1 Test team in the world. Gambhir cracked a scintillating unbeaten 149 runs. Gambhir played a waiting game after losing Sehwag and Dravid. The southpaw, in association with Tendulkar, rebuilt the Indian innings by playing a waiting game.

When the platform was safely built, Gambhir changed gears and started striking the ball with exquisite timing and and placement. He began to clip balls through the leg side and cut and drove through the off side. No wonder he brought his classy century with an unexpected six of Shane Watson.

The runs did not stop there. Laxman was almost unnoticed, inasmuch as that can be said of his glorious flicks through leg, in building a valuable half-century that helped stop any momentum Australia might have collected when Tendulkar departed. Laxman and Gambhir's unbeaten 139-run partnership became a major frustration for Aussie captain Ricky Ponting, whose troops performed admirably at times but failed to maintain the pressure.

Post-lunch session

India started the second session at a menacing pace. Both Tendulkar and Gambhir hitting boundaries all over the park. Tendulkar reached his 51st Test half-century with a boundary off Stuart Clark and Gambhir followed suit. Just before tea, Tendulkar was done in by Johnson's persistent line when the maestro played away from his body and nicked an angling delivery into the hands of Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for a well-made 68. Tendulkar had gone into the shell as he was playing for tea.


At stumps, India is sitting pretty with 296 for 3 on the board. When Gambhir and Laxman will take guard tommorrow, the former would like to build on his unbeaten 149 runs and the latter look forward to end his drought. Will Ponting have a plan up his sleeves? We will find out tomorrow.

Thursday, 2 October, 2008

The unnecessary Christian blurt

B D Narayankar

It was unkindest cut of all - Archbishop Barnard Moras of Bangalore berating and shouting at Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa in full public glare. It was a strange and uncivilized behaviour which was unwarranted and unexpected from a Godman.

Compare his behaviour with that of other Hindu leaders, who have not misbehaved with government authorities, inspite of end number of provocations on Hindus in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, where Hindus suffered huge losses and even made to flee.

Why did Barnard Moras behave in an ungainly manner? What was the necessity to blurt out in front of TV cameras? Was it a political stunt? Probably, he wanted to show the world that Christians were being attacked in BJP-ruled states. He hardly gave a thought that the outburst against Christians was the result of provocation coming from evangelists, who distributed blasphemous literature, deriding Hindu gods.

Christians, instead of leveling charges against BJP-ruled government, should be thankful to Yediyurappa for not allowing law and order situation going out of hand. Other than isolated incidents of localized vandalism in which both Christians and Hindus were involved, there was not a single instance of organized violence in Karnataka. The CM also has shown enough courage to initiate an investigation into conversion activities perpetrated by evangelists, instead of succumbing to the tirades launched by evangelist-owned news channels.

Historically, evangelical churches were the branches of foreign governments that incited colonial wars against Hindus for centuries. Virtually every major European country had justified wars of colonial conquest as a prelude to loot and genocide in the name of Christianity as any moderately well informed observer will acknowledge.

To unmake the ignominy faced by losing direct control over India in 1947, the evangelists are doing everything on this earth to regain control. In fact, they are running the Indian Union with the heinous support of airhead human rights organizations and television channels. The evangelists are on a mission to seek India's political transformation through conversions. Conversion is a means to blunt the possible revolt of Indians on matters such as Hinduism and Hindu culture.

The evangelists are working towards creating a docile native constituency through conversions that will oblige to the wishes of powerful Christian nations - America, UK and Rome among others. There is nothing saintly about it, it simply is demoniac pretensions to subvert Hinduism and subjugate Hindus. That some educated and well-connected Indians support their activities only means that traitors exist and should be treated as such.

India is known for its spiritualism and religiosity, and the evangelists are aiming to sabotage this very facade that has made this country unique and a nation to look up to at times of moral crisis. Unfortunately, the pseudo-secularist parties, instead of curbing these provocative activities, grab any chance coming their way to sympathize with minorities for votes.

Look at the DMK and CPM, who never are tired castigating BJP for not protecting minorities, whereas, comparatively speaking, instances of Christian and their churches being attacked, are more in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In fact, the BJP record in maintaining inter-religious harmony is much better than any other so-called pro-minority parties. Sensible sections of the minorities acknowledge this.

So, in this context what should be the way out to tackle religious subversions? Should the defense of India imitate Joseph Stalin’s ruthless, unforgiving campaign against the Nazi attempt to wipe out Russia and its Slavic people? Stalin had executed dissenters and collaborators without pity and eventually crushed the Nazis in epic struggles without parallel in recorded history. This has to be debated.