Australia wins the Melbourne Test with ease

Australia wins the Melbourne Test with ease

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Australia wins the Melbourne Test with ease

Australia wins the Melbourne Test with ease
Australia wins the Melbourne Test with ease | Source

Australia wins the Melbourne Test with ease

A convincing win

As expected and as predicted by me yesterday, Australia registered a convincing test in the first cricket Test against India in the Border-Gavaskar Test Series. To start a test series with a win is a head start that will spur Australia further to perform well. Best wishes to Clarke and his boys for this victory.

Australia won because of toss

But Australia cannot rejoice over this victory much. It was sheer luck that gave this win to them. Had India won the toss, it would have produced a different result. Batting fourth innings on the pitches of Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) are the things every side hates to do. Remember how Bobby Simpson’s Aussies were tormented and routed by the Indian spinners Prasanna, Bedi and Chandrasekhar in the 1978 series on MCG and SCG. Poor Simpson lost the toss and met with the punishment. This time it was Dhoni’s turn to lose the toss and succumb to the unwritten writ that nobody can score even 200 runs on MCG in the fourth innings. History has also proved this point. In the last 49 years, no side had scored more than 200 runs in the fourth innings to register a victory. The highest fourth innings winning total ever in MCG was 323 scored by England. But that was before the Second World War long back in the thirties.

Pattinson – a true gifted bowler for Australia

But Australia has got a gift in the form of Pattinson. His approach, speed and positive attitude all reminds me about the young Denis Lillee in the seventies who matured and formed a core of the Australian team for much over a decade. Of course strictly speaking Lillee cannot be compared with Pattinson because Lillee possessed swing with speed which is deadlier than sheer speed. That was why batsmen considered Denis Lillee more dangerous to play than the fast bowler Jeff Thomson. Pattinson does not look that dangerous but if he matures, can provide enough cushion to the Aussies for a long time provided he does not fade away like Bob Massie after taking sixteen wickets in his first test.

Sachin cannot shine in a crisis

Ponting and Hussey played useful scores in this test but they never looked very inspiring as they were a few years back. Maybe it is time for Ponting to consider retirement. One should retire when everybody asks why and not why not as Sunil Gavaskar said while retiring in Bangalore when he was in the peak form. My prediction that Sachin will fail in the second innings proved right. Sachin can play a glorious innings on a sunny morning on a perfect batting track like the Wankhede Stadium Mumbai before a capacity crowd. I have enjoyed many of Sachin’s innings and clapped whenever he hit the bowlers all around the field. But to play a winning knock on a bowler’s pitch in a crisis is simply beyond Sachin’s capacity. Creating many records is one thing but being a crisis man is quite another. Lance Klusner of South Africa or Gundappa Viswanath of India may not find their names in the record books, but have won or saved many matches for their countries. Sachin does not fit in this category.

Dravid experiences ageing factor

Perhaps Rahul Dravid should consider retirement from all forms of cricket. One might argue that he scored sixty odd runs in the first innings and played sheet anchor for India. Yes, it is true, I am not disputing. But the way Dravid was clean bowled in both innings indicates that he is ageing. Dravid was beaten by sheer pace. Before he could react to the delivery, his bails flew. The same thing happened to the great Nawab of Pataudi Junior in the Calcutta Test against Clive Lloyd’s West Indies side on the New Year of 1975. In the second innings, Pataudi was massacring the West Indian medium pace bowler Vanburn Holder. In one over, Pataudi scored 19 runs including two huge sixes. We were clapping on hearing the radio commentary (in those days there was no television). But when Andy Roberts was brought in by Clive Lloyd, the Indian captain was beaten by sheer pace and was bowled. The ageing factor was very clear then. The same thing is seen for Rahul Dravid.

Best wishes for India

The failure of many Indian batsmen like Virat Kohli, VVS Laxman, captain Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Sehwag are mostly due to the treacherous MCG pitch. We should not judge their calibre by this failure. India should understand that it has lost this test because of bad luck of losing the toss and should play positive cricket in the remainder of the series. One should remember that this Australian side is not invincible as the side that existed a few years back with towering giants like Adam Gilchrist, Hayden, fast bowler Glen McGrath, Mitchell Johnson etc. Even Ponting is not the same Ponting a few years back. My best wishes to Dhoni and the Indians to produce a win in the next test by playing a positive game.

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