in deep existential crisis..

A Journal by Sara

Anand – The undisputed Champion of Chess!

Vishy has yet another time emerged the undisputed world champion beating Kramnik 6.5-4.5 with 3 wins, 1 loss and 7 draws averting the tie-breaker in the 12-match tournament. The Indian’s defence was rock solid preventing the attack of desperate Kramnik holding him to a draw after 24 moves. He deserves this championship title and I wish him best ahead.


October 29, 2008 Posted by | India, Sports | Leave a comment

Aus Tour Of India’08 – II Test

It is pivotal that routine is broken once and have opened the flood gates forever. Now, Aussies are rendered vulnerable and mortal, trying to gain ground with the sinister reality. Every day on a test match, the opposition need not wake up with a cold knot of dread in their stomach. It is not necessary that the supremo, who works unrelenting and unremitting, to destroy any team they encounter, would continue to do so, grinding opposition to death in the future. Now, It is paramount to note that a team with many irregularities on and off the field, India and who had borne the brunt of demolition is now up and possess the rare skill and confidence to hit the bottle one too many times and upset the apple cart with consistency.

Yes, India who has beaten Australia in their own forte [Perth] at the start of this year has again put their head above the shoulders and brought the dexterity required on field; result India, out-batted, out-bowled and miraculously even out-fielded Australia. This time, only to put the bone in Aussies throat and make them look as clueless as Williams Sisters posing in saree for Indian Media in Bangalore last season.

India, with its lethal swing, conventional and reverse, managed by the fiery duo Zaheer and Ishant, with Harbhajan waking up to the fact to stop spinning the tongue and start spinning the ball, Amit Mishra setting cricket pitch nostalgia for what it had been a while since it has seen leg spin on its face, India seems to have found a groove at last. Ponting, in his lead up to the series, was seriously learning to encounter his nemesis, Harbhajan Singh, while conveniently ignoring the speedsters on Indian surface. The lesson learnt, now that the role of nemesis has just passed hands, and would continue to haunt him till he copes with it.

One of the greatest batsmen, in the modern cricket, Ponting has admitted himself that Ishant is developing to be his nemesis and is frighteningly, one of the most potent bowlers in the current world of cricket. Every time Ishant bends the ball back in, Ponting is left to think various possibilities whether to play or not, to move forward or not, to attack or not. One of the best front foot batsmen in any era of cricket, has grown up only attacking the bowlers and thus far succeeded, though it remained, given the shallow depth of quality pace bowlers since the wake of the 21st century, how much he is strong against a future bowler who swings a Akram, or pitches a McGrath or steams in a Akhtar. Though any of them have not arrived yet, but a certain Ishant is emerging. It is rather off beam to call him the mixture of three or even one of them, not even closely. But, to see the young paceman, a year shy of twentieth birthday, to bowl with immaculate control and precision best left to masters of the game is too good to be ignored. He swings ball either ways at will and brings in accuracy in his lengths and top of all puts his mind to the bowling setting batsman up as discussed in my earlier post on I test.

Zaheer, returning with more vigor and valor, looked threatening with his bowling and surprisingly is consistent in doing that. Definitely, a second innings has started in his career and he is aware this time after all cricket is his passion and which is the only treasure he pursued all along.

Amit Mishra, a classical leg spinner, who has gone through the grinding years in domestic cricket, adding guile to his flight and spin, has emerged to be a top class spinner filling the big hole of Indian spin crisis. There is not better stage in international cricket than take a fifer against Australia in debut and to sum up 7 wickets in the match. Aussie batsmen had no answers for the new storm and the tricks he pulls out of his sleeve in every over.

In a slow, steady and unnoticed manner, India has found a settled opening batsmen combination, in Sehwag and Gambhir, who has opened together for their state in numerous first class and List-A matches. The openers have a rapport beyond cricket and that helps them to forge a trust and skills on the field which is destined to greater heights in the future. Australians simply don’t have a plan B when the opening duo fires in all cylinders blasting their new ball bowlers and most importantly running the sharp singles. It was India, who is tainted as aged and weak legs on the field. But the role seems to have reversed now, with Australia, after all being outplayed in fielding too.

The Fab-four lent their top support with resilience and self-confidence as the quotients. Solid defence by Dravid and records tumbling with every run scored by Tendulkar, a determined and resilient Ganguly who has a point or two to prove his critic in his farewell series, with Laxman’s hand at work with silken drives and wristy glances, booming drives of Dhoni which has kept Australian foot waiting at the boundary rope with little hope.

Dhoni’s leadership comes with a demeanor and poise, which is often profound as the man himself. He brings in aggression which the team seems to understand well and they thrive under his captaincy. Sehwag looked a happy man throughout the match because his team plays his brand of cricket, the only way he knows of, aggressive. Sachin Tendulkar jumped up and down with joy after taking a blinder of a catch at the short point, Harbhajan who looked a shade of his own until few months back is now like thunderstorm on berserk every time he walks into the field.

India have done everything right from the word go, in the II test, and has put a wind up the Aussie camp, it is now a question of whether they could sustain the high benchmark they have set for themselves and could continue pressing the demolition mode?

Back for the third test at Delhi!

October 23, 2008 Posted by | Aus Tour Ind '08-'09, Cricket, Sports | Leave a comment

Which one would you rate the best among this week?

October 22, 2008 Posted by | Polls | Leave a comment

Incredible Week!

It’s been an incredible week for India as it launched its first unmanned moon spacecraft, outplayed the world champions Australia in every aspect of cricket and Vishy Anand slowly inching towards the world championship title again defeating Kramnik.

October 22, 2008 Posted by | India | Leave a comment

12,000 runs and more in Test Cricket!

I wish Sachin Tendulkar to have made us all proud and to have reclaimed the record of highest runs scored ever for India. Wish him all the best for this test and the rest of the series.

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Aus Tour Ind '08-'09, Cricket, Sports | Leave a comment

Ind Vs Aus – I Test – Day 5

As expected Ponting declared with a quick fire scoring at the start and set 299 runs for India to win. He must have got jitters thinking about Sehwag and his dangers of staying in the crease for a session, but this was one of the sporting declarations of Aussie Captain for some time. India, bearing the tagline of poor chasers in the fourth innings, set out for the task. With quick dismissals of Sehwag and Dravid, India was looking down the barrel, and Australia sensed the scent of victory for a moment. Then, Sachin had different plans combining well with Gambhir and Laxman and earned a draw out of it.

The feet was moving well for Sachin playing the pacers comfortably and a little tentative against spin. He was a little unlucky when he had a lapse in concentration because of low light and gifted maiden wicket to the debutant, Cameron White. By that time, India was comfortably placed with Laxman and Ganguly taking responsibilities to take India safely till the end.

The match was close, but both teams would be highly disappointed to have not taken lead in the series. Now, with second test at Mohali, a pace assisting pitch, Australia would feel a tad comfortable going into it. India, with Kumble likely to drop out in the II test, could either play Amit Mishra or Munaf Patel. Considering the nature of the pitch, Munaf Patel would likely get an entry adding to the pace weaponry of India.

Will see you in the second test on Friday!

October 13, 2008 Posted by | Aus Tour Ind '08-'09, Cricket, Sports | Leave a comment

Ind Vs Aus – I Test – Day 4

Zaheer did well for his patient half century withstanding the fiery spell of Brett Lee in the morning. India reduced the deficit to 70 runs which at one time threatened to be bigger. It was a heroic performance by Zaheer to take a 5 wicket haul and top score for his team in the first innings.

Australia started its second innings cautiously, with Zaheer bowling beautifully keeping the openers in check. It was a beauty of delivery to dismiss Hayden, a touch late swing crashing into batsman’s pads. Zaheer was delighted and the dangerous batsman walked back to the pavilion. With Kumble not taking the field, Dhoni sensed the tension about the pitch in the Australian camp perfectly. He had an excellent field set for the new batsman, Ricky Ponting. Harbhajan had a silly mid-off, silly mid-on, a first slip and a leg slip in place for the tentative Ponting. The crowd broke in rapture when Ponting worked the first ball to Sehwag at leg slip. Rudi Koertzen was right turning down the appeal as the ball brushed only pads on its way to fielder’s hands. It became a daunting task for the first innings centurion to survive either lunging forward or going back foot negotiating the turbanator’s fiery spell. Dhoni commented from behind the stumps, ‘Bhajju, He can’t play you today’. The bowling team showed lot of aggression in the field which was missing on the first day. Dhoni quickly brought Ishant at the other end to tie down Ponting.

Ponting sensing the attack broke loose lofting Harbhajan over midwicket in the air and played one behind the legs for boundaries. Ishant came back, beating Ponting with the balls which occasionally jagged in and found plenty of reverse swing. The abrasive pitch has got the ball reverse even before 15 overs were bowled. With variable bounce playing the part too, coupled with reverse swinging ball, Ponting shed all his plans and decided to survive the least. Ishant dished a slower ball as in first innings, but Ponting dropped his right hand promptly, sending the ball one bounce to Tendulkar at the gully.

It was beauty of Test cricket, when Ishant with character beyond his age, bowled a semi-slower ball in early 120ks to get one cutting into the mid and leg stump. Ponting was forced to play that into the waiting hands of Laxman, stationed at mid-wicket exactly for that same purpose. The ploy worked and Ponting fell yet another time to his old nemesis.

India was charged up and attacked even more vigorously, tying Katich to the ground and tormenting him. He played 78 balls for his 10 compared to new batsman at the crease Hussey’s 18 ball 10. Indian bowler’s looked threatening every ball in the two-paced and cracked pitch. It was also heartening to see Harbhajan go around the wicket to left handers to which he was often reluctant earlier. Harbhajan varied his flight getting the ball to drift, loop and employed top spin to its effect challenging the batsman. Still, I felt he should have given more spin to the ball, exploiting the cracks in the pitch better and make batsmen play in the back foot. Hussey and Katich were negotiating tough times and were slowly building a partnership.

I was off to sleep, to find morning that Watson and Haddin had played aggressively for an invaluable 60-odd partnership and still threatening for more. Now, going into final day’s play tomorrow, we have every possible result, either an Australian win or an Indian win, could even be an exciting close draw.

Ponting often talked before the start of the series about the new age cricket that Australia has planned for the future. Doubts surfaced today, when they crawled at a run rate below 2 for most part of their innings.

Expecting an exciting final day’s play tomorrow!

October 12, 2008 Posted by | Aus Tour Ind '08-'09, Cricket, Sports | Leave a comment

Ind Vs Aus – I Test – Day 3

It was quite disappointing to see a master of the game falling to a trap of a seasoned campaigner. Mitchell Johnson had just served out a couple of slower balls, up fuller length, to Sachin Tendulkar and he should have sensed the obvious. Johnson unleashed another one in 105ks, to have Tendulkar repeat the same error in judgment and was caught at cover.

Dravid battled well for his half century and Ganguly stood one end for important lower order partnerships. It was more heartening to see the lower order batsmen taking attack to the opposition and scoring at every possible opportunity. Harbhajan scored his third consecutive 50 in as many matches against Australia and is remaining the thorn in the Aussies head. Zaheer was spirited in his 35 valuable runs and out there with his partner doing more damage to the Aussies 1st innings lead. Every run scored tomorrow will make Australia grow in frustration and would account a lot for Indians final day batting.

Wish India add another 30-40 invaluable runs to the score board and make a close match out of it!

October 11, 2008 Posted by | Aus Tour Ind '08-'09, Cricket, Sports | Leave a comment

Ind Vs Aus ’08-’09 – I test Day 2

I am disappointed to have missed the second day’s play, after hitting the bed earlier last night. Looking at the scorecard, I could see the highlights being, a patient yet masterful century compiled by Michael Hussey combining well with the tail enders, and yet another Ishant’s fiery spell in morning session with subtle variation to remove Watson and White; Zaheer Khan assisted with reverse swing post lunch snapping up the tail enders; and Sehwag not allowing the Brett Lee and co stamp authority over India.

Most significant problem on top of all these is the way Kumble has gone conceding 130 runs without a single wicket. I guess this is second time in the year he has gone beyond 100 without taking any wicket. Harbhajan, often thinks, that he is in team to get only the wicket of Ponting and with that his duty rightfully ends for the day.

I can sense, India is in a major transition phase; relieving their age old dependence on the spin and now have respect the often ignored pace bowling. It is a beginning of a new age for India with promising bowlers like Ishant Sharma ready to take up the highest challenge.

With Sehwag already stormed to his 45 runs, I sincerely wish Deepavali comes earlier this month!

October 10, 2008 Posted by | Aus Tour Ind '08-'09, Cricket, Sports | Leave a comment

Ind Vs Aus ’08-’09 – 1st Test – Day -1- Bangalore

Alas, the first day of the first test arrived, amidst much anticipation. It was quite a fascinating morning session, a rare action of cricket these days, with quality at its echelon. But the excellence of cricket has rather become a permanent fixture in their duel every time they have played.

Ricky Ponting took guard in the game’s first over, with odds highly stacked against him. Ishant Sharma, his old nemesis, continued to haunt him with high quality bowling he reserves especially for his favorite batsman. Pitching the seam straight, he was assisted by movement and the early moisture in the pitch. He consistently hit the deck at right length moving the ball on either side. He caught Ponting at the crease for a fair number of times, and made him stride forward hitting the good length at ease.

Ishant extracted fair bounce a couple of times hitting the batsman’s gloves creating enough doubts in the batsman’s mind. A couple of close calls and a majestic cut off the square; he played a watchful innings at the start. Ponting required those close calls go in his favor, as he was determined to fight through the crisis and make a statement.

A delivery surprised Ponting which he wrongly chose to shoulder arm with ball hitting him right on the pads, heading to clip the bails off. The impact was marginally outside the off stump and he survived a close decision. The contest was at its peak when Ishant followed up with a bouncer next ball that almost kissed Ponting’s nose. Ishant reminded Ponting the gory sights of WACA Perth last season.

But the master himself was unperturbed, punishing the bowler the very next ball, that he had slightly erred in length by pitching upfront, creaming it to the square leg boundary in a flash. Such an absorbing contest, it developed to, once again reminding us, what Test cricket is all about. It was a classic contest between a teen who debuted a few months ago with the master of modern cricket who has tasted victory at all levels.

By the time Harbhajan Singh, his old friend, was introduced into the attack Ponting had set in well with facing a dozen of over of pace bowling and saw through the crucial moments at the crease. In fact, a rare moment against India where he doesn’t need to face spin immediately at the crease, thanks to Hayden’s dismissal in the first over. It was a psychological edge for Ponting, and a setback to Harbhajan to intimidate his bunny.

I have never understood, why Harbhajan often overlooks the importance of leg slip, as it is the batsman’s only escape point to his otherwise well formed field. Ponting glanced one behind the leg to hit a boundary off the first ball of Harbhajan breaking all the jinx and evil eye, setting himself up for a majestic innings. As the pitch got fairly dry, and all assistance was gone, it was up to the spinners to labor for wickets if they had to claim any in the rest of the day. Surviving the crucial phase, I had for once, decided its Ponting’s day to erase the worst memories in India and play a majestic innings to set the tone for the rest of the series. I hit the sack to find the next morning that Ponting has indeed done that, working his way to a gritty century.

Hats off Ricky Ponting! A classic contest on cards!

October 9, 2008 Posted by | Aus Tour Ind '08-'09, Cricket, Sports | Leave a comment