in deep existential crisis..

A Journal by Sara

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!

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

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