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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mumbai Test Day 3: England Devastate India On Dhoni’s Turning Track!


Putting to rest its so-called inability to tackle spin, particularly on Indian turning tracks, England on the third day of the second cricket Test match against India in Mumbai staged one of its most historic comebacks with a rollicking record breaking third wicket partnership of 206 runs putting the hosts India on the mat. Yesterday’s unbeaten duo English captain Alistair Cook and Kevin Pietersen carried the charge forward attacking and frustrating all the three Indian spinners. While Cook defended his end soundly KP played the aggressive shots with effortless sweeps and reverse sweeps scoring like in a one-day match. Both of them achieved their respective 22nd hundreds putting England in the lead. India had their first success of the day when Ashwin got Cook out for 122. KP proved what a valuable player he is for England by going great guns to progress to a brilliant 186 when  Ojha finally managed to get him out caught. Just think of it, England dared drop this great batsman against South Africa in a home series that England lost and later in the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka! A productive partnership between Prior and Patel put England firmly ahead. Finally England were all out for 413 taking a vital lead of 86 runs.

The greatest players of spin, you can say the Indian class batsmen, sweated and struggled and folded up weakly and listlessly against English spin in their own home ground made specially to suit their skipper’s needs. They were reduced to a humiliating 117 for 7 at the end of play on the third day with only opener Gambhir and spinner Ashwin managing to reach double figures. Like masters of spin and turn spirited England opened the attack with Monty Panesar who obliged immediately destroying a pathetic Sehwag and then going on to achieve another haul of five wickets at stumps. Every time you cannot put pressure on Pujara to deliver and this time he failed too along with the non-starters like Tendulkar, Kohli, Yuvraj and particularly Dhoni who could not do much as a keeper too. While it is high time Tendulkar considers his retirement the string of failures by Kohli so far is surprising.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni demanded a pitch that turns from the first day and he got it too at Mumbai's Wankhede stadium to try taking sweet and preferably one-sided revenge no.2 on England that white washed India on its green tops last year, but his team handed over the advantage squarely and helplessly to the opponent. Basically it is the negative mindset inspired by the captain himself by putting more importance on pitch conditions rather than playing and confronting spiritedly. How do you solve the puzzle otherwise—Indian specialist spinners failing to extract turn or bounce from home pitches and English bowlers and batsmen thriving spiritedly and succeeding? Indian bowlers sometimes did very well on green pitches abroad, but the Indian batsmen with their negative approach and cantankerous nature give up and surrender abjectly.

India is staring at a most humiliating defeat at home and England the worthy victors reasserting their claim for the top position in Test rankings one more time. Dhoni must reassess his priorities or leave the team. This is most tragic that one of the most positive and aggressive Indian captains has reduced himself to such pitiable lows. The Indian cricket Board must consider its team options too and sack Dhoni after the current series if he does not change his mindset.

Does not matter which team you support or cry patriotically for. Finally it is positive cricket played with truest of spirits that make the beautiful game come alive. Bullish and ever complaining silly school boys cannot make your national cricket team. 
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