India-Australia Test Cricket Series: So Kind of You Sir Clarke!

India did just everything humanely possible to help Australia rout them 4-0 in the current Test cricket series played in Australia. In the fourth and last Test in Adelaide too the India top order failed consistently and as usual. The top names in world cricket could not progress to even half centuries.

Only young Virat Kohli was allowed to achieve the first ever ton in this current series for India. Maybe as a return favor, for all the tons, double tons and triple tons blessed on Australia by India. This point has tremendous relevance for the title of this article. Through Kohli’s efforts India advanced from a traditional (in this series) 111 for 5 to 225 for 5 and at that stage they had a great opportunity to try mastering some respectability. But the new ball did it once again and India lost all five wickets for just 47 runs.

Australia made 604/7 in the first innings and India replied with 272 conceding a lead of 332 runs. The scene was perfect for another follow-on, because anything above 200 runs lead the follow-on becomes due. But, Aussie skipper Michael Clarke did not enforce it and decided to bat again. Why?

Maybe he was sick and tired of the monotony of having innings victories, again and again. Maybe he wanted to have some batting practice as Australia hardly had the luxury of playing its second innings in the earlier matches. Maybe he wanted to test his team for setting an exciting target for India, because to get back to the No.1 position the team had to be expert in every kind of situation. Or maybe and most plausibly he wanted to make a return gesture for all the generosity showered on them by India. Anyway, we thank him with all our hearts for saving India from another ignominious innings defeat.

Batting second Australia lost three wickets for 50 runs enjoying an overall lead of 382 runs at the end of the third day’s play. Ponting and Clarke are again there after their double tons in the first innings. In the case of India if a top batman hits a century in the first innings he is just spared from doing anything commendable in the second. This has been the unwritten rule of Indian cricket. But when opposition is batting this rule gets easily and effortlessly broken. Let us see how the Clarke-Ponting pair builds on the lead tomorrow.

Meanwhile India is celebrating the 63rd Republic Day all over today and in tune with the patriotic fervor demonstrated on such days many expected a patriotic gesture form Sachin Tendulkar in achieving his hundredth ton. Time is running out for Tendulkar and in this perspective his decision to play in the ensuing triangular one-day cricket series seems to be just right where he has only 48 tons against 51 in tests. No Test match is scheduled for India till July this year and it seems extremely uncertain for Indian ageing superstars to retain their places in the Test squad. More significantly by that time the IPL extravaganza will be over  and the cricket Board can be in a position to dictate terms. 

Happy Republic Day to one and all of you, and to Michael Clarke in particular.


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