Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

India rattle Aussies in WACA, Perth

Australia were just blown apart by India in one of the greatest Test victories achieved by any subcontinental team…ever.

The only win better than this was the 2001 Calcutta “VVS” test.

The WACA in Perth is the world’s fastest and bounciest wicket and everyone thought that the Indian train will derail and crash out easily. But… Irfan Pathan, RP Singh and Ishan Sharma had a different script in their that swinged both ways with the Kookaburra ball.

The world’s supposedly best batsman, Ricky Ponting, was whittled out of the ground by 19yr old Sharma and made to look like an amateur. Ponting just couldn’t handle the pace, swing and bounce of Ishan.

The moral of the Perth Test is that if the umpires are fair, then Australia is NOT the best team in the world. Just like West Iindian batsman, Shiv Chanderpaul said, if even half of the close decisions were not given to Australia, they can be beaten by a good side. the problem, is 99% of all close decisions are awarded in Australia’s favour, and 99% of the half-chances too are awarded in Aus favour. No wonder they won 15 in a row. I don’t consider Sydney test as having “won”  by Australia as video evidence is available worldwide to prove umpires cheated against India.

If India win Adelaide, then I would consider India as having won the series 2-1.

Currently, its 1-1.


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Dirtiest Test Match in history.

Read this article written by Peter Roebuck published not in India, but in two of Australia’s most prestigious newspapers – The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Rotten from first day to last.
Peter Roebuck
January 7, 2008

INDIA has been dudded. No-one with the slightest enthusiasm for cricket will take the least satisfaction from the victory secured by the local team in an SCG Test match that entertained spectators at the ground, provided some excellent batting but left a sour taste in the mouth. It was a match that will have been relished only by rabid nationalists and others for whom victory and vengeance are the sole reasons for playing sport. Truth to tell the last day was as bad as the first. It was a rotten contest that singularly failed to elevate the spirit.

Until another shocking decision was made by an umpire reliable in his time but past his prime, the fifth day of this unattractive contest was offering plenty of tension to put alongside the memorable hundreds contributed by capable batsmen on both sides. Thereafter they might as well have drawn stumps as far as your correspondent was concerned as all interest had been removed. Once justice and fair play have been ejected there is no point in playing the game.

While Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly were at the crease it seemed entirely possible that India might escape with a draw. Had the umpiring been even remotely acceptable on the opening days, or had replays been used to give embattled umpires a chance, they might perchance have won the contest but that will forever remain in the land of conjecture. Australia had regrouped, Ricky Ponting had set a stiff target and a badly chosen Indian batting order had faltered. Thereafter it was a matter of trying to save the match.

India’s former captains stayed together till tea and afterwards continued their attempt to negotiate the 46 overs that still remained as a result of the lamentable over rates indulged in by both sides, and especially the visitors. By now Ponting had thrown the ball to his spinners and asked them to land the ball in the rough. Ponting’s street-fighter instincts have emerged in this contest, and it has not always been a pretty sight. By now the Australians were starting to press the umpires with appeals, dirty looks and questions. Cricketers know that umpires are vulnerable on the fifth afternoon when even the most seasoned white coat can succumb to pressure created by weariness and the frenzy of eager fieldsmen clustered around the bat.

Dravid found himself facing Andrew Symonds. Beyond argument Dravid’s was the crucial wicket. Already he had been dropped at first slip off a snorter from Mitchell Johnson. But he had looked better balanced at the crease and more upright in his strokes. From a distance it seemed that the worst was over. Although not exactly an immovable object, he looked solid enough to save his side.

Then came the moment that compromised all subsequent events, rendering meaningless the continuation of Australia’s run of victories. Dravid thrust his pad forwards at a wide delivery and wisely took the precaution of tucking his bat out of harm’s way. The ball brushed the front pad and was taken by the local gloveman, a man with a high reputation for sportsmanship. Adam Gilchrist and his comrades around the bat immediately roared a raucous appeal. Gilchrist was especially animated. To think there was a time when teammates chided him for holding back.

Doubtless the fieldsmen heard a noise but canvas and wood make different sounds, a fact known to every cricketer. That the bat was hidden away behind the body was surely more obvious from behind. Doubtless the Australians will argue that excesses of this sort are commonplace elsewhere.

If the appeal was bad, the decision was worse. A mild-natured and intelligent man, Dravid departed shaking his head slowly as the Australians celebrated. Instead they should have been fearing the damage done to their reputations. Already scorned by the English, they may find themselves under the cosh in a country where most of them make most of their money. Despite the amiability of many players, Ponting’s team is developing a reputation for being headstrong and precious. Matthew Hayden’s belittling of Anil Kumble’s bowling at the MCG was a case in point.

Nor was that all. Ganguly’s departure was also debated. An edge flew low to Michael Clarke at slip and the catch was claimed. Replays were inconclusive and the batsman stood his ground. In these circumstances the umpires in the field have been urged to make the decision. But that was not enough for an agitated Australian captain. Just to help the umpire make up his mind, Ponting held up a finger to indicate the catch had been taken. Having recalled an opponent prepared to take his word in the first innings the Tasmanian clearly expected to be believed. Unfortunately, Australia had long since left the high ground.

It is to be earnestly hoped that at least a vestige of sportsmanship is observed when the teams next meet in Perth. What happens in the middle has a nasty habit of spreading further afield.

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The greatest one day cricket match ever

The greatest match ever

Mon, 13 Mar 2006
The worry, lingering with quiet darkness, is that it was all a just-too-wonderful dream, that suddenly I’ll awaken to the manic cackling of Australian laughter, of a leering Shane Warne roaring with glee, and discover that yesterday’s afternoon of surreal perfection was no more than a cruel flight of fancy. For even a day later — a day that has seen me watch 11 assorted re-runs, from fleeting highlights to damn near the whole South African innings — I still can’t quite believe yesterday’s events.

If Friday night had toyed spitefully with South African emotions before letting us down at the very death, then Sunday morning offered nothing so mercilessly teasing.
Teams do not make 434 runs in 50 overs, not even on Stick Cricket, or against Zimbabwe, or when Graeme Smith is bowling. But if teams do not make 434, they most certainly do not chase down 434 to win. Be honest here: however bravely you offered belief that the game wasn’t beyond reach, that sentiment was based very much on hope rather than conviction.

And yet slowly, hope began to filter into a Wanderers ground that grew in spirit and verve as the genius of Herschelle Gibbs, fuelled by a challenge he can hardly have anticipated when taking the field earlier in the day, unfolded with mesmerising force. Ponting’s own extraordinary innings may have reinforced just why he’s such a relentless force with the bat at the moment; Gibbs took the opportunity to remind us why, if not as consistent, he’s every bit as outrageous at the crease when the mood takes him. And did it ever take him yesterday.

The nonchalant slap over wide long-off for six. The disdainful front foot pull over wide long-on, also for six. The assault on the mid-wicket boundary that turned the Wanderers stands into London circa World War Two. Gibbs is a maverick on and off the field, but the frustration of his failures only amplifies the joy of the times he does come off. 175 off 111 deliveries — wherever the Herschelle Gibbs career goes from here, he’s played an innings to define his career, in a match that defines just how powerful a hold sport has over us all.

My inbox is still filling up with jubilant response to an astonishing few hours, people struggling, much like myself, to find the words to cover the incredulity, the elation, the sheer bliss of it all. “It’s pointless ever watching another cricket match,” the message from my mate Kingdom, a committed cricket-hater who avoids the game on principle, and yet was still drawn in helplessly by the magnetism of a breathtaking contest. “Feels like the ’95 World Cup,” suggested Mike Beaumont, and the emotional parallel was certainly there; “I have never seen anything like that ever,” the summary of Martin Tucker, echoing the sentiments of all of us.

But perhaps the comment that gave me most pleasure was that made by South African sports writer Matt Garrett, marooned in Australia and adding insight to Aussie website “The sweet, unadulterated joy of being a South African living in Australia when the shoe is on the other foot is indescribable,” beamed Garrett, and you can feel his delight from thousands of miles away.

Whether one completely improbable, logic-defying result can swing cricket’s natural order and set up the Test series for an extended hurrah remains to be seen. But that’s days away, and I’m simply not ready to begin thinking about it. The unrestrained euphoria of yesterday has settled down to a warm glow, and a sense of contentment seems to have enveloped the whole country, rich sustenance for a cricketing nation that’s had some dark hours of late.

There’s a temptation to suggest that the cricketing gods had finally taken pity on us, but to suggest anything so serendipitous does a disservice to Gibbs, and Smith, and Boucher, and rest of Mickey Arthur’s team, watched over yesterday by a coach pumping fists furiously like a punch drunk boxer as victory neared.
Set fortune aside, and revel in a quite remarkable victory, and a quite remarkable match. To quote Garrett one last time: “Will we ever witness something as ridiculous and breathtaking again? I doubt it.” Will we ever forget it?” Not a chance.

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