Pardon the cheap attempt at alliteration in the title, but I had all these words in mind, and it’s just a coincidence that a nice alliteration surfaced!
I was confident we’d lose the match once we got 285, since it was clear 30 runs short of a more-than-competitive-but-not-winning total. You must recall the drubbing we received at Pak’s hands earlier this year after scoring 315 (48 overs). With the new powerplay rules (5 overs more, and in the 3rd powerplay, SL cashed in, though the blew the 2nd), it would only get more difficult to defend totals on dewy pitches. Of course, India flattered a lot, particularly when Jayawardene was run out, and a victory did seem possible. The only logical route to victory on a dewy track is to demolish the opposition before the dew sets in — we kind of missed it this time!
I believe it’s a typical feature of dewy innings, that lesser-known cricketers/out-of-form cricketers, with more brains than talent would see a side home. Recall Arnold-Chandana partnership earlier this year, where they coasted to 220-6 after being reduced to 94-6 or so. Similarly, Dravid and Yuvi, in Pak, scripted a nice win once dew set in, after the top order had caved in to 96-4 or worse in Pak. Also recall Dravid-Bangar against WI at Ahmedabad (2003), when we scaled 325!
I don’t want to take the credit away from Dilshan by overly discussing the dew, but the dew was indeed a clear cut problem factor. It was however nice to India’s ground-fielding (note I just said ground-fielding, and not fielding, given that Gambhir dropped Sangakkara early and Venu butter-fingered his catch later on after about roughly 8-9 attempts, of RP Singh). India also bowled with quite some heart — Sree Santh and RP Singh in particular. Agarkar was decent, but was a let down in the last spell, but by then, the match had already been lost.
Kudos to Dravid and Gambhir for brilliant 100s — but they could not make it count. It almost appeared to be a superb supersub trick from SL, when Maharoof came in and bowled those wonderful four overs! It might pay to have a fresh bowler at the end of an innings! But let’s see how long the supersub thingy lasts, given that most (if not all) captains voted against it at the captains’ meet.
The Ganguly factor: looks like it’s no longer a small issue. It’s a giga-(tera-?) conspiracy by Chappell and the board. But it surprises me that Dravid et al are party to this. Makes me wonder if Ganguly is indeed guilty of something, or is just being dished out wholesome ungratefulness. I still believe, though less on current international form that Ganguly selects himself ahead of Kaif. I don’t belong to that school of thought (read ‘Chappell’) that fast runners and great fielders can just win you matches. Where’s the experience? Where’s the temperament? Ganguly has delivered ‘n’ times. He could deliver again. But, all arguments apart, is it worth disputing that he needs another chance to prove himself? And that it’s more than due in this dead rubber? That leaves too many unanswered questions! Ideally, we should have got Ganguly back in as captain for the rest of the games, given that Dravid is not well. Of course, it’s a nice idea to blood Sehwag too, but it wasn’t very long ago, when many of us believed that India would almost field an unchanged XI from the WCC 2003 final to the first game of WCC 2007! Until the real truths about Ganguly, Chappell and co. surface, we (or is it only me?) can never rest happily, how many ever wins come by.