D'you think he should be picked? There's now a poll on the right.
D'you think he should be picked? There's now a poll on the right.
India picked their side for the Tests against New Zealand a just a while ago, and it will be a full strength XI barring freak injuries.
India: MS Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag (vice-capt), Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Cheteshwar Pujara, M Vijay, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth, Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra
Gambhir, Ishant and VVS Laxman are all fit to play the first Test, which means that there is no place for Cheteshwar Pujara or Murali Vijay in the XI, despite their sterling contributions in the series victory against Australia. Unlucky, but they will be on track to take their positions in the future, and both Gambhir and Raina cannot take their spots for granted. Yuvraj, meanwhile, is getting further away from the Test side as I see it.
Right, I know this is coming in a few days late, but I had finished half of it earlier and I didn't want to waste it. That's right, I'm calling typing 'exercise', and this thing is a little rushed (5 minutes and below).
Here's how the Aussies did, then.
9 - Shane Watson (271 runs at 67.75, 2 wickets at 40): Pratson was in great touch, providing great starts with Katich every time, and he even curbed his aggression to score what was probably his slowest century since his Stick Cricket session. He also had his moments with the ball, but got only 25 overs and a couple of wickets. Points off for not realizing that his dismissal meant the batting was about to collapse.
7.5 - Tim Paine (183 runs at 45.75): Promising show from T-Paine, who did his best filling in for Brad Haddin. Not too bad behind the stumps and played some really great-looking strokes in front of them.
Obviously I'm doing India first. Since they won, not because I would have done it anyway even if Australia had won.
Two games that seemed to be heading for draws, sprung into action on their fourth and fifth days, and ended up with India chasing relatively similar targets in the fourth innings. Which they did, the first one via an outstanding rearguard partnership between VVS Laxman and chump/champ Ishant Sharma. The second chase was much simpler, despite Sehwag's early dismissal, as Vijay, Pujara and Sachin comfortably tackled Mitch's randomness (pointed out by Test Match Sofa, whose player you'll see on the right), Hilfy's *insert German word for awesome* stuff, and George's Peter. There wasn't much tackling to do with Hauritz.
So this is how the Indian players did (in my head, but I'm known to be accurate in there):
8.5 - Sachin Tendulkar (403 runs at 134.33) : Almost always looked comfortable against all the bowlers, he bettered an already tremendous year for him. Points off, though, for getting out to a silly shot on the final day at Mohali, which could have cost India the game.
So this is post #100 here, great cause for celebration. And I did celebrate a while ago, blowing the candles off a fantastic cake. (By 'blowing the candles' I mean 'ate' and by 'cake' I mean 'footlong sub')
It's also Che's day (nickname attributed to Bored Cricket Crazy Indians). He's waited long enough for his debut, and had an unfortunate first innings dismissal when a low shooter from Johnson trapped him in front. You can't keep a good (no superlatives yet) player out of it, however, and Dhoni made the easily backfirable decision to send him in at #3 after Sehwag got out early (only blemish on a perfect day) to (heil) Hilfenhaus.
India announced its squad for the ODI series against Australia (which begins on Sunday the 17th) today. The seniors get some more rest, which leads me to believe that the board of selectors aren't currently able to distinguish Australia from Zimbabwe. It's like they just don't care about World Cup preparation, the rankings, and other ODI-related nonsense. See, they've got me doing it now. Anyway, it's a 14 man squad, and the missing players are:
Sachin (okay, I get this one),
Sehwag, Gambhir, Ishant (minor injuries)
Zaheer, Harbhajan, Ojha (just because)
And this is the squad:
MS Dhoni (capt & wk), M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Vinay Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja, Rohit Sharma
So another player is set to make his debut, as Shikhar Dhawan (Delhi, ex(?)Mumbai Indian) is set to open alongside Murali Vijay in the absence of our top 3 first-choice openers. Yuvraj pops back in despite his dodgy domestic one-day form, and Tiwary is retained. Despite Ojha's exclusion, Mishra doesn't make the cut, so the spinner's duties will be with R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja (why, why, WHY), Yuvraj and Raina. Munaf Patel keeps his all-rounder's spot, while Vinay Kumar returns with plenty to prove. I'm not sure what that is, but I'm hoping to get an interview with him and ask which movies he likes and if frogs really can't see the color green, thus making all other frogs invisible.
Er, yeah, that's it.
Q: How can the second test top the first one?
A: It can't.
But we all want to see if India can beat Australia again, and get the Bangalore monkey (no, not Symonds) off their backs. India has won only 6 Tests at Bangalore in 18 attempts, and none of those wins have come against Australia. Sachin and Sehwag average over 50 here (56.42 and 50.72 respectively for accuracy freaks), while Dravid (21.69) and Laxman (26.5) have poor records.
Enough with the stat-mongering, you'd be dumb to go by statistics. This is the weakest Aussie team to tour India (open to a very one-sided, pointless debate), and their lack of a decent spinner (Warne) could kick them in their own 'nads again.
Right now, the teams are so even, that anything's possible. The Aussies, champs that they are, could play four seamers and unleash a fiery 50-over bouncer barrage to soften up the Indian batsmen so that Katich and Clarke can clean up the top order before Ishant Sharma (though he's not playing) channels his inner Gillespie (and Harbhajan his Harbhajan) to lead a lower order resistance in a partnership longer than this sentence.
In another scenario, they could play two rookies, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc, and both Steven Smith and Hauritz, as a way of saying "We give up!"
My point is, I've no idea what I'm talking about. It will be a great (or just good) Test match, where every ball is a highlight... for Dravid's fans.
No more rambling, this is the expected Indian side (in Gambhir and Ishant's absence)
VVS Laxman (Pujara if he's unfit)
MS Dhoni (c)(wk)
And despite Hauritz being called a human buffet and North going south, Punter and the gang seem to show enough confidence in them, so Smith and Hughes may not get their chances. Bollinger, though, is in doubt for the game, and Dr. Peter James George, the Canadian economist, is likely to replace him.
R Ponting (c)
Prediction: Man Utd. 2-0 West Brom