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Steve Waugh's dream farewell is now officially a nightmare. He may have milked his farewell tour to the best of his ability (in terms of publicity, money etc.), but certainly the cricketing angle has gone horribly wrong. By making 705, the chances that Australia save the Sydney Test, let alone win it, were extremely slim. Then Australia slumped to 342/6 at close, still needing to make 164 runs to make India bat again. I still think we could have declared overnight, if not after crossing 600 yesterday. Perhaps Ganguly erred on the side of caution.
The game has however been a statistical delight (if you're Indian, that is!).
Ok, now that I've done the Mohandas Menon impersonation, its really hard to think of an earlier occasion when the Australians looked so bereft of ideas. Well, is it? Not quite. Rewind to Adelaide 2 games ago or Antigua last year or Calcutta 3 years ago. But the fact is that Waugh and the Aussies have been denied the services of McGrath and Warne. Warne may not have been too much of a problem against India, because India's batsmen (and the uncharitable few may mention tail-enders too!) have taken him apart too often to mention. McGrath definitely is someone the Indian batsmen hate to face, unlike say Gillespie (you only need to see him off for the first couple of Tests, he's bound to get injured) or Lee (Do meteorological stations warn people living by the coastline when Lee is about to bowl? His radar just doesn't function!). But the very fact that people point out the absence of two of Australia's all-time great bowlers when Australia's bowling seems so poor, is an indicator that perhaps Waugh's captaincy (or handling of his bowlers) isn't that great after all.
There're a great many West Indies haters who claim that Clive Lloyd was no great captain. He had the best fast bowling armoury in history at his disposal (and with more warheads sitting on the bench) and so he just needed to look at around the field at one of his bowlers and they'd conjure up a wicket. Wouldn't that be equally true of Waugh?
As an aside, I wonder how come among the brother sets who've played international cricket, the older one is typically the gutsy, pragmatic chap while the younger one is cavalier, pleasing to watch, charming and sometimes infuriatingly inconsistent. Compare Ian and Greg Chappell, Steve and Mark Waugh, Jeff and Martin Crowe, Andy and Grant Flower, Mohinder and Surinder Amarnath (although Surinder's career never really took off) and the Mohammad brothers - Hanif, Sadiq and Mushtaq (don't know about Wazir). There's definitely a pattern.
Labels: ind v aus 2003
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