Saturday, January 19, 2008

Now & then..

7 years ago, another 17th consecutive win beckoned Australia at Eden Gardens.

They had to beat India to get it.

They lost
the match.

It was pretty similar
today at Perth. Not just the figure 17 and the opposition, but some other things.

The similarities?

At the outset India winning the match appeared as unlikely then as it did this time.

Then too India got out of jail through the batting of VVS Laxman & Rahul Dravid.

Australia, on both occasions, were led by a man widely regarded as the world's best Test batsman under pressure.

India were far from fielding their best bowling side in Eden 2001 & Perth 2008.

An unheralded rookie took the wicket of the Australian skipper in both matches.

But there were big differences too.

What were the differences?

That rookie (Harbhajan) bagged 13 scalps in the Eden Test Ishant took just 3 here. [Did I say just? That hour of tormenting Ponting culminating in his wicket had the impact of 3 or 4 wickets, I reckon]

VVS and Dravid never met on the crease in the second innings this time round.

Like 2001 VVS was the no.6 and Dravid the no.3 when the Perth match started. But unlike 2001 they hadn't swapped positions in the 2nd outing.

There were no centuries in the Perth Test.

Harbhajan Singh was not playing in Perth.

Indian pacers did extremely well this time. (Zaheer's series tally in 2001 was 3 wickets if I recall correctly, same as Tendulkar's. They were the joint highest wicket takers outside of Bhajji)

There was no follow on this time. [And perhaps there never will be in an India-Australia Test match]

Ponting was quite disppointing in the 2008 match but still managed more than thrice his 2001 series aggregate in the Perth match alone.