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The second innings collapse of the famed Indian batting line-up in the first Test against a weak New Zealand side supports my theory that Indians are notoriously poor starters. The first Test against the Australians in the recent home series too could have easily gone the other way but a fantabulous fight-back by a bravura Laxman snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
India finished at 82-6 at the end of the fourth day at Motera. Chris Martin’s five wicket haul was the highlight of the day. Sehwag was run out.
With Harbhajan and Laxman —the last of the recognised batsmen at the crease — it will be only be about survival on the final day.
India piled up 487 in its first innings essay powered by Sehwag’s bellicose 173 and Dravid’s sedate 104. New Zealand replied strongly with 459 ; debutant Kane Williamson registered his maiden century and talented Jesse Ryder hit a ton as well.
Can India save the match? Will Laxman ride to the rescue once more?
The fifth day will be engrossing.
Full marks to the Black Caps. Few gave them a semblance of a chance following their 4-0 whitewash at the hands of the Bangladeshis.
Pride and over-confidence lulled the No.1 team into a false sense of security. The New Zealanders’ ego had been hurt. No way would they roll over, not even for an Indian side boasting a rampant Sehwag and a resurgent Tendulkar.
Wins have to be earned!
Suddenly there were none!
The Galle test this week brought down the curtain on the career of the last of the three spinning maestros of this generation.
Much has already been written about Muttiah Muralitharan’s exit from the cricketing stage, and many more reams of paper will be consumed describing his exploits in his swan song test at Galle. Murali ended his Test career on a high against his Indian opponents claiming the requisite eight wickets to perch himself atop the summit of 800 wickets – master of all he surveys – in the process ensuring victory for his Sri Lankan teammates.
They were the three Musketeers of spin bowling; their sovereign – the Art Of Spin Bowling. Come flat tracks, come bouncy ones, come true ones, come lousy ones, come under-prepared ones, come turners,come rain, come shine, they were forever on call to serve their master, to do him proud. All-weather heroes, I term them!