What he said:
“Zimbabweans pride themselves on being hospitable. So even in this match, we keep throwing them a lifeline.”
Zimbabwean coach, Alan Butcher, throws up an innovative excuse for letting their opponents, Bangladesh, off the hook in the Test at Harare.
What he really meant:
“We do want the Bangladeshis returning for more. They’re the only team we can beat regularly.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“We take pride in losing matches at home.”
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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!