|Hilfy massively facepalming (c) Getty Images|
The loss of the Test is not what is gutting me, both teams have shown their best in the departments in which they were successful, and the Australian attack sparkled a lot more than I had expected. But what worries me so much is the batting. It seems to have deteriorated steadily since the tour of New Zealand, or maybe it's just me but it looks entirely hopeless. Apart from Watto there is one other batter usually chipping in -if you are lucky-, and then you have a partnership in the lower order, whether it's Paine, Smith, Johnson or whoever. But that can't have been it already?
I have heard the opinion "But India batted crap as well", hell, does it matter? They aren't playing the Ashes next up are they? Hussey is looking absolutely dreadful, he hasn't produced anything remarkable since last summer with the exception of Sydney, and that was when Kamran was apparently paid per Muss run, Clarke has joined him in the basement, North ah feck, and Kato has only just krabbed his way back into his game after a tiny little dent, and I think we might see more of him in the second match; but generally Oz have sunk so low that now they have to rely on Punter. I am deeply concerned imagining this desolate pile against the likes of Swann, Broad, and Anderson, and they haven't faced Finn yet either.
This is especially bitter for the bowlers who bowled their backsides off in these extremely tough conditions at Mohali. I am utterly delighted to see that Mitch has his game under control, confidence in the heart, and no infection in the elbow (he's hopefully smart enough not to reward himself with another tattoo before the Ashes) and Hilfy is just adorable full stop. Has always been, will always be. Absolutely fantastic to see him back in action, I hope he stays fit and steamrolls the English.
Bolly the Bollinger puffed and panted his way through his overs like a workhorse, took good wickets and injured his abdomen. We can now only hope that he'll be ok for the mother of all battles because on home soil he's the Grim Reaper. If he can't play the second Test I assume Klint will jump in for him and get some much needed Test practice, he'll make the odd appearances in Oz I guess, given the rather high likeliness of a pacer getting injured. Not sure if Siddle has played anything except T20 since his return from rehab.
Ritz has not looked particularly threatening so far, bowled some nice balls though and could have added quite some scalps to his tally had he not been let down by his teammates so much. But I attribute the lack of sharpness in the field to the heat, the graveyard atmosphere and general drainedness and dullness in the head. I think in the Ashes everybody will be alert like a squirrel with a nut! I still think it is NOT too late to drop North, draft Steven Smith in and see what happens. Batting-wise it can only get better, and he may be a bit more expensive but has always grabbed wickets.
|Moaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!!! (c) AFP|
Ah well. Yes this is the paragraph for the inevitable Laxman praise. Oh you good and great Vivious, who pulled off a Colly and batted with a back migraine from hell; so heroically and invincibly that you, following the nomen est omen principle, did not only annoy the shit out of every Oz fan, but even won the match for your buddies! Sure, half of the work was done by Suresh Raina, while you were standing there screaming your head off, but nevertheless this collaboration yielded the desired result, hats off lax man!
*goes washes mouth with soap*
Ishant Sharma! The only Indian player I will ever like, probably because he gets torn to shreds on every occasion, because he is a little fail bear, because his fellow countrymates despise him, and because he has great potential on his day. Oh yes and the hair ^^ Ishant played a funny parallel universe game with Mitch: was erratic as fork, produced an astronomically high number of no-balls, suddenly started to cut through the opposition at a crucial time and batted in the obligatorily slightly awkward manner like the lower order batting god, and thus provided 50% of the Indian victory.
*should on Indian request wash mouth with soap again but can't be bothered*
So... here's hoping and praying for better luck at Test No. 2. Another defeat seems not unlikely but is totally not needed at the moment.