Good old times. Ponting and Clarke are revelling in their Cardiff memories like an old couple post retirement, enjoying the birds, the warm sunbeams, the neatly mown lawn around them, snacking some chocolates and stretching their old bones out on the garden bench, the awful modern Adelaide architecture posing the backdrop for their romantic reveries.
It has not been that long since both, and a few other members of the Australian Test side, absolutely dominated their tourists at will. Pakistan, always a worthy opponent, and the West Indies come to my mind. The warhorses in the batting line-up are still the same, in fact, with Watson and Katich unavailable for different reasons, the degree of mightiness has even dropped further.
It is true that the bowling has lost its surprise factor in the lines of Mitchell Johnson, but apart from that the selection has not changed much: Hilfenhaus, Siddle, Harris are by no means bloody beginners. The major difference lies in the limb adorned by the captain's armband: it is less hairy, less magical, less grumpy and, thank God, not covered in spittle from the fingertips to the elbow. (Subsequently, it makes me wonder if the home humiliation against England, and the suboptimal results in the away series against Pakistan, were but a Ponting-related two-off.)
Should this really be the whole secret behind Australia's turnaround? What about India? When they toured South Africa, they did not roll over either. And nobody would accuse the Saffers, particularly in the pre-Tahir era, of preparing raging Bunsens. So what the freeroaming worshipped udderbearer has been happening in England and Australia? I think the Indians are missing Jaydev Unadkat.
|Jaydev Hypnokat, why didst thou not get selected???|
Seriously. When India travelled to England I was tremendously looking forward to my two least liked teams hammering each other to hell and back. But by the end of the tour the fates of Abhinav Mukund (clearly overchallenged with the role of an opener in English conditions, but goddammit, give the kid some time), brave steedlet Praveen Kumar, the indefatigable Rahul Dravid and poor Giraffe Boy Ishant had moved me deeply.
Now, several Australian single and triple tons and ten wicket hauls later, India have ripped my heart out. I'm not willing to put up with it any longer, with the sight of eleven vulnerable pink bellies pointing up to the sky, the helpless high-pitched puppy yelps, the little paws twitching desperately as the nightmare comes to haunt them time and time again, the bubble of cruel godforsakeness, which enwraps each of the Indian players.
Still this is Adelaide, it has turned into Adelaide after three quick wickets. On paper the Indian batting line-up is capable of occupying Ponting's and Clarke's romantic bench amongst the LEGO buildings from day 3 to day 5. But do they have the willpower to do so, can they be bothered to actually go for it? Please India, try, for Umesh's sake!
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