Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It needs something else to become no.1

India has won a test series in New Zealand after some 40 years or so..obviously its a great matter of joy, but is the winning margin of 1-0 a true indication of dominance of India? In the last day - a gloomy one - of a tough season, New Zealand had a few bright spots to hang on to. Of course, the series had been lost the day they were bowled out for 197 at the Basin Reserve. For the last three days, it has been all about whether they could salvage a draw, with or without the help of a circumspect India and unpredictable weather.

It was a poor declaration by MS Dhoni when he batted too long, he should have known that the weather could change on the last day. He would have been aware of that and he could have backed his bowlers not to concede 600 or so runs. They made a mistake and New Zealand were able to get out with a draw. If he wanted 600 on board and then attacking field placement then why didn't he do that? Why all were playing like schoolboys and making giggling noise? On day 3 India, had a lead larger than any target successfully chased in the fourth innings of some 1918 tests played in 132 years. Over the world's No. 8 team, one they had bowled out for 197 runs in the first innings of the same Test. Two days later, when the Indian team trooped off the field, they were still looking for the last New Zealand two wickets

India's disappointment was evident at not winning the Test, despite a charismatic spell of legspin bowling from Sachin Tendulkar, who combined really well with Harbhajan Singh. Harbhajan, with 16 wickets, ended as the highest wicket-taker in the series. "Of course it is a bit disappointing not to win this Test," captain MS Dhoni said after the test.

The safety-first approach highlighted India's lack of success overseas. The value of this win was immense and its enormity is beginning to be understood. But India lacked the ruthlessness required to win the test. The hunger to win in each and every situation has always been a trade mark of a champion side be it West Indies or Australia. But India clearly lacked it during 4th day of last match. To become no.1 in world India needs to learn a lesson or two from those champion sides.

The one thing to watch out against is complacency, which seemed to surface now and then, as it did on the fourth and fifth days of the third Test when inclement weather, with the assistance of some aimless drift and tactical looseness, denied India an even more convincing series victory.

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