Showing posts with label MCG. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MCG. Show all posts

Saturday, January 16, 2016

India bats again at Melbourne in a crucial match in the series against Australia

India batting first after Australia elected to field after winning the Toss. Rohit Sharma was out early for 6.

Thereafter Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli built the innings together with a 119 run partnership for the second wicket, and then Shikhar Dhawan was out for a patient knock of 68.

As the last reports came in Kohli 71 Rahane 19 India 170/2 was the scoreline.

It is bowling which is of a concern for the team as was seen on two batsman friendly wickets at Perth and Gabba.

Melbourne is altogether a different wicket, you need to toil hard to get runs it is not that easy for the visitors.

But when the hosts will come out to bat it will be an altogether different story. They will surely come bang bang as they have nothing to loose and they are already two nil up in the series. Home conditions is an added advantage.

Rishi Dhawan has been included in the place of R Ashwin in the playing eleven.

320 should be scored for defending against a strong inform batting lineup. I would be happy if the team wins with even a 280 too, but that isn't the case as has been observed in the earlier two matches. Australia easily managed to chased down two 300 plus totals.

Rishi Dhawan is too a late a change, he should have been in the team from the first match, but one or two players inclusion or exclusion doesn't matter, it is a team game. The team should collectively have to perform out of the ordinary to win. And Australia looks in ominous form as usual at home.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

West Indies bowling strategy similar to that of Hobart Test.

Australia dominates the Boxing Day Test and  at stumps - Day 1: Australia were 345/3 (90.0 ov, Usman Khawaja 144, Joe Burns 128, Jerome Taylor 2/83) .

It was good attendance at the MCG on the boxing day with 53 thousand people watching the match.

Earlier West Indies having won the Toss elected to field first sending in inform Australia to bat. The batsmen made most out of a placid track after David Warner was out early for 23

At the close of play captain Steve Smith* 32(49) and Adam Voges 10(24) were at the crease.

Jason Holder gave only 33 runs from 17 overs with economy of just under 2 runs per over.  Jerome Taylor two wickets for West Indies.

It was hard toil for West Indies pace bowlers, after having won the Toss elected to field first.

Many people criticized  that decision, but I think West Indies didn't wanted to expose it's inexperienced batting line up to a new ball on the first day.

 If there was a batting collapse then it would be difficult for West Indies to come back in the match and could demoralize the team batting prospects.

It happened at Hobart with only exception of Darren Bravo who made a hundred in that Test to bring some confidence back in to the team.

Australia is set for a big total at the MCG, what West Indies could do is to use as many spinners to halt the Australian scoring rate.

The team need to take a fresh look at it's bowling strategy, Hobart and MCG look very similar, where the West Indies team bowlers in particular couldn't extract much bargain. 


Sunday, December 20, 2015

West Indies can fight back in the Boxing day Test at the MCG

Things not looking rosy for the West Indies Cricket, as there are widespread media reports about the game being in danger in the Caribbean Islands.

West Indies abandoned the Tour of India mid-way when it last toured India. Recently several commentators of the game including Michael Holding have voiced their concerns.

I think there should be a way out of the present scenario. The acrimony between the players and the board should be sorted out at the earliest.

Holding blasts WICB as dysfunctional , untrustworthy - The Hindu

 The team is touring Australia now, and has lost the first Test inside three days at Hobart.

 Does the state of affairs reflect on the players, too tough to say, but would be happy to believe that isn't the case and the team come back strongly in the Boxing day Test at the beautiful and picturesque Melbourne Cricket Ground.

In the meantime Australia broadcaster Nine seem to have prepared for all the contingencies if the visitors loose again badly in the Boxing Day Test and the New Year Test as both dominate the Australian Cricket scene in Australia.

 Cricket: What will happen to Nine if the West Indies can't perform? - Sydney Morning Herald

West Indies seem to have been little out of touch in the Hobart game, but MCG is also a tough venue will be much similar to the Hobart pitch, bowlers especially need to look for early breakthroughs and should not allow Australia score easily.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Batsmen need to fire for England and India in the 3rd ODI of Carlton-Mid Tri series

Australia comfortably won both the ODI's against England and India in a comprehensive manner. Both India and England have disastrous starts in their innings courtesy some fast and accurate bowling from Mitchell Starc who has now taken 10 wickets in two matches including a career best haul of 6/43 of 10 Overs in the match against India.

Australia are easily a stand out team in the tournament doing well with both bat and the ball to outplay the opposition. The main reason behind is the bench strength of Australia being so strong, that in the absence of pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson, Starc has provided Australia with breakthroughs.

But the long season ahead of 2015 World Cup could eventually have an effect on a team which is at it's best at the moment. Both India and England were below par their potential. If batsmen in England line up like Joe Root and Ian Bell fire for England, the side can pose questions to the opposition.

England didn't do that bad in the bowling department, at Sydney the pitch got slower and slower and batsmen earned their runs in one's and two's and it was not easy for the batsmen, as Dave Warner held the fort and made sure that the target is within the reach with a brilliant 127.

It will be interesting to see how the two teams England and India fare in the third ODI to be played on Tuesday. 

India playing two off spinners and going in with 5 bowlers didn't helped the side much. India failed to put on a challenging total. At one stage the side was cruising at 159-3 after 31 overs and ended up adding only 108 runs in the remaining 19 Overs, shows that Indian middle order collapsed and could not pose a challenging total. 

Though Indian top order failed to score, but given Rohit Sharma's big century and a 126 run partnership with Raina provided the stage India to fire later on in the innings.

Twin failures, the Indian top order and the lower middle order failing to fire put an arduous task on the bowlers. Given the strong response from Australia openers in Aaron Finch and Dave Warner, India tried hard. And at one stage tried to crawl back in to the match with some quick wickets of Bailey, Finch and Maxwell. There were not enough runs on the board to put the pressure on the batsmen.

Same was the case with England as the top order collapsed, Skipper Eoin Morgan resurrected the team in the middle with a well crafted 121 runs which included 11 fours and 3 sixes off 136 deliveries, but the lower middle order failed to fire to dash the teams hopes in the match. 

Only team showing consistency so far is Australia which is leading the points tally.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Australia could've nipped Indian challenge at MCG in the 3rd Test keeping an eye on WC2015

There could be many possible reasons Why Australia went for a draw in the third Test. Skipper Smith said the side didn't want to give India a sniff at the Target, and mentioned India's strong batting line up as the reason behind. 

Though Smith was clear on the subject, it was not sounding like Australian. Australia are known to be ruthless in field and run down oppositions with sheer competitive brilliance. 

It could have been easily accepted, had Australia been touring and found in the conditions that it found itself on Day 4 of the 2nd innings. Australia lost quick wickets in the middle order in Smith, Haddin, Rogers and Johnson for 70 odd runs, putting Australia on the back foot. But not by much as Shaun Marsh recovered to post a match saving fifty on that evening, and Australia commanded the lead and could have stepped up the pedal.

But instead it slowed and slowed down it's innings until the match was over the next morning on the final day of the Test. Australia not only eat up the morning session, it did not declare till the lunch. That India played so and so is altogether a different story.

Why Australia did so, made a contest look so 'boring'? 

One reason could be that Australia did not want to give India any what so ever remote chance in the series keeping an eye on the up coming World Cup as India are the reigning champions. The Test loss though a little remote possibility, Australia wanted to play it very safe. As it could have opened up chinks in Australian team.

Post Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke era the side is yet to reach pinnacle of the ladder where it enjoyed that position of Top Test playing nation in the world for many years. South Africa has challenged that top position by constantly posing questions and successfully held the top position for a longer duration.

Though Australia might not be that worried for the Top nation rankings as much as the up coming World Cup 2015 which is hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Given all the permutations and combinations, India did not fare that badly. As I remember when India played at MCG in 2012, it had lost the match. And this time not only it posted a hand some reply in the first innings, there was rejuvenated response from the batsmen to Australia's 508 in the first innings.

Though bowling is concern for India, it still carried the punch and took down the Australian top order and middle order occassionally. The batters responded well through out the series and lost out only a session or two.

Though on the face of it, it looks like Australia won the series, but it was not in the same fashion as it beat England in the Ashes in 2014.

Given the state of play Australian think tank might have considered for a lame draw than an all-out winning approach to sub-due the Indian challenge and nip it in the bud keeping an eye on World Cup 2015.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Defensive Australia seeks safe total to declare on fifth day to draw the third test at MCG

Australia managed to take a handsome lead of 326 runs at the end of 4th days play, yet the side was not able to pose a fighting total and continued to play at a very slow pace and shows that Australia are on the defensive and do not want to provide any chance for the visitors to come back in the series.

It is a clear ploy that either they want to win or draw with no possibility of losing the match. It is not sporting for a side to play for five days and yet does not want to see any competitor in it's sights. It feels like Aussie doesn't want to see an entertainer but a series securing draw, so that it pleases their rankings and stats. And it wants India to chase a in-surmountable total in as many less overs as possible.

Strategy is in contrast to what Virat Kohli did at Adelaide and went on the chase a total and lost the match in pursuit of victory. If a side is chasing down a total at a net rate of 4 and more an over credit goes to the side that is doing it and not otherwise. 

The reason for this scenario developed as Indian bowlers managed to run through the Australia middle order and scalped four middle order batsmen from 131/2 to 202/6 with loss of Smith, Rogers, Burns and Haddin in the space of 70 odd runs. That slowed down Australia and they went on the defensive strategy.

Unlike the first Test at Adelaide that Mitchell Marsh played, and had clear instructions to go after the bowling, and he did that scoring very fast with Steve Smith at the other end, and Australia declared the innings that evening on the fourth day itself. 

With three wickets in hand Australia are playing defensive here at MCG to put up a more defensive total than a fighting one, it is eating up time in the match and would force the opposition to play for a draw instead of a result, that would make it a very boring contest in the end.

What would Australia do on a fifth day of a test match with three wickets still in hand, Why didn't it fast paced the innings and declare on fourth day, so that it could be a sporting contest?


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Australia lead India by 155 runs at lunch on Day 4 at MCG

In the morning Johnson just took an over to remove India's remaining two wickets from day three for only three runs.

Runs flowing from both ends, Australia were 47 runs in 9 overs, Warner stepped up the pedal scoring freely of the pacers. Ashwin was brought from one end and runs soon dried up it was 14 overs for 50 odd runs with Ashwin conceding 4 runs in as many overs.

Yadav particularly expensive in three overs conceding 30 odd runs. It is never about bowling faster and faster, but about line and length and swing the ball in the air.

The result was wicket of Warner, trying to sweep one from Ashwin, was caught in front plumb and it was an easy decision for the umpire. 

Though Chris Rogers was quiet the fourth morning but some wayward bowling from the pacers helped him to ease up and do the scoring for Australia.

Ashwin got out Watson 4 times in 7 innings,  

In the 19th Over Australia were leading by 142  runs, and it looks like it would be a monumental total from here that India will have to chase in second innings.

336 runs is the biggest run chase at MCG.

Watson's weakness was on display trying to defend incoming ball in front of stumps. The best trying to play across and once trying to play through covers, out both of the time. Great batsmen need to have a solid defence. Shami testing Watson with some probing in swinging balls.

How much score that Australia would like to defend on the fifth day is the question now. 375 or 400 may be.

But can India chase such a score on a fifth day pitch to stay in the series ? Australia would be happy to draw the game and take the series, so it will definitely give India a big total to win. 

Australia are 90/1 at lunch in 22 Overs on day 4 leading by  155 runs.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Scintillating hundreds by Kohli and Rahane rescue India on day 3 after initial hiccups early on in the 3 Test at MCG

Scintillating performance by India on day 3 after initial hiccups early on in the morning. 

India lost quick wickets in Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay after some persistent bowling by Australia. Vijay was out for 68.

Rahane and Kohli then combined to produce a huge partnership to resuce India from that precarious position to a respectable total. 

Early in the innings both Rahane and Kohli were lucky to have got life. Rahane was at his best driving through covers and pulling Johnson all through day.

Batsmen produced some of the best cricket in front of a Sunday crowd at Melbourne Cricket ground.

It was sheer brilliance of the two batsmen that they survived some well directed bowling from Johnson and company. Pacer was hit to all corners of the park by the batsmen showing they were in total command.

Ajinkya Rahane got out lbw trying to sweep Nathan Lyon at the score of 147. The partnership was 262 runs worth for India.

L Rahul the debutant tried to lift Lyon over square leg but was dropped by Siddle at mid-wicket running backwards to take the catch. 

On the following delivery the batsman went to sweep Lyon again, giving a simple catch for 3. 

Dhoni was out on 11 runs playing a good length ball from Harris edging to the keeper.

Kohli continued on and on  and while trying to drive the ball through point edged it to the keeper for well made169 of 271 deliveries the Indian team total read 462/8 at the close of play.

The batsmen showed the intent today and held the innings together and won the day for India. 

Ryan Harris proved to be pick of the bowlers picking 4/69. Indian bowling unit could take a cue from the Aussie performance that they made the Indian batsmen earn their runs, survive and score. 

It was definitely not easy for the Indian batters. And also besides the fortunate partnership there was little contribution by other batsmen. It is still a worry aspect for India.

Rahane was dropped by Lyon, who reacted a little slow to the shot played back towards the bowler that went through his hands.

Then Kohli edged in the slips but was dropped by Harris. Earlier Haddin pulled of a spectacular catch to bring down Cheteshwar Pujara and then took the catch of Kohli.

So it will India batting again with two wickets remaining on Day 4. It will be interesting to see the team tactics on day 4.


India at a crucial stage in the first innings on Day 3 in the third test at MCG

India are at a crucial stage with 108 runs on the board at the loss of Shikhar Dhawan's wicket in their response to Australia's 530 runs on the second day of play.

Earlier Australia scored at a brisk pace resuming their first innings on day 2 with Brad Haddin nullifying the India tactic of bowling short to the batsman. Haddin hooked, pulled and lofted the clueless Indian pace attack in the morning to notch first fifty in the series.

Indian batsman tried hard and bowled short to Haddin in order to scalp the batsman's wicket, noting his uneasy stance in playing the short ball. But to the surprise of Indian bowlers, Haddin opened up his stance by freeing his front leg which gave him ample opportunity to score runs at will, until he himself committed an unforced error and edged a ball while trying to leave it to the keeper, in a similar fashion Indian Skipper MS Dhoni got out in the previous test.

India did not attack Aussie Skipper Steve Smith as much as they bowled short to Haddin, and that proved costly for the team, as Smith held up the Australian lower middle order together and stitched crucial partnerships with Ryan Harris too.

Ryan Harris played a good role and proved again that Australian lower order is the better off scoring runs than the Indian lower order as the bowlers struggled once again to get wickets.

Captain Smith and Harris built a 106 run partnership as Australia scorecard read 482 for 6 at that stage. As soon as Harris fell for 75 playing across to Ashwin, Australia stepped up to score quick runs as Smith went after the bowlers before the side got bowled out for mammoth 530 runs on the board with Skipper the last man out for a fabulous 192.

India started their first innings with confidence as both the openers survived probing line by the Aussie bowlers. Until Dhawan got out to a menacing Harris delivery which the batsman tried to play to the third man, instead edging it to the slips. Harris is a dark horse in the Australia bowling line up, he can swing the ball both ways and his seam is deceiving to say the least and often gives Australia crucial break through.

India are up against a good bowling attack and complacency will prove costly for the India as there isn't much depth in the Indian batting order as the Aussie side has. India are prone to batting collapses and often play contrary to their potential and provide opposition the chance to come back in to the game. 

Where as Australia seldom made this mistake in the series. So far they've accepted every chance the tourists provided them.

If India are to stay in the series, batters need to present something special on day 3 to the Aussie bowling attack including the off-spin of playing Nathan Lyon. Other wise it will be remembered as a tour when the team didn't played to it's full potential, despite some good players in the team.


Friday, December 26, 2014

Steve Smith's wicket is key to restrict Australia in the first Innings at MCG in the third Test.

It was a decent first day's play at MCG in the boxing day test against Australia by the India team with Australia scoring 259/5 at the close of play.

Umesh Yadav took the all important opening wicket of David Warner to slow down the Australia scoring rate later in the innings, as India bowlers failed to take wickets till the start of second session in the morning.

Watson and Chris Rogers built up a good partnership against a disciplined Indian bowling which went wicket less and a dropped chance to score a second wicket partnership of 115 runs. Chris Rogers was taken by Dhoni of Mohammad Shami delivery outside of off, inviting the batsmen to drive on the rise.

Soon after Watson was out lbw to R Ashwin, trying to play slog sweep covering the stumps and completely missing out, though umpire couldn't see the middle and off of the batsmen's wickets but failed to note that Watson took a long stride and met the ball out side the line of off stump. It was a close decision.

Initially Skipper Steve Smith started of slowly and then later paced his innings to lead Australia to a handsome total of 259/5 with his inidividual score of 72 not out at close of play.

S Marsh got out caught behind by the keeper of Shami scoring 32. Debutant Joe Burns could not last long as he was out trying to pull the ball and edging to the keeper off Umesh Yadav.

Umesh Yadav was bowling with good pace and bounce occasionally hitting Brad Haddin on the body with short pitched deliveries which the batmsnen left alone.

Ishant Sharma was bowling nicely but didn't look penetrating the Aussie batting order. Mohammad Shami took two wickets and looks good when bowling a probing line. There was also a dropped catch of his bowling when Watson edged in the slips and was dropped by a diving Shikhar Dhawan to his left.

Bowing out side of off is key to bowling Steve Smith out. Analysing the style of play, Smith easily pulls, drives and cuts the ball, so there isn't much the bowlers can try than to test him outside of off.

That's the only way Australia has time and again bowled at the famed Indian batting order of yesteryears.

When a batsmen is strong both on the backfoot and the front foot, it is important for the bowlers to catch him at the crease by bowing good length ones.

The wicket looks dry and slightly tilted in batsman's favour, India bowling has it's task cut out to restrict Australia.

Steve Smith's wicket is key in these circumstances, if he gets going and wags along with the tail, then Australia will not only score runs but at a quicker pace.