Category Archives: Test Match

Don Of Cricket!

Sir Donald Bradman
Sir Donald Bradman
It was in February 1951 Ashes test, Day1 Australia were 254 for 3. Arthur Morris was batting on a spectacular 140 not out at the end of the day, and Keith Miller was unbeaten on 24. It was an exciting day of cricket, and the spectators had got their money’s worth, with the home team dominating. A gentleman in his early 40s was walking out towards his car in the parking lot of the Adelaide Oval. A kid stopped him.
“Morris is the greatest Australian batsman”, the kid said. The gentleman stopped in his stride, and said to the kid, “Yes.”
“Do you like cricket too?” asked the kid.“Yes” said the man, “have played a bit myself too”.
The kid was suddenly awestruck. “Can I know your name Sir?” He asked politely. “Donald Bradman” said the man, and quietly walked away to his car. Such is the public memory. People forget the greats very easily, once they find new heroes.

And going gaga over the World Cup 2015, we all, the ardent cricket fans, have done the same.
Not much of us seemed aware today, that 14 years ago on this day, the world of cricket was robbed of Don, whose batting was actually was the dawn of the fast scoring style of batting, which is prevalent and admired the world cricket now, for more than 2 decades, and is entertaining us cricket lovers.
On this day in 2001, the Don passed away. He was to the cricket world, what Sachin was in the Last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the millennium. Few of his records have been so steep, that in seven decades after his retirement, no one has been able to get near to his batting average of 99.94, or his 309 test runs scored in one single day.

Volumes have been written about the Don, and there is not much I can add to it. But there are a few anecdotes, which I would love to share here in his remembrance.

It was 1930, the Ashes. Percy Fender had warned Don, that his technique of employing horizontal bat shots won’t work in England and he will have to use a straight bat. Don had made Sir Percy eat his words in the first test, scoring 131 in the chase. However, Australia had lost the test by 93 runs, and that had stung the Don’s Aussie Pride. The Aussies won the second test at Lords by 7 wickets, largely due to the Don’s 254 in the first knock. That instilled a great deal of confidence in Don. With the series poised delicately at 1-1, the third test was crucial for both the teams. The team who would dominate in the third test would have wrested the advantage. On the eve of the Leeds test, Bradman had a dinner appointment with Neville Cardus, the great cricket author. Don called him earlier in the day, and said, “Can we have this meeting on another day Mr. Cardus? Tomorrow’s test is important, and I will have to score at least 200 in it. So need to retire early to bed.”
Cardus was a bit offended by this, and he thought that the Aussie was being too cocky and overconfident, and was underestimating the English attack of Larwood, Tate, Dick Tyldsley, Hammond and Maurice Leyland. But the Don lived up to what he had said. He reached his century before lunch the next day, plundered another 115 runs in the post lunch session, and walked proudly unbeaten to the pavilion at the end of the day’s play having scored 309 in a single day. Australia had made 458 for 3 in the day, and Don had scored two thirds of the runs singlehandedly. Australia went on to make a mammoth 721 in that innings, and played England out of the match, and the mother country did their best, still could only save the match. Don didn’t do much in the next rain curtailed Manchester test, but came back to his elements in the final test at the Oval, scoring 232. Series tally of 974 runs in a five test series. Take that folks!
Another one is from the India tour of Australia in 1947-48.
While batting in a tour match against Ghulam Mohammed , Don pulled a bit uppishly, and the ball only just eluded Square leg. “That was risky!” exclaimed the wicketkeeper Khokhan Sen. Ghulam Mohammed promptly pushed square leg a bit deeper. “Just wait and watch.” Don told Sen. The next ball was also a short one, and Don pulled it again in the air, again only just eluding Square leg. Ghulam Mohammed pushed the square leg further back, and again bowled a short one. Don again pulled it in a way that it just eluded the square leg. Then he turned to Sen again, and said: “I am not playing Ghulam Mohammed’s bowling to the field, I am “playing with” him to his field.” Such Mastery! He also went on to warn Sen not to pay so much attention to this, or Sen might lose his concentration.

That was the way the Don backed himself, and more often than not, delivered. 29 centuries and 13 fifties in 80 innings is a testimony to that!

Special thanks to Sanjeev Sathe , who is an avid cricket fan and a dear friend of ours for contributing this wonderful article.

A Thorn In The Arm


How many times has the Australian team found themselves at the mercy of the Very Very Special Man from India? Time and again he has been a thorn in their arm. Vangipurapu Venkatasai Laxman, no one can forget his special innings at Eden Gardens in 2001.It’s like rubbing salt to the injury on the Australians as he is the man who always bails out India to a victory and more so against Australia.
The Australians are not worried about Sachin’s wicket, but they are more worried to get Laxman out. In the first innings, Laxman could not come out to bat at his regular batting order due to injury, which cast a doubt whether he would be able to bat in the second innings.In comes Laxman in the second innings and with his great excellence steers India to a 1-0 victory. Great display of efforts and attitude by the youngster Ishant Sharma. Not only did he fire some great bowling spell, but also applied himself well at the crease negotiating the Australian bowlers. His 30 runs and the amount of time that he was on the crease gave a great support to Laxman who was playing in his elegant style.
Zak was at his best taking a fifer in the first innings and 3 in second innings. He is the senior bowler on whom the youngsters like Ishant Sharma can  look up on.He is leathal when it comes to the old ball as he can bowl some good reverse swinging deliveries.
At the end of the day, it says 1-0 in favor of India. 2-0 is some thing that the Indian team are looking forward.

Windia In Kiwiland!!


It took 41 years for Indian’s to conquer the Kiwis in their own back yard. The current team is on the high with Zak as the supreme star in the bowling attack while a solid Gambhir adding assault in the opening slot. The middle order is some thing that has always been a threat to the opponents as worlds most experienced players are marshalling the slot.

With Sachin Tendulkar in supreme form, Dravid in his vintage disciplined form and VVS in his classic touch, it was Dhoni who batted well whenever required and the Harbhajan Singh and Zak adding value to their wicket by dropping anchor by scoring half centuries lower down the order.

We could well have won the test series 2-0 had the rain god not interrupted.Nevertheless 1-0 is still better as long as the series is in our hands,
Jesse Ryder was solely the outstanding player from Kiwi and we are quiet impressed with his Rugby Player like physique. His failure in both the innings of the last test clearly brought down slightest hopes of winning the last test match for the Kiwis.
The Indians have raised the bar and improved their game tremendously. Every time we visit the foreign soils, we are winning at least one test match. The series win would mean a lot to the team as they have been playing consistently well.
Do voice your opinion on your favorite player from the India-New Zealand series.

So here’s Shams n Wags leave from the test matches and just about time to gear up for the biggest entertaining edition of the IPL to begin.

Riding India’s Back- Jesse Ryder!!


As India take on the kiwis in the Test Match at Hamilton, it didn’t take a while to knock of the top order.The kiwis were reduced to a mere 60/6. But as they say, test match is the test of character, in came Jesse Ryder and captain Vettori and stabled the Kiwi innings.
Right from the start of the tour, Jesse Ryder has been playing some good cricket against India in all the formats. He played good innings in the T20’s, attacked in the ODIs and when it came to the test matches, his form was no different. He was the last man to get out, but not before scoring a wonderful century. The very look of this big man gives a feeling that he might be a lazy chap, but boy when he strikes the ball, he really strikes it hard and attacks from the word go.
He is a classy left hander, reminds me of the former captain Stephen Flemings, to which most of you all will agree.

Daniel Vettori played an outstanding innings scoring a tests century. He is the key man for Kiwis as he is the only strike spinner in the team and on top, he scored a great innings saving century. Way to go Danny boy!!
At the end of the innings, NewZealand scored 279 for the loss of 10 wickets.
It was a good sight to see Dravid and Laxman in the side and of course in their favorite slip cordon area.
Believe me, its going to e a good test match and would be wonderful to see our Indian batsmen scoring some good runs as we resume after 29/0 in 7 overs.

Fizzing Strauss

With Strauss adding the fizz on the top in both the innings, playing a peach of an innings,only Paul Collingwood played a support role for England.
After the loss of three quick wickets in the second innings, Strauss and Collingwood steadied the England ship. At the loss of 9 wickets, England declared for decent total of 316.
In came the deadly opening pair of Sehwag and Gambhir. With the task of scoring 387 runs to win, they came heavily on the bowlers. Hitting over an average of 5 at the top of the innings is what one can expect from this opening pair and they obliged yet another time.
Sehwag was all guns blazing and smashed he ball all over the park. With him attacking and Gambhir playing a support role, India ended on the score of 131 for the loss of Sehwag wicket. The task ahead of Indians is to score 256 runs in a day and lets wait and watch how the Indian achieve the target.

Watchful Englishmen!!

It was a well cooked partnership at the top of the innings between Alistair cook and Andrew Strauss.
A good half century by cook indicated that he is going to go for the bigger one until he tried to over do and got out to Bhajji.
The England players were very watchful and were paying due respect to the Indian bowlers. Strauss looked in a good knick and he played a superb innings scoring a century, and his consecutive second one in India.
Zaheer Khan was bowling in top of his form so much so that he was moving the ball in both the direction and now he gives the feeling that he can give coaching on how to bowl a reverse swing as he has mastered on the reverse swing.
Even Strauss acknowledged the fact that in the middle of the innings he was signaling to some one in the dressing room that Zaheer is moving the ball in both the directions and that it was difficult for him to pick it up.

Yuvraj has become a thorn to the Englishmen as he is continuing to trouble them, but with the bowling this time. The Englishmen were being extra watchful. The main thing to watch would be his batting. He has to cash in given the fact that Dada has retired. Yuvi’s agenda should be to prove that his selection has to be by default and not by chance.
Kevin Pietersen got out to a reckless shot and balooned in the air which was gleefully taken by ZAK.

Freddie getting out to Amit Mishra and England 6 wickets down, its just the matter of time for England.
Enjoy day 2 as we sign off .
Cheers !!

Test Of The Character

It would be a cardinal sin to say that the Test Match is on the verge of a downfall. There is no comparison when it comes to Test Cricket. People have their own set of opinions that by the advent of the T20 or better called as IPL, there would be a downfall in Test Matches. The T20 is an interesting format of the game and it gets over fast, but it is no match with the Test cricket.

A person has to earn his Test Cap by proving that he has the capacity to play for long hours.It is not a bang bang kind of cricket. It’s all about survival on the wickets. The temperament of the person is put to test. The best part is that it’s played in sessions. The morning session is the vital one where the first hour of the play decides the forte of the match. It swings and bends. If the wickets start falling in the first session, it becomes very difficult to stay in the match.
In the shorter format of the game, even if the wickets fall, if the score is at par, still there are chances to win. However, in test cricket, even if you have score on the board, it does not make much of difference if you cannot survive for time. Test match gives affair chance to the bowlers.
The team will certainly win who knows how to take those 20 wickets. There’s a proper test of the character of the bowler, how much purchase he can get from the wicket. When it comes to limited over cricket, the economy rate of the spinners is too high. In test cricket, spinners can be lethal from the third day onwards. Bowlers like Muralidharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble can take the game away from the opponents almost single handed.
The bowlers of high caliber go on and on and they always want to be in the game and bowl the maximum overs. The moment they see there is turn and bounce, there’s a bright and a killing smile on the face of the spinners.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Yuvraj Singh is extremely talented player and he can fit into any team in the 1 when it comes to a T20 format or a limited over format. But he himself is never sure of his inclusion in the 11 member in the Test Side. He has been playing the ODIs for a long time now and has pretty good scores against his name. He is a tremendous fielder as well. Yet the beauty of Test Match is that still his place is not cemented his place in test side.

Test cricket is all about playing big innings and having the metal to stay on the wicket. The Australians are more worried when VVS Laxman is on the crease. They respect Sachin, but they fear VVS Laxman because he has always come for Indians rescue when they play against Australia. Even the best looking balls are sent to the boundary line by him such is his timing.
It is the Test Matches that has given him such amount of respect. He is called as Very Very Special Laxman although his name is Vangipurapu Venkata Sai Laxman .When it comes to ODI, even his place is not fixed in the playing 11 and he is not considered as a threat. The moment it comes to Test Match, he is considered as the ‘Thorn In The Arm’

Test Match is played only in white uniform, that thing is not yet tampered with in the Test Matches, while limited over games are played in colorful uniforms. Earlier even ODIs would be played in Whites.

The best of the reverse swing is seen in the Test Match. Unlike ODIs, test match is played with the red ball, so it does not get that much dirty that a player can’t cite it. Reverse swing is always on when the ball is old. The ball has to be worked on. One side of the ball has to be looked after and continuously shined. Pakistanis have this art of looking after the ball. One would always notice this in the test matches that ever player would shine the ball and pass it on to the other. There will be a fielder placed near to the bowlers starting mark so that he shines and gives the ball to the bowler.

In ODIs there’s less chance of playing with the old ball as it gets very dirty and it’s mandatory to change the ball after 35 overs. In test matches, one has the option to change the ball after 80 overs. They can still play with the old ball if they want to.
I can go on writing on and on like the Test Match will be played on for years from now on and on. On the ending note, please post your comments on What’s your Take on the Test Matches!!