TWO LEGENDS: Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly smile after India defeated Australia in the second Test in Mohali.
Sourav Ganguly, one of India’s most charismatic cricketers, will be seen for the last time as an international player on Monday. Ganguly is retiring from international cricket after nearly 16 years.
Sachin Tendulkar says the entire country will miss the elegant left-hand batsman, who has often been described as the ‘God of off-side’.
“Everyone will miss Sourav. He is not only my teammate but is a very special player and has contributed a lot to the team and country. He has had a fantastic career and when a player like him retires not only the team but the entire country will miss him,” Tendulkar said.
Ironically, Ganguly’s last Test innings, just like Sir Don Bradman, ended in a duck on Sunday. He was caught and bowled by Jason Krejza in the second innings of the Nagpur Test against Australia off the first ball that he faced.
A bit disappointing for Ganguly, but his fans will look back on his international career with great pride. He started with a century on debut and made a sublime 85 in the first innings of the Nagpur Test against Australia; although he had to end with a golden duck.
So was Ganguly pleased with how his career turned out?
A few days a go in an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN’s Sanjeeb Mukherjee, Ganguly had said he would have liked a few more Test runs under against his name.
Sanjeeb Mukherjea: Talking about Sourav Ganguly — the batsman, do you think you neglected your batting?
Sourav Ganguly: No, I didn’t. In terms of my One-Day performance, I think it’s been outstanding. In terms of my Test cricket, I would have loved to have a few more runs but I also batted at No. 5 and No. 6 and although it is not an excuse but I thought that although I have more that 7,000 runs in test cricket, a few more would have been happy to go with.
Sanjeeb Mukherjea: What were the reactions of Sachin, Dravid, Anil and Sehwag, when you broke the news to them?
Sourav Ganguly: I’m sure they knew that at some stage it had to come. It’s going to come for them as well. They were not surprised, they expected it. Everybody has to go in sports. It’s my turn today and it will be their turn sometime.
Sanjeeb Mukherjea: It must have been an emotional moment for you also?
Sourav Ganguly: It wasn’t that emotional buy obviously we would miss it. Initially, you will miss the competitiveness because the pleasure you got by scoring a Test hundred or an One-Day hundred, it cannot be valued by anything else. Every time you get a hundred, you feel ‘this is what I wanted to do and I am still good at it’. That satisfaction will not come from anything else. Financially, when you play for 13-14 years in modern cricket, you are far past well-off. That’s not an issue.
Ganguly made his One-Day debut against the West Indies during the 1991/92 Benson and Hedges World Series Cup at Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane, in Australia while his first Test match was against England at Lord’s in 1996.
India drubbed Australia by 320 runs at Mohali to take a 1-0 lead in the Border-Gavaskar series. This is India’s biggest ever Test win (excluding innings victories).
India dominated this match with everybody chipping in significantly. Debutant Amit Mishra had a 7-wicket match haul, while Sourav Ganguly and Gautam Gambhir slammed centuries in first and second innings respectively. Sachin Tendulkar scored 88. But the ‘Man of the Match’ was the captain himself. MS Dhoni was given the award for his knocks of 92 and 68*.
Earlier, Australia, who resumed the play on Tuesday with their overnight score of 141/5, were bundled before the lunch in reply to India’s 515 runs on the last day of the second Test.
Zaheer Khan fastened India’s winning bid as he took three quick wickets of Brad Haddin, Cameron White and Brett Lee while Amit Mishra wrapped up the proceedings by claiming Mitchell Johnson and Michael Clarke.
Zaheer struck in the very first over of the fifth day and dismissed Haddin for 37 runs after he added 84 runs with Clarke for the sixth wicket. A good length ball from Zaheer came back to beat Haddin and crash into the middle and off-stump.
In his next over, he got White come forward for the drive. The ball took an outside edge and Dhoni took a good catch behind the wicket. Lee didn’t even last a ball. Zaheer pitched a short stuff that beat Lee and uprooted the off-stump.
After Lee fell, India hoped to finish it quickly but a 50-run partnership between Johnson and Clarke frustrated the hosts. Mishra then foxed Johnson with his flight caught him off his own bowling. Clarke, who slammed a fighting 69, fell as the last wicket as he pulled a good length ball from Mishra and Sehwag at midwicket pouched it safely.
Australian coach Tim Nielsen had confessed after the close of fourth day’s play that team played for a win but the gameplan backfired. Of course, with 515 runs to chase in four sessions on a spinning track can never be easy and playing aggressively cost Australian heavily.
4th innings score in India by visiting team
|WI||276-5||W||5 wickets||1||1987-88||Delhi (Feroz SK)||276|
India were all out for 469 on the second day of the second cricket Test against Australia today (Oct 18). While Sourav Ganguly scored his 16th century (100 of 219 balls) in the longer version of the game, skipper MS Dhoni was unlucky to miss out on a much-deserved ton, when he was declared LBW to Siddle for 92. Earlier, Ganguly, playing in his farewell series, added more than 100 runs with the stand-in captain to frustrate the Australian bowlers on an unresponsive pitch. The former skipper batted for more than five hours, hitting nine fours after adding 142 runs for the fifth wicket with Tendulkar on Friday to rescue India from 163 for four.
Resuming on 311 for five, India lost night-watchman Ishant Sharma (9) in the fourth over of the day and much of the credit goes to Australian captain Ricky Ponting who plotted the dismissal with a field setting that was spot on. Peter Siddle banged one short which Ishant fended and Simon Katich took the looping dolly at leg gully, completing the cycle.
Dhoni announced his arrival by hitting the first ball, from Brett Lee, to the ropes and then whacked Siddle over fine leg ropes for the first six of the match. Siddle was again worked past point and Shane Watson thumped through covers as Dhoni decided to impose himself on the Australian attack.
All along, Ganguly was quiet, dealing only in singles and twos. Playing his last series and with a century in sight, the left-hander was content grafting it at one end. Not for once, he went for the aerial route and even Cameron White could not draw him out of the crease as Ganguly nudged along and pushed more than he drove. He pulled Brett Lee for his first four of the day early this morning before retreating into a cocoon. Little before the lunch break, he flicked Mitchell Johnson and on-drove White for two more boundaries to get into the 90s.
Earlier on Day One, India finished day one at 311 for five wickets, which involved couple of partnerships. Openers Gautam Gambhir (67) put up a 70-run partnership with Virender Sehwag (35) and later Tendulkar(88) and Ganguly (batting 54) propped up India with a 142-run stand.
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