Ask any purist and he would tell you what a sight it is when Sourav Ganguly dances down the track to loft a spinner over his head. The frequency of those humongous sixes has diminished over time, but in his final Test match, the southpaw put the sublime on display as he moved to 80 not out in perhaps his penultimate innings in Test cricket. Not just did he dance down the pitch but threaded the offside with the timing people now associate him with his retirement.
The Indians had made their intentions clear on the opening day of the final Test itself, and Ganguly kept it going as Jason Krejza was dismissed over long-on for a six, and then repeated the act for a boundary after completing his half-century. India saw off the first session to be 404-5 at lunch on a day when Australia’s bowlers not only looked flat but pedestrian. Along with Dhoni, the sixth wicket stood on an unbeaten 101 runs.
Australia started the second day with Jason Krejza despite operating with the second new ball. Brett Lee took the ball from the other end, but it was more than a tactical error. Mitchell Johnson, the pick of Australian bowlers this series, has been off-colour in the final Test, often spraying wide of off-stump and far too full.
India’s first day total of 311-5 was more or less identical to that of Mohali, where the hosts established a 1-0 series lead with a 320-run victory. The turn of events were also similar, with a mini-collapse followed by a resolute stand before losing Sachin Tendulkar towards the end of day’s play.
Even the start to the second day was similar, with Ganguly and Dhoni putting on 56 in the first hour of play. The only difference was the role reversal between the batsmen, with Ganguly taking the attack to the bowlers while Dhoni’s knock was comparatively reserved to his whirlwind 92 in Mohali.
There couldn’t have been more perfect a beginning to international cricket at the VCA Jamtha Stadium here. Sourav Ganguly’s farewell and VVS Laxman’s 100th Test had already built up the stakes, before Sachin Tendulkar made it consummate with a magnificent 40th Test hundred.
India closed the opening day of the fourth and final Test against Australia on 311-5 with the retiring Sourav Ganguly batting on 27 and captain MS Dhoni four not out, after Dhoni’s decision to bat first on a batting paradise nearly backfired. But Laxman’s calm 64 and Tendulkar’s classy 109 steadied India with their 146-run fifth wicket stand before both fell in the final session of play.
A freak two-wicket burst from debutant Jason Krejza before lunch after being hammered around the park was not enough to slow down Tendulkar, whose latest milestone became his 10th century against the Australians.
The Australians have a reputation of giving it back to their opponents on the field. Michael Clarke was helped on to his century in the previous Test in Delhi by three dropped chances. Australia returned the favour to Tendulkar through Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee, who grassed sitters when the batsman was on 85 and 96 respectively.
Australia seemed to have lost the initiative as getting rid of Tendulkar on the back of Laxman’s wicket would have put on added pressure. However, Johnson’s strike towards the end of day’s play still keeps the game intriguingly poised.
It could have been worse for the Australians had a belligerent Virender Sehwag not thrown away his wicket for 66. The opener tore into Lee and Johnson, who went for five runs an over in their respective opening spells, which also gave a significant boost to debutant Murali Vijay at the other end.
WALKING OFF: Gautam Gambhir walks back to the pavilion as the Australian team celebrates the fall of his wicket.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has rejected the appeal of Gautam Gambhir and upheld the one-Test match ban imposed by match referee Chis Broad.
Justice Albie Sachs, who was appointed to hear the appeal, upheld the ban, which means Gambhir will miss the fourth and final Test match against Australia starting from November 6.
Justice Sachs, Cricket South Africa’s appointment on the ICC Code of Conduct Commission, was appointed to hear the appeal in accordance with ICC Code of Conduct processes.
Tamil Nadu opener M Vijay has been named as Gambhir’s replacement for Nagpur Test.
Gambhir was charged under Level 2.4 of the ICC Code of Conduct for pushing out his elbow that hit Australian all-rounder Shane Watson during the first day’s play in the third Test match in New Delhi.
While handing out the one-Test ban on Gambhir, Broad said that he also considered an incident that happened almost a year ago when Gambhir went face to face with Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi in during an ODI Kanpur.
“The ICC has repeatedly told the players that deliberate physical contact between players will not be tolerated. I have also taken into account the previous offences of Gambhir and therefore, I am satisfied that the penalty imposed is an appropriate outcome in the circumstances of this matter,” Broad had said.
The economic crisis will be the big issue after Parliament reconvenes on Friday even as the session is expected to be a short one.
The session is also expected to be stormy with the United Progressive Alliance Government facing fire from the Opposition on many other issues.
With General Elections next year and five states going to polls starting November 14, there are many issues like the global financial crisis and its impact on the Indian economy, terror attacks, communal riots, price
rise and the Indo-US nuclear deal, which the Opposition will try to raise.
It could also be the last session under the leadership of Manmohan Singh.
But with elections for Assemblies of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Mizoram already announced, there are many who feel that there is no point of continuing with a month-long session.
So it might well be cut short by at least 10 days to allow leaders to campaign aggressively in a poll that is already been billed as mini General Election.
“Whenever we need to have something, we will discuss it. There is no hard and fast position on that because political exigencies can definitely come,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said.
An estimated Rs 25000 are spent per minute on Parliament’s activity.
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